BelichickEinstein's Blog

This is a new series that I am starting. It's pretty straightforward. I will go position by position and make my choices for the top five Celtics to ever play that position. Things I will take into account:

  • Production (of course)
  • Longevity of career spent with the Celtics
  • Postseason success

I will try my best to not take the usual picks, but there are certain ones that are impossible to change. I will do ever position, as well as coach. Finally, I will write my last blog on the current starters and their chances of making any of these lists. I will refrain from using current NBA players on the lists for that purpose.
Note: I will only be using stats with the Celtics.

Celtics All-Time Point Guards

1.)    Bob Cousy

Regular Season:
Games: 917 - 5th all-time - Led NBA 1 time
Minutes: 30,131 - 6th all-time
Field Goals: 6,167 - 7th all-time
Field Goal Percentage - 0.375
Free Throws: 4,621 - 3rd all-time
Free Throw Percentage - 0.803
Steals: N/A
Assists: 6,945 - 1st all-time - Led NBA 8 times
Points: 16,955 - 6th all-time
Steals per Game: N/A
Assists per Game: 7.15 - 1st all-time - Led NBA 8 times
Points per Game: 17.5 - 7th all-time

Points per Game: 18.5 - Led NBA 3 times
Assists per Game: 8.60 - Led NBA 8 times
Steals per Game: N/A
Games: 109 - Led NBA 4 times 

This is one of those that you just can't change. It is nearly impossible to argue that Bob Cousy was not the Celtics' greatest point guard ever. He is largely considered to be the first great point guard, after distributing the ball better than anyone from 1950 to 1963 with the Celtics. In those years, he led the league in assists an incredible eight years in a row. He also accumulated a total of 6,945 assists with the Celtics, the best in franchise history by an incredible 831 assists. He also had the highest single season total until Rajon Rondo obliterated it this season by 79, as well as holding 5 of the 10 best single seasons APG-wise, including numbers two and three.

When Cousy played for the Celtics, they were never below .500. Oh, yeah, Cousy also has to use both his hands if he wants to wear all of his championship rings. Cousy won a total of six NBA championships with the Celtics, while improving both his points per game and assists per game stats from the regular season to the playoffs. He picked his game up when it mattered most, and that is shown by his six rings.

With a combination of putting up gaudy statistics, holding a number of places in the top ten of the Celtics all-time leaders lists, spending the vast majority of his career with the Celtics, and having tremendous postseason success, it is nearly impossible not to have Cousy first.

2.)    Jo Jo White

Regular Season:
Games: 717 - Led NBA 2 times
Minutes: 26,770 - 9th all-time
Field Goals: 5,648 - 9th all-time
Field Goal Percentage: 0.442
Steals: 561
Assists: 3,686 - 5th all-time
Points: 13,188 - 10th all-time
Steals per Game: 1.29 - 10th all-time
Assists per Game: 5.14
Points per Game: 18.4 - 8th all-time

Points per Game: 21.5
Assists per Game: 5.70 - Led NBA 1 time
Steals per Game: 1.13
Games: 80 - Led NBA 1 time

Here is where the fun begins. Cousy is the cut-and-dry number one point guard, but who is second? Many believe it should be Nate "Tiny" Archibald. However, Nate, while an incredibly talented point guard, played on 30% of his career games with the Celtics. Jo Jo White, whom you won't often see this high on most lists, is my number two. 85.7% of his games were played with the Celtics, and that was a big part in my decision making. I put a lot of stock into the longevity of their career in green and I believe that it shows.

Jo Jo White, unlike Cousy, was more of a scorer than a distributor. If not for playing with the great John Havlicek, whom you will see in a later edition, White would have scored much more and led the Celtics in scoring most of the years he played. He finished first on the team in total points twice, second on the team three times, and third (behind Havlicek and Dave Cowens) twice.

White joined the Celtics as the ninth overall pick in 1969, the year after Bill Russell left and the year after the Celtics won the NBA championship. Tom Heinsohn took over, but he is no Red Auerbach. The Celtics had made the playoffs 19 straight years, but they missed it in both of White's first two seasons. Jo Jo ended up with two rings, won in '74 and '76. He also put in some impressive postseason performances, improving in both scoring and assists as well as leading the NBA in playoff points and assists the year he won his second championship.

