The Boston Celtics at one time had a history of great centers that helped them become the most dominant team in NBA history. The Celtics boast the greatest winner in professional sports history in Bill Russell during the late 50s and 60s. Eleven NBA titles in thirteen years says it all. The team had NBA hall of famer Dave Cowens for the 70s. Cowens intense will to win that was engrained in his personality helped Boston win a couple more titles. The 1980s had Robert Parish manning the pivot for the Celtics. Parish was voted one of the NBA’s 50 greatest players for a reason. Parish had a smooth mid range rainbow shot, great moves to the basket, could finish on the break, played great post defense, and he rebounded well. The often overshadowed member of the original “Big Three” is unfortunately where the great tradition ended for Boston big men.
Ever since the forty year old Parish left Boston in 1994, the team has struggled to fill that starting center spot never mind have a dominant player manning the pivot. The names are more laughable than historic. Eric Montross carried North Carolina to a National Title in college, but failed to give Boston much during his time as the alleged replacement for Parish. Travis Knight, Vitaly Potapenko, Acie Earl, Mark Blount, Pervis Ellison, and Tony Battie are some of my personal favorites. These guys were just not gong to even hold Parish’s jock let alone provide his kind of production.
Maybe these guys are why everyone in Boston overrated Kendrick Perkins. I loved Kendrick Perkins, but he was not in the same class as Cowens or Parish. He was a marginal offensive player that was a great defender with Kevin Garnett playing next to him. Perkins is a solid piece, but hardly a franc his center. The problem is after seeing so much garbage paraded in that spot, Perkins went from being a great hamburger to filet mignon.
The team has also gone the route of aging veteran in recent years with Shaq and Jermaine O’Neal. Neither as we all know had enough in the tank to produce anything close to the production of the former all time Celtics greats.
I realize that Boston is not the only team with center issues. There just are not that many quality bigs in the NBA let alone a franchise type guy. The ones that have potential often struggle with foot injuries like Brooks Lopez and I have to mention Greg Oden. The rigors of the NBA kill these guys due to the massive weight and size on their frames.
The problem is the Celtics need to a dress this issue. Every dominant era that they have had has been with a great center in the mix. This is why Dwight Howard is so intriguing next season. I know he has signed on for next season in Orlando, but he will be gone by the trade deadline. The Magic just seem like they are destined to fail to surround him with the talent to stay. It will cost Rondo and some contracts, but they need to get this job done to begin the next great era in Celtics history. The Celtics should still keep their eyes to Florida for their replacement. If they get Howard then after eighteen years they will have finally replaced Robert Parish. Remember Go Green Or Go Home!!!!!!!