Scottie’s 2014 NBA Draft Big Board: Edition 2

Two weeks ago, I presented my Boston Celtics “Big Board.”  Not much has changed in two weeks regarding the Celtics.  They stood pat at the trade deadline much to the chagrin of many.  If I was Danny Ainge, I would have done everything possible to move Jeff Green.  His inconsistency is maddening.  I do not see him as a piece that could contribute in a rebuild.  To a lesser extent, I would have liked to move Brandon Bass.    The bottom line is the Celtics did nothing.   They still have two first round picks in the upcoming draft.  At the time of this writing if the ping pong balls fall true, the Celtics will have the 4th and 15th pick in the 2014 draft.  Here is my updated “Big Board”

1) Jabari Parker, Duke

2) Joel Embiid, Kansas

3) Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

4) Rodney Hood, Duke

I have watched Hood play a few times since my last post.  I love what this kid brings to the table.  He is a long, 6’8, has a nice mid range jumper, and can drive to the basket.  His length will most definitely bother the opposition.

5) Julius Randle, Kentucky

6) Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

Yes, Ennis’s half court shot to beat Pittsburgh was impressive. Also, lucky.  I have moved Ennis up in the rankings due to the chance the Celtics could deal Rondo in the off-season.  None of Ennis’s stats will pop off the score book at you, but he is a solid young point guard who I could envision the Celtics building around.

7)  Dante Exum, Austrailia

8) Noah Vonleh, Indiana

9) Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

10) Doug McDermott, Creighton

11) Kyle Anderson, UCLA

I am praying Anderson slips to the Celtics for their second pick of the draft.  I thought Rodney Hood has length.  Anderson is much longer.  He also can handle the ball like a point guard.  He is averaging 14, 9, and 7.  Those numbers are off the charts.  He is a do it all swing man the Celtics need to put aside Rondo and Sullinger.  I’d much rather have Kyle Anderson than Jeff Green in a rebuild.

12) Gary Harris, Michigan State

13) James Young, Kentucky

14) Jordan Clarkson, Missouri

15) Jerami Grant, Syracuse

16) Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

17) Zach LaVine, UCLA

18) Aaron Gordon, Arizona

19) Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

20) TJ Warren, North Carolina State

21) Adreian Payne, Michigan State

22) Dario Saric, Croatia

23) Markel Brown, Oklahoma State

24) Terran Petteway, Nebraska

25) Semaj Christon, Xavier

26) PJ Hairston, D-League

Hairston is lighting up the D-League to the tune of 35 points a night.  This opens up the question: Could the Florida Gators, Kansas Jayhawks, or Duke Blue Devils beat a D-League team?

27) CJ Fair, Syracuse

28) Chris Walker, Florida

29) James McAdoo, North Carolina

30) Johnny O’Bryant, LSU

No one has O’ Bryant as high in a mock draft as I do.  Some may even have him undrafted.  I love he was able to go for 20 and 12 against the bigs of Kentucky.  He is a solid big body.  Serviceable big men do not grow on trees in the NBA.

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Scottie’s 2014 NBA Draft Big Board: Edition 1

Despite the recent run of wins for the Celtics (outside of their loss to the Mavericks), it is clear they are going to be in the draft lottery this season.  Going into the season, I realized the Celtics were headed into the lottery.  With that knowledge I decided I would watch more college basketball (more than just Providence and Texas) than I would watch the Celtics.  I’ve occasionally watched the Celtics to see the development of players like Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk.  I’ve watched to see how Rajon Rondo’s comeback from knee surgery has gone.  Danny Ainge will have multiple first round picks in the NBA Draft this season.  He may have more by the time the trade deadline comes and goes.  With all of that in mind, here is my “Big Board.”  This is the order I would select the projected draft pool as if the Celtics had 30 first round picks.  I will reserve comment on each player in this article.  In future articles, I may comment where I feel necessary.

Please understand, I do not watch International basketball.  The foreigners I have listed are listed because of what I have read about them. I have never seen Dante Exum or Dario Saric play.  I am going by what I have read.  I have also loaded the list with front court prospects.  I believe Rondo is in Danny Ainge’s master plan for the Celtics’ future.  You will see I have guys like Tyler Ennis and Zach LaVine further down the list than most draft “experts.”

