Top 25 Players In Boston Celtics History: Where Does Paul Pierce Rank?
The Boston Celtics are the best team in the history of the NBA. They've won the most championships of any team in the league, with 17.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in second place with 16, but the third place team is the Chicago Bulls, and they've only won six times. That shows the dominance the Celtics have had over the NBA for several decades now.
In order to win 17 championships, a team needs to have several star players wear their jersey.
That's exactly what the Celtics have had in their history, and choosing the top 25 was a difficult task, as there are at least 50 worth mentioning.
But, here are the 25 players who have made the most impact in Boston as a member of the Celtics.
25. Bill Walton
Walton's best years were spent as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, but he still had one very productive season with the Boston Celtics in 1986.
He was the sixth man on a team that beat the Houston Rockets in the NBA Finals.
He played in 80 games as the backup to Robert Parish during the '86 season.
24. Tom 'Satch' Sanders
"Satch" won eight championships as a member of the Boston Celtics.
Only Bill Russell and Sam Jones won more rings in a career. He scored over 8,700 points and had over 5,700 rebounds in his 13 years in the NBA, all with the Celtics.
He also coached the Celtics for a very brief period of time.
23. Frank Ramsey
Ramsey played for the Celtics for his entire nine-year NBA career, winning seven championships.
He was a big part of the team that won so many championships under the leadership of Bill Russell.
Ramsey was one of the first players to define the "sixth man" role. He finished his career with over 8,300 points
His No. 23 jersey is retired by the Celtics.
22. Reggie Lewis
Lewis's career was cut tragically short when he died during an offseason practice in 1993.
But he still made an impact in the short time he was with the Celtics.
He averaged 17.6 points per game in his career, and his jersey, No. 35, hangs in the rafters of TD Garden.
He never won a championship with the team, but one can only imagine how good the Celtics would have been if he was able to have a full career.
21. K.C. Jones
Jones played nine seasons in the NBA and won championships in eight of those seasons, all with the Celtics.
He then led the Celtics to two championships as a coach.
Jones was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.
20. Don Nelson
Nelson was another great sixth man for the Celtics, helping them win five championships in his time with the team.
He was a very solid player off the bench, averaging over 10 points per game for most of his career.
Nelson also has the most wins of any coach in NBA history.
19. Jim Loscutoff
Loscutoff was so selfless that he asked the Celtics not to retire his No. 18 jersey so that future Celtics could wear it.
So, a banner with "Loscy" on it is hanging in the rafters at TD Garden.
Loscy won seven championships with the Celtics in his nine seasons with the Celtics during the Bill Russell era.
18. Cedric Maxwell
Maxwell had one of the most unique nicknames in the NBA: "Cornbread".
Cornbread won two championships with the Celtics and earned the MVP honor in the 1981 NBA Finals.
His No. 31 jersey is retired by the Boston franchise.
17. Ed Macauley
Macauley never won a championship with the Celtics, but he was traded to the St. Louis Hawks for Bill Russell. That trade established a dynasty in Boston.
Macauley has his number retired by the Celtics despite never winning a championship.
He was also the MVP of the first All-Star Game in 1951.
16. Bill Sharman
Sharman played 10 seasons with the Boston Celtics, winning four championships with the team.
He led the NBA in free throw percentage in seven of those 10 seasons.
Sharman racked up over 12,600 points, 2,700 rebounds and 2,100 assists during his distinguished NBA career.
15. Ray Allen
Ray Allen is one of the best pure shooters in the history of the NBA.
His sweet shooting stroke was instrumental in the Celtics' 2008 championship run.
Plus, when Boston needed a solid free throw shooter to close out tough games, Allen was always the one with the ball in his hands. He'd sink both free throws more often than not.
He'll probably end up with the most three-pointers made in NBA history.
14. Kevin Garnett
KG's fire and intensity have led the Celtics since he came over in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves before the 2008 season.
He defines the Celtics' toughness and attitude.
He's also a pretty great basketball player, a strong power forward with a deadly mid-range game.
If his knees hold up for a couple more seasons, he'll go down as one of the top power forwards of all time.
13. Rajon Rondo
Rondo is the perfect point guard for the Celtics right now.
With Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett all likely first-ballot Hall of Famers, Rondo just needs to give them the ball and let them score.
That's exactly what he did during the 2008 championship run, and that's exactly what he's doing now.
If he stays healthy, he can lead the Celtics to a few more championships down the road.
12. Dennis Johnson
DJ is often forgotten amongst Robert Parish, Kevin McHale and Larry Bird as a member of the 1984 and 1986 Celtics championship teams.
