…whatever comes to mind…
*Not much writing about the Boston Celtics thus far this season. Tough to do when the Boston Red Sox had their World Series run. Not to mention all of the New England Patriots drama, before and during the season. Plus, you know, they are winning games per usual, despite the whole different feel of this season.
The Celts started off slow, to the tune of 10-10. A number of reasons for that. But I would say it was mainly because they had a full complement of players and they were all still feeling out their roles. Gordon Hayward was back after missing the whole season. Kyrie Irving missed the playoffs and now he was back. Everyone else important returned. Unless you count Greg Monroe, Shane Larkin or Abdel Nader as “important”. That’s up to you.
So now the C’s are 18-11. Are they hitting their stride? Not entirely sure.
I’ve always thought this season that if everyone on the roster is healthy and playing, there are simply “too many mouths to feed”. During this recent 8 game win streak, coach Brad Stevens hasn’t had all of the guys healthy. Al Horford, Jaylen Brown, Aron Baynes and Gordon Hayward have missed time with various maladies.
This has always made Brad’s job “easier”. He has been able to juggle guys in and out when the rotation is smaller. This has been one of his biggest strengths. Also his ability to “coach up” players.
When all the established players are healthy? Who knows? My view is that it remains to be seen if now they are ready to roll.
Hayward and Brown have seemingly accepted coming off the bench…for now. But it appears that guys like Terry Rozier and Brown have been chirping about playing time. At least that’s what the rumors have been telling us. Can’t believe every rumor. But where there is smoke there is fire. Those two (plus Jayson Tatum), in particular, led the charge in the playoffs last season with Kyrie and Gordo out. So their egos were inflated in turn.
Many people do not like Marcus Smart…or his game really…or his offense to be more specific. But since adding him and Marcus Morris to the starting lineup, things have worked out pretty well. They are nice complements to the other starters. Morris is a guy that I thought would be a problem…chirping about playing time and/or coming off the bench. But he seems to have been a model citizen this year.
If all of these guys just suck it up and play together and accept their roles, the sky could be the limit. I’m not sure I buy that they will all season though. Long way to go. Let’s see what happens.
*The Boston Bruins have also been neglected in this space. We should probably give them some props for where they are in the standings despite all the injuries.
The team has used 12 defensemen in 32 games this year. That’s…a lot.
Combine that with goalie Tuukka Rask’s poor start, that sounds like a recipe for disaster. Actually, Tuuks has played better since he has been back from whatever his personal issues were. Which is timely, since Jaroslav Halak has cooled off a bit from his hot start. But combine all this with an offense that has just one line that works (when everyone is healthy) and a bunch of underachieving (not as talented as we thought?) kids…and how are they even in the playoff mix?
The fact of the matter is though that there needs to be more offense. Hard to believe I am even saying this when coach Bruce Cassidy’s forwards threw up some pretty good numbers last season.
But players like Ryan Donato, Danton Heinen, Anders Bjork, JFK (I don’t feel like typing his full name) and even Jake DeBrusk just haven’t gotten it done this year. Jake has 10 goals, but they seem like a quiet 10 goals.
These guys in particular really need to step it up. The rest of the dudes (besides the one top line) are made up of 4th line types…Noel Acciari, Sean Kuraly, Joakim Nordstrom, Chris Wagner and yes, David Backes. We’ve seen entirely too much of Colby Cave.
David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron make up an explosive line. But they are going to need some help at some point. And by “help”, I don’t just mean “David Krejci playing to the level of his contract” help.
*Joe Kelly 3 for $25?? Yikes! He made himself 10-15 million for a few weeks in October. Good for him. But I bet he was looking at something like 2/10 or 2/12 without that great run.
Kelly was wildly inconsistent during his time in Boston. I’ve said it a gazillion times: He’s the only guy I know that throws 100 mph and never missed bats…until the playoffs, that is.
Thanks for the ride last fall Machine Gun. But I won’t miss you. We can find someone exactly like you for a lot less money. Wait, we already have Heath Hembree!!
*Craig Kimbrel wants 6 years and 100 mil. Good luck man!
