Top 5 Boston Celtics players of the 21st century

BOSTON, MA - APRIL 28: Kevin Garnett
BOSTON, MA - APRIL 28: Kevin Garnett /
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Boston Celtics
Paul Pierce (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

Who made the list of the top 5 Boston Celtics players of the century?

The Boston Celtics are the most storied franchise in all of basketball, bar none. Picking a top 5 list of all-time Boston Celtics is an impossible challenge – how do you pick between Bill Russell and Larry Bird? Between Bob Cousy and John Havlicek?

Any sort of ranking like this is arbitrary. Measuring “greatness,” as ambiguous a concept as there is, is not an exact science. For a franchise as legendary as this one, whose greatness spans so many different eras, how do you even begin to separate who belongs in a top 5 list?

So, while that conversation is certainly valuable, this is going to be a different exercise. In this article, we rank the top players of this century. This exercise allows us to reflect on the legacies of more recent Celtics players who might not get a moment in the spotlight in a broader survey.

How do you separate the contributions of Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce to the 2008 championship team? Did Isaiah Thomas do enough to earn a place in the discussion? How do you value contributions to those losing teams of the early 2000s?

Does anybody on the current team deserve a spot on the list? While it’s largely a team of new faces and they haven’t won much yet, there is a case to be made that this is the most talented team Boston has put on the court this century. They have a serious shot to win a championship this year – that’s saying something when their opponent from the bay might be the best NBA team of all time. Does that count for something?

These are the questions this list is going to address. You don’t have to agree (sound off in the comments either way). Hopefully, this will inspire some debate about the more recent heroes of Celtics lore.