It goes without saying that this was a difficult task for me to do, and not because of the decisions to be made – for even with the pantheon available for Boston, I had clear ideas on who-fits-where – but due to very nature of the undertaking. The very thought… an LA Lakers blogger doing a “top 5” for the Boston Celtics!
Still, the parameters of what we’re to do are very clear: every NBA team, top 5 players for each. So here goes…
5. Kevin Maurice Garnett – Sure, there are going to be detractors who say that there are players with greater championship pedigrees, or that Paul Pierce was the face of the team for over a decade… but the 2008 Championship team was body and soul Kevin Garnett’s team, despite him being a recent addition.
KG’s gone from being a player I admired, to become a player I cannot stand. In my mind, putting on the Celtics uniform amplified all that’s wrong with Garnett.
But there’s no denying the impact he had on the Boston Celtics that took the 2008 title. This team became an extension of who Garnett is. Brash, cocky, smash-mouth, in-your-face, punishing… and damn good. KG made green relevant again.
4. Robert Joseph Cousy – One of the first great ballhandlers, Bob Cousy seemed to see the game unfold before him in slow motion. He was the first of the great true point guards. The Houdini of the hardwood has a laundry list of achievements to his name – including an MVP, and 6 championships.
3. John J. Havlicek – One of the most famous moments in Boston Celtic history…
“Greer is putting the ball in play. He gets it out deep and Havlicek steals it! Over to Sam Jones… Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over… It’s all-l-l-l over!”
The man who revolutionized the 6th man role, and ended up with career stats of 20.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, and 4.8 assists per. Most people probably think that Larry Bird is the #1 scorer for the Boston Celtics, but in actual fact – it’s John Havlicek. He’s also #1 for games played for Boston.
2. Larry Joe Bird – It was incredibly difficult for me to put Bird at 2. Part of my heart believes that he should be the #1… there’s so much more mystique surrounding Bird than Russell for me. So much more that seems ‘legendary’. Otherworldly. But my head tells me that Russell’s accomplishments cannot be denied. So be it.
“Larry Legend” immediately had an impact on the Celtics, beat out Magic Johnson for Rookie of the Year, and the two proceeded to have one of the best rivalries the NBA’s ever seen. 3 titles (with two Finals MVPs), 3 MVPs – this hard-headed, hard-nosed competitor is one of the best to ever step on the hardwood.
1. William Felton Russell – As much as anyone could want to put Larry Bird at the top slot, how could you over a player many believe is the best ever, Bill Russell?
His 11 NBA titles, 5 MVPs, and countless accolades speak volumes enough. And if the Bird/Magic can be considered one of the best rivalries of the NBA, the titanic battles between Russell and Wilt Chamberlain could be considered no less. The best player ever for one of the best franchises ever. The man was – and still is – all class.