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HoopsHype Ranks the Top 50 Players in Celtics History, Do You Agree?

Posted by shawn cassidy on August 1, 2013 at 4:25 PM



Here's the list from HoopsHype.


50. Tony Battie, 1998-2004: 6.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg.
49. Bill Walton, 1985-1987: 7.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 1.3 bpg - One NBA title with Celtics.
48. Rick Robey, 1978-1983: 8.3 ppg, 5.0 rpg - One NBA title with Celtics.
47. M.L. Carr, 1979-1985: 6.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
46. Tony Allen, 2004-2010: 7.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg - One NBA title with Celtics.
45. Chuck Cooper, 1950-1954: 6.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg.
44. Walter McCarty, 1997-2005: 5.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg.
43. Steve Kuberski, 1969-1974 and 1975-1978: 5.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
42. Dana Barros, 1995-2000 and 2003-2004: 10.1 ppg, 3.3 apg.
41. Sherman Douglas, 1991-1996: 11.1 ppg, 6.8 apg.
40. Kenny Anderson, 1997-2002: 11.3 ppg, 5.2 apg.
39. Rick Fox, 1991-1997: 10.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.8 apg.
38. Eric Williams, 1995-1997 and 1999-2004: 9.2 ppg, 3.5 rpg.
37. Kendrick Perkins, 2003-2011: 6.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg - One NBA title with Celtics.
36. Dino Radja, 1993-1997: 16.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg.
35. Chris Ford, 1978-1982: 10.3 ppt, 3.3 apg - One NBA title with Celtics.
34. Gerald Henderson, 1979-1984: 8.8 ppg, 2.8 apg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
33. Jim Loscutoff, 1955-1964: 6.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg - Seven NBA titles with Celtics.
32. Kevin Gamble ,1988-1994: 11.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg.
31. Dee Brown, 1990-1998: 11.6 ppg, 4.0 apg.
30. Larry Siegfried, 1963-1970: 11.6 ppg, 3.3 apg - Five NBA titles with Celtics.
29. Bailey Howell, 1966-1970: 18.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
28. Tiny Archibald, 1978-1983: 12.5 ppg, 7.1 apg - One NBA title with Celtics.
27. Paul Silas, 1972-1976: 11.5 ppg, 12.3 rpg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
26. Don Chaney, 1968-1975 and 1978-1980: 8.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
25. Ed Macauley, 1950-1956: 17.5 ppg, 7.5 rpg.
24. Ray Allen, 2007-2012: 16.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.7 apg - One NBA title with Celtics.
23. Antoine Walker, 1996-2003: 20.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 4.1 apg.
22. K.C. Jones, 1958-1967: 7.4 ppg, 4.3 apg, 3.5 rpg - Eight NBA titles with Celtics.
21. Danny Ainge, 1981-1989: 11.3 ppg, 4.4 apg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
20. Reggie Lewis, 1987-1993: 17.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.6 apg.
19. Frank Ramsey, 1954-1955 and 1956-1964: 13.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg - Seven NBA titles with Celtics.
18. Rajon Rondo, 2006-present: 11.1 ppg, 8.3 apg, 4.5 rpg - One NBA title with Celtics.
17. Cedric Maxwell, 1977-1985: 13.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.3 apg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
16. Dennis Johnson, 1983-1990: 12.6 ppg, 6.4 apg, 3.2 rpg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
15. Tom Sanders, 1960-1973: 9.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg - Eight NBA titles with Celtics.
14. Don Nelson, 1965-1976: 11.4 ppg, 5.2 rpg - Five NBA titles with Celtics.
13. Bill Sharman, 1951-1961: 18.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.0 apg - Four NBA titles with Celtics.
12. Tom Heinsohn, 1956-1965: 18.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg - Eight NBA titles with Celtics.
11. Kevin Garnett, 2007-2013: 15.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 2.7 apg - One NBA title with Celtics.
10. Jo Jo White, 1969-1979: 18.4 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.3 rpg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
9. Sam Jones, 1957-1969: 17.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg - Ten NBA titles with Celtics.
8. Dave Cowens, 1970-1980: 18.2 ppg, 14.0 rpg, 3.9 apg - Two NBA titles with Celtics.
7. Robert Parish, 1980-1994: 16.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.5 bpg - Three NBA titles with Celtics.
6. Kevin McHale, 1980-1993: 17.9 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.7 bpg - Three NBA titles with Celtics.
5. Bob Cousy, 1950-1963: 18.5 ppg, 7.6 apg, 5.2 rpg - Six NBA titles with Celtics.
4. Paul Pierce, 1998-2013: 21.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 3.9 apg - One NBA title with Celtics.
3. John Havlicek, 1962-1978: 20.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 4.8 apg - Eight NBA titles with Celtics.
2. Larry Bird, 1979-1992: 24.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 6.3 apg, 1.7 spg - Three NBA titles with Celtics.
1. Bill Russell, 1956-1969: 15.1 ppg, 22.5 rpg, 4.3 apg - Eleven NBA titles with Celtics.