1) Jabari Parker, Dukencb_g_jabari-parker_mb_400

2) Joel Embiid, Kansas

3) Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

4) Julius Randle, Kentucky

5) Noah Vonleh, Indiana

6) Dante Exum, Australia

7) James Young, Kentucky

8) Rodney Hood, Duke

9) Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

10) Gary Harris, Michigan State

11) Doug McDermott, Creighton

12) Aaron Gordon, Arizona

13) Jerami Grant, Syracuse

14) Jordan Clarkson, Missouri

15) Kyle Anderson, UCLAKyle+Anderson+Arizona+v+UCLA+ehlGZY_tppMl

16) Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky

17) Zach LaVine, UCLA

18) Adreian Payne, Michigan State

19) Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

20) Dario Saric, Croatia

21) TJ Warren, North Carolina State

22) CJ Fair, Syracuse

23) Semaj Christon, Xavier

24) James McAdoo, North Carolina

25) Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

26) Markel Brown, Oklahoma State

27) Glenn Robinson III, Michigan

28) PJ Hairston, North Carolina (D-League)

29) Johnny O’Bryant, LSU

30) Chris Walker, Florida

ON TWITTER: @SCOTTIENTCF

Thank You Evan Turner! Welcome to Tankapalooza Part 2

Last night, Evan Turner beat the buzzer in traffic with less than a second left to beat the Boston Celtics 95-94.  Under jpegnormal circumstances, I’d view this as a crushing defeat.  But with the way the NBA is set up, the Celtics thrived in their biggest game of the season.  They took the Philadelphia 76ers down to the wire and lost the game.  As a true Celtics fan, it was the absolute best outcome one could ask for.  Going into last night’s game, the Celtics were a half game better than the 76ers in the standings.  Losing to the Sixers put the Celtics in better position to acquire more ping-pong balls for the draft lottery.  The Celtics now have the third best chance to acquire the #1 pick in the 2014 draft.  The other caveat in losing to the Sixers, is the potential of getting their 2014 1st round pick.  Every Celtic fan should be rooting for the Sixers to win as many games as possible.  If the Sixers make the playoffs, the Celtics will have three first round picks.

Earlier in the week, I wrote about the players available for the Celtics should they land a top 5 pick.  In this installment of “Welcome to Tankapalooza” I will look at the potential players available with the pick the Celtics acquired from Brooklyn in the Pierce-Garnett deal.  I will also throw a trade idea out there I read about from Adrian Wojnarowski.  My post from earlier in the week can be found here: https://ntcf.wordpress.com/2014/01/27/goodbye-past-hello-future-welcome-to-tankapalooza-part-1/

If the season ended today, the Celtics would have the 20th pick of the first round from Brooklyn.  Brooklyn has recovered from their woeful start of the season and have won 8 of their last 10.  There is reason to believe they have “figured it out.”  I believe the Celtics will be picking between 20-25.  Here are three guys who may be available around that time in the draft I’d be interested in.

Willie Cauley-Stein  7.6 PPG  6.8 RPG 3.2 BPG031513_UK_Vandy_0203-1

Cauley-Stein patrols the paint for the University of Kentucky Wildcats.  As you can see by his 3.2 blocks per game, he does a terrific job of protecting the rim.  Cauley-Stein is 7’0  244 pounds.  His offense lacks polish, but make no mistake about it, Cauley-Stein will be a terrific defender for the Celtics.  I believe he can fill the enforcer role left vacant with the departures of Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Garnett.  The added bonus Cauley-Stein brings to the table is his ability to run the floor like a gazelle.  Surely, Rondo is salivating at the idea of having a fellow Wildcat on the Celtics roster that possesses the skills of Cauley-Stein.

Aaron Gordon  12.0 PPG  7.9 RPG  1.5 APG

Gordon is a 6’9 freshman from the University of Arizona.  Like Cauley-Stein, he runs the court extremely well and is an absolute freak of an athlete.  Much like Cauley-Stein his offensive skill set is not much to write home about.  He gets the majority of his points by running on the fast break and catching alley-oops.  Much like Cauley Stein, he would be a great running mate for Rondo.  Gordon is far from a finished product and Celtics fans would have to be patient with his development.  But the tools are there.

James Young  14.7 PPG  4.5 RPG 2.0 APG

Young is a 6’6 shooting guard/ small forward out of Kentucky.  I watched him light up Providence in the beginning of the season for 18 points, shooting 3 of 4 from long-range.  Young has the ability to get red-hot as evidenced by some of his point totals this season: 26, 21, 26, 23, and 23.  He is only shooting 33% from three however.  Regardless, I believe James Young will blossom into a solid NBA player.  I would love to see him do so wearing Celtic Green.

