Much like their TD Garden co-inhabitants, the Bruins, the past decade for the Celtics has seen both the lowest of lows and the highest of highs.
But as rough as it was for the Green and their fans to suffer through the struggles of the early and middle two-thousand-aughts, the title-winning squad in 2008 made all that toiling worthwhile. As such, you'll notice a definitively recent slant to the Celtics team of the 2000s.
As the decade draws to a close, we look back on the top Celtics players at each position.
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
It's tough to start off an all-decade team with a guy who's only been in the league for 3 1/2 seasons, but he's been the best the C's have had in 10 years, plain and simple. His potential has yet to be fully realized, yet his stats dwarf those of Anderson and Welsch, especially his rebounding and assists. And he started 77 games (not to mention 26 more in the playoffs) as a 21-year-old, second-year point guard for a championship-winning team back in 2007-08. Despite his short professional career, Rondo already has put together some pretty solid credentials.
Honorable mention: Kenny Anderson, Jiri Welsch
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
He's known as one of the best outside shooters in basketball history. He's known as one of the best free-throw shooters in basketball history. He's known as Jesus Shuttlesworth. Sure, Ray Allen has only spent two and a half seasons in Boston, but they've been eventful. Allen was the second piece of what came to be known as the Big Three (with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett below) and played a major role in the Celtics claiming title No. 17 in the summer of 2008. The former UConn star and nine-time NBA All-Star is second all-time (and the active leader) in both 3-pointers attempted and made, is fifth all-time in free-throw percentage and is a sure-fire Hall of Famer once his playing days are over.
Honorable mention: Ricky Davis, Delonte West
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Outside of New England, The Truth has never been considered a true NBA superstar. But the 12-year veteran out of Kansas is unquestionably the face — and MVP — of the Celtics' decade. He's been reliable — playing 79 games or more every season this decade except for one — and a reliable scorer, averaging 22.7 points per game over the course of his storied career. As his career has progressed, he's even turned himself into an indispensable contributor on the defensive end. Yes, Antoine Walker was a big-time scorer in Boston for seven years, but Pierce wins this debate going away.
Honorable mention: Antoine Walker, Wally Szczerbiak
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
This is only the third season the Big Ticket has been in Boston, but it's hard to overstate the influence the 6-foot-11 warrior has had both on his teammates and on the franchise as a whole. It was the 7-for-1 deal in the summer of 2007 that turned the franchise around and set it on the track to win title No. 17. The 12-time All-Star, Olympic gold medalist and former defensive player of the year and league MVP has fought through several bothersome injuries since coming to Boston at age 31, but if he is able to come back successfully from a recent thigh bruise and a knock to the head on Friday, the C's should be in the running for a second NBA crown in three years. As KG himself once said, "Anything's possiblllllllllllllle!"
Honorable mention: Al Jefferson, Raef LaFrentz
Center: Kendrick Perkins
It's a tough call between Perk and Mark Blount. Both spent about six seasons in the green. Both steadily improved their scoring touch as their careers have gone on. And both served as steady, big bodies down low with more skilled teammates around them on the perimeter. Where Perkins gets the edge is in rebounding and in his defensive capability. He's a better shot-blocker and one-on-one, physical defender than Blount ever was. Oh, and that ring doesn't hurt his case, either.
Honorable mention: Mark Blount, Vitaly Potapenko
Coach: Doc Rivers
OK, so Rick Pitino, Jim O'Brien and John Carroll didn't have a chance. Rivers, a former player for the Hawks, Clippers, Knicks and Spurs, came on board for the Green in 2004 (after winning the 2000 NBA Coach of the Year award with the Magic). Known for his defense as a player, Doc has emphasized it as a coach as well and has had the talent to make it work, leading the C's to their title in 2007-08.
For more Boston teams of the decade, check out:
Monday, Dec. 28: Boston Bruins
Wednesday, Dec. 30: New England Patriots
Thursday, Dec. 31: Boston Red Sox