Wednesday, May 8, 2013
In the 1990's Larry Bird's back gave up, Kevin McHale's legs couldn't take anymore, Reggie Lewis tragically passed away, and Robert Parish went to the Charlotte and Chicago... then after that it got even worse. The M.L. Carr and Rick Pitino years were a crapshoot at best, sure they got Paul Pierce but outside of that there was really just missed opportunity, management blunders, and flat out failure.
Here's a few events that we can hope the Boston Celtics front office is aware of and will look out for in the next couple years of rebuilding.
June 27th, 2001- The Celtics go into the draft with the 10th, 11th, and 21st picks in the first round. They end up with Joe Johnson (All-Star), Kedrick Brown (bust), and Joseph Forte (makes Kedrick look like a good pick). Boston had Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce and it had become extremely clear that despite Walker being the Captain... it was Pierce who was the future of the team. The 2001 draft is one of the weaker drafts of the decade. Could the Celtics have packaged Antoine and a couple picks to move up and find a legit big man to pair with The Truth for years to come? Boy that would have been nice... probably not right? Actually yes. Yes they could have.
The Atlanta Hawks had the 3rd overall pick and had picked Pau Gasol, spanish 7 footer with nice length, soft touch, and skilled passing, and they immediately hung him out to see what they could get. The Memphis Grizzlies, who already drafted Duke standout Shane Battier with the 6th overall pick, stepped up with an offer. Freshly drafted Jamal Tinsley (27th overall), and 6'9 forward Shareef Abdur-Rahim.
I can't hate on Boston for coming away with Joe Johnson... but I can hate on just about everything else. Let's break down a package they could have went to Atlanta with:
Grizzlies offer- Shareef Abdur-Rahim (6'9 Forward, '96 Draft Class, centerpiece for a miserable basketball team) Jamaal Tinsley (rookie point guard taken at 27 overall).
Atlanta gives- Pau Gasol (3rd overall pick, 7'0), Brevin Knight (4 year veteran, backup PG), and Lorenzen Wright (5 year veteran, starting big man with decent scoring). That's right, not only did Atlanta give Memphis Pau Gasol but they also gave them two serviceable players.
Potential Boston offer- Antoine Walker (6'9 forward, '96 Draft Class, better overall player than Shareef, centerpiece for a slightly less miserable team), Joseph Forte (the 21st overall pick, 6'4" guard).
20/20 tells us that Joseph Forte only played 25 games while Jamaal Tinsley is still playing, but on Draft Day in '01 Forte was a higher pick, and a better prospect. Antoine Walker also has his flaws as a player, but in 2001 he was still on the rise. His three point shooting was excessive but it had yet to become folklore. I'm quite confident that if Rick Pitino called up Pete Babcock and offered him 'Toine and Forte they could have grabbed Pau Gasol... hell they could have offered Kedrick Brown and it'd be a steal.
The Boston Celtics 2001 Opening day lineup could have been... (drum roll)
Kenny Anderson, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Pau Gasol, Tony Battie
Would that team have won 49 games and faced New Jersey in the Eastern Conference Finals? Probably not, but they also couldn't have been completely torn apart just 4 years later. 4 of those 5 players are still in the league, 3 became All-Stars, and those guys are all still major contributors in the NBA.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Niagara IceDogs (OHL) Defense 6’5” ... 194 lbs. ... Age 18 Acquired: 2011 Entry Draft (1st pick/9th overall)
Dougie Hamilton was selected 9th overall by the Bruins in the first round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.
The second defenseman taken off the board, Hamilton was asked to describe his own play on the blueline.
“I’m big, I can skate, I’m physical and can do offensive stuff as well,” said the confident, well- spoken 18-year-old. "So pretty complete."
Hamilton proved to be a very well-rounded defenseman to his future teammates and coaching staff when he came to Boston a few months later for Boston Bruins Development, rookie and training camps.
“We’re excited from what we saw from this young player,” said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien of Hamilton's time with the Black & Gold. “His skating is very strong. I thought he moved the puck well. He’s also a guy that took the ice that was given to him.
"A good heads-up type of player, he has great hockey sense and all the tools to become a real solid NHL defenseman."
Long before he put on an actual spoked-B, Hamilton was asked what it would be like to skate next to veteran Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
“You kind of look up to guys like that - the captain of the team, one of the all-stars in the league,” he said. "Definitely, when I get out there beside him it will be a little surreal."
