Following the Boston Celtics’ series win over the Toronto Raptors, we re-examining Paul Pierce’s player rankings from before the seven-game epic began.
Phew. Breathe out Boston Celtics fans. The Cs are going to the Eastern Conference Finals to take on the Miami Heat after a seven-game series win over the Toronto Raptors in the best playoff series in recent memory.
In terms of entertainment value, this series had it all: a comeback from Toronto down 0-2 with a buzzer-beater 3-pointer with 0.5 seconds on the clock, a clutch “cardiac” Kemba Walker performance in Game 5, an instant classic (in which the referees were heavily involved) in Game 6 and a nailbiter of a defensive battle in Game 7.
What it also had was stars. It was evident over the course of this series that Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have become superstars for the Celtics, while Kemba Walker has become more of a complimentary star than “the man” in the offense.
For Toronto, Kyle Lowry proved he was still dominant, while Fred VanVleet earned a lucrative contract and free agency, and Pascal Siakam…well let’s just say he didn’t improve his stock from this series.
Before the series, Boston legend Paul Pierce chimed in on his rankings of the top stars from both squads in the series:
On ESPN, Paul Pierce just ranked the best players in the Celtics-Raptors series:
1. Jayson Tatum
2. Jaylen Brown
3. Pascal Siakam
4. Kemba Walker
— Boston.com Celtics News (@BDCCeltics) August 30, 2020
So how did his predictions hold up?
Well, he was definitely right about Jayson Tatum being the top star in the series. As one of two players to topple the 30-point mark for a single game (and scoring 29 twice), he was the lead guy on the winning team.
Jaylen Brown was certainly a worthy co-star, averaging 26 points over the final three games of the ceiling. He was also a +14 in his minutes on the floor in Game 7.
Beyond that, the mark was missed with Pascal Siakam at #3. Frankly, no one hurt their stock more during the 2020 playoffs than the 2016 first-rounder, as he proved he was not a premier scoring option on a contender.
Kyle Lowry would have been a better option for that spot, especially after his heroic Game 6 performance, scoring 33 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and dishing out six assists in 53 minutes of game-time.
The Houdini’s re-ranking of the top players in the series is as follows:
- Jayson Tatum
- Jaylen Brown
- Kyle Lowry
- Kemba Walker
- Fred VanVleet
- Pascal Siakam
What do you think Boston Celtics fans? How would you rank the players in the classic Cs-Raptors series?
Let us know in the comments section below!