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Cedric Maxwell's pick for greatest Celtics player ever somehow isn't Larry Bird or Bill Russell

John Tomase
August 08, 2018 - 10:22 am

Cedric Maxwell won an NBA Finals MVP during an All-Star career with the Celtics and has spent the last 25 years calling the team's games. He's as qualified as anyone to name the best player in franchise history, and his answer may surprise you.

It's not former teammate Larry Bird. It's not Hall of Famer Bill Russell.

It's Kevin Garnett.

Appearing on the Celtics Beat podcast with Adam Kaufman of CLNS Media (as transcribed by CelticsBlog), Maxwell made his case for KG.

"Kevin Garnett is the best all-around player the Celtics have ever had," Maxwell said. "He was a better defensive player than Larry. Not as good offensively. He was a better offensive player than Bill Russell, but not as good defensively. But you could say that Kevin Garnett was no slouch on either one of those things. He's one of the top players to ever play the game.

"If you look at that first year that he came here Kevin Garnett was an MVP candidate," Maxwell added. "The second year, before he got hurt, the Boston Celtics were on their way to winning 70 games. That's how good Kevin Garnett was."

Now if one wants to quibble with taking Garnett's one-and-a-half standout seasons and comparing them to Bird's three MVPs or Russell's 11 titles, that's a fair critique. In any event, the entire interview is worth a listen.