3.)    Dennis Johnson

Regular Season:
Games: 464
Minutes: 18,321
Field Goals: 2,617
Field Goal Percentage: 0.446
Free Throws: 1,527
Free Throw Percentage: 0.840 - 8th all-time
Steals: 654 - 7th all-time
Assists: 3,486 - 6th all-time
Points: 6,805
Steals per Game: 1.3
Assists per Game: 6.4 - 6th all-time
Points per Game: 14.1

Points per Game: 16.1
Assists per Game: 6.8
Steals per Game: 1.3
Games: 109 - Led NBA 2 times 

"The best player I ever played with was Dennis Johnson"
- Larry Bird

Well, holy crap. How can I not put this guy in the top three after Larry Bird said that?! Johnson's defensive capabilities and playoff performance made this a much easier choice. And Larry Bird called him the best player he ever played with! I haven't heard Larry Bird dole out compliments like that very often. Johnson played more games with the Celtics than any other team, which is a good thing for him.

Now I am sure that those of you who aren't familiar with Dennis Johnson are looking over his stats and going "Uhh, where's the impressive part?" Well, if being out of the top ten in games played and spending less than half of his career with the Celtics and still finishing 6th all-time in assists and 7th in steals isn't impressive enough, here is a little bit more to convince you.

DJ made All-Defensive 1st or 2nd team nine different times in his career. Nine! He also made it to five All-Star games. This recent Hall of Fame inductee won two championship rings while playing with Bird and successfully improved his season averages in points per game and assists per game in the playoffs. He was one of the best defensive Celtics players of all-time and, in my humble opinion, the best defensive point guard they have ever had.

4.)    K.C. Jones

Regular Season:
Games: 676 - Led NBA 2 times
Minutes: 17,501
Field Goals: 1,919
Field Goal Percentage: 0.387
Free Throws: 1,173
Free Throw Percentage: 0.647
Steals: N/A
Assists: 2,908 - 8th all-time
Points: 5,011
Steals per Game: N/A
Assists per Game: 4.3
Points per Game: 7.4

Points per Game: 8.4
Assists per Game: 3.8
Steals per Game: N/A
Games: 105 - Led NBA 4 times

Ah, K.C. Jones. It was a difficult choice between him and Dennis Johnson for the number three spot. What hurt Jones the most? That would be playing just 25 minutes per game and his points per game and assists per game averages both decreasing from the regular season to the playoffs. However, don't take too much stock in those stats, he was incredibly successful after the regular season ended. He just barely missed being third on this list.

I love the fact that he played every single game of his career for Boston. However, despite doing this, he is out of the top ten in every single category I listed except for assists. His stats do not look that impressive, but K.C. Jones finished in the top ten in the NBA in assists per game four times as well as being in the top five three times. However, passing wasn't event he best facet of Jones' game. Defense was his finest work. He finished in the top ten in defensive win shares six times, three of those six were in the top three in the league. He was a defensive catalyst for those teams.

But was defense the most important part of Jones' career? Nope. Not even close. What is? Well, let's put it this way. K.C. Jones played nine seasons, all of which were on the Celtics. In 88.9% of those seasons, the Celtics won the championship. That's right, Jones has eight rings, acquired over just a nine year career. That is incredible. He was only one off from having an NBA ring for every single year he played. Simply astounding.

5.)    Nate "Tiny" Archibald

Regular Season:
Games: 263
Minutes: 11,324
Field Goals: 1,567
Field Goal Percentage: 0.469
Free Throws: 1,401
Free Throw Percentage: 0.790
Steals: 326
Assists: 2,563 - 10th all-time
Points: 4,550
Steals per Game: 1.24
Assists per Game: 7.1 - 2nd all-time
Points per Game: 17.3

Points per Game: 13.3
Assists per Game: 6.7
Steals per Game: 0.73
Games: 41

Tiny Archibald. Here is an interesting one. If this list was based on who had the best career, all teams included, or who was the most talented, Archibald could be number two. However, longevity with the Celtics hurt him big time. He played just over 250 games with the Celtics which is just 30% of his career. He was very successful in limited time, but it just didn't last long enough.

