Jaylen Brown

Who are the best small forwards in Celtics history? Ranking the Top 10

Who are the best small forwards in Celtics history? Ranking the Top 10

The crazy thing about the small forward position for the Boston Celtics is that the team has enjoyed such sustained longevity at the position that it’s actually a bit challenging to make a Top 10 list.

Larry Bird, John Havlicek, and Paul Pierce combined for 44 seasons (and 12 titles) in green, which makes it a tough for anyone else who played in the 60s, 70s, 80s, or 2000s to state a case for inclusion alongside some of the biggest names in franchise history.

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While those three clearly occupy the top spots on our list, the current iteration of the C's are also well represented, led by a pair of young stars on the rise who could continue to ascend on this list in the coming years.

Here’s what we came up with for Boston’s top 10 small forwards in franchise history.

Click here for the gallery.

It's a matter of when, not if, Jaylen Brown will be an NBA All-Star

It's a matter of when, not if, Jaylen Brown will be an NBA All-Star

BOSTON -- We should have seen this coming from Jaylen Brown. 

It’s not like he didn’t clue us in to how he was built differently than most players coming into the NBA. 

His first NBA start came against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, a game in which Brown showed absolutely no nerves, anxiety or fear of James as he went on to score a then-career-high 19 points in what was his fifth game as a pro. 

From there, Brown continued to show flashes of being an above-average talent, displaying an innate ability to successfully transition to whatever role he’s cast to play. 

With the NBA season at a standstill now, it provides us an opportunity to take in what Brown has done thus far. 

More significantly, it allows us to take inventory on what Brown’s body of work thus far tells us is on the horizon. 

The 23-year-old Brown is on course to establish himself as an All-Star whose strength lies in his versatility to impact the game at both ends of the floor. 

This season, Brown is averaging 20.3 points per game, joining teammates Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker as part of the only trio of NBA teammates this season with each averaging at least 20 points per game. 

Of that threesome, Brown’s inclusion is the most surprising when you consider it wasn’t a given that he would start, let alone drop 20 points a night, at the start of the season. 

A legit case could be made that Brown should have been an All-Star this season, with some surmising a top-two record by the Celtics prior to the break would have been enough to get him in along with Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum. 

But it’s fitting that Brown’s time to shine will have to wait. 

Because on many levels, that’s been the narrative surrounding his NBA career. 

And while it would have certainly deterred some and disappointed others, it only drove Brown to continue working on his game, proving his naysayers wrong - including those who booed Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck when he announced that Boston had selected Brown with the No. 3 pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. 

“Oh, I remember,” Brown told NBC Sports Boston recently. “I definitely remember.”

But instead of dwelling on what has happened, Brown is more locked into what the future holds for both him and the Celtics. 

“Just keep getting better, keep grinding, keep working on all parts of my game,” he said. “That’s what I’ve done, to get where I’m at. So why stop now?”

Celtics Classics, Friday, 7 p.m.: Watch season-opener vs. Raptors in Kemba Walker's C's debut

Celtics Classics, Friday, 7 p.m.: Watch season-opener vs. Raptors in Kemba Walker's C's debut

With no NBA games for the foreseeable future, NBC Sports Boston will give Celtics fans a chance to get their fix by re-airing some classic games, beginning Friday night with a look back at Kemba Walker's home debut for the C's in the 2019-20 season opener.

In that game, Walker bounced back from some early jitters to score 11 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum each scored 25 points in a preview of what was to come this season as Boston knocked off the defending champion Toronto Raptors 112-106 at TD Garden.

The Celtics pulled away in the fourth by closing the final 9:07 on a 30-17 run. A key 3-pointer by Brown with 2:49 left put Boston up 110-106 and helped secure the victory. 

The re-airing of the game begins at 7 p.m. on NBC Sports Boston and can be live-streamed then by clicking here.

 

Other upcoming Celtics Classics replays:

Saturday, 7 p.m.: Celtics vs. Nets, Dec. 1, 2001: Paul Pierce scores 46 in the second half.
Monday, 7 p.m.: Celtics vs. Heat, Dec. 30, 2016: Isaiah Thomas scores 52.