Forget Larry Bird. Forget Bill Russell.
Kevin Garnett is the best all-around player in Boston Celtics history, according to Cedric Maxwell.
Maxwell, a two-time NBA champion with Boston who’s been calling Celtics games for years, made the polarizing comment recently while appearing as a guest on CLNS Media’s Celtics Beat Podcast.
Adam Kaufman, the host of the podcast, suggested Gordon Hayward is the best all-around player on the Celtics’ current roster because of his impact both offensively and defensively. Maxwell disagreed, saying he believes Kyrie Irving is Boston’s best player right now, but he used Kaufman’s rationale for the basis of his stance regarding KG.
“I’ve always said that Kevin Garnett is the best all-around player the Celtics have ever had,” Maxwell said. “… He was a better defensive player than Larry (Bird). Not as good offensively. He was a better offensive player than Bill Russell. But not as good defensively. But you could Kevin Garnett was no slouch on either one of those things. He’s one of the top players to ever play the game.”
Garnett spent just six seasons in Boston, during which he earned five All-Star selections and won one NBA title. It was enough time for him to leave his mark, though, which Maxwell explained while heaping praise on The Big Ticket.
“(Garnett) defined what they did, and the biggest thing he did — like Larry Bird, like Bill Russell — he changed the culture of this team,” Maxwell said. “When you have Paul Pierce — Paul Pierce has been a great player all his life, but Paul Pierce became more of a great player when he was around Garnett. Ray Allen. (Rajon) Rondo became Rondo. (Garnett) made guys. He made Doc Rivers a better coach.”
Does he have a point?
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports