Paul Pierce says he wanted to be drafted by Clippers in 1998
Boston Celtics legend Paul Pierce, who closed his NBA career with the Washington Wizards and LA Clippers, joined Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on their ‘All The Smoke’ Podcast. Although the episode was recently released, it was recorded prior to the NBA’s hiatus.
Pierce joined his former NBA players to touch on a number of topics, including growing up as a Lakers fan, the origin of his ‘The Truth’ nickname, and, yes, even his desire to be a Clipper in the 1998 NBA Draft.
“The Clippers was the number one pick, and I was like, ‘Ooh, I wanna go home and play,’ Paul Pierce admitted. So I worked out for them, and then I asked them for a second workout… I was projected to go No. 2 to the Vancouver Grizzlies. Clippers wanted a big man, they picked [Michael] Olowokandi.”
Pierce wasn’t selected first, second, or third. Instead, the All-American dropped all the way to 10th pick, which was held by the Boston Celtics, a team he didn’t work out for.
“The Draft comes, and I just slipped. I’m an All American, I’m a top 5 player in college, I’m up for National Player of the Year, so I’m wondering why is it that I’m slipping. I’m slipping in the draft.”
“Alright, I’m going no worse than top 5,” Pierce tells himself.
Needless to say, dropping that far was probably the best thing to happen to Pierce’s career. He’s likely the second best player in the Draft behind one Vince Carter.
1. Los Angeles Clippers – Michael Olowokandi
2. Vancouver Grizzlies- Mike Bibby
3. Denver Nuggets- Raef LaFrentz
4. Toronto Raptors – Antawn Jamison
5. Golden State Warriors – Vince Carter
6. Dallas Mavericks – Robert Traylor
7. Sacramento Kings – Jason Williams
8. Philadelphia 76ers – Larry Hughes
9. Milwaukee Bucks – Dirk Nowitzki
10. Boston Celtics – Paul Pierce
The drafting of Pierce could’ve altered the Clippers and Celtics franchises to this day. On the L.A. side, the Clippers probably would’ve been a better team with Pierce, and they probably don’t get the fourth overall pick in the 1999 NBA Draft to select Lamar Odom. The same goes for the 2000 NBA Draft where they selected Darius Miles third overall and Quentin Richardson 18th overall. The domino effect would’ve been endless, and the Celtics’ side of that hasn’t even been discussed.
Paul Pierce did eventually get to play at home for the LA Clippers and under head coach Doc Rivers in the final two years of his career. He was pretty much a shell of himself at that point, and didn’t play many meaningful minutes.
The 2008 NBA Finals MVP averaged 19.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 1.3 steals per game in his 19-year NBA career. Pierce played 1,343 regular season games, 170 playoff games, and won the 2008 NBA Championship with the Celtics.
You can watch the full interview of Pierce with Barnes and Jackson here below: