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So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers?

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So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers? 

Post#1 » by Fencer reregistered » Fri Aug 30, 2019 10:08 am

Greatly disagreeing with the tiering of players in another thread -- viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1885932 -- made me wonder what would be better. My first cut (with the usual 15-points-to-distribute-among-5-starters rule) is:

5: Larry Bird, Bill Russell
4: John Havlicek, Paul Pierce, Dave Cowens, Kevin McHale, Kevin Garnett
3: Robert Parish, Jo Jo White, Sam Jones, Bob Cousy, Tiny Archibald
2: Dennis Johnson, Bill Sharman, Ray Allen
1: Tom Heinsohn, Rajon Rondo, Antoine Walker, Danny Ainge or anybody else you want

Tier 5 is self-explanatory.

So is Tier 4, although I can at least imagine people disagreeing with one or the other choice. :)

Tier 3 is the first time that I really have to confront how I feel about old-time players. In particular, I can't see putting Cooz any lower than here, but given how much guard play has improved over the decades I can't really see putting him any higher. Indeed, he's still overvalued here.

Beyond that, it's really hard to separate Tier 3 from Tier 2.

Heinsohn is downgraded (in his case all the way to Tier 1) for the same reason a number of old-time guards are -- scorers are just a lot better now than they used to be.


My own choices for a modern team from this tiering are a 5-4-3-2-1:

Parish (3)
Bird (5), in his proper position at PF
Pierce (4), because he's proven he can play modern ball (but it's still hard not to take Havlicek instead)
Ainge (1), because I think he was a little before his time and would actually be more impactful today
Johnson (2), because I think man defense crosses eras

I.e., I've picked the 80s Celtics but with Pierce in for McHale. (This suggests a certain bias, but I'm not sure exactly where it is or how to correct for it.) Of course, given my point values one could pick the exact 80s Celtics instead, but I think the roster balance with Pierce is better for the modern game.
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Re: So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers? 

Post#2 » by captain green » Fri Aug 30, 2019 8:51 pm

I usually rank by rings. Goat is bill he is tops then from there. I alway place bird at my 2 though for gold medal and soft spot. Others go by rings until I forget I liked someone better lol
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Re: So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers? 

Post#3 » by 31to6 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 12:35 am

Fencer we have very divergent views on Cousy — second tier below only Russell and Bird to me.
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Re: So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers? 

Post#4 » by Captain_Caveman » Wed Sep 4, 2019 5:46 pm

31to6 wrote:Fencer we have very divergent views on Cousy — second tier below only Russell and Bird to me.


Cousy was before my time, but wondering if it is really a hot take or not to say that he should be Tier 4 while Pierce is actually Tier 3.

Cousy was an MVP, as was Cowens. Was also 10-time first team All-NBA and a 6-time champ. Hondo was an 8-time champ, and 4-time first team All-NBA. For a brief moment in time in 1987, McHale was MVP-caliber and top 5 on both ends of the floor -- and ultimately, one of the greatest players ever at his position.

As good as Pierce was, he was arguably never a top 10 player (despite a second team All-NBA in 2010), and was at best closer to 10th best than 5th. It's sorta splitting hairs when dealing with players of this caliber, and dangerous to compare across eras, but I think that's the point of the thread, so....
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Re: So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers? 

Post#5 » by celtics543 » Wed Sep 4, 2019 6:39 pm

I'd put Tommy quite a bit higher on that list. I'd argue at least Tier 2 if not Tier 3. His playing career is overshadowed by his announcing career, and the fact that it happened like 60 years ago but he was a heck of a player with some huge moments in huge games for the Celts. Add in that he's been with the franchise for over 60 years and he is at least Tier 3.

Cousy to me is Tier 4. As much as I love Pierce he was never a league MVP and really was never close to that so I'd probably move him and KG down to Tier 3 (I'm only counting KG's Celtics career). McHale moves down as well.

My Tiers:

Tier 5: Bird, Russell
Tier 4: Cowens, Havlicek, Cousy
Tier 3: Pierce, Heinsohn, McHale, Garnett, Sam Jones, Bill Sharman
Tier 2: Parish, Jojo, Tiny, DJ
Tier 1: Ray, Rondo, Antoine, Ainge, etc.

