NBA: 30 greatest playmakers in NBA history

(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics
(Photo by Robert Riger/Getty Images) /

23. Bob Cousy, Boston Celtics

Point guard Bob Cousy was an early pioneer of the flashy passing style as a member of the Boston Celtics. Cousy made plays as both a scorer and a passing wizard during his time in the league, winning an MVP award in his wake. His brilliant playmaking and court savvy was unheard of before his arrival in the league.

Cousy led the league in assists from 1952 to 1960, establishing himself as the floor general in a rotation of Bill Russell, K.C. Jones and Bill Sharman. He won the MVP award during the 1956-57 season, averaging 20.6 points, a league-high 7.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game.

He made 13 straight All-Star appearances from 1950 to 1963, producing 18.5 points, 7.6 assists and 5.2 rebounds per contest as a member of the Celtics. They won six NBA titles with Cousy’s prowess as their primary playmaker. During his second title, he averaged a career-high 10.8 assists per contest during postseason play.

From 1958 to 1963, they were almost unstoppable in the NBA Finals, winning five straight championships. His play only elevated in the postseason, as he produced 8.6 assists per contest through 109 playoff appearances.

The game has changed quite a bit since Cousy’s day, which explains his ranking here, but his 6,955 career assists still ranks 17th all-time in NBA history. In 1971, he was inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and will go down as one of the best point guards in Celtics’ history.