I agree with the top five, and in that order. When it comes to 10-6? I would have to move Dave Cowens to number 6, and Mchale to number 7, and Parish will be 8th on my list. I think 9-10 is okay by me. It's just the order of the legendary bigs. Cowens was a former MVP correct? I'm not saying that's the only reason as to why. But Cowens was KG like in the sense that he anchored a defense, and he was the emotional leader as Havlicek was the Paul Pierce role. Rondo at 17? At this point and time in his career I suppose so. I don't know if I put Don Nelson above Rondo. Even though he was apart of two  championship era's. Would you guys change the order?

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12 Comments

Reply C'slife
4:40 PM on August 1, 2013 
Why would Tony Battie rank over Big Baby? Did Battie ever play a key role on a title team, or contending team? Did Battie hit game winners in the playoffs, did he carry a team to a Finals win? I agree with you when it comes to Cowens being ranked behind Mchale and Parish.
Reply paul
9:12 PM on August 1, 2013 
Shawn, I know we are not going to agree on everything, but how can you possibly put Pierce and Havlicek and Cousy ahead of Cowens? Far too much is made of cumulative career numbers. None of those three guys is a championship centerpiece. Cowens was. Two championships, in fact, he led the Celtics to. That is, by way of comparison, as many as Jabbar led a team to. It's one less than Bird. It's one more than KG. And why is Pierce ahead of KG on this list? KG made the championship difference, not Pierce. There is a distinction between the guys you build championship teams around and the guys who play wingman on a championship team. Cowens didn't score like Havlicek, and yet he was the basis of the offense. Havlicek and Cowens were both good passers. Havlicek couldn't touch any other aspect of Cowens' game. I love Havlicek and Pierce. They are great players. But guys like that can go ten years scoring 30 ppg and never sniff a championship. Russell, Bird, Cowens. That's the only way to do it that makes sense. Then you have KG, Cousy, Havlicek, Pierce, Mchale, etc.. Walton needs to be much higher on this list. Bias should be on the list - he meant that much to the Cs though he never played a game for them. Longevity matters, but it is not the only thing.

Again, I know we will not agree on everything, but I would like to plead that this blog ought to stand for correcting the history in this regard. The greatest players are not defined by stats, especially cumulative stats. Leading a team to a championship is the best definition we have of true greatness. Look at the point guard comparisons dissing Rondo to see how additive the thinking of most fans tends to be. They round up stats, add them up and compare. The game is bigger than that. When Cowens came to the Cs, they were one of the worst teams. He made them contenders his first year. He took the league by storm. It's flatout crazy that this has all been forgotten. His career was short, and its decline coincided with the entry of ABA players to the NBA, and so he has been labeled, it seems, as the slow, bruising white guy. This slow bruiser image is so far from the truth. Cowens was very athletic. He was fast, he was a leaper, and he was quick. But he also played with great finesse. He had great moves in the post and he was a distance shooter, which meant that he had an almost unique ability to stretch the court. He also loved to pass out of a sort of high post position, which stretched the floor more. Cowens 'saw' the game in its entirety on both ends - he was a smart player. But on top of this, he had a tremendous motor, one of the best the game has ever seen, and he had a vision for the game. He saw it as a struggle to establish what is real, something to do with character and faith. This kind of vision is the most important quality for a great player to have. For a great player, the game is about something more than winning, and that is what allows such a player to inspire his or her teammates. For them, the game is a story, and it's a story that is about something. You have to have that to win championships.

The seventies was possibly the greatest decade for centers, and Cowens was possibly the best center of that decade, or second to Jabbar. Think about it: it took both Parish and Mchale to replace him, basically, at the tail end of his career. That says a lot right there about the impact this guy had.

