Boston Celtics fans, my All-Time Celtics team is almost halfway done! In case you have not yet had a chance to vote, I have nominated point guards, shooting guards, and small forwards – hurry up and vote, as I will be closing those polls soon!
Today we look at the position that I think may provide the best chance for a player of the modern generation to make the cut: the power forward spot.
Our first nominee: Kevin Garnett. Talk about setting the tone! With Garnett in Celtic green, Boston immediately established itself as the best defensive team in the NBA. Garnett was (still is, if you believe he’s still playing basketball in Brooklyn) the type of player who can go oh-for-whatever and still have an impact on the game, due to his intensity, leadership, and tenacious defense. His scoring in Boston was never as good as it was while he played for the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it didn’t need to be, and besides, there were plenty of times he proved that he could still score when the Cs needed him to carry the offensive load. Bold prediction that I can never prove: the Celtics would have won at least two additional titles with Garnett had they acquired him a bit earlier in his career. Watch the Celtics this season and tell me which veteran the team will miss more: Paul Pierce, or Garnett. My money is on the latter.
My second player worthy of consideration: Kevin McHale. McHale was the stuff of nightmares for opposing teams, since his long arms and dizzying array of fakes, spin moves, and basketball IQ made him virtually impossible to defend one-on-one. He also was a nightmare on the defensive end, using his reach to swat shots (2nd all-time for the Cs) and clear the glass (6th all time in total rebounds). Perhaps my favorites memory of Kevin McHale was in game 4 of the 1984 NBA Finals, when he responded to Larry Bird’s assertion that the Celtics were a bunch of sissies (4:47 of video):
That’s a man’s foul, right there! Having Bird and McHale on the same team really wasn’t fair, now was it?
My third power forward – the man that McHale replaced, Cedric “Cornbread” Maxwell. He may not have had as many moves as McHale, but he was still a beast on the low block, and shot such a high percentage that he ranks 2nd all-time among Celtics players. You can also find his name listed among the top ten Celtics shot blockers, and offensive/defensive rebounders despite only playing eight seasons in Boston. Many of his best performances came in the clutch, such as before game 7 of the NBA Finals, when he told his teammates to “climb on his back” and then scored 24 points in the championship-clinching win.
Last, but never least . . . many younger fans of the Boston Celtics may recognize this man for his role as the color commentator on Celtics’ TV broadcasts, but more veteran fans will recognize Tommy Heinsohn as the first great power forward to suit up in Celtic green. Heinsohn was a critical part of the dynasty that won 8 NBA championships in 9 years, and he even won the Rookie of the Year in 1957, beating out a teammate by the name of Bill Russell! Heinsohn’s name may not show up in the Celtics’ leaderboards as often as others, but his six All-Star Teams, retired jersey and place in the Hall of Fame will tell you why he belongs on this list!
Vote time! Pick your poison, and let me know why you voted the way you did in the comments section, or @theamazingMrS. Thanks!
Who would you start at power forward for the All-Time Celtics squad?
- Kevin McHale (71%, 92 Votes)
- Kevin Garnett (22%, 28 Votes)
- Tommy Heinsohn (6%, 8 Votes)
- Cedric Maxwell (1%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 129