Originally Posted by Duranthebest
I've seen this topic discussed on different boards multiple times... The consensus top 6 is(in no order), Bird, Russel, Hondo, Cousey, Pierce and McHale. I'd put Pierce over McHale and Cousey based on longevity and career statistics.
I've seen them all in person, except Russell and Cousy era players.
My top 5 would be:
Bill Russell - for the championships and the overall excellence.
Larry Bird - I have never seen a player with so many all around skills. Bird was amazing at every aspect of the game, even on defense. He would frustrate the life out of other players. If he was playing today, he would foul out in a half. Very physical guy.
John Havlicek - amazing, amazing player. No doubt he's my favorite player ever. One of the best perimeter defenders I have seen in person, and a heady scorer. Was the bridging player for the Celtics.
Paul Pierce - He hasn't started to decline yet. He has one of the longest peak I have seen. His physical abilities have slowly diminished, but he has become an amazing shot creator off pump fakes and jam steps. He has become an excellent set shooter, and is still a top 3 finisher in the NBA. His defense also improves every year. (Wow, I feel like a homer)
Dave Cowens - McHale's body of work is too small and Bob Cousy didn't have the influence that Cowens had. He was a legit MVP.