Earlier in this post I mentioned a rumored trade that I believe would net Danny Ainge the Executive of the Year jeff-green-dunkAward in the NBA.  The Phoenix Suns have 6 first round picks in the next 2 drafts.  They are currently 6th in the Western Conference.  The Suns could use a wing player to compliment Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe (when he returns from injury).  Enter Jeff Green.  Green would fit the bill perfectly for the Suns.  He is a role player would have the ability to break out from time to time.  There is also an outside chance the Suns would be willing to take on Gerald Wallace also.  Phoenix would give up 1 of their 2014 first round picks and Emeka Okafor’s expiring contract.  If that were to happen, the Celtics would open up a ton of room under the salary cap allowing them to make a run at big name free agents this summer.

So there it is.  The recipe to get the Celtics back into title contention.  Open up cap room and acquire draft picks.  With a little help from Phoenix and Philadelphia, Celtics fans may only have to root against their team just this season.  The Celtics have the chance to be quite good for quite some time.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Goodbye Past; Hello Future: Welcome to Tankapalooza! Part 1

Fresh off of one of the most emotional nights I’ve ever witnessed as a Celtics fan, I think it is a good time to take a look at the imagescurrent state of the franchise.  Last night gave me a bit of closure realizing Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett are no longer Boston Celtics.  I fully admit tears were shed seeing Paul pierce’s video tribute at the end of the first quarter.  Pierce was drafted when I was 13 years old.  He carried the franchise for those 15 years he wore Green.  He was given some assistance in 2007 and finally got his much deserved championship ring.

Now, the Celtics organization is trying to avoid another long championship draught.  In order to be good in the NBA, your team has to be horrendous for at least one year.    Danny Ainge is well aware of this.  He traded Pierce, Garnett, and Jason Terry for 3 first round draft picks, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks, and Keith Bogans.  Only Humphries remains on the active roster.  Ainge also traded Doc Rivers to the Clippers for a first round pick.  In the middle of the season, Ainge traded Jordan Crawford and MarShon Brooks for draft picks.  Ainge traded Courtney Lee for Jerryd Bayless to create cap space.  The previous paragraph can be summed up in three words: Welcome to Tankapalooza!

The Celtics have 2 guaranteed first round picks in the 2014 draft.  If the 76ers manage to make the playoffs, the Celtics will get their first round pick, too.  The Celtics have their own first round pick which very well could land in the top 5.  They then have the Brooklyn Nets pick from the KG/Pierce trade.  At the time of this writing that pick is in the range of 15-18.  By the end of the season, I believe the pick would be around 20th overall.  I do not expect the 76ers to make the playoffs.  If they do, they will surely be the 8 seed in the East meaning the Celtics would have the 15th pick overall.

The Celtics are likely to have a top 5 pick in this draft.  With that pick, the Celtics are looking at names like Parker, Wiggins, imagesEmbiid, Smart, and Randle.  The Celtics plan going forward appears to be building a team around Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger.  If that is the mindset, they are in need of a shooting guard, small forward, and center.  The Celtics should concentrate on Jabari Parker as their prime target in the upcoming draft.  Obviously if he is selected ahead of where the Celtics pick, they will need some sort of contingency plan.  Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid are not bad fall back options.  The Celtics do not need Marcus Smart or Julius Randle because they already have Rondo and Sullinger.

Here is a look at the top 5 prospects in the draft:

Jabari Parker  18.7 PPG    8.0  RPG  1.4 APG

I think Parker is the best all around player in this year’s draft pool.  Yes, I am assuming he is coming out of college after his freshman year despite numerous reports he wants to stay at Duke for 1 more year so he can play with Jahlil Okafor. Parker is 6’8 235 and compares favorably to Carmelo Anthony.  My dream scenario involves Rondo, Sullinger, and Parker.  In the games I have seen this season, Parker has exhibited an ability to get the rim at will.  He has a pure jump shot.  He is shooting 47% from the field and 38% from deep.

Andrew Wiggins 15.8 PPG  6.0 RPG  1.6 APGuntitled

Wiggins has been criticized all season for not being flashy or putting up eye-popping numbers.  These criticisms are unfair because of the expectations Wiggins faced coming into the season.  I will admit Wiggins has shown a propensity for disappearing in some games.  But at the end of the day Wiggins’s talent is undeniable.  He has had a few games where his stats jump off the score sheet.  He had 26 and 11 against #19 Florida, 17 and 19 against #8 Iowa State, and most recently 27, 5 and 5 against TCU.

