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Boston Celtics

Franchise fantasy draft for the best all-time Boston Celtics team

larry-bird-bill-russell-paul-pierce-082119-ftr-nba-getty
Which all-time great went No. 1? (NBAE/Getty Images)

Ahead of the 2019-20 season, five members of our Global NBA.com Staff are holding fantasy drafts for different franchises to see who can build the best team.

First up were the Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs, Los Angeles Lakers and Orlando Magic. Today, we're looking at the Boston Celtics.

The rules of the draft were simple:

  • Each team selected five starters, one sixth man and a head coach
  • Every player and coach who has represented the Magic franchise since 1989-90 was available
  • One specific season had to be selected for each player and the season selected could only be from their time with the franchise (i.e. what Bill Walton did as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers doesn't count)
  • It was a snake draft, meaning the pick order was reversed each round

Below are the results from our draft, followed by an explanation from each member about why they made the picks they did. You can also vote for which team you think is best at the bottom of the page.

Draft Order

1. Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_)

2. Micah Adams (@MicahAdams13)

3. Jordan Greer (@jordangreer42)

4. Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21)

5. Scott Rafferty (@crabdribbles)

Draft Results

1. Rajon Rondo - 2011-12 season

2. Larry Bird - 1985-86 season

3. Bill Russell - 1961-62 season

4. John Havlicek - 1970-71 season

5. Paul Pierce - 2007-08 season

6. Kevin McHale - 1986-87 season

7. Kevin Garnett - 2007-08 season

8. Bob Cousy - 1956-57 season

9. Ray Allen - 2008-09 season

10. Robert Parish - 1980-81 season

11. Isaiah Thomas - 2016-17 season

12. Dave Cowens - 1972-73 season

13. Jo Jo White - 1975-76 season

14. Sam Jones - 1964-65 season

15. Bill Sharman - 1956-57 season

16. Dennis Johnson - 1985-86 season

17. Kyrie Irving - 2018-19 season

18. Al Horford - 2017-18 season

19. Reggie Lewis - 1991-92 season

20. Tommy Heinsohn - 1961-62 season

21. Jayson Tatum - 2017-18 season

22. Nate Archibald - 1979-80 season

23. Cedric Maxwell - 1979-80 season

24. Kendrick Perkins - 2009-10 season

25. Antoine Walker - 2000-01 season

26. Red Auerbach (head coach)

27. KC Jones (head coach)

28. Dee Brown - 1994-95 season

29. Bill Walton - 1985-86 season

30. Marcus Smart - 2018-19 season

31. Doc Rivers (head coach)

32. Rick Pitino (head coach)

33. Bill Russell (head coach)

34. Jaylen Brown - 2017-18 season

35. Ed Macauley - 1950-51 season

Team Kyle

Starting Lineup: Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Thomas, Jayson Tatum, Tommy Heinsohn, Robert Parish

Sixth Man: Marcus Smart

Head Coach: Doc Rivers

My No. 1 overall selection is probably raising a couple of eyebrows, but I can explain. Rajon Rondo is my favourite player of all-time. When I got the No. 1 pick, I couldn't risk not getting him in this draft.

Besides, Rondo orchestrated those Celtics offences to perfection and in 2011-12, Playoff Rondo was playing on a different level than any other guard in the league.

Robert Parish is holding down the paint while Isaiah Thomas provides our team with a prolific scorer at the other guard spot. Tommy Heinsohn filled a void at power forward, creating a legendary Celtics frontcourt, and Jayson Tatum gives this team another versatile scoring punch that pairs nicely with I.T.

Marcus Smart adds some grit and toughness off of the bench as a player that represents the epitome of what it means to be a Celtic and NBA champion head coach Doc Rivers rounds out this dream team of mine perfectly.

Team Micah

Starting Lineup: Nate Archibald, Ray Allen, Reggie Lewis, Larry Bird, Dave Cowens

Sixth Man: Bill Walton

Head Coach: Rick Pitino

I had mentally prepared to take Bird on the assumption that Bill Russell was an automatic No. 1 overall pick. Bird behind Russell would have been quick, it would have easy, it would have been painless. But choosing Bird OVER Russell? Honestly, I think I blacked out a bit after Rondo flew off the board that I didn't even have time to register what just happened.

Regardless, I'll take Bird's third MVP season. Those sweet locks draining jumpers from all over the floor and firing bullets to shooters and cutters … Bird might be the quintessential example of a legend who would be even better in today's game with all of the spacing.

Now imagine Ray Allen flying off screens with Bird finding him off double teams and it's game over. Basketball Jesus and Jesus Shuttlesworth on the same team? LET'S GO!!!!

Dave Cowens gives me another MVP while Reggie Lewis, the archetype for the modern two-way All-Star wing, fits perfectly between Bird and Allen. Tiny Archibald may have been past his prime but was still an All-Star in Boston and knows a thing or two about running next to Bird.

1985-86 Sixth Man of the Year Bill Walton is an easy choice off the bench especially for a team thin up front.

As for Rick Pitino … let's just say I think he does a better job the second time around. This squad might appeal to his fiery style a bit more than the one he floundered with in the mid 90s. And beside, this is a FANTASY draft. And in this fantasy, Pitino ends up a Celtics legend.

