Before the season got underway the Boston Celtics were muted as a contender for the play-offs in the NBA bettingexperts predictions. Given their flying start to the campaign it could be the year where they go beyond that and win yet another NBA title.
We could chew over those chances all day but instead we’re going to find inspiration from generations gone by with a look at some of the best talent to represent the Celtics since their formation in the mid-forties.
NUMBER 5 – BOB COUSY
The story of the Celtic Cousy was very close to be a non-existent one. Back in the 1950 draft many felt Cousy was not as good as the hype suggested so it’s fair to say that after 13 full seasons saw 13 All-Star appearances, he had proven the odds wrong. Not only did Cousy win six NBA championships in Boston but he also led the league for assists on an incredible eight occasions and scooped the MVP award in 57.
NUMBER 4 – DAVE COWENS
After joining the Celtics in the 1970 draft, Cowens really jumped into the limelight a year later as he was named Rookie of the Year; another couple of years later and he was no rookie, instead he was dominating as a more experienced head and was awarded the MVP honours for both the season and the All-Star game – a match he featured in eight times. In addition to excelling as an individual, he was part of the Celtics team that won the 74 and 76 championships.
NUMBER 3 – JOHN HAVLICEK
It’s fair to say Havlicek got off to a tremendous start in Boston as the Celtics won a quadruple of championships in his first four years and whilst that win rate didn’t maintain throughout his 16 year stay the record, he left with wasn’t half bad. It took him three years before making an All-Star appearance but then he had 13 on the spin and was a point machine with an average of nearly 21 points per game across 1,300 fixturesas he collected a total of eight championship wins.
NUMBER 2 – LARRY BIRD
Bird flew into Boston in the 1979 draft and remained loyal until his retirement in 1992; during that 13 year stay he starred as a forward and bagged 22,000 points. He helped the team to three championships and won MVP awards on a trio of occasions too – two of which were in winning seasons. In addition to his season MVP awards, Bird was named MVP in two Finals and one All-Star game; those honours in addition to his success in his post playing career means he holds an unrivalled list of awards.
NUMBER 1 – BILL RUSSELL
Russell was always going to be our top pick, wasn’t he? For starters, he has won more championships, 11, than anyone else in American sport history and he achieved it all with the Celtics during a one-team career. If success as a team isn’t enough to convince you of Russell’s pedigree, then perhaps five MVP awards will persuade you to reconsider.
From joining Boston as number two pick in the 1956 draft through to his retirement the 6 foot 10 inch centre racked up nearly 15,000 points and a further 4,000 assists but his real strength was his defence where he’d boss almost everyone he came up against whilst a game average rebounds of 22.5 was a colossal contribution at both ends. Oh, and he won two titles as Head Coach as well.
There you have it, five players who have brought Celtic fans glory and success over the years. Will any of the current crop join the list in the years to come? Let us hope so.