What a decade this was in New England sports! As we move into the 2020s, join NESN.com in looking back at the best of the best with the Celtics All-Decade Team! (And check out the rest of our “Best of the Decade” content here.
It was an interesting past 10 years for the Boston Celtics.
The start of the decade was highlighted by the final years of the “Big Three,” who came achingly short of claiming the 18th NBA championship in franchise history. After that group departed Boston one by one, green teamers endured a few trying seasons before new life was sparked by the unlikeliest of sources. Now, the C’s are closing out the 2010s strong and it feels safe to say the future is bright in Boston.
Without further ado, here’s NESN.com’s Celtics All-Decade Team:
Big Man: Kevin Garnett (2010-2013)
Garnett wasn’t a home-grown talent, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a player more beloved by Celtics fans in recent memory. The future Hall of Famer racked up the 14th and 15th All-Star selections of his career over his final three seasons in Boston before being shipped to Brooklyn ahead of the 2013-14 campaign in the infamous Celtics-Nets blockbuster.
Wings: Paul Pierce (2010-2013), Ray Allen (2010-2012)
Do we really need to sell you on The Truth? While Pierce slowly fizzled out of the NBA, he showed no signs of decline in the back end of his Celtics tenure. After a heartbreaking loss in the 2009-10 NBA Finals, Pierce was named an All-Star the next two seasons before heading to Brooklyn alongside Garnett.
Allen obviously didn’t leave Boston on the best of terms, but you can’t ignore his impact on the C’s. The sharpshooter’s 2010-11 All-Star season was one of the best of his five in green, as he averaged 16.5 points per game while shooting 49.1 percent (!) from the field and 44 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
Guards: Rajon Rondo (2010-2014), Isaiah Thomas (2014-2017)
Rondo started coming into his own following the Celtics’ loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Finals. He collected All-Star nods in three consecutive seasons from 2010 through 2013, during which time Rondo established himself as one of the league’s premier play-making point guards. With a rebuild on the horizon, the C’s were forced to sell high on Rondo during the 2014-15 campaign, and he hasn’t been the same player since.
Two years later, who would have thought a 5-foot-9 journeyman point guard would be the one to breathe new life into one of the league’s most historic franchises? I.T. took off after replacing Rondo as the team’s starting point guard, notching All-Star selections in his only two full seasons in Boston. His 2016-17 campaign forever will live in C’s lore, as he finished fifth in MVP voting and put together a remarkable catalog of clutch performances.
Sixth Man: Marcus Smart: (2014-2019)
Smart embodies Celtics basketball. The scrappy guard brings his all every night he takes the floor, which jolted his ascension to becoming a fan favorite. Smart was a key cog in two marches to the Eastern Conference Finals, and his efforts on defense finally were recognized in 2018-19, when he was selected for the league’s All-Defensive First Team.
The Celtics now find themselves in a great spot with a young core of Smart, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to go along with veteran guard Kemba Walker. A championship banner eluded the franchise in the 2010s, but they could be poised to change that in the new decade.