The end is near, Boston Celtics fans!
No, I’m not referring to the giant asteroid that could strike Earth in 2032. I am referring to the end of my All-Time Boston Celtics Team series – duh. When it comes to the players, I have already opened polls for the position of point guard, shooting guard, small forward, power forward, center, and the sixth man. Whew!
But what’s a team of legends without a legendary coach to guide them? Well, a team of legends with no coach, that’s what! And every team needs a coach, so let’s finish off this series by selecting the man we want to be prowling the sidelines for out All-Time Celtics Team.
When it comes time to watch the Celtics on a regular basis this season, I am not sure who I will miss the most: Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, or Doc Rivers. Rivers managed to turn “The Big Three” into a championship-contending (and winning) team far more quickly than anyone who follows the NBA thought i would take, and he was a Kendrick Perkins injury away from winning his second championship in three years, in my opinion. Heck, he might have been a Rajon Rondo injury away from another one, since Rondo was terrorizing the Miami Heat during the 2011 NBA Playoffs. He managed some pretty strong egos during his tenure in Boston and got the Celtics to commit to playing hard-nosed defense, meaning they were contenders every year they were healthy under Rivers. I really respect Doc Rivers as a coach, and think he deserves to be considered for this spot.
Another ex-player-turned-coach who I am very fond of K.C. Jones. Obviously, Jones has roots within the Celtics organization that run deeper than his time spent coaching for the Cs, as Jones won 8 NBA Championships with Boston. Let’s not forgot, however, that he was actually a damn good coach, too. In the five years he coached in Boston, he won two championships, led his team to two more NBA Finals in which they lost to the Los Angelese Lakers, and never had a Celtic team finish anyplace but first in the Atlantic Division. Sure, he had some of the best players to ever play basketball on his roster, but there have been plenty of cases of talented teams underachieving due to out-of-control egos or bad coaching. K.C. Jones held those teams together magnificently.
Yet another ex-player who went out to be a damn good coach is Tom Heinsohn. Heinsohn begn his coaching career with a Celtics team that had just lost Bill Russell to retirement. It was Heinsohn who moved Dave Cowens to center and managed to rebuild the Celtics into a team that won two championships and went 416-240 under his direction. He liked to call the style of play he demanded of his teams “guerrilla warfare,” as his teams just wore down opponents until they were exhausted. Heinsohn certainly could get the most out of our final All-Time Celtics team.
Finally, we have the man who is synonymous with Celtics basketball: Red Auerbach. If you are a Boston Celtics fan and you don’t know who the late, great Red Auerbach is, well, then you are not a true Boston Celtics fan. Red was truly a pioneer in the world of professional basketball. Not only did he build a dynasty that won eight consecutive NBA Championships, and 11 in 13 years, Red broke the color barrier in the NBA. He made the Celtics the first team to draft an African-American in 1950, and he was the first general manager to ever hire an African-American coach. He didn’t care about race; he cared about winning, and in my mind he is the greatest coach to ever work in the NBA, period. Whether or not he could coach in this day and age is inconsequential; the reason the Boston Celtics are the most storied and successful franchise in NBA history is almost entirely due to the precedence that this man set during his 57 years of service with the organization.
Okay – it’s time for our final vote of the series! Who would you want to coach the greatest version of the Boston Celtics ever to hit a parquet floor? Vote over the weekend, and I will breakdown all of the results come Monday!
Final vote: who would you want coaching the All-Time Celtics Team?
- Red Auerbach (94%, 65 Votes)
- Doc Rivers (3%, 2 Votes)
- Tom Heinsohn (3%, 2 Votes)
- K.C. Jones (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 69