The eventual reality was that Hamilton was Chara’s defensive partner for several practices and exhibition games during the 2011 preseason.
“I got to watch him for the week and learn from him and see how he acts in practice and what kinds of things he does,” said Hamilton of the B’s captain.
After returning to his junior team, the Niagara IceDogs, the young blueliner said he continues to recall his experiences with Chara and use them to improve his own game.
“I try to bring that back here and play the same way; just try to do all the little things and help the team win and do the right things off the ice as well,” he explained.
Obviously, Hamilton benefited from skating with the defending Stanley Cup Champions as he is off to a great start in the OHL, leading all of the league’s defensemen in goals (9), assists (19) and points (28) through 19 games.
Thanks to his solid performance and scoring success in the beginning of his 2011-2012 campaign, he was also named OHL Defenseman of the Month for October as he registered 20 points (7-13=20) in just 12 contests.
Still only 18-years-old, Hamilton has proven that he is not only a complete player, but is also a well- focused individual and last season Hamilton was chosen as the Canadian Hockey League’s Player of the Year, which is awarded to the individual who excels the most both on the ice and in the classroom.
The first rounder continued to show his leadership qualities and was named alternate captain of the IceDogs this season and was selected to be captain of “Team OHL” that recently competed against “Team Russia” during the 2011 Subway Super Series.
“Not only is he a quality player, he's a quality person as well,” explained Coach Julien during training camp. "Anybody who's taken the time to talk to him has seen that he's a pretty grounded individual."
However, being grounded doesn't mean that Hamilton is satisfied and this talented young defenseman has his sights set on a future in "The Show."
“You’ve got to raise your game,” said Hamilton. "You've got to try and get better every day and work hard to be able to become an NHL player."
Monday, November 14, 2011
Recently at a charity event, Yankee GM Brian Cashman said the following
“Our biggest priority now is pitching,” he reiterated. “We’ll see how the rest of the winter goes, how our conversations shake out with other clubs, trade stuff, but as of right now, our focus is on pitching.”Those comments have lead many to beleive that The Yankees are not in the market for David Ortiz.
Yesterday Cherrington chimed in on how David Ortiz's status effects the Red Sox outlook on their vacancy in right field...
“There are some interesting guys out there who could factor in to our right field mix,” Cherington said. “A lot of that depends on David. If David’s here, we’re going to go in a certain direction with the outfield. If he’s not here, it sort of opens it up a little bit. There are alternatives, both in free agency and in a trade market for guys that can play right field.”
I beleive that the Boston Red Sox currently have the best 1-2-3 in baseball with Ellsbury, Pedroia, Gonzalez. That lineup doesn't work quite as well if there isn't a powerful bat behind Gonzo for protection. Over the past few years Kevin Youkilis' has become a bit of an injury concern, along with the fact that he's not quite the third baseman everyone thought he would be. Simply put the Boston Red Sox need David Ortiz back and not as a Jason Varitek type backup roll... as a serious contender to this lineup.
Here's Adrian and David's thoughts on playing with each other.
i can tell you that i tried DH'ing in Texas. They tried making me the DH. It's not easy, you can't just put anybody in there. What he does for this team is incredible, I'd like to have him around for a while.
Ortiz on Adrian's effect on his approach:
"I've been getting 200% better results than i used to. It's because he always looks for the place where a pitcher likes to go. As a hitter you always want to analyze the place where YOU can hit the ball. He analyzes where the PITCHER likes to go, and if you ready for that you're going to get what you're looking for."
Ben Cherrington needs to sign Ortiz to a 2 Year deal for a substantial amount. Boston needs a happy productive Big Papi in order for the offense to repeat and improve the success of last season.
Saturday, November 12, 2011
On July 31st, 2005 Jonathan Papelbon made his first appearance in a Boston Red Sox uniform. The game was at home against the Minnesota Twins. Papelbon started the game against Brad Radke. He allowed 2 runs through 5.1 innings and struck out 7. The Sox would take the lead on a Manny Ramirez hit in the bottom of the 8th, he was pinch hitting in the game. Curt Schilling would close the door for a 4-3 Boston win.
Papelbon started 2 more games that season, and appeared in 14 more. The Red Sox were swept in three games by The Chicago White Sox, who would go on to win the World Series.