Joel Embiid  11.2 PPG  7.4 RPG  2.8 BPG

Embiid has skyrocketed up the expert’s mock draft lists.  The 7’0 250 pound center from Cameroon is a raw talent. Most scouts will tell you, one can not be taught size.  Embiid is a big body who does a great job of protecting the rim and cleaning the glass.  He has a tendency of getting into foul trouble, but as he learns the game, that deficiency should go away. Embiid is a raw project who won’t necessarily help an NBA team right away, but could be a productive center for 10-15 years when his career is done.  He is 3rd on my most wanted list for the Celtics.  While I don’t hate the idea of Rondo, Sullinger, and Embiid I don’t like the lack of offense this lineup presents.

In my next post, I will look at the Celtics trade options with their current roster, their potential picks with their 2nd pick of the first round, and free agency.

 

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF

Brother to Brother: Episode 3

In this edition of Brother to Brother, I present the topics, and Big Bro responds.  My comments will be in regular font.  Steve’s will be in italics.  Please note: My comments were made January 21.  Steve took some time responding.  His comments were made January 23.

In this edition we talk about the Patriots season, top 10 Friars we have seen play, Jeff Green, and various other topics!

1) The Patriots have no reason to be upset with the season they had.  They lost to the better team on Sunday.  To be honest, I expected them to get walloped to the tune of 42-24 or so.  I still believe the Patriots can make another run next year because there is no clear cut team in the AFC ready to make the next step.  Keep in mind the Pats will be healthy coming into next season.  All in all you might be able to say the Pats overachieved this season.  Still hurts to lose to Peyton though.untitled

Pats –  Great season.  Something very difficult for NE fans to keep in perspective.  The Pats have been to the AFC Championship 8 times and 6 Super Bowls in the last 20 years, plus amazing winning percentage.  Pats fans are spoiled because of all the success.  Think of the following teams:  Browns, Bills, Jags, Texans, Cowboys, Lions, Dolphins, Bengals, Raiders, Bucs, Redskins, .  Cowboys have not won a playoff game in 20 years.  Think about that.  They had a great season and the future looks bright.  You could make the argument that their off-season acquisitions will be the return of injured players (Wilfork, Kelly, Armstead, Mayo, Talib, 3 rookie receivers, full season of Vereen, Gronk, Amendola at full health).  I read they were the second youngest team in the NFL.  Health was the biggest factor for them.  I also saw that Amendola should have been on season ending IR in Oct, maybe people will give him a break, he must be tough.

2) Everyone is bashing Richard Sherman.  You know I like to stick up for the guy everyone hates.  Let’s be honest, his cough adrenaline cough was flying high after the biggest play of the season to send his team to the Super Bowl.  You interview him 10-15 minutes after that play on the field?  He is still emotional.  Everyone knows his history.  Of course that outburst was going to happen.  He was jacked up.  And I have no problem with it.  I like seeing emotion a lot more than the usual “yes man” athlete.  I thought it was fantastic to see the unadulterated emotion.

 Sherman – Ehhh, an example of a non-story becoming a story.  Wow, an NFL player talked trash, gee I never saw such a thing.

3)Eddie Cooley has the Friars at “first 4 out” in the latest Bracketology.  Amazing he has the team this competitive with the adversity the team has faced this season.  He is basically playing 6 guys.  Bryce Cotton has played 50 minutes twice this season.  Cooley has said he will come out of the game when he graduates.  Cotton has crept into the 10 top Friars I have ever seen.  I know my list will vary greatly from yours but here it is.  1) Eric Murdock 2) Austin Croshere 3) Eric Williams 4) Ryan Gomes 5) Michael Smith 6) John Linehan 7) Bryce Cotton 8) Dickey Simpkins 9) MarShon Brooks 10) Jamel Thomas.untitled

Friars – In no particular order – Billy Donovan, Eric Murdock, Soup Campbell, Otis Thorpe, Eric Williams, Ryan Gomes, Austin Croshere, Ron Jackson, Joe Hassett, Michael Smith.  Ask Dad if he remembers Ron Jackson.  They very best were before my time:  Ernie D, Marvin Barnes and Jimmy Walker.  Special note to Marty Conlon, became a solid NBA player, but no one saw that coming.  And special note to Harold Starks, the greatest energy, defense first guy they ever had.

