Each Team’s All-NBA First Team- A 30 Part Series: Part 10- The Boston Celtics
With the hype of the offseason coming to an end, I have decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to examine…medium.com
With the hype of the offseason coming to an end, I have decided that this would be the perfect opportunity to examine each team’s specific All-NBA First Team. What I mean by this is- following the criteria set by the NBA for the All-NBA Team rules, I will examine and elaborate on my picks for each team’s specific All-NBA First Team.
G- Bob Cousy: 1950–1963
Although he was only 6’1, Bob Cousy was an absolute force on the court. Cousy was much more than a traditional point guard- his ability to find open teammates and score the basketball was truly unique for his era. Cousy spent his entire prime with the Celtics, winning six NBA champions in 13 seasons.
From 1952 to 1960 Cousy led the NBA in assists, which was a league record that stood for over 40 years. Cousy was an All-Star in all 13 of his seasons and a member of 12 All-NBA Teams (10x First Team, 2x Second Team). He was also the first player in Celtics’ history to win the MVP award doing so in 1957. He’s the Celtics career leader in assists.
G- John Havlicek: 1962–1978
Often overlooked as one of the premiere players to ever play the game of basketball, John Havlicek is not only an all-time great Celtic, but also an all-time great NBA player- one of the 20 best to ever play.
He’s the Celtics’ all-time leader in games played, minutes played, field goals made, and points scored. He made 13 All-Star games and appeared on 11 All-NBA Teams (4x First Team, 7x Second Team).
After the retirement of Bill Russell, Havlicek took the role as the face of the franchise leading the team to two NBA titles following his six he won while playing with Russell.
From the day he was drafted to the day he retired in 1978, Havlicek dominated the NBA. He wasn’t the flashiest player nor was he the most exciting player, but what he was, was efficient, effective, and overall a complete basketball player.
F- Paul Pierce: 1998–2013
From the day he was drafted in 1998 until his final game in 2013, Paul Pierce was the face of the Boston Celtics. He was the captain of the team and one of the most beloved players in franchise history. Alongside Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, Pierce led the Celtics to their first NBA championship in 22 years, winning the 2008 finals. Pierce is one of the three greatest Celtics in the history of the franchise.
During his time in Boston, Pierce made 10 Eastern Conference All-Star teams and appeared four All-NBA Teams (1x Second Team, 3x Third Team). He led the team to the playoffs in 10 of his fifteen seasons, reaching the NBA finals twice, winning the finals MVP award in 2008.
The 2001–2002 season was among the best in franchise history. In that season, Pierce averaged 26.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.2 assists. He also led the team to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since the Larry Bird era.
He’s number two on the team’s All-Time Scoring list; number one in three pointers made and steals. His career average of 21.8 points per game is second only to Larry Bird.
F- Larry Bird: 1979–1992
Following John Havlicek’s retirement, Larry Bird took the torch as the face of the franchise and ran with it. He not only is one the greatest players in Celtics’ history, but also one of the greatest players in NBA history. He led the Celtics to the finals five times, winning three of them. Bird was one of the two best players in the league for a span of about six seasons.
Bird led the Celtics to the playoffs in every seasons of his career, advancing to at least the second round in all but one of his season. During his career, Bird led the Celtics in points, assists, and three point field goals.
Throughout his career, Bird was one of the best scorers in the NBA, winning the MVP award three consecutive seasons. Bird never averaged fewer than 19 points per game and never shot below 47 percent from the field.
Bird won three MVP awards, played in 12 All-Star games, and appeared on nine All-NBA Teams (8x First Team, 1x Second Team). His 24.3 points per game is the highest average ever for a Celtic, and his 29.9 points per game during the 1987–1988 season is the highest for a single season in franchise history.
Bird was a complete player. His ability to score, pass, rebound, and defend made him one of the most dynamic players in NBA history.
C- Bill Russell: 1956–1969
Bill Russell is not only the greatest champion in all of basketball, but also the greatest champion in all of sports. In his 13 seasons, Russell won an NBA record 11 NBA championships. The NBA has recognized the greatness of Russell by naming the NBA Final’s MVP Trophy the “Bill Russell MVP Finals Award”.
Russell was a force on both ends of the floor. It may be hyperbole, but the players who played with and against Russell often say things like “Russell would have averaged around 10 blocks per game if they had tracked that stat back in the day”. Russell was the ultimate team player, putting winning before anything else, but even so, Russell still recorded tremendous individual statistics.
Russell averaged 15.1 points, 22.5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game. He’s the Celtics all-time leader in rebounds. His five MVP awards were the most of any player at the time of his retirement. He was named to 11 All-NBA Teams (3x First Team, 8x Second Team).
Perhaps his best quality was his ability to elevate his level of play in big-game situations. The bigger the game, the better Russell played. As I previously mentioned his 11 NBA champions is a record for one player. In those 11 NBA finals, Russell outplayed number of Hall of Famers, including Jerry West, Elgin Baylor, Wilt Chamberlain, and Bob Pettit.