Good Lord man.... you've had your morning coffee, haven't you! Think I should have had mine before attempting to read your post. ;)
I think what you are saying is, Paul Pierce encapsulates the Celtic way and can be the steadying influenence and driving force that leads to #18. That Paul Pierce, to borrow from the University of Michigan, is a "Celtic Man" embodying what it is and means to be a Celtic.
I think Pierce has come a long way since KG showed up. But since KG showed up, in their own ways they not Allen and not Rondo (until perhaps now) the two of them call the tune.
I frankly do not see another title with them playing, but, having them do their best, and retire at the right time is about the most I can ask for now.
Titles are harder to win now then Bird's time. Bird's time harder then Cowens, and Russells time much easier then Bird or KG/PP's time. So don't count their greatness in titles. Both rank in the all time great Celts.
This Celtic team runs off K. Garnett and R. Rondo. Garnett's heart/ passion, Rondo speed/ quickness.
I don't know how much P. Pierce has left? Kobe Bryant seems to have a lot more than P. Pierce, and Kobe played longer than Paul.
Maybe Kobe wants it more, maybe Kobe has better discipline, better offseason, better practice at his craft.
Not comparing Paul to Kobe, just using an example.
Yes, P. Pierce will go down as a great celtic, but he's not playing #5 spot, rebounding 15 boards game, closing out games, and that's what 2012 Celtics need to get to NBA Finals.
PS_ I do love the Bird's days also Matty:D