The list of Boston Celtics greats is lengthy, but while the rafters are filled with retired numbers of legends who helped the team raise championship banners alongside those retired numbers, there's also a host of excellent players whose contributions may have been forgotten.
As the Celtics dynasty was formed in the 1950s, the ultimate game-changer was Red Auerbach, whose leadership and coaching acumen transformed the Celtics into a basketball powerhouse.
His arrival ushered in a 16-year stretch in which the Celtics made the postseason each year while he was the team's coach/GM, and the C's claimed an astounding 11 NBA titles within a 13-year window.
Of course, bringing in great players was a key to the team’s unprecedented run of success. But you don’t build a dynasty of that magnitude without contributions coming from a talented supporting cast whose behind-the-scenes impact proved vital to the franchise’s evolution, even if they were often overlooked for the role they played in the team's growth.
Scott Wedman had what most would consider a solid NBA career.
A first-round pick of the Kansas City-Omaha Kings in 1974, Wedman played 12 seasons in the NBA (he was traded to Seattle prior to 1987 season but chose to instead retire), the last four of which came in Boston primarily as a reserve behind one of the greatest players of all time, Larry Bird as well as another future Hall of Famer in Kevin McHale.
And while Danny Ainge set the tone on Memorial Day in 1985 with 15 points in the first quarter, it was Wedman’s flawless shooting off the bench that stood out above the litany of strong performances that day.
Wedman, who averaged 6.4 points during the regular season and 8.7 during the playoffs that year, scored 26 points in just 23 minutes while making all 11 of his shots from the field — a performance that still stands as the NBA record for most consecutive makes without a miss in an NBA Finals game.
While his breakout performance came as a surprise to some, it certainly didn’t catch the Celtics — or most who followed the NBA closely at that time — off-guard.
Prior to arriving in Boston, Wedman was one of the NBA’s bright up-and-comers with the Kings, earning All-Star nods in 1976 and again in 1980. But because the Kings were a small-market team and the NBA wasn’t nearly as global or expansive then as it is now, Wedman played in relative obscurity for the bulk of his career.
So coming to Boston via trade from Cleveland in 1982, was both a blessing and a burden for the 6-foot-7, 215-pound Wedman, who was going to be part of a bigger, higher profile organization in Boston that was always focused on winning an NBA title.
But opportunities to showcase his talents wouldn’t be nearly as plentiful for a player with his skills. Playing with the Celtics back then, Wedman was indeed a talented player who flew below the radar.
And against the Lakers, the level of obscurity was even greater when you factor in that between the two teams for that Game 1 matchup in 1985, there were a combined nine future Hall of Famers who took to the floor.
Wedman had an exceptional three-point shot, connecting on 50 percent of his 3’s in two of his last three NBA seasons while being a career 48.1 percent shooter from the field.
And because of his size, he had the positional versatility and defensive acumen (he was a member of the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team in 1980) that allowed him to play a number of different positions and roles.
But more than anything else, Wedman’s role was that of the sage veteran who would stay ready and perform at a high level when called upon.
Memorial Day 1985 was indeed one of those moments.
While his performance was one of many exceptional efforts in that particular game, what Wedman did on Memorial Day served as a reminder as to what has been a central theme through the annals of Celtics lore.
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.
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.