Top Ten Celtics all-time - Part 1 - point guard

This discussion was initiated by my colleagues at @_Celtics_Center on Twitter. Their start/bench/cut proposal got things churning:



I am old enough to have seen all of them. To break the suspense, here are my initial choices for all five spots. This is subject to change. I want the whole package - size, scoring, rebounding, defense, passing, ball-handling, toughness and team play. I am going with a starter and back-up at each position.

PG - Dennis Johnson, Jo Jo White
SG - John Havlicek, Sam Jones
SF - Larry Bird, Paul Pierce
PF - Kevin Garnett, Dave Cowens
C - Bill Russell, Kevin McHale

To get things rolling in my 5-part series, my choices for point guard will be highly controversial. I am going with 6'4" Dennis Johnson as my starting point guard. Many younger fans don't remember him, and those that do may forget his seasons with the Seattle Supersonics. The 5-time All-Star and 3-time Champion won one of those Titles with Seattle in 1979, coming away with the Finals MVP Award. With the Sonics, Dennis was an athletic, offensive force. And he was also a killer on defense, blocking seven shots in a single Finals game versus the Washington Bullets.

Johnson was a 6-time NBA All-Defensive First team choice and 3-time All-Defense Second Team. Dennis The Menace did not begin to describe what he could on the defensive end. The back court I have proposed puts two of the best-ever 2-way guards together, and I would match them up against almost any all-time backcourt out there.



Those that only remember Dennis as a Boston Celtic saw a smart, solid point guard who adapted his play to the Big Three of Bird, McHale and Robert Parish. His beautiful-to-watch synergy with Larry Bird was stunning. It seemed at least once a game, Johnson would rifle an off-the-dribble, one-hand pass to Larry for an easy score under the hoop.



As I wrote - I wanted the whole package here. Dennis never seemed to get rattled, and he had it all. In different seasons in the playoffs, he averaged career highs of 22.3 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 8.9 APG, 2.2 SPG and 1.5 BPG. Larry Bird called DJ the best teammate he ever had. Magic Johnson called him the toughest back court defender of all time. That's good enough for me. That is why he is my all-time starting Celtics point guard.

Follow Tom at @CelticsSentinel and @_Celtics_Center

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