Irish Coffee: Uno-Uno and Celtics number 11’s
|11.11.11 at 1:00 pm ET|
It’s 11-11-11, and it’s Day No. 134 of the NBA lockout. Hence, the analysis of the No. 11 as it relates to Celtics.
The results aren’t good. Since 1946, there have been 23 seasons when nobody wore No. 11 for the Celtics — and they won 10 titles in those years. While 22 players have worn the No. 11 for the Celtics, no one ever made an NBA All-Star Game in that uniform. Dana Barros did participate in a 3-point contest, but lost in the first round.
The most significant player ever to wear No. 11 for the Celtics is Chuck Cooper, who became the first African-American drafted by an NBA team when the C’s took him in the second round with the 12th overall pick in 1950.
The best player to ever wear No. 11 for the Celtics has to be Bob McAdoo, a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee who played just 20 games in green after C’s owner John Brown pulled the trigger on a deal that sent Tom Barker and three first-round picks to the Knicks. McAdoo, general manager Red Auerbach and player-coach Dave Cowens all learned of the trade in a newspaper, the ensuing resentment killed the 1978-79 season and they traded McAdoo to the Pistons for M.L. Carr and a pair of first-round picks in the 1980 NBA draft that eventually turned into Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. And the rest is history.
But which player enjoyed the best career in a No. 11 Celtics uniform? Let’s take a look at the 22 candidates.
- Chuck Connors, 1946-48 (53 games): 4.5 points, 0.8 assists
- Stan Noszka, 1947-49 (52 games): 2.9 points, 0.6 assists (also wore No. 10)
- Chick Halbert, 1948-49 (33 games): 9.4 points, 1.9 assists
- Tony Lavelli, 1949-50 (56 games): 8.8 points, 0.7 assists (also wore No. 4)
- Chuck Cooper, 1950-54 (272 games): 6.8 points, 6.6 rebounds
- Mel Counts, 1964-66 (121 games): 6.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, two titles
- Jim Barnett, 1966-67 (48 games): 4.1 points, 1.1 rebounds
- Mal Graham, 1967-69 (70 games): 4.7 points, 1.7 rebounds, two titles
- Steve Kuberski, 1969-74 (360 games): 6.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, one title (returned to Celtics from 1975-78, winning another title, but abandoned No. 11 to become last player before Larry Bird to wear No. 33)
- Charlie Scott, 1975-78 (156 games): 17.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 4.2 assists, one title
- Bob McAdoo, 1978-79 (20 games): 20.6 points, 7.1 rebounds
- Tracy Jackson, 1981-82 (11 games): 2.4 points, 1.1 rebounds
- Sam Vincent, 1985-87 (103 games): 3.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, one title
- Dirk Minniefield, 1987-88 (61 games): 3.2 points, 3.1 assists
- Michael Smith, 1989-91 (112 games): 4.9 points, 1.4 rebounds
- Stojko Vrankovic, 1991-92 (50 games): 1.9 points, 1.6 rebounds (also wore No. 52)
- Dana Barros, 1995-00 (306 games): 10.1 points, 3.3 assists (returned to Celtics in 2003-04 for one game, wore No. 13 but played — you guessed it — 11 minutes)
- Randy Brown, 2000-01 (55 games): 4.1 points, 2.8 assists
- Shammond Williams, 2002-03 (51 games): 7.3 points, 2.5 assists
- Mark Bryant, 2002-03 (2 games): 0.0 points, 1.0 rebounds
- Marcus Banks, 2003-06 (180 games): 5.3 points, 2.0 assists
- Glen Davis, 2007-present (277 games): 7.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, one title
Considering he’s one of only five of these players to win a title while wearing No. 11, an argument could be made that Big Baby has enjoyed the best Celtics career of anybody to don the number. I’d only take two guys ahead of him: 1) Charlie Scott and 2) Dana Barros.
The first balck scholarship athlete at the University of North Carolina, Scott represented the Suns in three straight All-Star Games from 1973-75 before averaging 17.6 points for the 1975-76 NBA champion Celtics.
Joining the Celtics after a 1995 NBA All-Star and Most Improved Player campaign, Barros wore No. 11 for five seasons in Boston and shot better than 40 percent from 3-point range and 80 percent from the free-throw line in each of them. He set an NBA record by making at least one 3-pointer in 89 straight games from 1994-96.
Now that that’s settled, let’s take a look at some significant No. 11’s in Celtics history.
- The Celtics made nine 11th-round selections between 1953 and 1973, including the immortal Carl Hartman out of NCAA powerhouse Alderson-Broaddus College in 1955.
- Chris Ford was the 11th head coach in Celtics history, sitting on the bench from 1990-95.
- The Celtics won their 11th NBA championship in 1968-69 under player/coach Bill Russell, whose 11 rings marks a record for titles won in a major North American sport.
- On November 11, exactly 14 years ago, Larry Bird became the last Celtics player to record a 40-20 game, totaling 42 points and 20 rebounds.
- The Celtics record for consecutive losses against a single team is 11, to the Knicks from 1992-97.
- Shawn Bradley recorded 11 blocks against the Celtics on Dec. 21, 1986.
- Acie Earl and Eric Riley each started exactly 11 games in a Celtics uniform.
- Frank Ramsey‘s 11 free throws in a single quarter against the Pistons on Dec. 3, 1957 is a Celtics record.
- Scott Wedman made a Celtics record 11 consecutive 3-pointers from Dec. 21, 1984 to March 31, 1985.
- In 1986-87, Bob Houbregs became the 11th player to wear a Celtics uniform inducted into the Hall of Fame.
- In 1978, Don Nelson‘s No. 19 became the 11th number raised to the rafters by the Celtics organization.
- Red Auerbach coached the NBA All-Star Game 11 times, in consecutive seasons from 1957-67.
- John Havlicek and Bill Russell each made exactly 11 All-NBA teams.
- The next Celtics player to win the NBA’s MVP award will become the 11th to do so.
(Have a question, concern or conception for tomorrow’s Irish Coffee? Send a message to @brohrbach on Twitter.)