Not everyone can have the same history as the Boston Celtics or Chicago Bulls. But still, that’s not stopping us from ranking the 15 all-time Eastern Conference starting lineups. From Michael Jordan all the way down to Kemba Walker — yes, Kemba Walker — here are the top players at every position for every East franchise.
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Center: Bill Russell â€“ Bill Russell is the ultimate champion. He was the main reason behind Boston’s historic successes in the ’60s. He is a true talent, and without him, the NBA would not be the same organization it is today. He was one of the toughest and most intelligent players the league has seen. Bill Russell paved the way for future centers to make names for themselves.
Power Forward: Kevin McHale â€“ Dubbed one of the most skilled post players in league history, Kevin McHale was the greatest power forward in Boston Celtics history. His versatility as a started or sixth man was key in Boston’s success in the 1980s. His arsenal of post moves was something to marvel at, but his level of efficiency really catches the eye; he shot .554 percent from the field for his career. The three-time champion complemented Larry Bird quite nicely.
Small Forward: Larry Bird â€“ Larry Bird was one of the best pure basketball talents the NBA has ever seen. Bird was a fierce competitor and the focal point for his three championship teams. Bird could pass, handle the ball, shoot, defend and rebound with little to no problems. The three-time champion has an abundance of accolades; one of his most impressive feats is his three straight MVP awards. His career was cut short due to a back injury, but he is still among the league legends.
Shooting Guard: Sam Jones â€“ Sam Jones began his career as a backup. He soon became the starter for the Celtics and the train kept rolling. He was a great scorer for a defensive-minded Celtics team anchored by Bill Russell. Jones averaged 17.7 points per game on .456 percent shooting. He ended his career with ten NBA titles.
Point Guard: Bob Cousy â€“ Bob Cousy was the pioneer of the “pure point guard.” Cousy joined the Celtics when the team was in its beginning stages. Cousy brought a new level of style to the game; his attention-grasping handles and passes made fans leave Celtics games in utter amazement. He was an important part of Boston’s first six NBA championships, and he currently holds the franchises record in assists with 6,945.
Center: Billy Paultz â€“ Paultz was a great ABA center, as he was an All-Star three times in his five-year tenure with the Nets. He was a key contributor to their first championship in 1974. He is still the second-leading rebounder in franchise history and the seventh-leading rebounder in ABA history. His 15-year career was longer than most basketball big men experience and he tallied 13,099 points, 8,959 rebounds and 1,457 blocks.