The 2010 NBA Finals have been full of drama and that is what we have come to expect anytime the Lakers and Celtics play for the NBA title.
The Lakers and Celtics are the two most storied franchises in the league, no team has won more titles than these two teams.
This series can be decided tonight if the Celtics can win Game 6 in LA. But the Lakers still can win it all by taking care of business in the next two home games.
Both teams have proven that they can win on the road, and they have shown that no lead is safe.
The only way a series between these two franchises would be better, is if a squad was put together of the best Lakers and Celtics of all time.
Imagine if you could compile a team with the greatest Celtics and Lakers ever. Who would make your team? Who would you leave off?
Here is a list of the best Lakers and Celtics of all time at each position. I am not sure which team would come out on top, but I can only imagine what a series would be like between these two teams.
“Magic” captivated NBA fans the moment he entered the league.
The 6’9”, 220 lb. point guard from Michigan State orchestrated the “Showtime” Lakers team that dominated the league in the 80’s.
Magic led the Lakers to five NBA titles, and he was the Finals MVP three out of those five championships in 1980, 1982 and 1987.
He was voted the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 1987, 1989 and 1990.
Johnson is not only the best Laker point guard of all time, he is the best NBA point guard of all time.
There is no one else to consider for the best point guard from the Lakers franchise.
*Career Stats: 19.5 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 11.2 APG
“The Houdini of the Hardwood” brought a type of flair to the NBA that had never been seen. Cousy had a knack for making the flashy play, but it worked because he won.
Cousy won six NBA titles alongside Bill Russell and neither would have been able to run through the league without the other. He is known as one of the best passers of all time and he literally set up his teammates for success.
Cousy won the Rookie of the Year award in 1957 and went on to become one of the all-time greats at his position.
Rajon Rondo has been playing on another level throughout these playoffs and he could be the best Celtics point guard in the future.
But as of now, Cousy is still the greatest point guard the Celtics have ever had.
*Career Stats: 18.4 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 7.5 APG
Check the numbers. Check the highlight reel.
Kobe Bryant is the best player of his generation.
The 2010 NBA Finals is his seventh finals appearance in the last 10 seasons. He won his only Finals MVP award in 2009, when the Lakers beat the Magic in five games.
Kobe Bryant has to be the best Lakers shooting guard of all time.
Some people may argue for Jerry West at this spot, and that is a valid argument. After all, West is the insignia for the NBA.
But with the stats and rings Kobe has piled up, it is safe to say that “the Black Mamba” has eclipsed “the logo.”
*Career Stats: 25.3 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 4.3 APG
John Havlicek was the glue between two different eras in Celtics history.
When the Celtics were dominating in the 60's, he saw limited playing time as a reserve. When they had to rebuild after the Russell era, he was a veteran who the players looked up to.
Havlicek was a staple of the franchise in both eras. He made major contributions as a bench player and as a starter.
He could score in a number of different ways, and his versatility is what made him such a reliable asset for Boston.
He could play guard or forward, he could score inside or out and he is considered one of the best all-around players in league history.
Havlicek won eight titles and earned Finals MVP honors in 1974 when he led Boston past Milwaukee in seven games.
*Career Stats: 20.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4.8 APG
Elgin Baylor is the greatest Laker that everyone forgets about. Baylor is often left out of the discussion when it comes to the elite players in NBA history.
Everything about him, from his stats to his style of play, should jump out at any observer.
Baylor never won an NBA title, but he led the Lakers to the Finals eight times in his 14-year career.
Baylor was the first player to finish a season in the top five for four different statistical categories (scoring, rebounds, assists and free-throw percentage).
He is the greatest player in NBA history to never win a championship and he is the best small forward in Lakers’ history.
*Career Stats: 27.4 PPG, 13.5 RPG, 4.3 APG
Larry Bird's dominance on the floor is unquestioned. "Larry Legend" is considered the best small forward of all time by many NBA fans.
He has the numbers, accolades and rings to prove that he is the greatest Celtics small forward.
Bird led the Celitics to three NBA championships (1981, 1984 and 1986) and he took home Finals MVP in the 1984 and 1986 series.
He joined Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain in 1986 as the only players to ever win regular-season MVP three consecutive seasons(1984-86).
Bird will always be remembered for his shooting ability, but he was able to dominate by doing more than just shooting. He could pass, rebound and defend with the best of his contemporaries.
*Career Stats: 24.3 PPG, 10 RPG, 6.3 APG
This is not a knock on Gasol, but by default, he is the best power forward in Lakers franchise history.
He joined the team during the 2007-2008 season, and the Lakers have capitalized on his presence ever since.
The Lakers have been in the Finals three consecutive seasons and it is largely due to Gasol’s presence down low.
No one has made a bigger impact for the Lakers at the power forward position than Gasol. He is by far the best power forward Phil Jackson has ever coached, and he is the best power forward the Lakers have had.
*Career stats: 18.8 PPG, 9 RPG, 3.2 APG
McHale teamed up with Larry Bird and Robert Parish to form one of the greatest front courts in league history. He never receives credit for the Celtics dominance in the 80's, but he was just as vital to Boston's run as any of his legendary teammates.
He won three titles with the Celtics and he earned NBA's Sixth-Man of the year award honors twice in his 13-year career. He retired as the fourth-leading scorer and sixth-best rebounder in Celtics history.
The only other consideration for the Celtics best power forward is Kevin Garnett, but he simply has not been in Boston long enough.
The bulk of Garnett's numbers came with the Timberwolves, and he joined the Celtics when he was past his prime. McHale is the best player at his position to ever play for the Celtics.
*Career Stats: 17.9 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 1.7 APG
I know, the first question is, “What about Wilt or Shaq?” Well in actuality, there has not been a center in Lakers history that has done more for the franchise.
Kareem spent more seasons with the Lakers than both the aforementioned big men combined.
He won a record six NBA MVP awards, and he has six NBA championships ( five with the Lakers, and one with the Bucks).
Kareem earned Finals MVP twice in his career. He won a Finals MVP award with the Bucks in 1971, and another in 1985 with the Lakers when they beat the Celtics in six games.
Magic may have gotten the praise during the Lakers' Showtime days, but Kareem anchored that defense for more than a decade.
The best center of all time for the Lakers is Kareem.
*Career Stats: 24.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG, 3.6 APG, 2.5 BPG
Bill Russell was the foundation of one of the best dynasties in sports history. He was the ultimate team player and he won by committing to defense.
Russell played with relentless effort on both sides of the ball. He is one of the best shot blockers and rebounders the NBA has ever seen.
His individual stats are incomparable to anyone else at his position for the Celtics. He reached the finals 12 times in 13 seasons, and he won the NBA title 11 times.
Russell won the NBA's MVP award five times, and if the Celtics had an all-time MVP award for its franchise, he would walk away with it as well.
*Career Stats: 15.1 PPG, 22.5 RPG, 4.3 APG