clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The All-time Boston Celtic teams

New, comments

Who makes the cut as the greatest Celtics, as well as other special categories

Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

As part of history week at celticsblog.com, it seemed an appropriate time to name my version of the all-time Celtics team, a difficult task when one realizes Boston has won more titles and retired more jersey numbers than any other franchise.

Criteria for making my 30-man, all-time Celtic teams (first through fifth team, with a sixth man on each squad) are quality of play and longevity with the team - only with Boston - awards earned while a member of Gang Green and any other special contributions made to the club's success, especially titles.

Players in CAPITAL letters were also named to the "50 Greatest NBA Players" list compiled by the league in 1997 to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Eleven Celtics on this franchise all-time team also made that superstar-laden list, with nine of them earning the honor based solely or mostly on their play for Boston.

Those in bold are Hall of Famers. The entire first team of Celtics, plus the sixth man and head coach, are Hall of Famers and members of the 50 Greatest List. The entire second team and head coach will be too once Paul Pierce retires and is elected to Springfield.

Celtic skippers Red Auerbach, who retired as the league's all-time winningest coach, and Bill Fitch were also named to the NBA's "10 Greatest Coaches List" in 1997. Coaching records below only reflect wins and losses amassed with Boston in regular season and the playoffs.

All-time Celtics are noted below with years played for Boston, jersey number, number of championships won, and other key career stats and honors compiled while playing only for the Celtics.  Those with their uniform number underlined have had their jersey retired by the Celtics.

Probably the closest call for me in compiling the first team was whether to include Kevin McHale or Dave Cowens. Cowens won a league season MVP, and McHale could have in 1987 if not for a late-season injury, and the margin between the two is incredibly thin. Dave was the better rebounder and passer, Kevin the better shot-blocker and inside scorer. Both were excellent, versatile defenders. Dave was incredibly intense while Big Mac was gregarious and hilarious yet also an intense competitor. Both were smart players.

I also added special my all-time Celtic teams for defenders, shooters, rebounders and passers.

FIFTH TEAM

Center-#5 BILL WALTON 1985-87, 1 title, 6th man of Year 1985-86

Forward/Guard-Reggie Lewis 1987-1993, 17.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1 All-Star

Forward-#18 Bailey Howell 1966-70, 2 titles, 18 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 1 All-Star

Guard-#20 Larry Siegfried 1963-70, 5 titles, 2 FT crowns, 12 ppg, 85 FT%, 4 apg

Guard-#25/27 K.C. Jones 1958-67, 8 titles, great defender, 7.4 ppg, 4.3 apg

6th man-G #12/42 Don Chaney 1969-75 & 77-80, 2 titles, 9 ppg, All-defense 2nd team 5 times

Coach-BILL FITCH, 1979-83, 1 title, 3 ECF, 242-86, 26-19 playoffs

FOURTH TEAM

C-#43 Kendrick Perkins 2003-10, 1 title, 7 ppg, 6 rebs

F-#19 Don Nelson 1965-76, 5 titles, 11.5 ppg mostly as top reserve

F-#31 Cedric Maxwell 1977-85, 2 titles, 1981 Finals MVP, 13.7 ppg, 6.6 rebs, 2-time FG% champ, 55.9% FG

G-#20 Ray Allen 2007-12, 1 title, 16.7 ppg, 91.4 FT%, 40.9 3-pt %

G-#9 Rajon Rondo 2006-14, 1 title, 11 ppg, 8.5 apg, 2-time assist leader, 4 All-Star Games, All-NBA 3rd team 1 time, All-defense 1st/2nd team 2 times each

6th man-#35 Paul Silas 1972-76, 2 titles, 11.5 ppg, 12.3 rebs

Coach-Glenn "Doc" Rivers, 2004-13, 1 title, 2 EC titles, 416-305, 64-57 playoffs

THIRD TEAM

C/F-#22 Ed Macauley 1950-56, 6 All-Stars, 18.9 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 3.7 apg, All-NBA 1st team 3 times, 2nd team 1 time, 1951 All-Star Game MVP (inaugural SG)

F/C-#5 Kevin Garnett 2007-13, 1 title, 15.5 ppg, 8.5 rebs, 2008 NBA Defensive Player of Year, 5 All-Stars, All-defense 1st team 3 times, 2nd team 1 time

F-#16 Tom Sanders 1960-73, 8 titles, 9.6 ppg, 6.3 rebs, All-defense 2nd team 1969