4) The Longhorns had a big win over #8 Iowa State the same day PC beat #20 Creighton.  Our squads are looking up?  Frankly, Iowa State is a one and done candidate come March.  I don’t think they get out of the first round.  After PC beat Creighton, Creighton turned around and smacked #4 Villanova by 30.  Too bad the transitive property doesn’t pertain to college basketball. Keep in mind Nova smashed PC by 30.

Longhorns & Barnes – Crazy program.  It is obviously a football school, but he has built a great basketball program.  The team is 2-3 recruits away from being very, very good.  Problem is when they get the talent, they are not around long.  But something to think about, here is a list and again in no particular order of the guys UT/Barnes has placed in the NBA.  TJ Ford, Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Avery Bradley, Cory Joseph, DJ Augustin, Daniel Gibson, Jordan Hamilton, Dexter Pittman, Royal Ivey, Damion Jones, Tristan Thompson, PJ Tucker, Chris Mihm.

5) It is time to explore trade options for Jeff Green.  The Celtics are in a complete rebuild mode.  Green is a fringe player.  He has shown signs of being a top dog in the NBA, other times he completely disappears.  I don’t see him as a guy that can lead a team anywhere.  Remember the old line Bobby Knight used referring to Steve Alford?  That applies to Green.  The Celtics should rebuild around Rondo and Sullinger.  I compare Sullinger to Charles Barkley.  Both are undersized power forwards, who have a knack for cleaning the glass.  Sullinger is trying to develop some range similar to Kevin Love.  As long as his back holds up, Sullinger can be a great guy to build around.  Remember he was supposed to be a #1 overall pick after his freshman year but he stayed in school.  Time to trade Green for a first round pick somewhere.untitled

Jeff Green – Dropped 39 last night.  I still go back to my comments last year during the playoffs.  This is a guy who has been Option #3 for most of his career. He is an outstanding athlete, but does not have the instinct for selfish play and may not be a natural leader.  That is not a bad thing, when you think of the alternative, which is someone who wants to lead but can’t or sends the wrong message.  Also, you cannot have a locker room full of so-called self-appointed leaders, then you have nothing, sometimes having no drama guys who follow is a great thing to have.  Ainge actually did a good job with him from a contract standpoint.  He did not overpay.  I would rather have Green and his contract than Wallace and his contract.

6) Now that the Patriots season is over, the focus in the region will be the Bruins.  The Bruins are in second in the Eastern Conference, 5 points behind Pittsburgh.  They could be in trouble come playoff time because they lost Dennis Seidenberg for the season to an ACL injury.  The defensive pairing of Chara and Seidenberg has completely shut down high-flying offenses in years past.  Seidenberg might be the most underrated athlete in Boston.

Bruins – I have to do a better job following hockey.  My lack of hockey knowledge is apparent.

7)The Olympic break is one of the more interesting conundrums in sports.  Hockey owners must hate sending their best players to Sochi.  The beauty of the Olympic hockey is hockey players are a different breed. Cam Neely said it best when asked why the hockey players compete in the Olympics and do everything they can to win (as opposed to NBA players who coast through these competitions) “because they don’t know any better.”  The Olympics will serve as the true All Star Games fans want to see.

Olympics – Ehhh, used to love it, now it just feels like a pre-cursor to Campbell’s soup commercials and Wheaties boxes for the lucky winner.

8)Not much news on the Red Sox.  I am praying the Mets sign Stephen Drew so Xander and Middlebrooks will not have to look over their shoulder and have their development stunted by Drew.  The Grady Sizemore deal is reminiscent of when the Red Sox signed Rocco Baldelli.  Low risk/ high reward.  He offers competition for the center field spot with Jackie Bradley Jr.  I can’t honestly say I am expecting anything from him.imagesCAUU54PH

Red Sox –  Grady Sizemore!  Way to go all out Cherrington.  Reminds me of when Sinden ran the Bruins knowing they would always make money so never signed the talent to get to the Cup.  Although, I think the Sox really learned their lesson with Crawford/Gonzo signings.  They saw the burden those contracts might present, the animosity of the fans when they don’t perform.  Boston fans would rather have guys killing themselves to prove themselves, than guys who get  paid a lot to demonstrate apathy with W-L.  Boston fans can handle losing, if they know the players hate losing.  If they think the players are rich guys who could care less, it gets ugly.

Peter Vescey follows me on Twitter and you should too @ScottieNTCF.

Brother to Brother: Episode 2

I have decided to change the title of this feature to NTCF.  “From Austin to Providence” was too close to Brandon Austin and the Providence College Friars in my mind.  I hope y’all can deal with the change.  If you have any suggestions for a better title please don’t hesitate to comment!  A reminder: My brother’s (Steve) comments will be in regular font.  My responses will be in italics.

