Boston Celtics All Time Roster

STARTING LINEUP :

C. Bill Russell


P.F. Kevin McHale


S.F. Larry Bird


S.G. John Havlicek


P.G. Bob Cousy

BENCH :

C. Dave Cowens


P.F. Kevin Garnett


S.F. Paul Pierce


S.G. Sam Jones


P.G. Dennis Johnson


C. Robert Parish


S.G. Ray Allen

CENTERS :

At center I picked Bill Russell. Easy choice. Bill is definitely one of the best defenders of All Time, a strong case can be made for him as THE best defender of All Time. Only Dennis Rodman could be mentioned over him in my opinion. And a good case can be made for him as the greatest player of All Time as well.

No one will ever have a more successful career than Russell had. It is just totally impossible. Bill led his Celtics to 11 rings in 13 seasons ! It is absolutely outstanding. Impossible to do better, or even as good as that, especially in today’s game. And no team will ever dominate as much as the Celtics did during Bill Russell era.

5 times MVP, 5 times rebounding champion, 12 times All Star, etc… Bill Russell was a legend and definitely one of the greatest players that we have seen in the game of basketball.

I picked Dave Cowens as his back up. Some people might be surprised by this choice as when most people think about the Celtics centers they first think about Bill and Parish, but honestly, as good as The Chief was, there is no doubt that Cowens was a much better player.

Dave was with Havlicek the best player of the team during the 70’s, and he won two championships with Boston. He was even the leader in 1976 when Havlicek started to decrease. He is quite underrated as most people tend to forget about him but he is clearly one of the greatest centers of All Time.

One time MVP, 7 times All Star, Dave Cowens clearly is the second best centers that the Celtics ever had.

POWER FORWARDS :

At PF I picked Kevin McHale. I might add « obviously ». Cause no offense to KG but a case can not even be made for him over McHale here.

McHale was a truly fantastic player, in my opinion the best lieutenant ever with Scottie Pippen. He was not particularly athletic or anything but he was a very intelligent player, he had the best post moves ever. Barkley and Jordan even said that Kevin was clearly the best big man of the 80’s, the Golden Era of basketball.

An excellent defender, Kevin McHale won three rings in Boston, was 7 times All Star, and is clearly one of the very best Power Forwards of All Time.

I picked Kevin Garnett as his back up. The arrival of Kevin Garnett, and Ray Ray, changed the Celtics. Thanks to them Pierce was finally surrounded by valuable teammates.

Garnett’s stats in Boston were way less impressive as they were in Minneapolis but his influence on the Celtics was huge. Especially defensively. He literally changed the team all by himself on that end. His impact on the defense was just fantastic and it’s first thanks to him that the team was one of the very best defensive teams in 2008, and so that the Celtics won a ring the first year the Big Three played together.

Kevin Garnett won only one ring in his career so far, it was in Boston of course. As a Celtic he was also Defensive Player of the Year (the same year he won his ring so) and 4 times All Star. He’s clearly the second best PF that the team ever had.

SMALL FORWARDS :

At SF I picked Larry « Legend » Bird. Obvious choice here. A case can not only be made for Larry as the best Celtic of All Time but for the best player of All Time as well. He is at least clearly the best SF of All Time. The only SF you could make a case over Bird is Erving but Bird still is definitely ahead of him in my opinion.

There is no player, in the history of the game, who was/is more cold blooded that Larry was. As much ? Maybe. Very few players though.. But more ? Definitely not. Larry was a born leader. He is also arguably the best shooter of All Time and one of the most versatile players ever.

He led the Celtics to three NBA titles, was three times (in a row) MVP, 12 times All Star, twice Finals MVP, 9 times All NBA 1st Team, 3 times NBA All Defensive Second Team, Rookie of the Year, All Star MVP, 3 pts Shootout Champions, etc… Very, VERY hard to find a better career than this one. He is a true legend.

I picked Paul Pierce as his back up. I think we can definitely assert that Paul Pierce is one of the most underrated players ever. He has always been underrated. I remember when he arrived in the big league, no one believed in him, everyone wondered what this player would do in Boston.. We have no the answer : he would lead them to their 17th ring.