Team Jordan

Starting Lineup: Bob Cousy, Jo Jo White, Cedric Maxwell, Al Horford, Bill Russell

Sixth Man: Dee Brown

Head Coach: Bill Russell

I got Bill Russell third? In a Celtics draft? In this economy? Yes, give me the 11-time NBA champion. No need to explain this pick.

Then there's another Hall of Famer in Bob Cousy. We could count the rings and list the accolades, but all you need to know is this man was the original "White Chocolate." How many players can drop a defender without switching hands? A true artist.

Let's add prime Jo Jo White to the backcourt and pair him with Cousy. White averaged 18.9 points, 5.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game during the 1975-76 season, and his numbers only improved during the playoffs, ending in a championship. In a joyful Dennis Scott voice: "Winners only, baby!"

For all you millennials out there, here's someone you actually recognize... Al Horford! Super popular with the kids. I bet he plays the Fortnite! (To the previous three guys, Fortnite is - actually, nevermind. We'll talk about it after practice.) Horford fits with any group of players, no matter the era. He can easily slide to power forward with Russell at center. He shot 42.9 percent from 3-point range in 2017-18, so that gives this group a little extra spacing offensively. This frontcourt is also a monster on the defensive end.

MORE: These NBA players turned their passion for Fortnite into business venture

Cedric Maxwell shot 60.9 percent from the field in 1979-80 on nearly 10 attempts per game as a small forward. Not to go full nerd with the analytics terms, but that could be described as "pretty good." Get buckets, Max.

At sixth man, Dee Brown provides more scoring and shooting off the bench. He put up 15.6 points per game and shot 38.5 percent from 3-point range in 1994-95. He did that blind finish in the 1991 Slam Dunk Contest, so that's cool.

Russell will serve as player-coach because if Red Auerbach isn't around, then he's in charge.

Team Gil

Starting Lineup: Kyrie Irving, Sam Jones, John Havlicek, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins

Sixth Man: Jaylen Brown

Head Coach: K.C. Jones

At first, I was a little unsure about landing the fourth pick, but with a franchise like the Celtics, you're guaranteed a big-time player in the first two rounds regardless of where you select. Needless to say I was pretty pleased when John 'Hondo' Havlicek fell to me at No. 4.

As the franchise's all-time leading scorer, Hondo obviously can fill it up, and the 1970-71 season saw him average career-highs across the board with 28.9 points, 9.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists over 81 games.

This is where I got nervous.

Knowing Scott, I was sure he would take Kevin Garnett with either the fifth or sixth pick, but the moment I realized he'd be taking a different Kevin, I wasted no time taking KG, who still stands as the only Celtic to win Defensive Player of the Year, which he did during that legendary 2008 season.

From there I had to address my backcourt, and I did so with 10-time champ Sam Jones and polarizing point guard Kyrie Irving, a pick that many C's fans will roll their eyes at - and understandably so - but an All-NBA point guard at No. 17 is the definition of a value pick.

To round out the starting unit I gave KG a familiar face in Perk to run with in the front court. The numbers might not have been gaudy, but many feel that had Perk not been injured in 2010, Boston would have won that title as well. He's also the consummate teammate.

I'm pretty high on Jaylen Brown, and he wowed me throughout the 2018 playoffs. Easy choice for a sixth man. I went with K.C. Jones to lead my guys as he led the C's to four straight Finals appearances and two titles during his five years as head coach.

Good luck stopping this squad.

Team Scott

Starting Lineup: Dennis Johnson, Bill Sharman, Paul Pierce, Antoine Walker, Kevin McHale

Sixth Man: Ed Macauley

Head Coach: Red Auerbach

This team is going to get buckets.

In Paul Pierce, Kevin McHale, Antoine Walker and Bill Sharman, I have four players who could score 20 points in their sleep. Pierce and Walker are also more than capable of heating up from the perimeter, with them ranking first and second respectively in 3-pointers made all-time by a Celtic.

Figuring out a way for them to all get their touches is tricky, but that's where Dennis Johnson and Red Auerbach come in. Johnson started at point alongside Larry Bird, Robert Parish, Danny Ainge and McHale in the 1985-86 season, helping them win the franchise's 16th NBA title with his tenacious defence and secondary playmaking.

Auerbach, meanwhile, is widely regarded as one of the greatest - if not the greatest - head coaches in NBA history. I have faith in him being able to figure out how to get the most out of Sharman, Pierce, Walker and McHale.

As for Ed Macauley, I was mostly gaming the system knowing Bill Russell is the only Celtic to have ever posted more win shares in a single season, but it never hurts adding a seven-time All-Star, three-time member of the All-NBA First Team and a Hall of Famer with your last pick.

Who wins?

Which all-time Celtics team wins?
Team Scott
Team Kyle
Team Micah
Team Jordan
Team Gil
Created with Poll Maker

One way to compare these teams is by adding up the win shares for every season of every player selected.

Based on those results, it's Scott's team that emerges victorious (thanks in part to Ed Macauley) with a total of 66.8 win shares. Micah, who assembled a team consisting of two former MVPs and the Sixth Man of the Year, came in second with 61.9 total win shares.

Despite having the first pick, Kyle came in last with 55.0 win shares though his affinity for the players selected might suggest he is still the most pleased with his team.

Full results:

Win Shares From Selected Season
Team Cumulative Win Shares
1. Team Scott 66.8
2. Team Micah 61.9
3. Team Jordan 58.5
4. Team Gil 57.0
5. Team Kyke 55.0

The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.

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