Here is what was on the minds of the Patterson boys this week!

NBA:
1.  Miami Heat – Recently read how the Heat would be the first team to go make 4 consecutive finals appearances since the 1987 Celtics.  You have often asked about Bird and the 80’s Celts.  No better way than history repeating itself in a rarity.  So Jordan, Hakeem, Duncan, O’Neal, Bryant, Stockton/Malone, Isaiah etc. and even Magic, never did it.  Possibly, it gives you an idea of how good the Celts were in the 80s.Big-3-win
1) I know I always argue Pierce belongs in the all time great Celtic conversation.  The truth is, I was too young to really remember those 80’s teams.  That is pretty incredible the Celtics were able to get to 4 Finals in a row without free agency really being a factor.  I also believe Jordan’s Bulls would have easily made 4 and probably won 4 in a row if he wasn’t suspen- ahem, if he didn’t leave to play baseball.  Keep in mind The New Big Three Era with the Celtics.  If they avoided injuries to KG, Perk, and Avery Bradley it is very likely they could have achieved the same feat.
2.  Pacers – Like their chances if Granger contributes off the bench.
4.  Portland Trailblazers – Head Coach Terry Stotts deserves some serious accolades.  Look at their roster and tell me they would be 26-8?  Hopefully, they stay healthy and make a trade deadline deal to help with some wing scoring.
2/4) The Pacers and Blazers are particularly interesting because they both built their teams through the draft.  They are the anti-Heat, anti-Nets.  They also do not have a superstar on their team that David Stern smashes you over the head with in his marketing ventures.  I will make the argument Damian Lillard is the best point guard in the NBA.  Also Paul George and Lance Stephenson have been great in Indy this year.  It wouldn’t be the sexiest NBA Final, but I would definitely watch it from a pure basketball standpoint.
3.  Tanking – This is a really big issue for the NBA.  You could make the argument that 13 of the 15 teams in the East would prefer NOT to be in the playoffs or Finals.  Enough said.
3) There has to be a remedy to stop the tanking issue.  Even if teams aren’t tanking, the perception is there.  Maybe the 9th seed from each conference should get the most ping pong balls in the lottery.  Do it that way, and keep the league more competitive.
5.  Kobe and KG – Interesting how the media plays out the end for players, meaning as if it is unexpected.  Both players always played hard and now the years and mileage catch up.  Then, you look at Duncan at 17 pts and 9 rebs and you wonder why Coach Pop gets criticized for resting players.
5) You have dealt with this more than I have but man is it difficult watching the guys you grew up watching get old.  It’s like the media expects KG to be a 20-12 guy every night.  Remember how much of a beast he was in Minnesota in his prime?  His last years as a Celtic he started to taper off but was still very serviceable.  Sad that he is getting criticized.  He does not deserve it.
NFL:
1.  Pats – Getting home field was big, I think they can get it done against the Colts.  Talib neutralizes TY Hilton, the defense bends, not breaks.  Brady dials up some vintage clutch 3rd down play and…..Blount, Ridley, Vereen do the rest.
1) Everyone around here seems to think the Pats will coast by the Colts.  Have Patriot fans not learned their lesson the past few untitledseasons?  Remember when they were suppose to spank the Jets a few years back? Then they lost.  Granted the Colts only true weapon on offense for Luck to utilize is TY Hilton.  I actually expect Kyle Arrington to play him since Hilton plays primarily out of the slot.  Losing Brandon Spikes bothers me because he brings an attitude to the defense.  Not many guys like going over the middle when he is playing.  The injuries this team has suffered over the course of the year is bordering on ridiculous.  3rd down has been a mammoth issue up here.  Brady doesn’t have that dependable guy to go to on 3rd.  For some reason this game scares me.  Once again the Patriots will only go as far as Brady and The Hoody can take them.
2.  Bengals – A lot of criticism on Andy Dalton and he did not play a good game.  But the infatuation with QB controversies could be a really bad trend.  People forget, he is the guy who got your sorry franchise in the playoffs in his first three years after about 20 years of nothing.  The Bengals should be AFC favorites next year.  Guess who lost his first 3 playoff games? Peyton Mannning.  Not comparing Manning to Dalton, just stating that overreaction and knee jerk can get a franchise in a lot of trouble.  Just ask the Raiders, Bucs, Jags, Titans, Bills…
2) I agree with you 100%.  I believe people like to bash because it is fun to bash.  The bottom line is Andy Dalton has brought the Bengals into respectability.  Peyton Manning lost his first 8 playoff games all the while resurrecting the Colts franchise.  No, Dalton is not Manning but at the same time he shouldn’t be facing the level of heat he currently is facing. 
