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As you know, I do a lot of What-If's. If the Celtics were able to form a fictitious team consisting of any players from the past that played at least one game for the team. And they would compete against a team consisting of everybody else from all the remaining teams, except those already taken by the Celts. How would that go?

You already know the obvious Celts choices. Bill Russell, Larry Bird, Bob Cousy, John Havicek, Kevin McHale, Paul Pierce, Dave Cowens, Kevin Garnett, Tom Heinsohn, Dennis Johnson, Robert Parish, Sam Jones, Jo Jo White and Ray Allen. Pretty good already. Right?

Now for the short-termers. How about Shaquille O'Neal, Pete Maravich, Charlie Scott, Bill Walton, Paul Westphal. Getting better. Now to Dominique Wilkins, Gary Payton, Jermaine O'Neal, Wayne Embry, Artis Gilmore, Ernie DiGregorio, Bob McAdoo, Dave Bing, Paul Silas, Rasheed Wallace, Bill Sharman, Bailey Howell and Sam Cassell.

I wanted to put Vin Baker in there, but that was a bad deal for us. Chuck Connors, the TV Rifleman, played here but wouldn't be on this team. Ernie (No D) Digregorio barely made it, and I purposely left out Pervis (Never Nervous) Ellison. Wayne (The Wall) Embry often gave Russell a breather against Wilt Chamberlain. Chamberlain couldn't move him.

Who is your starting five? Mine would be Shaq, Russell and Bird in the front court and Havlicek and Dennis Johnson in the backcourt. Second team would be Garnett, McHale and Wilkins in the frontcourt and Pierce and Cousy in the backcourt. Walton, Cowens, Sam Jones, Maravich and Jo Jo comprise the third team.

I am sure I left someone out. Just too many choices. I may get blasted by putting Dennis on the starting five, but his size and defense made the difference. Russell, Shaq and Bird? Backed up by Garnett, McHale and Wilkins? Tough to beat.

Hondo and Dennis in the backcourt? Size, offense, defense, basketball IQ and poise. That would work. Okay, who did I miss? Give me your starting five and backups. Give me at least your starting five for the opposing team. Include any former NBA player from any team, except for the above guys. For me Michael Jordon and Kobe Bryant are there. If The King wasn't still playing, he would be there. We know Magic Johnson is there. Kareem is definite. Jerry West fills it out. Give me your thoughts. Yes, I know there are four former Lakers on the opposing team. That's the way it should be.

Bill Russell photo via NBAE/Getty Images
Shaq photo via Ricky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images





Tom Lane 10/06/2017 02:46:00 PM Edit
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