Kimbrel had a fine career in Boston, do not get me wrong. He was unhittable in 2017 and good enough in 2016 and 2018. But he was not good in the 2018 playoffs. And that’s kinda important.
So feel free to move on bud.
But make no mistake, no matter what Dave Dombrowski or Alex Cora say, the Sox will not enter Spring Training with Matt Barnes and Ryan Brasier as the closer candidates. Those guys ain’t closing. There will be more arms added, including at the very least a Brad Boxberger or Fernando Rodney-type guy that has had success in the big leagues closing games. For better or worse.
Add in an all of a sudden hyped up prospect Travis Lakins and there will be other options.
But thanks for the memories Craig…and more importantly, Machine Gun…
Time for that bullet point format again:
*Following up on the NBA draft…the Boston Celtics did exactly what I thought they would do. Nothing. But this may be a good thing. Some dude named Robert Williams fell to them. Is this good? I don’t know. But the pundits seem to like it.
He is 6’10” and is apparently a “rim runner”…there are new terms coming out every day, folks. But he is also apparently a “rim protector”. A term of which I am familiar with. Never actually heard “rim runner” before. But maybe I’m just stupid and it has been around forever. Entirely possible.
In any event, he’s someone who can defend the basket but also score around the basket. So they say. After his freshman year at Texas A&M, he was supposedly a pretty good lottery pick but decided to stay his sophomore year. Then, he was still supposedly a pretty good lottery pick but dropped to #27.
Maybe doing stuff like oversleeping introductory conference calls and the like had something to do with the plummet. Hopefully, it’s as simple as that anyway.
In classic Jay Bilas-speak, Williams has great length and a tremendous wingspan.
Ok, enough of all that crap. The way I see it, if Williams can play defense around the basket and REBOUND, then we would be all jacked and pumped about him. If he kept Aron Baynes off the 2018-19 squad, we would be ecstatic. But we will see. Brad Stevens will probably have him working on his three-point game this offseason.
In any event, it looks like the C’s got someone out of the draft that could be at the very least a rotational player. Hard to argue with that at the end of the first round.
*Aside: There are 60 people drafted in each NBA draft. How many of those “make it”? 15-20? Half? Not that many. Add in some undrafted guys and you get a few more.
How did the draft used to be like 8 rounds? With fewer teams in the league? This has always confounded me.
*One dude who WASN’T drafted was LiAngelo Ball. My heart breaks. I wonder how LaVar really feels? I mean, that was a solid Foot Locker “One and Done” commercial, wasn’t it? Sigh…
*Speaking of undrafted dudes…we present you: Brad Wanamaker!! Seven years in Europe and now apparently heading to the Celtics. No idea, so don’t even ask.
But so much for the C’s going into next season with all the band coming back together (plus Williams) I am still not ruling out a major move. But wouldn’t shock me if there were many minor ones. A lot may depend on if Marcus Smart is back in the fold. I believe this will happen. But of course, there is a chance some team blows things right out of the water with a huge offer to him. We all know there are a lot of stupid teams out there…in every sport.
*As for the other draft we wrote on last, the Boston Bruins did exactly what I thought they would do as well…draft a bunch of guys that no one has ever heard of. And we will maybe or maybe not see some of them in 2 to 5 years. I think I’ll leave my comments at that. Since I have nothing else to say.
*In more positive news, the John Tavares talk has not quieted down. He is apparently meeting with the B’s at some point. I still see this whole union far-fetched. But the longer it goes on, perhaps not?
The cap has increased and supposedly they would have room as the roster currently stands to actually sign Tavares to a deal. Of course, they still need pieces, so players would still have to go. But this is a positive development as far as I can tell. I thought with all the bloated contracts the Bruins are carrying that they would no way in hell have space for a big-time addition. Not to mention the fact that I doubted Don Sweeney would go after a megastar, but that’s beside the point.
I still don’t have any idea how in the hell they will be able to move guys like David Krejci, David Backes and Torey Krug (if they wish) with their no-trade and no-movement clauses. I’ll let them figure that out on their own time though.