3.  Westlake HS – Drew Brees and Nick Foles both went to Westlake.  Just so you know, that is only about 10 miles from our house.
3) Everyone will be quick to criticize Mack Brown for not recruiting either Foles or Brees, but remember who was quarterbacking the Longhorns at the time Foles and Brees were in college.  Foles graduated college in 2011. (Colt McCoy)  Brees graduated in 2000  (Chris Simms-Major Applewhite)
4.  Kaepernick – Not sure what it is, but I am not sure I am a fan.  Respect his ability, athleticism, but there just seems to be something missing?  Maybe I like the traditional Manning, Brady, Brees, Rodgers guys more than the RGIII, Kaepernick guys.   Here is a thought, I think the 49ers would be in the same spot with just about 18 other QBs in the league, their roster is loaded on both sides of the ball.   For argument, any of the following would have them in the same position (Manning, Brady, Brees, Rodgers, Rivers, Romo, Cutler, Foles, Vick, Newton, E. Manning, Stafford, Ryan, Wilson, Palmer, Roethlisberger, Luck, Smith).  I would say that Kaepernick could NOT get the following teams to the playoffs with the current roster.  (Giants, Packers, Bears, Lions, Vikings, Bucs, Cardinals, Rams, Jets, Bills, Dolphins, Browns, Titans, Jags, Raiders, Chargers)untitled
4) Interesting way of looking at the quarterback argument.  I love/hate Kaepernick.  Love his talent.  Hate that he screwed my fantasy football team this year.  I think he is better than Matthew Stafford.  Stafford is so insanely overrated it’s beyond anything that could be considered a rational thought.  Give me Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, hell just give me Calvin Johnson and I can throw for 350 yards, too!  I also absolutely 100% believe Kaepernick takes the Bears to the Super Bowl and wins it no matter who the opponent is.  Also the 49ers would be worse with Carson Palmer as their quarterback.  He is terrible.  Same can be said for Jay Cutler.
5.  Versatile HBs – Woodhead, Sproles, Charles, McCoy really like those guys.  If Manning did not have such a monster year, I really think J. Charles is the MVP.  He is Priest Holmes and M. Faulk 2.0.
5) Jamal Charles should be the MVP.  He did more with less talent around him.  Peyton Manning had a video game like roster on his hands.  If he did anything less than what he did this season, he’d be considered a failure.  Heck, I’d even say he underachieved this season.  Records mean nothing to me anymore because the rules now protect the offensive side of the ball.  If he had these numbers 5-10 years ago, maybe I’d be impressed.
6.  Coaching Fires – Brutal profession, but I guess most of the guys who were let go, there is reason.  Only guy who did not get a fair shake was Chudzinski in Cleveland.  Seriously, one year and all the injuries at QB (not to mention the QB choices were Weeden, Campbell and Hoyer).  He did not draft those guys and he did not pick or trade Richardson.
6) Completely agree Chudzinski got the short end of the stick.  Then you have a guy like Jim Schwartz who should have been fired 3 years ago.  The Schwartz was not with him.
MLB:
1. Sox – Nothing
1)  The story with the Red sox right now is whether they will bring back Stephen Drew or not.  I hope he signs elsewhere.  If he stays, he stunts the development of Will Middlebrooks and Xander Boegarts.  In a full season, Middlebrooks will hit 30 home runs and drive in 100.
2. Astros – Less than nothing
2) I think the Astros will win more than they did last season.  Shouldn’t be hard since that total is 51.  Only players worth watching on their roster are Jose Altuve and Dexter Fowler.  Can’t believe they gave Scott Feldman a 3 year contract for $30 million.  Feldman…from across the hall!  (Bizarro Seinfeld-world Kramer!)
3. Pujols – Saw the other day, he is only 33 years old.  Playing like he is 43.  Wait, I am 43.  Ok, 53 then.
4. Hank Aaron – Look up his numbers some day (then Gehrig and Ruth).  Man!  Basically, Pujols would have to average 30 homers for the next 7 years to reach 720 career home runs, 35 short of Aaron.  Of course, Aaron needed 700 more games than Ruth to hit 755.  Bonds needed 483 more games to hit 762 than Ruth’s 714.  Yeah-yeah, not to mention PED assisted.
3-4) Hank Aaron’s power numbers are absurd.  I say Pujols has an outside chance at some of them because he will likely DH the rest of his career. 
5.  Greg Maddux – Gotta be unanimous – right?untitled
5) Maddux should be unanimous but there is always that one dink writer that wants to make a story and not vote in an obvious selection.  The BBWA is a bigger joke than anything Richard Pryor, Robin Williams, or Ron White ever delivered.
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Farewell June 2013

