Bob Cousy won the clear majority of votes in the voting for 5th Best Celtic Of All-Time. From here on out, I'm doubtful that there are any choices that are so clear cut.
Today's poll pits two of the Celtics greatest big men of all-time: Dave Cowens vs. Kevin McHale. There's a lot of debate over who was the better Celtics big-man. On the one hand, Dave Cowens was absolutely dominant at his peak. He won a league MVP award, and he was a beast on the boards. He had eight straight seasons of at least 16.4 points and 13.9 rebounds, and he was also an excellent passer.
One the other hand, there's McHale, who was an absolute lock-down defender at the three front-court positions, and who may have the best offensive post moves of all-time. People sometimes forget what a great scorer McHale was; he averaged 26.1 games in one season, led the league in FG% twice, and once put up 56 points in a game. There's little doubt in my mind that Kevin McHale could have been the centerpiece on a championship team. While he was relatively weak on the boards, there's no shame in securing fewer rebounds than Robert Parish and Larry Bird.
I see this matchup as literally a coin-flip. I lean toward McHale, but these guys are neck-and-neck, and Cowens was recognized by his contemporaries as being the very best (or at least, most valuable) player in the game for a season, something that McHale cannot say.
Career milestones of today's contenders after the jump...
The tale of the tape (while with the Celtics):
Kevin McHale: 13 seasons, 3 titles, 7-time All-Star, 6-time All-Defense, 2-time Sixth Man of the Year, 1-time All-NBA
Dave Cowens: 10 seasons, 2 titles, NBA MVP, 7-time All-Star, 3-time All-Defense, 3-time All-NBA
Tommy Heinsohn: 9 seasons, 8 titles, 6-time All-Star, ROY, 4-time All-NBA, .Coach of the Year, 2 coaching titles
Kevin Garnett:4 seasons, 1 title, 4-time All-Star, DPOY, 1-time All-NBA, 3-time All-Defense
Robert Parish: 14 seasons, 3 titles, 9-time All-Star, 2-time All-NBA
Sam Jones: 12 seasons, 10 titles, 5-time All-Star, 3-time All-NBA
00 Robert Parish
3 Dennis Johnson
5 Kevin Garnett
6 Bill Russell
10 JoJo White
14 Bob Cousy
15 Tom Heinsohn
16 Tom Sanders
17 John Havlicek
LOSCY Jim Loscutoff
18 Dave Cowens
19 Don Nelson
20 Ray Allen
21 Bill Sharman
22 Ed Macauley
23 Frank Ramsey
24 Sam Jones
25 KC Jones
31 Cedric Maxwell
32 Kevin McHale
33 Larry Bird 34 Paul Pierce
35 Reggie Lewis
I'm thinking of lobbying Jeff to increase this out to the top-25 or top-30 Celtics of all-time. What do you think?