What a development that would be however if Tavares somehow actually came to town. Again, I don’t see it. But that just may be because I don’t want to get my hopes up.
*Thank God the NFL is kind of “off” for a while now. I don’t want to hear any more of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski. Gronk may be the greatest to ever play tight end in the history of the NFL. Brady may be the best ever period. But shut up about having fun. 5 championships under the Bill Belichick regime is not fun? Tired of hearing about it.
It will be interesting to see how Brady does this upcoming year. 1. He doesn’t have a threat to his job to help motivate him. 2. He has skipped all voluntary work this offseason, which he does not typically do. And therefore he has not established connections with the new receivers and backs like he had always pledged was very important. 3. He is 41. There simply is no evidence of quarterbacks succeeding much at or beyond this age. Like it or not when we all talk about his age. It has to be factored in.
Personally? I think Brady will be fine. Maybe it will take some work to build some rapport with some of the receivers. But I’m convinced he’s doing the work he needs to do to be physically ready for the season. Same with Gronk. As much as Alex Guerrero appears to be a slimy dude, he got Gronk to stay healthy for an entire season last year. THAT happens once every blue moon. And Brady’s game was obviously MVP level last year. Would he really fall that precipitously? Doubtful…even at his age.
2019 though at 42? I’m not making any guarantees. That’s why I would have kept and franchised Jimmy Garoppolo last year, played him wherever possible this season and pretty much give him the keys to the operation next season. But maybe that’s why I’m not in an NFL front office. Actually, there are several reasons. But we don’t need to go through those here.
*Speaking of “tired of hearing about it”, I’m not sure I want to relive Deflategate with this Julian Edelman appeal. Jules is ready to battle to the end. And probably eventually lose and serve the four games anyway. Bud, you took something. Everyone does. You got caught. Please take the penalty and save us all the nonsense. Please…
Next: Random musings, Red Sox style…
…NBA AND NHL! Nice…although is there really a ton of interest in the NHL draft? I don’t know…
But since the NBA draft is like an hour away, let’s start there.
The Boston Celtics have the 27th pick. Quite a change from previous years where they had the #3, #3 and #6 picks in three of the last four years. #16 in the other still is better than #27. The players? Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, respectively, in the order of the above list. Not a bad haul.
#27 doesn’t really excite me…or anyone else really. But hey, Kyle Kuzma went #27 last year. So maybe there is hope.
In any event, what do I expect “Trader Danny” Ainge to do?
I know, there have been a gazillion rumors out there the past couple of weeks. Ranging from Danny moving up in the draft by “only” giving up Rozier, Marcus Morris and all 4 (potential) first round picks in 2019. To involving Jaylen Brown in a trade to move up. To moving Brown as part of a package to San Antonio for Kawhi Leonard. To trading Kyrie Irving to just about anywhere because of questions of Kyrie’s commitment to re-signing in Boston after next season. And many more.
So I expect the C’s to stand pat at #27, or even possibly trade down and get more picks. Gotta love second rounders!!
BUT…what do I WANT them to do? Not exactly sure. We here at the Blowhard love a good “splash”. But I don’t want that “splash” to involve Tatum, Brown or Gordon Hayward. Although, despite Danny’s reputation on trading anyone if the deal is right, I wouldn’t expect him to do so with Hayward regardless. Gordo signed here the last offseason as a free agent, more than likely in large part due to his college coach, Brad Stevens, being in charge here. Then he plays 5 minutes the whole year while suffering a major injury and then Ainge deals him? I doubt it. Then again, Danny traded Isaiah Thomas with his bum hip, after IT helped breathe some life back into basketball in the city and had a LARGE fan base. Though…different circumstances, I will allow.
I would be ecstatic if someone overpaid for Rozier. I like the guy, but we’ve been through this before. I look at Terry as no more than a third guard. He probably looks at himself as a max contract player. This will eventually be a problem. Not to mention that if Kyrie does indeed play for the C’s next season and then Smart also comes back, how many minutes is Rozier going to get? That could be a problem as well. Trade him while the value is high…and maybe highest it will ever be. Here, for sure anyway.
