Paul Pierce was absolutely huge for the Wizards in these playoffs, producing in the biggest moments to help Washington eliminate the Raptors, and extend the top-seeded Hawks to six games.
But after a crushing Game 6 loss — one where Pierce’s potentially game-tying shot was waved off because his fingertips were still on the ball just as time expired — Pierce said the emotional toll of it all may cause him to contemplate retirement this summer.
“Truthfully, what was going through my mind is, I don’t have too much of these efforts left, if any,” Pierce said. “These rides throughout the NBA season, throughout the playoffs, are very emotional. They take a lot out of not only your body, but your mind, your spirit.” …
“I don’t even know if I’m going to play basketball anymore,” Pierce said. …
“It affects not only you, but the people around you,” Pierce said. “Days like this, you go home and you’re around your family, you don’t feel like talking to them or doing anything because of what the game does. It takes a bit out of you. You go home, and it’s not a good day. It affects the people around you. It’s tough. People think you just play basketball, go home and your body is sore. No. Mentally, the people around you, it affects. I know I’ll go home and won’t have any words for my wife or my mom. Probably the only thing that can through to me right now is my kids. They bring me joy.”
Pierce has found a role with this Wizards team, playing the part of veteran leader on a team with very little previous postseason experience. He’s proven he can still play, and can still hit the most pressure-packed shots when his team needs him the most.
But is this Wizards team really capable of winning a title as currently constructed, or just making it to the championship round, even in the dreadful Eastern Conference?
It’s doubtful, at best. So, Pierce needs to decide if the toll the game has taken on him for the past 17 years continues to be worth it, and whether or not he’s willing to endure another long 82-game season just to get back to being able to perform on the postseason stage once again.