In 2006 Boston as a whole had a step back season, despite many of the top players having career years. David Ortiz hit 54 home runs. Kevin Youkilis took over as the teams full time starting first baseman. Jonathan Papelbon, 25 years old, had 35 saves and an ERA of 0.91. The Red Sox were out of the Playoffs, but they were excited about the progress their young players had mad... and more importantly the progress they would make within the next season.
2007 would mark the year of Red Sox dominance. The team was now rebuilt from the World Series team of only 2 years earlier. While Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz still struck fear in the eyes of every pitcher in baseball, young gun Dustin Pedroia took the league by storm. Jon Lester had survived cancer and was a full time major leaguer. Jacoby Ellsbury had all the fans begging for him to earn the starting Playoff job after only 33 regular season games. Then there was Papelbon... 37 saves, 13 strikeouts per 9 innings, and an ERA of 1.85, and that wasn't even the half of it.
Those 2007 Playoffs were Papelbon's swan song. At the end of it he had a World Series title, and through 14.2 career playoff innings had yet to give up a single earned run. He was flat out dominant, not to mention entertaining.
Over the next 4 years the Red Sox and Papelbon would fail to live up to the lofty expectations, but Papelbon was hardly the fatal flaw. He obviously fell short of the insane bar set by himself. After the 2007 WS victory Jonathan pitched in 12.1 Playoff innings. In those games he allowed 3 earned runs, stuck out 14, and had an ERA of 2.19. Papelbon was unable to duplicate his early postseason success, but he was still consistently one of the league's top closers.
Papelbon leaves Boston as the Red Sox' career saves leader with 219, only Bob Stanley and Tim Wakefield have pitched in more games, and 4 of his 5 consecutive 30+ save seasons rank in the top 10 for most saves in a single year.
Jonathan Papelbon may have been a partying, loud-mouthed, money-hungry, psycho... but he was THE greatest closer this town has ever, and possibly will ever see.
Friday, November 11, 2011
Seems like everyone is coming up with their own All-Pro squads, so here's mine:
QB- Aaron Rogers (GB)
RB- Adrian Peterson (MIN)
RB- LeSean McCoy (PHI)
WR- Calvin Johnson (DET)
WR- Wes Welker (NE)
WR- Steve Smith (CAR)
TE- Rob Gronkowski (NE)
T- Demetrius Bell (BUF)
G- Stefen Wisniewski (OAK)
C- Scott Wells (GB)
G- Brian Waters (NE)
T- Eric Winston (HOU)
DE- Jared Allen (MIN)
DT- Ndamukong Suh (DET)
DT- Vince Wilfork (NE)
DE- Jason Pierre-Paul (NYG)
OLB- Demarcus Ware (DAL)
MLB- Desmond Bishop (GB)
OLB- LaMarr Woodley (PIT)
CB- Derrelle Revis (NYJ)
S- Ed Reed (BAL)
S- Eric Weddle (SD)
CB- Brandon Flowers (KAN)
KR- Devin Hester (CHI)
PR- Patrick Peterson (ARI)
P- Donnie Jones (STL)
K- Dan Bailey (DAL)
Put that team on the field for 16 games? You'd go 16-0, lead the league in scoring, passing yards, and rushing yards. Plus your defense would lead the league in sacks, interception, and not allow a single 100+ yard rusher.
Some players may play their way on or off this list, but either way this is another excellent year from the NFL.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Yoennis Cespedes is a 26 year old defected Cuban outfielder who released a now notorious Youtube video of him performing a mix of Baseball and NFL Combine drills.
On Monday Yoennis was granted free agency by Major League Baseball. As expected, the Red Sox, Yankees, Phillies, Dodgers, and Nationals are all on the list. But also in the hunt are the Florida Marlins. The Marlins could really take a step out of the basement with Cespedes. Miami has a huge Cuban population and Florida feels that the acquiring of Yoennis could have a "Pedro-Like" affect on the city.
Boston also could be a serious contender as well. Up until the past couple days The Red Sox only options in right field seemed to be Carlos Bentran, who was productive last season but is on the wrong side of 35, or their in house prospects. While Reddick opened eyes last year, he's not exactly what you dream about in a big market city like Boston. Yoennis Cespedes could be a superstar, of course he could also just be a dud... but with the money he has available, Ben Cherrington could make a serious run at the kid.
In the 2009 World Baseball Classic, while playing for Cuba Yoennis hit .458 with a .480 OBP, an OPS of 1.000 with a double, 3 triples, 2 home runs, 5 runs and 5 RBI in six games.
Here's the insane youtube vid: