The NBA has changed a lot in the past few years. The rise of small forwards, in particular, has prompted teams to start thinking about versatility as a top priority when building their roster. In the current NBA landscape, every team needs a player who can operate from the wings or initiate plays from the inside. That’s why we have witnessed so many small forwards rising to prominence and becoming household names across the country. In this case, we’re looking at the two greatest small forwards in history, Paul Pierce and Carmelo Anthony. Let’s see if we can find a common ground between Paul Pierce vs Carmelo Anthony.
Who is Paul Pierce?
Paul Anthony Pierce is a retired American professional basketball player who played mostly as a small forward. Pierce spent the first 17 years of his career with the Boston Celtics, where he played like the franchise leader in total points, games played and made three-point field goals. He also played for the Brooklyn Nets and Washington Wizards. He was a member of the Celtics’ 2008 and 2013 championship teams and was a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Pierce was drafted with the 10th overall pick in the 1998 NBA Draft out of the University of Kansas. He was named to the All-Rookie team that season after averaging 16.5 points per game for the Celtics. Pierce continued to average over 18 points per game in each of the next three seasons before being traded to the Nets in exchange for Kevin Garnett in the middle of the 2010-2011 season. He spent one year with the Nets before being traded to the Wizards as part of a three-team deal at the beginning of the 2012-2013 season.
Pierce has been a reliable scorer throughout his career but has also been willing to defer to teammates more in his later years. He was a key scorer on the 2008 Celtics team that won the championship and again in the 2010-2011 season when the team advanced to the NBA Finals. He averaged over 20 points per game in both the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons and made the All-Star team in both seasons as well.
Who is Carmelo Anthony?
Carmelo Kyrique Anthony is an American professional basketball player for the Houston Rockets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Anthony played high school basketball for Baltimore City College, a school whose basketball program is not affiliated with the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and is considered a travel team.
He was selected second overall in the 2003 NBA draft by the Nuggets after his college career at Syracuse University. Anthony is a 15-time NBA All-Star, has been named to the All-NBA team nine times, and won the NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge in 2012. Anthony has spent his entire 15-year career in the NBA with the Nuggets, Knicks, and Rockets. He has played in All-Star Games every season since 2003 and has averaged more than 22 points per game in each of the last 14 seasons.
Anthony has also averaged over eight rebounds per game, three assists per game, and one block per game throughout his career and has been the Knicks’ franchise leader in points, rebounds, and assists since coming to New York in 2011. Anthony was a member of the United States national team that won the FIBA Basketball World Cup in 2014. He has also played for the USA team in three Olympic Games, winning gold medals in 2012 and 2016.
Paul Pierce Vs Carmelo Anthony: Playing Style
There are some obvious differences between how these two players approach the game. Pierce has never been a particularly gifted athlete, but he is a smart, instinctive player who understands the game and what his team needs from him. Although Anthony is one of the most gifted athletes ever to play the game, he’s also a bit too wild on the court at times, getting in his own way.
Pierce is a classic “foundation” player who can be found in the middle of the action on both ends of the court. He is a very unselfish player who thrives in setting up others. While Pierce is certainly an elite-level scorer, his team’s No. 1 priority is always getting the ball to the right place at the right time.
Paul Pierce Vs Carmelo Anthony: Strengths
Both players are lethal jump shooters capable of taking over games at will. Both players have also been willing to adjust their games as they’ve gotten older, accepting a lesser role in order to help their team win.
Pierce and Anthony are also the No. 3 scorers in the NBA history among active players behind Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James. These two players also seem to be extremely resilient, having had very successful careers despite having battled numerous injuries over the years.
Paul Pierce Vs Carmelo Anthony: Weaknesses
Pierce and Anthony both have a tendency to be ball-dominant players, although Pierce is definitely the more unselfish of the two. Pierce also doesn’t have the same explosiveness he once had, which can make it difficult for him to create his own shot at times. Anthony, on the other hand, has always been a bit too reliant on his jump shot and has never been much of a playmaker for others.
In terms of postseason success, there is no comparison between these two players. Pierce has been to the NBA Finals three times, winning one championship. Anthony has never made it past the second round of the playoffs in his career.
Paul Pierce Vs Carmelo Anthony: Standing
Although both players have battled injuries over the years, Pierce has had a much more successful career overall. He’s a 15-time NBA All-Star, has been named to the All-NBA team nine times, and won the NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge in 2012. Anthony has only been selected to the All-Star team 10 times and has never won an individual award.
Pierce is also a member of the prestigious 50-40-90 club, an exclusive group of players who have shot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range, and 90 percent from the free-throw line in a single season. Anthony has never come close to shooting those percentages in any one season. When it comes to postseason success, Pierce again has the edge.
He’s been to the NBA Finals three times, winning a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008. Anthony has never been to the Finals and his teams have generally struggled in the playoffs.
Similarities Between Paul Pierce And Carmelo Anthony
Both players have been dominant forces in their respective positions throughout their entire careers. Pierce and Anthony are both lethal jump shooters who can take over games at will. Both players have also been willing to adjust their games as they’ve gotten older, accepting a lesser role in order to help their team win. Pierce and Anthony are also the No. 3 scorers in the NBA history among active players behind Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James. These two players also seem to be extremely resilient, having had very successful careers despite having battled numerous injuries over the years.
The Bottom Line
Even though Paul Pierce is 39 and Carmelo Anthony is 36, they are both still playing at a very high level. When comparing these two players, Pierce has the experience and all-around skill set that makes him a better player, but Anthony has the youth on his side. It is expected that Anthony will have a slightly higher scoring average this season, but Pierce will have a greater impact on the Celtics’ fortunes during the next few seasons.