With 17 championships, the Boston Celtics are one of the most storied franchises in sports history. They have seen their fair share of superstars come around over the span of seven decades. So much generational talent has worn that Celtic green that Boston could field their very own team that could beat the Dream Team or Redeem Team. If the Celtics were to create this hypothetical team, let’s take a glance at what it would look like!
Boston Celtics Guards
PG: Bob Cousy
In his 13 seasons with the Celtics, Bob Cousy was an All-Star each season and was a first-team All-NBA pick 10 times. Known for his creative passing, Cousy has dubbed the Houdini of the Hardwood. He led the league in assists eight straight seasons, while also averaging over 20 points in that eight-year stretch. Cousy averaged 20.6 points and 7.5 assists during 1956-57, earning the MVP, and ultimately helping the Celtics win a title. This was the first of six championships Cousy would win with the Celtics.
Cousy was also a great rebounder for his size. Despite being six-foot-one, he averaged 5.2 boards throughout his career. He could run a fast break better than anyone. Whether it be finding an open teammate or taking it to the rim, Cousy always made something happen. Cousy is one of the most decorated Celtics of all-time and without a doubt the greatest point guard to ever wear green and white!
SG: Sam Jones
Sam Jones may not be the flashiest player or have the best stats, but he was certainly one of the best Celtics players of All-Time. Jones, who played from 1958-1969, won 10 championships with the Celtics, leading the team in scoring in five of those 10 years. He could score on anyone, and extremely efficiently, given he was top 15 in field goal percentage in eight of his 12 seasons. Jones finished top 10 in win shares per 48 minutes all but two of his seasons.
Most importantly, Jones is a winner. He won 10 championships which are 2nd, only behind Bill Russell. One could make the argument this was because he was surrounded by other greats, however, Jones’s playoff stats contradict this. In his 10 championships, Jones averaged 20+ points seven times, whereas he only reached this feat four times during the regular season. He may be most remembered for making the bank shot famous, but Jones himself was a hall of fame player.
Boston Celtics Forwards
SF: Paul Pierce
While Pierce may not have the hardware of a Russell, a Cousy, or a Jones, his numbers speak for themselves. The Truth spent his first 15 years in Boston, where he put up 21.8 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists a game while shooting 37% from three. Pierce holds the franchise record for steals, 3-pointer and free throws made.
In his 15 years wearing green, the Celtics were better per 100 possessions with Pierce on the court vs off every single year. While other Celtics players may deserve this spot over Pierce, only seven other players can say they were top 30 in both offensive and defensive win shares throughout their career, and none of them are Celtics.
PF: Larry Bird
In the rich history of the Celtics, who have seen their fair share of superstars, there has been none like Larry Bird. Following their worst season since 1950, the Celtics drafted Larry Bird with the 6th pick in the NBA draft. The next season, the Celtics won 61 games, 32 more wins than the previous season, and one of the greatest turnarounds in NBA history. This was because of Larry Bird who put up 21.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists on 41% shooting from three.
Bird went on to average 20+ points all but one of his 13 seasons in the NBA. His career totals came out to 24.3 points, 10 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.7 steals on 38% shooting from three. To put this into perspective, no other player has ever had career averages of 20+ points, 10+ rebounds, 6+ rebounds, 1.5+ steals on 35%+ 3-point shooting. In addition, there are only three seasons all-time in which a player scored over 28 points, 9 rebounds, and 6 assists on 40% shooting from behind the arc. Bird holds all three.
In his time in Boston, Bird won three MVPs, 10 All-NBA selections, 3 All-Defensive selections, and led the Celtics to three championships. Bird is one of the greatest passing forwards of all-time. His 6.3 career assists rank 2nd all-time among forwards, behind only LeBron James. He was also the first great three-point shooter, shooting over 40% from downtown six of his 13 seasons.
Boston Celtics Center
Bill Russell is the most decorated basketball player of all-time. Russell only played 13 seasons but managed to rack up a modest 11 NBA titles. He also took him five MVPs and finished top four in the voting for 11 straight seasons. Russell is 2nd all-time in both total rebounds and rebounds per game, with a mind-boggling 22.5 rebounds per game. He was one of the best passing centers, as he was top 20 in assists all but one season. Bill was never much of a scorer, with an unremarkable 15.1 points per game in his career, but he made up for this everywhere else.
Russell was a great offensive player, but defense is where he made his mark. Blocks shots were not recorded in Russell’s time, however, it is believed by many that he averaged anywhere from 6-10 a game! Russell is 1st in NBA history with 133.5 Defensive Win Shares. He also led the league in defensive win shares all but two seasons. Defensive win shares were one of the few defensive stats around in Russell’s time, so there is no telling how many other defensive records he could have broken.
Boston Celtics 6th Man
Havlicek stole the ball! It’s all over, it’s all over! John Havlicek was responsible for the greatest calls in NBA history, stealing the ball in the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals to send the Celtics to the NBA finals. Stealing the ball is only one of the many amazing feats in Havlicek’s luxurious career. Out of all the great Boston Celtics players, John Havlicek is the franchise’s all-time leading scorer. The six-foot-five forward known as Hondo scored over 26,000 points in his career and is widely known as the first great shooter.
Hondo was much more than a scorer. Over his career, he averaged 6.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists. He had two seasons where he recorded 9.0 rebounds with 7.5 assists and 8.2 rebounds with 7.5 assists, all while scoring just under 30 points a night. Havlicek was also a lockdown defender, making an All-Defensive team eight times. Hondo is no doubt a better player than both Sam Jones and Paul Pierce. The reason he finds himself on the bench is that that’s where he would want to be. Havlicek elected to come off the bench for a decent amount of his career, where he made his mark as the greatest 6th man of All-Time!