As you can see, he barely makes it into the top ten of all-time assists leaders, but we will see what Rajon Rondo has to say about that when it is all said and done. However, 2nd all-time in assists per game is very hard to ignore. He was behind just the great Bob Cousy. However, during his brief stint with the Celtics, Archibald never led the league in anything; not assists, not points, nothing. He played just 41 playoff games, but did win one ring. However, his points per game dropped by four, assists by 0.4 and steals by 0.51 from the regular season to the postseason. Is it safe to say that the Celtics could have won it without him? It's impossible to know, but not unrealistic.


Current Player: Rajon Rondo
Note: The stats used in this section are not exclusive to ones acquired with the Celtics.
Seasons in NBA: 4

Bob Cousy's Stats through Four Seasons (278 Games)
Points per Game: 19.1
Assists per Game: 6.6 - Led NBA 2 times
Turnovers per Game: N/A
Steals per Game: N/A
Field Goal Percnetage: 0.365

Jo Jo White's
Stats through 4 Seasons (296 Games)
Points per Game: 19.5
Assists per Game: 4.8
Turnovers per Game: N/A
Steals per Game: N/A
Field Goal Percentage: 0.442

Dennis Johnson's
Stats through 4 Seasons (323 Games)
Points per Game: 14.2
Assists per Game: 2.99
Turnovers per Game: 2.4
Steals per Game: 1.5
Field Goal Percentage: 0.436

K.C. Jones'
Stats through 4 Seasons (281 Games)
Points per Game: 7.0
Assists per Game: 3.0
Turnovers per Game: N/A
Steals per Game: N/A
Field Goal Percentage: 0.379

Tiny Archibald's
Stats through 4 Seasons (273 Games)
Points per Game: 24.8 - Led NBA 1 time
Assists per Game: 8.5 - Led NBA 1 time
Turnovers per Game: N/A
Steals per Game: 1.6
Field Goal Percentage: 0.475

Rajon Rondo's
Stats through 4 Seasons (316 Games)
Points per Game: 10.7
Assists per Game: 6.8
Turnovers per Game: 2.3
Steals per Game: 1.9 - Led NBA 1 time
Field Goal Percentage: 0.489

After four years, it appears that Rondo is looking up at Nate Archibald and Bob Cousy. Here is how he shapes up against the other five in these categories:

PPG: 5th
APG: 2nd
TOV: 1st (Only recorded for Rondo and Dennis Johnson)
SPG: 1st (Only recorded for Rondo, Dennis Johnson and Tiny Archibald)
FG%: 1st

Clearly Rondo's weak point is scoring. However, he only averages 8.9 field goal attempts per game, compared to Tiny Archibald's 19.1 field goal attempts per game. Once the Celtics' offense revolves around Rondo scoring more, which it will in the near future, it is safe to assume that Rondo will score a lot more points, considering his high field goal percentage (best out of the six).

Rondo is an exceptionally talented player and he already has one ring to put on his fingers. Statistically, he is exceptional. If he continues to improve over the course of his career, he should shake this list up. Considering the small amount of his career played on the Celtics, Tiny Archibald should be passed by Rondo eventually and there are some who believe he will give the great Bob Cousy a run for his money.

The most impressive part of Rondo's game is how well-rounded it is. He led the league in steals this season and has improved his steals per game average every single season he has played. Let's compare Rondo's defensive statistics so far to K.C. Jones' first four years, seeing as defense was the best part of K.C.'s game. Through four years, Jones had 11.3 defensive win shares. Rondo, on the other hand, has accumulated 17.2. It is hard to pass eight rings in nine years, but Rondo has been better thus far at the best part of K.C. Jones' game.

Where do I think Rondo will end up at the end of his career, assuming he plays the rest of his career with the Celtics? I'm high on Rondo and I think he could be #2, or even (drum roll, please...) #1! Gasp! Yeah, I said it.


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