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Celtics Legends Series: K.C Jones

Posted by shawn cassidy on June 21, 2011 at 12:26 AM

He was the perfect coach for a perfect team. He was also the right role player on 8 Celtics championship teams. He wasn't an all-star,but the Celtics in the 60's brought more to the table then all-star games.

During his playing days, he was known as a tenacious defender. Jones spent all of his nine seasons in the NBA with the Boston Celtics. In NBA history, only teammates Bill Russell and Sam Jones have won more championship rings during their playing careers. After Boston lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1967 playoffs, Jones ended his playing career. He took over for Cousy after he retired. His numbers climbed a little after taking over for Cousy,but Jones was about the defense. The Celtics had enough scoring,and they didn't need Jones to be great.

K.C. Jones was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989. Prior to the Doc Rivers-coached Celtics championship of 2008, he was the last African-American head coach to have led a team to the NBA Championship (1986). Ironically, his 1986 Celtics are also the last NBA champion to have a majority of Caucasian players on their roster (and a majority in their starting lineup). Jones is the only African American coach to win multiple NBA championships solely as a head coach. (Bill Russell also won two titles as head coach, but he was also doubling as a player.)

In 1983, he took over as head coach of the Boston Celtics, replacing Bill Fitch. Jones guided the Larry Bird-led Celtics to a championship in 1984 and 1986. The Celtics won the Atlantic Division in all five of Jones's seasons as head coach and reached the NBA Finals in 4 of his 5 years as coach. He briefly coached the Seattle SuperSonics in 1990 and 1991 as well.

Jones and Russell have been long time friends.

With the welcome mat from the Celtics still out, Jones headed for the Boston training camp, where Auerbach had assembled a powerhouse club. Like baseball's New York Yankees, the Celtics were setting a new standard for excellence. They were about to begin winning championships routinely, revolutionizing basketball by emphasizing defense and shotblocking as the trigger for a high-scoring, fast-break attack.

When Jones arrived in 1958 Boston's backcourt had  two All-NBA guards in Cousy and Bill Sharman.  Jones saw limited playing time as a reserve during his rookie year. Spelling Cousy for 12 to 13 minutes per game, he averaged 3.5 points. The Celtics trounced an overmatched Minneapolis Lakers squad in the 1959 NBA Finals, capturing the championship in a four-game sweep.

The title marked the beginning of an extraordinary run of success for the Celtics. They went on to record eight consecutive NBA Championships, a record unparalleled in professional sports. The centerpiece of the team was Russell, whose rebounding, defense, and deft outlet passing keyed the Celtics' fast break. Boston's frontcourt featured hotshot forwards Tom Heinsohn and Frank Ramsey. Cousy, the passing wizard and court general, and sharp-shooting Sharman rounded out one of the greatest starting lineups ever assembled.

During Jones's second season his playing time increased to 17.2 minutes per contest. He posted a 6.3 scoring average for the Celtics, whose high-flying offense averaged 124.5 points. Boston defeated the St. Louis Hawks for the title, then repeated with a victory over the Hawks in the Finals the next year. The following two years, 1962 and 1963, Boston triumphed over the Lakers for the championship.

Jones is one of the great coaches in the league history.

Categories: Celtics Legends Series

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