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10 Best Scorers In Boston Celtics History: Isaiah Thomas Surprisingly Leads The List Of Legendary Players

10 Best Scorers In Boston Celtics History: Isaiah Thomas Surprisingly Leads The List Of Legendary Players

The Boston Celtics, along with the Los Angeles Lakers, is the most renowned franchise in NBA history. The Celtics have won 17 NBA titles with some all-time great teams including the Bill Russell sides that won 11 rings and also the Larry Bird teams that captured 3 more championships. With some all-time great players playing for Boston, the franchise became the gold standard for winning at the highest level.

But the current Celtics have a lot to achieve before they reach the level of past Celtics sides that were truly great. Jayson Tatum has a chance to develop into one of the Celtics’ best scorers ever when taking into account longevity, but he might already be among the top ten. Looking back at the greatest Celtics scorers ever, who cracks that list out of all the greats?

We have collected the 10 greatest scorers in Celtics history, in PPG, to uncover which players had the most impact when they were with the team. With a minimum of two seasons played, some names on this list might surprise you.


10. Bob Cousy- 18.5 PPG

(13 Seasons, 1951-1963)

Bob Cousy

Bob Cousy is mainly regarded as a passionate player who was the original All-Star and dominant player for the Boston Celtics team that featured the likes of Bill Russell and K.C. Jones. Cousy led the league in assists for 8 straight years and also was one of the best pure playmakers at his position. In many ways, Cousy was the heart and soul of the Celtics at that time. Cousy also managed to win the MVP Award after leading the league in assists during Bill Russell's rookie season.

But Cousy’s scoring ability would go unnoticed, as he averaged 18.5 PPG over his illustrious career with Boston. The point guard averaged his career-high 21.7 PPG in his second season, and later averaged over 20 PPG 3 more times between 1955-1959. Cousy never put up monster scoring numbers, but his consistency as an offensive threat made him one of the Celtics’ greatest scorers over his 13 seasons.


9. Tom Heinsohn - 18.6 PPG

(9 Seasons, 1957-1965)

Tom Heinsohn

Heinsohn helped the Boston Celtics win an amazing 8 NBA titles, as a rugged and hard-nosed big man who was the former Rookie of the Year in 1957. Heinsohn was a versatile scorer, as his scoring average suggests, but he did not receive the credit he deserves mainly thanks to his other Hall of Fame teammates like Bill Russell and Bob Cousy. Still, Heinsohn is a Hall of Famer and an all-time great power forward who is easily one of the best scorers to ever play for Boston.

The big man averaged over 21 PPG for 3 straight seasons between 1960 and 1962 and averaged under 16 PPG once in his entire career. Much like Cousy, Heinsohn never put up spectacular offensive seasons but his consistency in getting buckets from his rookie season is the reason his average is among the best in Celtics history. What is very surprising is the number of shots that Heinsohn took (18.0 FGA) to generate his points, which led to a lower field goal percentage (40.5%).


8. Ed Macauley - 18.9 PPG

(6 Seasons, 1951-1956)

Ed Macauley

A 6’8” center and Hall of Famer, Ed Macauley had the best seasons of his career with the Celtics. After his rookie season, Macauley joined the Celtics and made 6 straight All-Star Teams with the franchise and averaged 18.9 PPG. The big man averaged his career-high 20.4 PPG in his first season with Boston and would go on to average over 17 PPG for 5 more seasons. When Bob Cousy was on the floor, Macauley’s impact would go slightly unnoticed because of the point guard’s sensational play.

But there is no question that Ed Macauley’s impact as a scorer was effective, especially earlier on in his career. Putting up nearly 19 PPG on 45% field goal shooting was considered extremely efficient back in the day, and that is why Macauley is among the top-10 scorers in Celtics history. It was not always pretty and not always explosive, but the big man had a knack for getting buckets among the best of them.


7. Jayson Tatum - 19.5 PPG

(5 Seasons, 2018-2022)

Jayson Tatum Responds To Marcus Smart's Criticism: "I Know How To Play Basketball. I've Been Doing It A Long Time, And I'm Pretty Successful At It."

Current Celtics superstar Jayson Tatum is one of the best scorers in the league right now. Considered a protege of Kobe Bryant, Tatum has the tools to develop into one of the most dominant scorers of his time if he continues to add elements to his game. The 6’8” forward is only 23 years old and already has 2 full seasons averaging over 23 PPG. When looking at Tatum’s game, he truly has no weakness.

The swingman can hit stepback threes, attack the basket, and is supremely efficient from the floor. Over his 5-year career, Tatum averages 39.1% from three and 82.5% from the free-throw line. His ability to create space for his offense is his best trait because he is adding a ton of moves and counter-moves to his arsenal to be effective. Tatum is getting bigger and stronger, so he will likely blossom into a Hall of Fame talent in just a few years.


6. Antoine Walker - 20.6 PPG

(8 Seasons, 1997-2003, 2005)

Antoine Walker

Antoine Walker was a very good scorer for the Celtics during a time when the team was not competing for championships. Alongside Paul Pierce, Walker formed a dominant inside-outside scoring duo that made Boston a tough team to play against nonetheless. Walker made 3 All-Star Teams with the Boston Celtics and was a great versatile power forward that could score in many ways, with the ability to get hot when his shot is falling. In many ways, Antoine was one of the first stretch forwards who could create his own shot as well.