I'd put it this way. When Red knew he had to find someone to replace Cowens AT THE END OF HIS CAREER he went out and got Parish, one of the best centers of alltime himself, and Mchale, on the short list of candidates for greatest pf of all time. Red knew what he was replacing, I think. And I say again, that was Cowens when he could barely play anymore. Red knew it was going to take a LOT to replace that guy.
Reply paul
9:47 PM on August 1, 2013 
When folks start talking about things like cumulative numbers, I always think of Carl Yastremski. Yaz. Good ole Yaz. For about five years he may have been the best player in all of baseball. During the rest of his career, he was just a good player, partly because of injury I think, but he played so many years that his cumulative numbers on retirement - eg. 400 homers and 3000 hits - rank with the alltime greats. But please. If you want to praise Yaz, cite the five years he was possibly the best player in the game. Cite the way he rescued the Red Sox franchise from hopelessness. Please don't put too much emphasis on his career stats. Guys like Pierce and Havlicek don't have such watered down stats as Yaz, of course, but my point is that while longevity counts for a lot, greatness is something more than that.
Reply paul
9:53 PM on August 1, 2013 
As for the HoopsHype list placing Cowens in back of Parish and Mchale? That is just such flagrant nonsense. I wasn't even going to honor that BS with a comment, but I guess I will. It just shows how crazy folks have become about Cowens. Cowens has something in common with Rondo that way. Smart alecks seem just bound and determined to denigrate both those guys. Oh well. I hope that before long both guys will have something else in common - they will have led their teams to championships.
Reply rcraig617
12:19 AM on August 2, 2013 
I really can't comment too much on this i started watching the celts in the early antoine walker-paul pierce days but I was so young back then. I want in on this debate you guys have going too lol.
Reply shawn cassidy
12:23 AM on August 2, 2013 
@ Paul. I agree with you. I couldn't believe that they have Cowens at 7. I think it's simple picking the top two players in Celtics lore. Russell as one, and Bird as two is automatic. I think you make a great case for Cowens. If you go by championship era cornerstones. Then it should go like this. Russell 11 titles in the 50's and 60's. Cowens was the cornerstone in the 70's with 2 titles. Bird was the cornerstone in the 80's with 3. Looking back at what I said I would put Pierce at 6, and put Cowens in the top 5. It's hard to pick the order though. Cousy was the first true Celtics star, and Hondo was the best second man for Russ and then Cowens. To be honest. I looked at the list and the first thing I noticed was Cowens under Parish and Mchale, and looking at the cornerstone aspect. Cowens should be in the top 5.
Reply Celticslifer
12:30 AM on August 2, 2013 
rcraig617 says...
I really can't comment too much on this i started watching the celts in the early antoine walker-paul pierce days but I was so young back then. I want in on this debate you guys have going too lol.


Me too. Wish I could jump into this one.
Reply gspr
8:31 AM on August 2, 2013 
Cowens should definitely be higher! I wonder how much Celtics knowledge the person who wrote this list has.
Reply paul
8:50 AM on August 2, 2013 
gspr says...
Cowens should definitely be higher! I wonder how much Celtics knowledge the person who wrote this list has.


The sad thing is that Cowens ALWAYS gets a low rating, whenever there is some kind of alltime Celtics ranking. The way he has been forgotten is something perverse. I think Bill Simmons has something to do with it.
Reply paul
8:51 AM on August 2, 2013 
rcraig617 says...
I really can't comment too much on this i started watching the celts in the early antoine walker-paul pierce days but I was so young back then. I want in on this debate you guys have going too lol.


I'm the same way when i talk about earlier days, like the Russell era - a lot of guesswork involved!
Reply paul
8:52 AM on August 2, 2013 
Celticslifer says...
Me too. Wish I could jump into this one.



Oh do!
Reply paul
9:24 AM on August 2, 2013 
shawn cassidy says...
@ Paul. I agree with you. I couldn't believe that they have Cowens at 7. I think it's simple picking the top two players in Celtics lore. Russell as one, and Bird as two is automatic. I think you make a great case for Cowens. If you go by championship era cornerstones. Then it should go like this. Russell 11 titles in the 50's and 60's. Cowens was the cornerstone in the 70's with 2 titles. Bird was the cornerstone in the 80's with 3. Looking back at what I said I would put Pierce at 6, and put Cowens in the top 5. It's hard to pick the order though. Cousy was the first true Celtics star, and Hondo was the best second man for Russ and then Cowens. To be honest. I looked at the list and the first thing I noticed was Cowens under Parish and Mchale, and looking at the cornerstone aspect. Cowens should be in the top 5.


Thanks Shawn. I agree that everyone will agree on one and two. Russell and Bird. It's after that that the logic becomes a little crazy, in my opinion, in most greatest-ever lists. Havlicek was a key guy in numerous championships, but never THE key guy. I would put Cousy ahead of Havlicek because he was such a foundational player for the game, setting the template for pgs. Russell - Bird - Cowens - KG - Cousy - Havlicek - Mchale - Pierce - Heinsohn - Parish - Sam Jones - Dennis Johnson - JoJo White - Ray Allen - Rajon Rondo - Bill Walton - Bill Sharman - Reggie Lewis - Paul Silas - Tiny Archibald - Antoine Walker - Ed Macauley - Dino Radja - Frank Ramsey - Bailey Howell - Cedric Maxwell - Danny Ainge - Don Chaney - Don Nelson - Loscy - Len Bias

Cowens was everything you want a center to be, and then there was more. On offense, Cowens commanded the low post as well as anyone in the seventies, other than Jabbar. He also roamed the perimeter at times, both passing and shooting. He started the fastbreak with his outlet passing. He anchored the defense, as you say Shawn, commanding the paint area and battling opposing centers for position. I think that it was Cowens more than anyone who made position defense the key that it has become today. Blocking shots is good, but the key on defense is positioning, and denying your opponent the place on the floor that he wants. He was also arguably the best rebounder in the seventies. He was at the center of everything his team did - it says a lot that he once led his team in every major statistical category.