Former Boston Celtics superstar Paul Pierce is convinced that Kyrie Irving’s arrival will impact the team in a major way and help them end their NBA title drought. “You saw what Isaiah Thomas was able to do. A lot of people, even though Isaiah averaged more points, a lot of people believe Kyrie is a better scorer,” Pierce told CSN’s A. Sherrod Blakely in a one-on-one interview. Pierce carried the Celtics to their last NBA title in 2008 together with Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. The Celtics shipped Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic, the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick and a 2020 second-round pick to the Cavaliers for Irving.

Thomas finished third in the NBA in scoring last season, averaging 28.9 points per game. Irving, for his part, tallied a career-best output in scoring, averaging 25.2 points per game as he helped the Cavaliers reach the NBA Finals where they lost to the Golden State Warriors in five games. In July, Irving met with team owner Dan Gilbert and demanded a trade because he wanted to lead a team and not to play second fiddle to LeBron James. Irving gave the Cavaliers a short list of his preferred destinations, including the San Antonio Spurs, Miami Heat, New York Knicks and the Minnesota Timberwolves but Cleveland traded him to the Celtics.

Pierce impressed by Irving’s scoring

Pierce was particularly impressed at how Irving averaged 25 points per game while playing alongside LeBron James, who played the role of the primary facilitator last season for the Cavaliers.

“If you can average 25 points, 26 points and you got LeBron James on your team, that’s pretty impressive,” Pierce said. With the Celtics, Irving will now play the role of initiator, where he will try to create scoring chances for himself and give his other teammates like Gordon Hayward and Al Horford an opportunity to put points on the board.

Last season, Irving scored 8.3 points in the shaded area per game, 10th among guards in the NBA last season.

Irving’s championship experience to help Celtics

Pierce believes that Irving’s championship experience will be a significant factor for the other Celtics All-Stars, like Horford and Hayward. “He’s going to be the guy,” Pierce said.

“He has championship experience. He’s still young, and he’s got some other guys to play with.” Pierce added that Irving would help in the development of young players Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum, who was drafted third overall in the 2017 NBA Draft. Irving may also be young at 25, but Pierce said he had learned a lot from playing together with James that he can rub off on younger teammates. The Celtics will retire Pierce's No. 34 jersey on February 11, 2018.