I wouldn’t mind trading Morris either. Not sure you will get much for him. And although he will be cheap next year at 5.375 mil, what happens when he doesn’t get his minutes next season as well? This guy is liable to go off the deep end. Never know with him.
Now, I am not packaging Morris and Rozier to move up from #27 to say, #15. But I am sure Ainge has investigated some options.
And I don’t necessarily want to trade them regardless either. Especially since Rozier is cheap too, at a shade over 3 mil for next season. But I am investigating realistic options for trades. And also considering that these two players are going into the last season of their respective contracts. And if everyone comes back, their minutes (and therefore, their value) will markedly decrease. And you ain’t re-signing either after next year to a fat contract that they will likely demand…unless some things change (ie: Kyrie actually does leave).
That being said, I am not opposed to bringing the whole gang back next season. With everyone healthy, can they compete for a title? I think so, while also adding a few minor bench tweaks.
The problem is, I strongly believe there is another shoe to drop with Ainge. I really do think he has one more big move up his sleeve. It may not be tonight. But I believe it is coming.
Kyrie? Sure, if he says he is taking off somewhere after this season. Absolutely in that case. We all understand why he isn’t re-upping this offseason. But he is noncommittal on his future. Now, that could be because he has a few screws loose (the Earth is flat?). No one knows what he is saying privately. Hopefully, Danny does know.
Kawhi? I don’t know. He has the one year left on his contract too. How last year went down with him individually seems a little mysterious. I doubt he would re-sign here, but I guess I don’t know. Worth the risk? Not sure for me.
As usual, I think Danny’s big move will come out of nowhere. Guess we just have to wait.
So please stay tuned…
As for the Boston Bruins, not sure the draft is anything exciting to talk about. I mean, they don’t have a first-round pick. And who knows anything about hockey first rounders anyway?
It’s not like the B’s have the #13, #14 & #15 picks like they had in the 2015 NHL draft. Where they took D Jakub Zboril, LW Jake DeBrusk and RW Zachary Senyshyn. Although DeBrusk may become a stud, that haul may end up being somewhat underwhelming. Ok, the other two are still developing. But let’s consider they are 2 of only 3 first rounders from that year that have yet to log a single minute of NHL action. Let’s also consider that the dude that went #16, Mathew Barzal, just won the Calder Trophy last night as NHL Rookie of the Year. Sigh…
In any event, rumors are that Don Sweeney wants to perhaps trade back up into the first round. I don’t know. They have enough kids in the pipeline, do they need to give up assets to get another? Maybe if that prospect is in the top-5 and is a potential first pairing defenseman. But otherwise, I am not sure it’s worth it. And I don’t even think that the above scenario is realistic anyway. Allegedly, the B’s had tried to trade those aforementioned 2015 picks into the top-5 that year and nab defenseman Noah Hanifan. That clearly didn’t work.
What can Donnie Hockey do? He can certainly trade some veteran assets, as discussed in the last Blowhard piece. But good luck with that. They all have some sort of no movement clauses it appears.
Heard a great rumor today. Unload David Krejci and David Backes. Then sign John Tavares to a mega deal. And either Ilya Kovalchuk or Rick Nash to a shorter, but likely still lucrative, deal.
Pipe dream? I think so. Who is going to take Backes’ and Krejci’s salaries? And they have no-movements. They can be convinced to waive those? Maybe there are certain teams they can be moved to, I honestly don’t know the details. But getting rid of those two contracts would seem to be far-fetched.
Another popular one is now moving Torey Krug because the team just re-signed Matt Grzelcyk to a new deal and the two of them have similar skill sets. Let’s not forget Krug has a full no-trade clause. So how is that all going to work?
Sweeney should do something…even involving the draft. But I simply do not see how he can pull it off. We’ve been through all this in detail before too.
I’d be shocked to see anything come of certainly draft night for the B’s. And even through free agency, other than losing some pieces and signing some small pieces to replace those players.
But then again, I don’t work in the front office for the B’s…there’s probably a good reason for that, I guess…