Antoine Walker started off his career averaging 17.5 PPG in his rookie season, putting up 22.4 PPG in the following season while making his first All-Star Team. Walker would average over 20 PPG for 4 straight seasons starting the 2000 season and would experience some ups and downs as his Celtics days would end. But overall, in terms of raw talent, Antoine Walker was one of the best pure scorers that Boston ever had.


5. John Havlicek - 20.8 PPG

(16 Seasons, 1963-1978)

john havlicek

Superstar John Havlicek is an exceptional leader and one of the most dominant players on the NBA court we have ever seen in terms of the amount of winning in the NBA. His scoring ability was truly exceptional, and he is one of the best to ever wear the Boston Celtics uniform. A whopping 8 NBA titles came as a result, mainly, from Havlicek’s presence as a scoring forward. The 6’5” superstar averaged 43.9% over his career and 81.5% from the stripe, numbers which do not leap out in terms of efficiency.

But Havlicek was a dominant scorer in his prime, putting up over 20 PPG for 8 straight seasons and even averaging 28.9 PPG in the 1971 season. The following year, the Celtics superstar averaged 27.5 PPG while making his 7th straight All-Star appearance. In terms of the greatest players in Boston Celtics history, Havlicek ranks among the very top because his scoring ability and leadership were almost second to none.


4. Paul Pierce - 21.8 PPG

(15 Seasons, 1999-2013)

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

AP Photo/Michael Dwyer

Paul Pierce had a proven track record of remaining loyal to the Boston Celtics as their primary corer and clutch performer. "The Truth" was rewarded for his efforts when he won Finals MVP with a Boston Celtics team that featured Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, and Rajon Rondo. Pierce finally got over the hump to cement his legacy as an all-time great in 2008, but his legacy was set before that season. Pierce averaged 16.5 PPG while making the All-Rookie Team, before developing into a dominant go-to scorer.

Armed with a patented stepback jumper and a strong physique to take hits around the rim, the small forward did not need supreme explosiveness to get to his spots. Rather, he used what gifts he did have and was extremely efficient. Pierce averaged 44.7% from the field, 37.0% from three, and 80.6% from the free-throw line over his 15 seasons with the Celtics. Pierce is one of Boston’s all-time great scorers and that is why he is considered one of the top-75 players ever.


3. Kyrie Irving - 24.1 PPG

(2 Seasons, 2018-2019)

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving’s stint with the Boston Celtics was not very successful, as the point guard hardly had an impact on postseason performances. Kyrie proved that he was not the right man for the Celtics because he could not lead the young stars (Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown) to success despite forming a very talented partnership with them. Nonetheless, Kyrie was a spectacular offensive player.

The point guard made the All-Star Team the two seasons he played with the Celtics, posting averages of 24.4 PPG and 23.8 PPG while appearing in a total of 127 appearances. Kyrie missed over 20 games per season, however, and the team would have preferred if he was available for more games to build chemistry. Nonetheless, Irving is one of the most talented guards that ever played for the Celtics because of his offensive firepower.


2. Larry Bird - 24.3 PPG

(13 Seasons, 1980-1992)

Larry Bird's Legendary 47-Point 'Left-Handed' Game: “I’m Saving My Right Hand For The Lakers.”

Credit: Getty Images

What list of greatest Celtics players does not have Larry Bird? The legend is easily the greatest small forward to have ever played for the franchise and was the face of the NBA during the 1980s. Bird captured 3 championships with the Celtics, winning Finals MVP twice and making 12 All-Star appearances. To many who follow the NBA, Bird is considered one of the ten greatest players that ever lived.

Larry Bird was also one of the best shooters ever, averaging 37.6% from three despite attempting less than 2 threes per game. Had Bird played in today’s game, we might be looking at a man who can come close to what Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson are doing. Bird also had an unstoppable fadeaway jumper that he could use at any time, and is only behind one player in terms of the most effective scorer in Celtics history.


1. Isaiah Thomas - 24.7 PPG

(3 Seasons, 2015-2017)

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Unbelievably, 5’9” Isaiah Thomas is the greatest scorer that the Celtics ever had on paper. The little man only played 3 seasons with Boston, averaging 19.0 PPG in only 20 appearances with the team. The following season, Thomas averaged 22.2 PPG while playing all 82 games and nailing 35.9% from the three-point line. His last season with the team will go in the record books because the miniature point guard would finish 3rd in MVP voting.

Thomas averaged a whopping 28.9 PPG shooting 37.9% from the three on 8.5 attempts per game. Thomas was so spectacular, that many thought he could be the man to help deliver a title to Boston for the first time since 2008. Isaiah made the All-Star Team and would be shockingly traded to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade the following season. Thomas had a run that was special to Celtics fans across the world, and that is why he is their best scorer ever.


Most Points In Boston Celtics History

Here are the ten players with the most total points in Boston Celtics history:

1. John Havlicek - 26,395

2. Paul Pierce - 24,021

3. Larry Bird - 21,791

4. Robert Parish - 18,245

5. Kevin McHale - 17,335

6. Bob Cousy - 16,955

7. Sam Jones - 15,411

8. Bill Russell - 14,522

9. Dave Cowens - 13,192

10. Jo Jo White - 13,188

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