Commentary

Who's better: Pierce or Anthony?

The latest Boston-New York sports debate keys on two star forwards

Updated: March 20, 2011, 12:48 PM ET
By Chris Palmer | ESPN The Magazine
Anthony/PierceUS PresswireStat sheets may favor Anthony, but Pierce's intangibles may give him an edge.

In this space we'll break down the best individual matchup of the week to see who's the better player. But toss out career accomplishments or potential. This is about ability -- strengths, weaknesses, intangibles -- and who gives his team the best chance to win. It's about the only thing that matters when you step on the court on any given night -- who's better right now.

There is nothing quite like a New York-Boston rivalry. Allow us to add yet another page to the storied feud. While the New York Knicks are assembling a team they hope will contend for titles for years to come, the Boston Celtics look to claim one more trophy with one of the best groups they've ever had. The linchpins to both efforts are a pair of sweet-shooting, 6-foot-8 small forwards.

Carmelo Anthony arrived in Gotham riding a wave of possibility, spreading hope throughout the boroughs. Paul Pierce has punched his ticket for Springfield thanks to a career that has become the annual key to Boston's title hopes. Pierce's résumé is long enough to wallpaper Anthony's new Manhattan condo. But does Melo have enough game to prove he's better?


To read Chris Palmer's breakdown of Pierce and Melo, including perspectives from NBA players and scouts, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Chris Palmer

ESPN the Magazine