G-#44 Danny Ainge 1982-89, 2 titles, 1 All-Star, 12 ppg, 4.5 apg, 86 FT%, 39 3-pt%

G-#3 Dennis Johnson 1983-90, 2 titles, All-defense 1st team 1 time, 2nd team 3 times, 12.6 ppg, 6.4 apg, 84% FT, All-Star 1 time

6th man-F/G #23  Frank Ramsey 1954-64, 7 titles, 1st great 6th man, 13.4 ppg, 80.4 FT%

Coach-K.C. Jones, 1983-88, 2 titles, 5 ECF, 4 EC titles, 308-102, 65-37 playoffs

SECOND TEAM

C-#18 DAVE COWENS 1970-80, 2 titles, 1973 MVP, 1971 Rookie of Year,  8 All-Stars, 18.2 ppg, 14 rebs & 3.9 apg, All-NBA 2nd team 2 times, All-defense 1st team 1 time, 3 times 2nd team, 1973 All-Star Game MVP

F-#15 Tom Heinsohn 1956-65, 8 titles, 18.6 ppg, 8.2 rebs, 6 All-Stars, 19.8 ppg & 9.2 rebs in 104 playoff games, All-NBA 2nd team 4 times

F-#34 Paul Pierce 1998-2013, 1 title , 2008 Finals MVP, 10 All-Stars, #2 franchise point scorer (21.4 ppg), 2nd team NBA 1 time, 3rd team 3 times.

G-#21 BILL SHARMAN 1951-61, 18.1 ppg, 4 titles, 8 All-Stars, 7 FT% titles/88.3 FT%, 3.9 rebs, 3 apg, All-NBA 1st team 4 times, 2nd team 3 times

G-#10 Jo Jo White 1969-79, 2 titles, 1976 Finals MVP, 18.4 ppg, 4.3 rebs, 5.1 apg, 83.3 FT%, 7 All-Stars (1971-77), All-NBA 2nd team 2 times

6th man-#00 ROBERT PARISH 1980-94, 3 titles, 9 All-Stars, 16.5 ppg, 10 rebs, 2.2 bpg, 55.2 FG%. All-NBA 2nd team 1 time, 3rd time 1 time

Coach-Tom Heinsohn, 1969-78, 2 titles, 5 ECF, 427-263, 47-33 playoffs

FIRST TEAM

C-#6 BILL RUSSELL 1956-69, 11 titles, 5 MVPs, 22.5 rebounds & 15.1 points per game, 12 All-Stars, All-NBA 1st team 3 times, 2nd team 8 times, 1963 All-Star Game MVP, All-defense 2nd team in first year of award 1968-69, NBA's greatest defender/shot-blocker, named NBA's all-time MVP on 1980 35th anniversary team.

F-#33 LARRY BIRD 1979-92, 3 titles, 3 MVPs, 1984/86 Finals MVP, 12 All-Stars, All-NBA 1st team first 9 seasons (1980-88), All-NBA 2nd team once (1990), franchise ppg leader (24.3 ppg), avg. 10.0 rebs and 6.3 assists a game, All-defense 2nd team 3 times (1982-84), 1982 All-Star Game MVP, 3-time NBA 3-point shootout champ (1986-88), Celtic career playoff points leader (3,897), career 49.6 FG%, 88.6 FT%, 37.6 3-pt%, 4 time FT pct. champ.

F-#17 JOHN HAVLICEK 1962-78, 8 titles, 1974 Finals MVP, All-NBA 1st team 5 times (1970-74), All-NBA 2nd team 7 times, 13 All-Stars, franchise leader in points, 2nd in Celtic playoff points, 1st in games played, All-defense 1st team 5 times/2nd team 3 times, 20.8 career ppg.

