Boston Celtics: 12 Most Electrifying Players in Franchise History
The Boston Celtics are famous for their 17 championships, Hall of Famers and consistency in winning basketball games. Yet people forget that the franchise also boasts some of the more electrifying, clutch playmakers to play the game.
Whether you talk about Larry Bird, John Havlicek or Bob Cousy, playmakers have made an impact with their performances in Boston.
What makes these players in particular electrifying is their talent as well as their ability to make plays and spark the team.
These players are not all necessarily the top 12 players in Boston Celtics team history; rather they are players that are known for their playmaking ability and intensity on the court.
Here are the 12 most electrifying players in Boston Celtics history.
11 & 12. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen
Allen is a big-time shooter who opens up the Celtics' offense with his quick, accurate three-point shot. On numerous occasions, it was a shot that Allen would hit when the Celtics couldn't buy a bucket, and would help the team get back on track. When Allen can hit shots, the Celtics win games.
In the case of Garnett, his game-changing play is much more outspoken. He is an intense, passionate player who leaves it all out on the court. This is the very reason that he may not last too many more years in the league, due to his overall intensity and sheer athleticism.
Garnett is also a talented scoring threat as well as rebounder, as it is also important to recognize his ability to keep the Celtics atop the league defensively. The Celtics held up the No. 1 defense in the league in the first half of last season, and it was without the services of Kendrick Perkins. Garnett was also named the 2008 NBA Defensive Player of the Year.
10. Dennis Johnson
Dennis Johnson was as tough a point guard as any, and he was a big reason the Boston Celtics were able to win NBA championships in 1984 and 1986.
Johnson helped run the team and was known for his big-time defense. D.J. averaged 1.5 steals per game for his career as well as 4.3 rebounds per game.
He also helped Seattle win a championship in 1979 before coming to Boston.
9. Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo is arguably one of ten best point guards in the league today, and the Celtic makes a case for being one of the more electrifying, impactful players in team history.
Since the days of Bob Cousy in Boston, there has not been a point guard like Rondo who has a nose for the ball and creates passing lanes. There have been talented ones like Dennis Johnson, yet none that really played the point guard position in the mold of Cousy and Rondo.
In no way is Rondo on the level of Cousy. But it is interesting to see a point guard like Rondo playing the way he does in a league that praises point guards who rebound, score and sometimes pass the ball. Cousy was more of a dominant scoring threat than is Rondo for the today's Celtics squad.
Rondo might still be young, but it is difficult to deny his game-changing ability.
8. Robert Parish
The trio of Robert Parish, Larry Bird and Kevin McHale was difficult to slow down; and Parish provided a lift on both ends of the floor.
Parish was a player known for his shot-blocking and rebounding ability. He was as consistent a player as any in both of these regards and made an impact more than anything with his defense.
Not to mention he was certainly capable of finishing big on the offensive end. During the 1984 championship season, Parish averaged 19 points per game.
7. Paul Pierce
Paul Pierce is arguably the most electrifying talent in Boston Celtics history, mostly for his offensive arsenal and ability get it done late in games. Since he has become a member of the Big Three, alongside Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, there are times when people forget just how talented a player like Pierce is.
Throughout his career, Pierce has been known as a fourth-quarter player, one who seldom shies away from taking a big shot down the stretch. He is also a proven scorer from three-point range, through the lane and from the free-throw line.
His career with the Boston Celtics has been something to watch.
6. Tommy Heinsohn
Tommy Heinsohn, a Hall-of-Fame talent and member of the eight championship teams in team history, was as electrifying a player as any to put on a Celtics uniform.
As well as being able to rebound the ball, Heinsohn was a prolific scorer from the field. Heinsohn averaged over 20 points per 36 minutes every season with the exception of his rookie year and final season in the league. He would put up an average of 18.6 points per game for his career.
Twice Heinsohn averaged over 10 rebounds per game. The 1957 Rookie of the Year, Heinsohn was as impactful a player as any on that 1960s team with Bill Russell.
5. Dave Cowens
Dave Cowens was the biggest reason why the Boston Celtics were able to win two championships in the 1970s.
The 6'9'' power forward was a machine on the glass and scored consistently and effectively on offense. In the 1974 championship season, Cowens averaged 19 points and a whopping 15.7 rebounds. In the 1976 title run, Cowens again scored 19 a contest and added 16 rebounds a game—unheard of as far as numbers go.
He put up some Dwight Howard-type numbers despite lacking the athleticism that guys like Howard naturally have.
4. Kevin McHale
No Kevin McHale, yes problems.
It is certainly arguably to assume the Boston Celtics would not win several of the championships if not all of the championships in the 1980s without the contributions of a player like McHale.
McHale averaged a solid 24.9 points and 8.6 rebounds per game during the team's 1985-86 championship season. Without his scoring threat inside and ability to clean up the glass on the defensive end, it is doubtful the Celtics would have had the depth at the power forward position to win an NBA title in the 1980s.
Without a doubt his talent was not on the level of a player like Larry Bird, yet it was just as essential to have McHale in winning those three championships.
3. Bob Cousy
Bob Cousy is arguably the best point guard in Boston Celtics history, and he was as crafty as any during his time in the league.
Cousy could score by taking the ball down the lane, yet he was also a creative player who had a knack for finding the open man. Cousy averaged 7.5 assists per game for his entire career. In the 1957 season, Cousy was named NBA MVP.
He was a member of six Celtics championship seasons in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
2. Larry Bird
Larry Bird has to go down as one of the top players in Celtics history when it comes to being electrifying and game-changing.
Bird could score and play solid defense. He was a player that helped the Celtics win championship when the league was as competitive as it had ever been in the 1980s. There was the Detriot Pistons with Isiah Thomas, the Lakers making noise out West and a Houston Rockets team getting hot as well.
Bird had the help of players like McHale and Parish inside, yet he was the player that had the ball in his hands when it mattered most. Bird was a big-time scorer and goes down as the best scorer in Boston Celtics history.
1. Bill Russell
Russell continues to top lists when it comes to his Boston Celtics.
It's hard not to put a guy like Bill Russell at the No.1 spot when referring to players being electrifying and game-changing. Russell was a rebounding machine that deflated teams with his dominance inside. He was also a constant, in-your-face shot-blocking presence that had the misfortune of not having blocks recorded as a statistic during his time.
With 11 NBA championships, an average of over 19 rebounds per game for his career and fivet MVP awards, Russell is as good as it gets when it comes to impactful talents in Boston Celtics history.
Luis Batlle is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report (Boston Celtics).
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