Paul Pierce Accuses Lakers of Tanking for Victor Wembanyama Only to Realize They Had Sold That Pick to Acquire Anthony Davis

Achyuth Jayagopal
|Published October 28, 2022

Paul Pierce is a Celtics legend and naturally hates the Lakers with all his heart while also making jokes about them in public.

When you play for the Boston Celtics for the vast majority of your career, it is almost a given that you tend to hate the LA Lakers. And, it doesn’t work any differently with The Truth, it appears.

The former ESPN pundit has been an active social media voice in his post-retirement career and seems to have taken well to the Lakers’ awful start to the season. With the purple and gold posting the worst shooting record of all-time for a 4-game stretch, content to roast the LA outfit has been at a premium.

Also read: A LeBron James-led Team is Dead Last on Offense, is the King’s Reign Over?

The Lakers, however, are still expected to make an attempt at contention and haven’t been written off yet. Having LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook on your roster tends to do that to you.

That did not stop Paul Pierce from suggesting that the Lakers were tanking, though. The former C’s forward alleged that this was merely a ploy to ensure the Lakers land Victor Wembanyama – until he realized the fallacy in his statement.

What was wrong with Pierce’s suggestion that the Lakers were looking to tank for Wembanyama?

While the idea sounds appealing on paper, a Wembanyama – LeBron pairing is unlikely to materialize. At least, via the draft process.

This is because of an important move that was made by the Lakers in 2019. It was then, that the Lakers broke the bank to get Anthony Davis to Los Angeles. While a ring is proof of how the short-term goals were met by the trade, it might just lose the Lakers their shot at drafting Wembanyama.

The reason? The Lakers had moved their 2023 first-round pick without any protections, to the Pelicans, as part of their offer to acquire AD. So, they won’t be able to draft using their own pick, in 2023.

With Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson headlining a deep class, a sweetener to the AD trade might just prove to be the most important asset traded that night. 2023 projects to be a loaded class, and the Lakers might be missing out on their next franchise pillar.

So, Pierce’s suggestion of a tank was a bust. And The Truth recognized the same and was forced to go back on his worth too.

Pierce’s joke and subsequent clarification must have had the Lakers fans absolutely fuming. It’s one thing to mock their atrocious start, but to also mock the lack of a silver lining? That’s just plain sadistic from Pierce.

How does the Anthony Davis trade look in hindsight?

Anthony Davis was widely touted to be a generational talent in the NBA. AD’s early displays in the league and his consistency prompted the Lakers to break the bank for him in 2019.

The Lakers had moved their young, promising core and three first-round picks for AD’s services. And initially, it looked like a smart move by the Lakers. Especially after AD starred in their championship run in the NBA bubble in 2020.

However, AD soon began to revert to his extremely injury-prone self and this hurt the Lakers badly. Davis’ unavailability prompted a crash from the team, with the outfit missing the Playoffs even, in 2021-22.

Hindsight also allows us to see that all the players involved in the AD trade could have helped the Lakers majorly. Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram, and Josh Hart would all walk into and dominate in a Darwin Ham offense.

A possible shot at getting Victor Wembanyama, however, might prove to be the biggest factor here. If the Lakers actually end up getting the No.1 selection in 2022, rather than a LeBron – Wemby duo, we might get to see a Zion-Wemby pairing instead. Now, that would completely change the perception surrounding the AD trade for a lot of people.

AD’s availability issues have rendered him an unreliable franchise star as of now. Moving three high-end starters and the chance to draft Wembanyama in return for one ring? We doubt that is a move the Lakers make, today.

The 2020 NBA title could be looked at in the future as a consolation prize. A mere consolation prize, to losing the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes.

Also read: LeBron James is 0-4 for the First Time in his Career – Is a Bigger comeback than the 2016 Finals Run Incoming? 



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About the author

Achyuth Jayagopal

Achyuth Jayagopal is a creative writer with The Sportsrush. After previous freelance dabbles in the industry, Achyuth has authored over 300 pieces for TSR. Having followed the game of basketball for a considerable period, he pledges his allegiance to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks. Beyond speaking his mind on all things basketball, Achyuth is a Sports and Gaming Lawyer who is an ardent Chelsea fan and takes a shine to the culinary world and travelling too.

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