G-#24 SAM JONES 1957-69, 10 titles, All-NBA 2nd team 3 times, 5 All-Stars , 17.7 ppg, 4.9 rebs, 80.3 FT%

G-#14 BOB COUSY 1950-63, 6 titles, 1957 MVP, All-NBA 1st team 10 times, 2nd team 2 times, 13 All-Stars,   franchise assist leader,18.5 ppg, 7.6 apg, 80.3 FG%, 2-time All-Star Game MVP

6th man-F/C #32 KEVIN McHALE, 1980-93, 3 titles, 1987 1st team NBA, All-defense 1st team 3 times, 2nd team 3 times, 7 All-Stars, 6th Man of Year 1984, 17.9 ppg, 7.9 rebs, 55.4 FG%, 79.8 FT%

Coach-#2 ARNOLD "RED" AUERBACH, 1950-66, 9 titles, 795-397, 90-58 playoffs

Special mention:

C-#19 Arnie Risen 1955-58, 1 title, 7.5 ppg. 7 rebs

F/G-#8/20 Scott Wedman 1983-87, 2 titles, key sharpshooting, underused reserve

F-#8/88 Antoine Walker 1997-2003, 2005, 19 ppg, 8 rebs, 4 assists, 3 All-Stars

G-#7 NATE ARCHIBALD 1978-83, 1 title, 1981 All-Star Game MVP, 12.5 ppg. 7.5 apg, 3 All-Stars

G-#11 Charlie Scott 1975-78, 1 title, 16.5 ppg, 4.5 rebs

6th man-G #42 Chris Ford 1978-82, starter on 1981 title team, 10.5 ppg, 38% 3-pt shooter

Coach-#6 Bill Russell 1966-69, 2 titles (as player-coach), 162-83, 28-18 playoffs

Honorable mention:

C-#50 Greg Kite, 1983-88, 2 titles, went to the Finals in each of his first 4 seasons, underrated defender/rebounder

F-#18 Jim Loscutoff 1955-64, 7 titles, 6.2 ppg, 5.6 rebs

F-#40 Dino Radja 1993-97, 16.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg, 49.7% FG

G-#7 Kenny Anderson 1997-2002, 11.3 ppg, 5.2 apg

G-#43 Gerald Henderson, 1979-84, starter on 1984 title team, 8.8 ppg, good defender

6th man- #30 M.L. Carr 1979-85, 2 titles, 7 ppg

Coach-Chris Ford 1990-95, 222-188, 13-16 playoffs.

The All-time Celtics defensive team

1st team

C-Bill Russell

F-Kevin McHale

F-John Havlicek

G-Dennis Johnson

G- K.C. Jones

6th man-Tom Sanders

2nd team

C-Dave Cowens

F-Kevin Garnett

F-Paul Silas

G-Don Chaney

G-Bill Sharman

6th man-Gerald Henderson

3rd team

C-Robert Parish

F-Larry Bird

F-Paul Pierce

G-Tony Allen

G-Quinn Buckner

6th man-Reggie Lewis

The All-time Celtic shooter team

1st team

C-Dave Cowens

F-Larry Bird

F-Scott Wedman

G-Ray Allen

G-Bill Sharman

6th man-Sam Jones

2nd team

C-Ed Macauley

F-Paul Pierce

F-John Havlicek

G-Larry Siegfried

G-JoJo White

6th man-Frank Ramsey

3rd team

C-Robert Parish

F-Kevin McHale

F-Don Nelson

G-Charlie Scott

G-Danny Ainge

6th man-Jerry Sichting

The All-time Celtics rebounder team

1st team

C-Bill Russell

F-Paul Silas

F-Larry Bird

G/F-John Havlicek

G-Rajon Rondo

6th man-Dave Cowens

2nd team

C-Robert Parish

F-Kevin Garnett

F-Kevin McHale

G-Sam Jones

G-Dennis Johnson

6th man-Bailey Howell

The All-time Celtics passer team

1st team

C-Dave Cowens

F-Larry Bird

F-John Havlicek

G-Dennis Johnson

G-Bob Cousy

6th man-Nate Archibald

2nd team

C-Bill Russell

F-Kevin Garnett

F-Cedric Maxwell

G-Danny Ainge

G-Rajon Rondo

6th man-Bill Walton

Special mention: Pete Maravich, Ernie DiGregorio

The All-time Most Underrated Celtics

1st team

C-Ed Macauley

F-Tom Heinsohn

F-Cedric Maxwell

G-Sam Jones

G-JoJo White

6th man-Kevin McHale

2nd team

C-Robert Parish

F-Paul Silas

F-Tom Sanders

G-Larry Siegfried

G-Bill Sharman

6th man-Reggie Lewis

3rd team

F/C-Dino Radja

F-Bailey Howell

F-Scott Wedman

G-Don Chaney

G-Danny Ainge

6th man-Frank Ramsey

To contact the author directly, you can email Cort Reynolds at cdrada2433@yahoo.com.