Guest post by The Sports Hayes
tb727 6/30/2014 08:00:00 AM Tweet
The 1990's were the darkest years in team history. It remains the only decade the Celtics did not get to a championship series. It's easy to see why, the two franchise cornerstones that were supposed to lead the team into the 90's were both dead by 1993. How would the Lakers have done if Magic Johnson and James Worthy were killed in a plane crash in 1984? Obviously I'd never wish death upon a player no matter how much the fans suck, but there's really no other way to correlate what happened to the Celtics. The team suffered for most of the decade and this was the best it got unfortunately.
Coach - Chris Ford
The choices were Ford, ML Carr and Rick Pitino. Ford may have been an in-house coach but he was
C - Joe Kleine
Nothing against Joe but how sad is it that the BACKUP center from 89-93 was the best in the franchise in the 90's? He brought stability to Robert Parish and had some decent games here and there. His role was as a backup so he didn't have the pressure that Acie Earl, Travis Knight and Eric Montross had to deal with.
F - Antoine Walker
No brainer here. Walker was the captain of the team once Evil Emperor took over. He could slash, bring the ball up and shoot the 3-ball. His reliance on the 3 was his eventual downfall but he averaged near or over 20 points a game by the end of the decade and was one of the cornerstones of the team.
F - Reggie Lewis
Another no-brainer. He may not have been one of the all-time greats but he could go toe to toe with Reggie
G - Kevin Gamble
One of the biggest inspirational stories that nobody remembers anymore. Back then if you were cut by the NBA you either played overseas or in the Continental Basketball Association, the wild and crazy CBA. Nowadays the D-League is at least an attempt to legitimately improve players while the CBA was pretty much come as you are. Gamble was a star in the CBA and worked his way from end of the bench scrub to starter with the Celtics. He was a dependable shooter on the early 90's teams. He may not have had the skills of guards like Hardaway and Jordan but from where he began, he had a damn fine career.
G - Dee Brown
The 1991 Slam Dunk champion had a great career as a Celtics point guard. He would have been the perfect compliment to a Tim Hardaway or DJ in his prime but he had to back up the likes of Brian Shaw and John Bagley. He did average 15 points a game one year but stats are meaningless if you don't win games. His career pretty much was over after he was traded but from 91-96 he was pretty good.
C - Eric Montross
For one year he looked like a future star but it was all downhill from there. Still, compared to every other center of the decade this was pathetically the best it got. He had an average to below average career after leaving Boston but he outlasted other centers of the decade. In fact it seemed to be a running joke that most of the centers of the 90's were all big white guys like Joe Kleine, Matt Wenstrom, Brett Szabo, Eric, Travis Knight, Vitaly Potapenko and even Frank Brickowski. Brick in his prime was good but he was useless on the 97 Celtics. So more or less Eric wins this spot by default.
F - Dindo Radja
The Croatian born Radja was originally drafted by the Celtics in 89 but didn't make his appearance until
1994. He represented the 90's
Celtics to a T. Just wasn't enough talent to be competitive and even
though Dino put up good numbers from 94-97, he was in the wrong era. He
could have made the early 90's Celtics a contender off the bench or even
starting over a fading McHale but we'll never know.
F- Rick Fox
Public Enemy number 4 behind Emperor, Buffoon and Brian Shaw. Fox was drafted in 91 and looked like he was going to be a future star but the Celtics foolishly let him go after the 97 season. He went on to play from 98-04 with the Lakers and picked up 3 championship rings in 4 Finals appearances. He was an above average forward, again, he played in the wrong era.
G - David Wesley
Same as above. He carved out a niche in Boston from 95-97 but was let go and ended up playing many years in the NBA afterward. He was a solid guard that was underappreciated by the Celtics. Just like Fox, he played in the wrong era. Hell if you could take Kleine, Radja, Fox, Wesley and Dee Brown, transport them back in time to 1988, they may have been able to win the championship.
G - Brian Shaw
Public Enemy number 3 was a competent guard that is more infamous than famous. After his rookie year, he left the team to play in Italy (after the Celtics passed over Tim Hardaway for big white stiff Michael Smith) and when he returned, he let the booing in the Garden consume him He was traded to the Miami Heat in 1992 and eventually won 3 championship rings in Los Angeles. He may have never wanted to be in Boston but he was productive while he was here, mostly anyways.
Extra - Eric Williams
Easy E may not have been the most talented player but he was one of the most hard working. He had a great upfake and could hit from the outside. He was a tremendous asset to a team that fell two wins short of an NBA Finals and won 43 games the following season. Always seemed to make the play that nobody remembers when it mattered the most.
12th man - Bruce Bowen
Another one on the list of right guy in the wrong era. Bowen was a hell of a defensive stopper but only played for the Celtics for two years, eventually landing on the San Antonio Spurs where he was on the All-Defense team EIGHT times as well as picking up 3 world championships. Imagine if the Celtics could have put him on Keith Van Horn or Kenyon Martin in 2002 what a difference it would have made?
Honorable mention -
Ron Mercer, Domonique Wilkins, Derek Strong, Xavier McDaniel, Sherman Douglas, Acie Earl, Chauncey Billups and in a bizzaro world, the 1993 NBA MVP Bart Kofoed
That about wraps up the 90's, next will be the new millennium which was capped off by a world championship near the end.