Sep 27, 2013; Edmond, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins (5) poses for a portrait during the Thunder media day at Thunder Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics All-Time Team: The Centers

Feb 16, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Boston Celtics former center Bill Russell in attendance during the 2013 NBA all star shooting stars competition at the Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics fans, I have only two more entries left in my All-Time Celtics Team series before I unveil the winners!  Time is running out: vote for point guard, shooting guard, small forward, and power forward if you have not done so already!

Today . . . well today I look at the position that could result in the most lopsided vote we’ve held so far: the center.

Because I have already started the trend of beginning the discussion with a fairly recent player, allow me to throw my hat in the ring

for Kendrick Perkins.  No, Kendrick Perkins was not the most gifted center to play the position for the stories Boston Celtics franchise.   No, he is not going to make it into the NBA Hall of Fame.  However, we’re talking about building the ultimate Celtics team here, and if you are creating a team that is known for playing hellacious, shut-down defense, you should consider Perkins.  Perkins was (in my eyes) the unsung hero of the 2008 team that won a championship, and your proof of Perkins’ importance?  Once he got injured in the 2010 NBA Finals, any hopes the Celtics had of beating the Los Angeles Lakers were gone.  He may not fit in Oklahoma City’s athletic, up-and-down style of play, but he was a perfect fit for the defensive scheme that Doc Rivers used brilliantly to lead the Cs to their 17th NBA championship.

My second nominee is The Chief himself, Robert Parish.  Winner of three championships with the ’81, ’84 and ’86 Celtics, Parish has cemented his legacy in the Boston Celtics record books: 2nd most games played; 4th most minutes played; 4th most field goals made; 2nd most rebounds; 4th most steals; 4th most points; and technically, Parish has the most blocks ever swatted away from opponents who had the misfortune of playing the Boston Celtics.  (Obviously, this stat is misleading, as shot blocks were not always tracked by the NBA).  Parish is one of the great warriors to suit up for the Cs, playing in pain (my mind goes back to 1987 when the Celtics beat Detroit and Milwaukee before losing in six to the Lakers in the NBA Finals) and doing whatever he physically could in order to help his team win.

The third player who in my mind will be fighting for second place in this poll?  Dave Cowens.  Despite having to hear that he was too small (6’9″) to play center, Cowens made up for this perceived “weakness” by working harder than any one else on the court and simply out-hustling his opponents.  He was versatile enough to slide into the power forward spot, and he was unselfish, as well, ranking 10th on the Celtics’ all-time assists leaderboard.  He won two championships while in Boston, was a 7-time All-Star, and was named the MVP of the league in 1973.  He is also one of only four players in NBA history to lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks for an entire season.  No other Celtics has ever pulled off such a feat.

Finally, arguably the greatest player to wear Celtics green and one of the best players to ever play in the NBA , Bill Russell.   I cannot imagine that anyone with a sense of basketball history would vote against Russell in this sort of poll.  Along with Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell made blocking shots sexy.  He helped transform the way defense was played in the NBA.   Although it is impossible to know how many blocks Russell had over the course of his career, interviews with reporters and referees suggest he may have averaged close to 6 blocks a game – astounding.  And consider how prolific Russell was at cleaning the glass – he averaged over 22 rebounds A GAME for his career!  He snatched 51 rebounds in one game, and two more games in which he cleared 49.  That would explain why he has 10,000 more rebounds than the next closest player on the Celtics’ all-time rebound list, Robert Parish.  Russell also ranks among Boston’s top-ten point scorers and assist-givers, even though he clearly was not the focus of the Celtics’ offense.  You could argue that his most important contribution to the Celtics teams that won 11 championships in 13 years with Russell, however, was his leadership.  He inspired those around him to achieve greatness, which is why he will forever be remembered as one of the greatest winners in all of professional sports.

Time to vote!  Have a comment?  Time to comment!  Leave it below, or fire it to me @theamazingMrS!  Thanks!

Who would you want defending the middle of the paint for the All-Time Celtics Team?

  • Bill Russell (91%, 88 Votes)
  • Dave Cowens (5%, 5 Votes)
  • Robert Parish (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Kendrick Perkins (1%, 1 Votes)

Total Voters: 97

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Tags: Bill Russell Boston Celtics Kendrick Perkins Robert Parish

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