Yes lead, cause as important as Ray Ray and KG were to the Celtics, Pierce was clearly the leader of that team. Pierce is not the most athletic or spectacular player in the league but he is a proven leader and a very smart player, and there are a lot of superstars who would have loved to have his career.

Pierce was Finals MVP once, 10 times All Star and is one of the best players of the 2000’s without a doubt.

SHOOTING GUARDS :

At SG I picked John « Hondo » Havlicek. John definitely is one of the very best players ever. He won 8 rings (one as the leader of the team) in his NBA career, all as a Celtics. Only his ex teammates Russell (11) and Sam Jones (10) won more rings than him in the NBA history (!).

He is especially known for being the hero of the 1965 ECF against the Sixers, definitely one of the greatest plays in NBA history, when Havlicek intercepted Hal Greer’s inbound pass to clinch the series.

One of the very best defenders of All Time, Havlicek was Finals MVP once, 13 times All Star, 4 times All NBA 1st Team, 7 times All NBA 2nd Team, 5 times All NBA 1st Defensive Team, 3 times All NBA 2nd Defensive Team, truly one of the greatest Celtics ever.

 

I picked Sam Jones as his back up. Sam is one of the best SGs of All Time. As already mentioned above, only Russell won more rings than him.

Sam Jones is one of the very first GREAT shooters and he was a specialist of the bank shot. Cold blooded he is one of the most clutch players of All Time.

Sam was 5 times All Star and led the Celtics in scoring in 3 seasons. He owns Boston’s fourth best single-game scoring output (51 points vs. Detroit Pistons on October 29, 1965). He scored 2,909 points in 154 playoff games (18.9 ppg), 15th best in history.

 

POINT GUARDS :

At PG I picked Bob Cousy. Bob is considered as the first GREAT PG of All Time and one of the very best PGs ever.

Cousy won 6 rings in the NBA, all as a Celtic. He is one of the first spectacular players.

Cousy was MVP once, 13 times All Star, twice All Star MVP, 10 times All NBA 1st Team and twice All NBA 2nd Team.

 

I picked Dennis Johnson as his back up. I hesitated with Nate Archibald for the back up PG but I eventually picked DJ cause I think he deserves it more. First of all Nate was not as impressive as he was in his Kings days, even if he was still a key player of those Celtics teams. And still was All Star three times in Boston. And it’s in Boston that he won the only ring of his career. So a good case can definitely be made for Tiny. And it’s true that DJ played in Boston only two more years than Nate and he was All Star only once in his Celtics days but overall I feel that DJ was more important to the Celtics than Tiny ever was.

DJ’s influence in Boston is quite underrated. As a matter of fact when people think about Boston they first think about the Big Three which were Bird, McHale and Parish. Yet it was more of a big four to me as DJ was as important as Parish to that team. Maybe even more. Sure he was not All Star every year like the other three but everyone who watched the 80’s C’s play know how important he was. Bird even once said that DJ was the smartest player he ever played with. And DJ is one of the best defenders of the history of basketball.

In Boston DJ won two of his three rings, he was All Star once, in the NBA All Defensive 1st Team once and 3 times All Defensive 2nd team.

 

11th & 12th SPOTS :

For the last two spots I picked Robert Parish and Ray Allen. Robert Parish is one of the best big men of the 80’s and was a part of the Big Three of course.

Robert won three rings in Boston and was 9 times All Star.

 

Ray Allen is part of another Big Three of course, the Celtics actual Big Three that won a ring in 2008.

Ray Ray is of course a very important part of that Big Three (Big Four now with Rondo), many even claim that he’s the one who should have been Finals MVP in 2008. As a matter of fact he’s been very important as the clutch shooter of the team.

In Boston Ray won the only ring of his career (so far) and was 10 times All Star.

 

The Celtics is one of the most prestigious franchise ever, they’re even the franchise that won the most rings and so many great talents wore their jersey that a lot of them had to be left out… Players like Sharman, Tiny, Heinsohn, Jo Jo White, etc… But honestly the players that I mentioned all deserves more to be in that roster in my opinion.

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