But Johnson was often the guy the Celtics turned to in the clutch moments during those playoff runs.
DJ finished his career with over 15,000 points and nearly 5,500 assists.
His No. 3 jersey has been retired by the team.
11. Dave Cowens
Cowens was a prototype for the Kevin Garnetts and Scottie Pippens of future generations in that he could do absolutely everything on a basketball court.
He finished his career with over 13,000 points and over 10,000 rebounds.
He was also a member of three Celtics' championships in the 1970s.
His jersey, No. 18 (the same number as Jim Loscutoff once wore), is retired by the Celtics.
10. Sam Jones
Jones won a whopping 10 NBA championships in his 13-year career, all of which was spent with the Celtics.
Only Bill Russell has won more Finals rings than Jones.
Jones finished his career with over 15,000 points, 4,000 rebounds and 2,000 assists.
9. Bob Cousy
Bob Cousy was one of the greatest point guards in the history of the NBA. He is also one of, if not the best, athlete ever to wear the number 14.
Cousy won six NBA championships with the Celtics and was an All-Star 13 times.
He also won an MVP award in 1957.
He finished his career with just shy of 17,000 points and 7,000 assists.
8. Tommy Heinsohn
Heinsohn won eight championships as a player for the Celtics.
He also led them to two championships as their head coach.
Currently, he works as a color commentator for Celtics' TV broadcasts.
Heinsohn was the Rookie of the Year in 1957, and his No. 15 jersey has been retired by the team.
7. Jo Jo White
White was arguably the most important piece of the Celtics' 1974 and 1976 championship teams. He earned NBA Finals MVP in 1976.
White finished his career with a 44.5 percent field goal percentage and racked up over 14,000 points and 4,000 assists.
He played in all 82 games for five straight seasons during his time with the Celtics.
6. Robert Parish
Parish won three NBA championships during the 1980s with the Celtics, then tagged along with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen for a fourth title with the Chicago Bulls in 1997.
Parish was a defensive stopper in the paint for Larry Bird's championship teams.
During his 22-year playing career, Parish had over 23,000 points, nearly 15,000 rebounds and 2,361 blocked shots.
His jersey, No. 00, is retired by the Celtics.
5. Kevin McHale
McHale was famous for drawing opponents into fouls with a hard pump fake on his low post shots.
He was Larry Bird's sidekick during the 1980s, winning three championships with the team.
His playing career was infinitely more successful than his career as a coach/GM with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
McHale's No. 32 jersey is retired by the Celtics.
4. Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce has only won one championship for the Celtics, but he has been the face of the franchise since he was drafted out of the University of Kansas in 1998.
Pierce has the most three-pointers made in Celtics history and is third overall in scoring, behind only John Havlicek and Larry Bird.
Pierce could have left the team at a couple different points during his career. He even had an opportunity to return to his hometown of Los Angeles to play for the Clippers or Lakers this offseason.
But, he stayed loyal to the Celtics, and someday his No. 34 jersey will hang alongside the jerseys of the next three people on this list.
3. John Havlicek
Havlicek is the all-time leader in points scored for the Celtics.
Hondo finished his 16-year career with 26,395 points, 8,007 rebounds and 6,114 assists, all with the Celtics.
He won eight championships with the team, and was selected to 13 All-Star teams. He was the NBA Finals MVP in 1974.
He also holds the NBA record for most missed shots in a career, a testament to his longevity and willingness to shoot.
2. Larry Bird
"Larry Legend" played for 13 seasons with the Celtics before back problems derailed his career and forced him to retire.
But, those 13 years were some of the best years the NBA has ever seen.
Bird won the Rookie of the Year in 1980 and made it to 12 All-Star teams.
He won three championships with the team and was named NBA Finals MVP in 1984 and 1986.
Bird ranks second in points scored with the Celtics, with 21,791. He also had nearly 10,000 rebounds and over 5,000 assists.
1. Bill Russell
11 championships. That's how Bill Russell would want to be remembered.
The 11 championships are the ultimate testament to how well a team performs, and Russell was the ultimate team player.
He'd give up all his personal stats in order to make his teammates and his team better.
The NBA Finals MVP trophy is named after Russell in honor of his repeated victories on the brightest of stages.
Russell finished his career with over 14,000 points, more than 21,000 rebounds and over 4,000 assists.
He was NBA MVP five times and made 12 All-Star teams in his 13-year career. He also led the Celtics to two championships working as a player and head coach after Red Auerbach retired.
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