To me those are the groups. I can see the argument for Pierce but he never passed Havlicek's numbers and he was never in the league MVP discussion so I think Tier 3 is where he belongs. The Celtics have an incredible history so that's not a terrible place to be.
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Re: So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers? 

Post#6 » by 31to6 » Wed Sep 4, 2019 8:16 pm

celtics543 wrote:I'd put Tommy quite a bit higher on that list. I'd argue at least Tier 2 if not Tier 3. His playing career is overshadowed by his announcing career, and the fact that it happened like 60 years ago but he was a heck of a player with some huge moments in huge games for the Celts. Add in that he's been with the franchise for over 60 years and he is at least Tier 3.

Cousy to me is Tier 4. As much as I love Pierce he was never a league MVP and really was never close to that so I'd probably move him and KG down to Tier 3 (I'm only counting KG's Celtics career). McHale moves down as well.

My Tiers:

Tier 5: Bird, Russell
Tier 4: Cowens, Havlicek, Cousy
Tier 3: Pierce, Heinsohn, McHale, Garnett, Sam Jones, Bill Sharman
Tier 2: Parish, Jojo, Tiny, DJ
Tier 1: Ray, Rondo, Antoine, Ainge, etc.

To me those are the groups. I can see the argument for Pierce but he never passed Havlicek's numbers and he was never in the league MVP discussion so I think Tier 3 is where he belongs. The Celtics have an incredible history so that's not a terrible place to be.


I agree about Tommy and also that a big tier 3 makes sense for our franchise. And I'm of the opinion that McHale (who I think tends to get overvalued -- brilliant but relatively short peak) and Parish (who I think tends to get undervalued -- his longevity makes us perhaps forget how good he was during a long peak) should be pretty much on equal footing so I'd put both of them there.

Then I start wondering if DJ and White need to move up and I'm like 'but what about Loscy' and it all goes to hell.
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Re: So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers? 

Post#7 » by Fencer reregistered » Wed Sep 4, 2019 11:09 pm

Please recall that this all started as an exercise in "Who would you draft to a team?" So I downgraded guys who were amazingly great in their eras but wouldn't be so good today more than I would in some other kinds of rankings. The biggest victims of such downgrades are the 1950s/early-60s offensive stars -- i.e. Cousy, Sharman and Heinsohn.

By the way -- Parish had a Celtic season in which he finished 4th in the MVP voting (unfortunately, that was the "Beat LA" year in which the Celtics missed the FInals). Not a lot of Celtics have gone higher than that. Russell, Cousy, Cowens and Bird obviously did. So did Garnett. Hondo, Sam Jones and McHale matched it. Sharman, Heinsohn and Pierce did not. I understand why people overlook him. I did even when he was playing. And it is correct to rank him somewhat below McHale. But he was very, very good himself.
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Re: So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers? 

Post#8 » by Celtics_History_Lesson » Thu Sep 5, 2019 2:03 am

Fencer reregistered wrote:Greatly disagreeing with the tiering of players in another thread -- viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1885932 -- made me wonder what would be better. My first cut (with the usual 15-points-to-distribute-among-5-starters rule) is:

5: Larry Bird, Bill Russell
4: John Havlicek, Paul Pierce, Dave Cowens, Kevin McHale, Kevin Garnett
3: Robert Parish, Jo Jo White, Sam Jones, Bob Cousy, Tiny Archibald
2: Dennis Johnson, Bill Sharman, Ray Allen
1: Tom Heinsohn, Rajon Rondo, Antoine Walker, Danny Ainge or anybody else you want




All of this is wrong.

There is no right way, which does make it difficult. Bird should be his own tier, he should be tier 5 and then next players should be tier 3.


A nice trapezoid is the only logical way to play this. Although for the player picking thing it makes a small amount of sense for the same amount for each level.


