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Boston Celtics: Larry Bird, Paul Pierce and the Top 15 Forwards in Team History

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Boston Celtics: Larry Bird, Paul Pierce and the Top 15 Forwards in Team History
Photo: Michael Dwyer - AP

I recently wrote a piece on how the 1986 Boston Celtics stacked up against the current 2011 team. The readers appeared to be split over the issue, debating and comparing the merits of Larry Bird versus Paul Pierce, among the other players that surrounded them.

This led me taking things one step further and trying to decide who the best Celtics’ Forward of all-time was? Could I make a case for Pierce over Bird? How did they compare to John Havlicek or Tom Heinsohn?

Unlike the last article, this ranking was based entirely on statistical analysis. After all, nearly half of the players ranked had retired before I was born, so how qualified was I to accurately rank them?

It’s a simple rotisserie system, taking 12 categories and ranking 20 players from 1-20 in each statistic. The categories were games, minutes, points, rebounds, assists, minutes per game, points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game, all-star appearances, championships, and total seasons played.

The categories used appear to accurately reflect how many people would naturally lean when trying to compile this list. Players who didn’t play their whole careers with the Celtics were marked down, while players who weren’t high scorers, but won championships were compensated for their contributions.

The only rules that applied to being eligible for the list were as followed: A player had to have spent over three seasons with the Celtics and Forward had to be their primary position (i.e. no Dave Cowens or Ed Maculey).

For argument’s sake, I will defend each player’s ranking on the list.

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