The All-time Boston Celtic teams

By Cort Reynolds

With all the talk of basketball history floating around during the Finals between the four-time champion Spurs and potential repeat champ Heat, I thought it was a good time to compile the all-time team for the franchise that dwarfs all of them except the hated Lakers in terms of tradition, history, banners, great moments, retired numbers and great players. And even then the Celtics clearly surpass their west coast rivals, even when their years in Minneapolis are included.

Criteria for making my 30-man, all-time Celtic team are quality of play and longevity with the team (only with Boston), awards earned while a member of Gang Green and any other special contributions made to the club's success, especially titles.

For example, even though Scott Wedman was a better player than Don Nelson over the course of his career due to being a two-time All-Star with Kansas City, his Celtic contributions are lesser than Nellie's, mostly due to a lack of playing time and a much shorter playing tenure in Boston.

Antoine Walker may have been more talented than Tom “Satch” Sanders but didn't play as long or win any rings, compared to eight for Satch, who was a top defender. In addition, Walker could be selfish and often exhibited awful shot selection. In the two wild and woolly campaigns from 2000-02, Walker launched just under eight – 8! - treys per game and made just 35 percent of his oft ill-advised launches. Comparatively, Sanders only averaged 8.7 total shots per game over his career and made more intangible contributions to championship clubs. Paul Silas also was not as offensively-skilled as Walker, but he was a far better rebounder, defender and team player who was a very key contributor on two title teams.

Likewise Nate Archibald and Charlie Scott were better, particularly on offense, than Don Chaney. But Duck played 11 years for Boston, won two titles and was a top defender on four other teams that lost in the conference finals.

In an interesting piece of trivia as well, he is the only Celtic to play with both Bill Russell and Larry Bird. His rookie campaign was Russell's swansong, and Chaney's last season was Bird's first.

Keep in mind too that blocked shots were not kept as an official NBA statistic until 1973, four years after supreme swatter Bill Russell retired, and that the all-defense teams were not recognized until the 1968-69 season.

Otherwise, great defenders like Russell, Satch Sanders, K.C. Jones and John Havlicek would have many more all-defense team honors on their respective resumes. Hondo and Frank Ramsey also starred off the bench well before the NBA began naming its Sixth Man of the Year award in 1983, or both would have won that honor multiple times.

Also, the NBA did not begin naming a third team all-league until the late 1980s. The Finals MVP award also began in Russell's final season of 1969, before the first 10 championships his teams won. Certainly he would have won several playoff MVP awards, with Cousy and perhaps Havlicek garnering one or more as well.

Players in CAPITAL letters were also named to the “50 Greatest NBA Players” list compiled by the league in 1997 to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Eleven Celtics on this franchise all-time team also made that superstar-laden list, with nine of them earning the honor based solely or mostly on their play for Boston.

Celtic skippers Red Auerbach, who retired as the league's all-time winningest coach, and Bill Fitch were also named to the NBA's “10 Greatest Coaches List” in 1997. Coaching records below only reflect wins and losses amassed with Boston in regular season and the playoffs.

All-time Celtics are noted below with years played for Boston, jersey number, number of championships won, and other key career stats and honors compiled while playing only for the Celtics. Those with their uniform number underlined have had their jersey retired by the Celtics.

As for who the greatest Celtic of them all is, it comes down to Russell, Havlicek and Bird. My vote goes to Larry Legend even though he won less rings because he was the best all-around and played in a tougher era in many senses.

Russell was a poor shooter (only 44% from the field and 56% at the foul line) and not nearly the passer or marksman Larry was since he was strictly a low-post player. And while Hondo was a better defender and a fine offensive player in his own right, he didn't shoot, pass or especially rebound quite as well as the 6-9 Bird. Perhaps if you measured them inch for inch, in that way Havlicek was a tad better.


Center-#5 BILL WALTON 1985-87, 1 title, 6th man of Year 1985-86

Forward-#8/20 Scott Wedman 1983-87, 2 titles, key sharpshooting, underused reserve

Forward-#8/88 Antoine Walker 1997-2003, 2005, 19 ppg, 8 rebs, 4 assists, 3 All-Stars

Guard-#20 Larry Siegfried 1963-70, 5 titles, 2 FT crowns, 12 ppg, 85 FT%, 4 apg

Guard-#25/27 K.C. Jones 1958-67, 8 titles, great defender, 7.4 ppg, 4.3 apg

6th man-G #12/42 Don Chaney 1969-75 & 77-80, 2 titles, 9 ppg, All-defense 2nd team 5 times

Coach-BILL FITCH, 1979-83, 1 title, 3 ECF, 242-86, 26-19 playoffs


C-#43 Kendrick Perkins 2003-10, 1 title, 7 ppg, 6 rebs

F-#19 Don Nelson 1965-76, 5 titles, 11.5 ppg mostly as top reserve

F-#31 Cedric Maxwell 1977-85, 2 titles, 1981 Finals MVP, 13.5 ppg, 6.5 rebs, 2-time FG% champ

G-#20 Ray Allen 2007-12, 1 title, 16 ppg, 91 FT%, 41 3-pt %

G-#9 Rajon Rondo 2006-13, 1 title, 11.1 ppg, 8.3 apg, 2-time assist leader, 4 All-Star Games, All-NBA 3rd team 1 time, All-defense 1st/2nd team 2 times each

6th man-#35 Paul Silas 1972-76, 2 titles, 12 ppg, 12 rebs

Coach-Glenn “Doc” Rivers, 2004-13, 1 title, 2 EC titles, 416-305, 64-57 playoffs


C/F-#22 Ed Macauley 1950-56, 6 All-Stars, 19 ppg, 8 rebs, All-NBA 1st team 3 times, 2nd team 1 time, 1951 All-Star Game MVP