Bird, Russell, Havlicek

Historically, that has always been the way. Havlicek is top for total points, second for assists, maybe fifth for rebounds. He is more than just "stole the ball". He kept a dynasty going with his energy and versatility and skill, and then he led a totally new team the next decade to the finals and wins.


McHale, Cowens, Pierce, Cousy

Cowens and McHale, great bigs. Cousy was amazing then, and would be today, in a league where point guards who don't pass and shoot a bad percentage get maximum deals. He could pass, and his shooting wasn't bad. Pierce, longevity and high performance get him here.


S Jones, Parish, JoJo White, K Garnett, Sharman

Garnett is tricky, he did make the team win, but that first year was close to 20-10 while the rest in green were around 15-8. Made sure to put K Garnett, so not to be confused with Boston's first Garnett. Sam Jones would win a lot of games, Parish was super and when needed elevated his numbers with other stars out, White did everything at guard. Tiny, DJ, Sharman, different small guards who did plenty, and won. Scorer/passer, defender, shooter, hard to pick. Was going Tiny, but Sharman and his longevity and legendary FT% maybe ahead of Tiny's passing and scoring.


D Johnson, Archibald, Heinsohn, Rondo, Macauley, Sanders

After Heinsohn, the list gets difficult as role players with long stays versus better players with only a few seasons. Is not winning very important, pushing down E-Z Ed and 'toine. Rondo is up high for total assists, top for assists per game. Decided to have Macauley due to always being an All-Star, while Walker had many empty stats. Both did have big trade value. A long career, or a few big seasons, Sanders gets mention for being among leaders for seasons, games and rebounds.


Walker, I Thomas, B Howell, Ainge, Olynyk, Silas, C Maxwell

Thomas has highest of all for points per game as a Celtic. The Canadian center won the big games. Walker played a lot and did a lot. Howell won and scored fast. Silas was a double-double machine. C Scott, R Allen, many others on the next level, but who could be on this one. Ramsey, Tatum, Nelson, Irving, Radja, KC Jones, many more to choose from. McAdoo had 20 big games, D Chaney had 10 solid seasons, just a way of pointing out that the difficult part is the balance of greatness plus longevity with the team.
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Re: So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers? 

Post#9 » by Parliament10 » Thu Sep 5, 2019 3:08 am

I think that a Really Advanced way to do it, would be Tier by Era.
For instance the 3pt Era, or the Blocking Era, etc.

Players are bigger now; the speed of the game has changed; plus there's more games, and more teams.
And then there's the controversial, larger player pool. Not to mention all the plane flights they have to take.

Just a few examples.

Edit:
Who was better?: Rocky Marciano or Muhammad Ali? Or someone else pound for pound?
Sugar Ray Leonard? Mike Tyson?

None of these Boxers, or Basketball players could have played each other. They all are from different Era's.
See my point?

What's good in one Era, may have no meaning (or stats) in another.
Little to No Worldwide players, in the early days vs Now; etc, etc.
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Re: So what is a good way to divide Celtics legends into tiers? 

Post#10 » by 31to6 » Fri Sep 6, 2019 6:57 pm

Fencer reregistered wrote:Please recall that this all started as an exercise in "Who would you draft to a team?" So I downgraded guys who were amazingly great in their eras but wouldn't be so good today more than I would in some other kinds of rankings. The biggest victims of such downgrades are the 1950s/early-60s offensive stars -- i.e. Cousy, Sharman and Heinsohn.

By the way -- Parish had a Celtic season in which he finished 4th in the MVP voting (unfortunately, that was the "Beat LA" year in which the Celtics missed the FInals). Not a lot of Celtics have gone higher than that. Russell, Cousy, Cowens and Bird obviously did. So did Garnett. Hondo, Sam Jones and McHale matched it. Sharman, Heinsohn and Pierce did not. I understand why people overlook him. I did even when he was playing. And it is correct to rank him somewhat below McHale. But he was very, very good himself.


Sorry I missed the premise of your list, which makes my earlier post rather moot. I REALLY wish we could see what Bill Russell, born again, would do in today's NBA given that he was an all-time world class athlete and competitor. But I also wish I could see dinosaurs and the future so alas.

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