Boston Celtics: The 4 Most Unique Players in Team History
120 years have passed since James Naismith invented basketball in Springfield, Mass., and we finally have a fairly good grasp on the various player types, their attributes and their playing styles; we have the big men, the guys in the paint, getting boards and playing tough defense, plus knocking in the easy points under the hoop.
We have your small forwards, shooting guards, and everything in between. These guys are your workhorses, the ones who do a lot of your best shooting, and the closer you are to small forward, the more rebounding you're going to do as well.
Finally, we have your point guards. They can do all sorts of things, but they're the floor generals. They pass, and pass a lot. Without them, the offense doesn't move.
Why am I telling all of you basketball buffs this? I mean, come on, this is, like pee-wee stuff.
I spell it all because this is how we traditionally think of basketball in terms of players and their positions. This is what we're taught from a young age, and this becomes ingrained in us over time.
Sometimes, however, players don't fit the mold. Players may transcend these rough styles, or create a style all their own. Here, we'll look at the four most unique players to ever wear Celtic Green.
1. Tommy Heinsohn
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Tommy Heinsohn played on some of those great Celtics teams in the dynasty era of the 50's and 60's, including eight straight Championship-winning teams from 1959 to 1966.
Tommy gets included on this list for a few reasons. First and foremost, his on-court play was quite remarkable considering his attributes. You might not immediately think that a guy who measures 6'7" could average nearly nine rebounds a game. Well, Tommy Heinsohn did just that, along with averaging 18.6 points per game over the course of his career. This came playing alongside Bill Russell, a rebounding machine who also scored a fair amount points as well as all kinds of surrounding talent.
What I also find so interesting is that he did this while never really being in shape at any point during his career. He's talked before about his bad health habits (including a lifetime of smoking), and what he could have done had he been in better shape during his playing days.
A much-deserved Tommy Point for sure.
2. Jim Loscutoff
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"Loscy" was never known for having a particularly great amount of basketball or athleticism, and it could be argued (and probably has been already) that Loscutoff benefited greatly from being a part of some really good teams. However, Loscy did play some great defense during a time when the Celtics desperately needed it.
What makes Loscutoff unique was that he was one of the NBA's first "enforcers" or "hatchet-men." In addition to his defense, Loscy wasn't afraid to step up and take matters into his own hands and give opponents enough of a bruising to allow the Celtics to get away with the victory.
Not only that, he's the only Celtics to have his number retired and not retired at the same time. When the Celtics offered to retired Loscutoff's No. 18, he politely declined, saying he preferred that a future Celtic would be able to wear his number.
Dave Cowens would go on to wear the number, while Loscutoff was honored with his nickname, "Loscy," hanging in the rafters along side the other retired numbers.
3. Dave Cowens
Dave Cowens was a key part of the Celtics' championship runs in 1974 and 1976, and is widely regarded as one of the greatest Celtics in team history.
What makes Cowens so unique was that at only 6'9," he played power forward and center. This is certainly at least a touch small for such a position, which requires a huge amount of height and size in order to score, rebound and play tough paint defense.
Cowens managed to do all of that, averaging 17.6 points per game and 13.6 rebounds per game, playing both bigger and smaller than him when he needed to. In addition to scoring and rebounding the paint, his aggressive, no-holds-barred play earned him props from fans, teammates and opponents alike, along with his reputation of being a scrapper and a fighter—in a good way, of course.
He famously ended up on the winning end of Jim Loscutoff's jersey number generosity, as the No. 18 was finally retired for him following his 13 year career.
4. Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo is similar to Dave Cowens, but he is still different and unique in his own way.
Rondo, like Cowens, can play bigger than he is; at 6'1" he's the classic point guard who can distribute like mad, but he can also get right to the rim and dunk on opponents. Not only that, he can hit the deck and dive for loose balls in order to make the key play, even if it means hyperextending an elbow in the most painful of ways; that really looked painful, too.
Although he lacks a jump shot, the fact that Rondo can put up a double-double in points and assists is a pretty unique quality only shared by a handful of other players. Widely regarded as the future of the franchise, Rondo will be a valuable asset in the coming years.