F/C-#5 Kevin Garnett 2007-13, 1 title, 15.5 ppg, 8.5 rebs, 2008 NBA Defensive Player of Year, 5 All-Stars, All-defense 1st team 3 times, 2nd team 1 time

F-#16 Tom Sanders 1960-73, 8 titles, 9.6 ppg, 6.3 rebs, All-defense 2nd team 1969

G-#44 Danny Ainge 1982-89, 2 titles, 1 All-Star, 12 ppg, 4.5 apg, 86 FT%, 39 3-pt%

G-#3 Dennis Johnson 1983-90, 2 titles, All-defense 1st team 1 time, 2nd team 3 times, 13 ppg, All-Star 1 time, 84 FT%

6th man-F/G #23 Frank Ramsey 1954-64, 7 titles, 1st great 6th man, 13.4 ppg, 80.4 FT%

Coach-K.C. Jones, 1983-88, 2 titles, 5 ECF, 4 EC titles, 308-102, 65-37 playoffs


C-#18 DAVE COWENS 1970-80, 2 titles, 1973 MVP, 1971 Rookie of Year, 8 All-Stars, 18 ppg, 14 rebs & 4 apg, All-NBA 2nd team 2 times, All-defense 1st team 1 time, 3 times 2nd team, 1973 All-Star Game MVP

F-#15 Tom Heinsohn 1956-65, 8 titles, 18.6 ppg, 8.2 rebs, 6 All-Stars, 19.8 ppg & 9.2 rebs in 104 playoff games, All-NBA 2nd team 4 times

F-#34 Paul Pierce 1998-2013, 1 title , 2008 Finals MVP, All-Star 10 times, #2 franchise point scorer (21.4 ppg), 2nd team NBA 1 time, 3rd team 3 times.

G-#21 BILL SHARMAN 1951-61, 4 titles, 8 All-Stars, 7 FT% titles, 18 ppg, 4 rebs, 4 apg, All-NBA 1st team 4 times, 2nd team 3 times

G-#10 Jo Jo White 1969-78, 2 titles, 1976 Finals MVP, 18 ppg, 4 rebs, 5 apg, 83.4 FT%, 7 All-Stars (71-77), All-NBA 2nd team 2 times

6th man-#00 ROBERT PARISH 1980-94, 3 titles, 9 All-Stars, 15 ppg, 10 rebs, 54 FG%. All-NBA 2nd team 1 time, 3rd time 1 time

Coach-Tom Heinsohn, 1969-78, 2 titles, 5 ECF, 427-263, 47-33 playoffs


C-#6 BILL RUSSELL 1956-69, 11 titles, 5 MVPs, 22.5 rebounds & 15.1 points per game, 12 All-Stars, All-NBA 1st team 3 times, 2nd team 8 times, 1963 All-Star Game MVP, All-defense 2nd team in first year of award 1968-69.

F-#33 LARRY BIRD 1979-92, 3 titles, 3 MVPs, 1984/86 Finals MVP, 12 All-Stars, All-NBA 1st team first 9 seasons (1980-88), All-NBA 2nd team once (1990), franchise ppg leader (24.3 ppg), avg. 10.0 rebs and 6.3 assists a game, All-defense 2nd team 3 times (1982-84), 1982 All-Star Game MVP, 3-time NBA 3-point shootout champ (1986-88), Celtic career playoff points leader (3,897), career 49.6 FG%, 88.6 FT%, 37.6 3-pt%, 4 time FT pct. champ.

F-#17 JOHN HAVLICEK 1962-78, 8 titles, 1974 Finals MVP, All-NBA 1st team 5 times (1970-74), All-NBA 2nd team 7 times, 13 All-Stars, franchise leader in points, 2nd in Celtic playoff points, 1st in games played, All-defense 1st team 5 times, 2nd team 3 times, 20.8 career ppg.

G-#24 SAM JONES 1957-69, 10 titles, All-NBA 2nd team 3 times, 5 All-Stars , 17.7 ppg, 4.9 rebs, 80.3 FT%

G-#14 BOB COUSY 1950-63, 6 titles, 1957 MVP, All-NBA 1st team 10 times, 2nd team 2 times, 13 All-Stars, franchise assist leader,18.5 ppg, 7.6 apg, 80.3 FG%, 2-time All-Star Game MVP

6th man-F/C #32 KEVIN McHALE, 1980-93, 3 titles, 1987 1st team NBA, All-defense 1st team 3 times, 2nd team 3 times, 7 All-Stars, 6th Man of Year 1984, 17.9 ppg, 7.9 rebs, 55.4 FG%, 79.8 FT%

Coach-#2 ARNOLD “RED” AUERBACH, 1950-66, 9 titles, 795-397, 90-58 playoffs

Honorable mention

C-#19 Arnie Risen 1955-58, 1 title, 7.5 ppg. 7 rebs

F-#12 Willie Naulls 1963-66, 3 titles, 10 ppg

F-#18 Jim Loscutoff 1955-64, 7 titles, 6.2 ppg, 5.6 rebs

G-#7 NATE ARCHIBALD 1978-83, 1 title, 1981 All-Star Game MVP, 12.5 ppg. 7.5 apg, 3 All-Stars

G-#11 Charlie Scott 1975-78, 1 title, 16.5 ppg, 4.5 rebs

6th man-G #42 Chris Ford 1978-82, 1 title, 10.5 ppg, 38 3-pt%; G/F #30 M.L. Carr 1979-85, 2 titles, 7 ppg

Coach-#6 Bill Russell 1966-69, 2 titles (as player-coach), 162-83, 28-18 playoffs; Chris Ford 1990-95 222-188, 13-16 playoffs.