Normally, I embrace the month of June.  In fact, it is my favorite month of the year.  Summer begins, warm weather, trips to the beach, hell my birthday is in June.  However; June 2013 was simply awful for a Boston sports fan.  I, myself, can’t wait until Monday morning when I can turn the calendar to July.

Since I started blogging (even dating back to the McKeon and the Mongoose days), as a Boston sports fan, I have primarily been able to write about successes, champions, and legendary athletes. Boston fans have seen two World Series’ trophies, four Lombardi trophies, 1 Stanley Cup, and 1 Larry O’Brien trophy.  We have also seen three out of the four teams we root for lose more than one championship game or series.  None of that pain or disappointment comes close to what Boston fans have endured over the month of June.  Where do I even begin?

Aaron Hernandez

The most notable detrimental event in June is Aaron Hernandez being charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd.  Sure as a Patriotsap_aaron_hernandez_mi_130728_16x9_992 fan this bothers me.  But as a human being it down right pisses me off.  I hold true to the belief set forth by Robert DeNiro’s character, Lorenzo, in A Bronx Tale. “The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.”  That is just what Hernandez is, wasted talent.  This kid was given everything out of the womb from a physical standpoint.  Bill Walton would refer to him as “the biggest winner of the genetic lottery known to man.”  Hernandez is 6’1, built out of granite, and has amazing agility.  He was given everything: A full scholarship to the University of Florida, drafted by the best organization in the NFL, to play with the best quarterback in the history of the NFL, and as of last August given a sizable contract.

In life, all Hernandez had to do was stay in shape.  Everything was given to him.  He never pulled an all nighter trying to finish a term paper in college.  He never had to sit in a cubicle hearing a boss drone on about TPS reports. Hell the guy probably never had to clean his house or even take out the garbage.  He was living the American Dream; being paid millions of dollars to play a game. And he blew it all.

I have to wonder when it will all hit Aaron.  He will no longer enjoy his mansion in North Attleboro.  He will no longer be able to eat at 5 star restaurants.  He will never hear the roar of 60,000 fans cheering as he catches a pass from Tom Brady.  It is all gone.

Boston Bruins

Back in the middle of May, the Boston Bruins pulled off an improbable comeback over the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  Down 4-1 with eight minutes left, the Bruins came from behind to shock the world and advance to the second round against the New York Rangers.  The Bruins skated past the Rangers in 5 games setting up a date with the powerhouse Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Final.  Most experts believed the Bruins would have a hard time beating the Penguins because of their offensive juggernaut. The Bruins proved all the naysayers wrong, owning the Penguins in 4 games.

The Bruins advanced to play the Chicago Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup Final.  The Bruins looked to be a team of destiny.  The Andrew Shawmiracle comeback over the Leafs, the dismantling of the Rangers, and sweeping the Penguins.  Gregory Campbell helped kill off a penalty for 1 minute skating on a broken leg.  All the plots to the beautiful story line were in place.

The Bruins came to Boston down 3-2 for Game 6. Milan Lucic scored a goal late in the third period.  It looked as though the Bruins, the improbable Bruins, would force a Game 7 in Chicago.  The with 1:15 left in the game, Brian Bickell beat Tuukka Rask to tie the game.  17 seconds later, Dave Bolland beat Rask to put the Blackhawks ahead and bring the Cup back to Chicago.  I will not attempt to get fancy in describing my feelings as these events unfolded on June 24 (the night before my birthday).  The Bickell goal felt like a wild mule kicked me square in the genitals.  The Bolland goal felt like I lost those genitals 17 seconds later.

After the Bruins were able to shock the Maple Leafs, I was convinced they were going to win the Stanley Cup.  They destroyed the Rangers resulting in John Tortorella receiving a pink slip.  Their win over the Penguins cemented my belief the Cup was coming home to Boston.  Then I sat there on my couch on June 24, watching Andrew Shaw lift the Cup over his head on the TD Garden ice.

How can that be?

Boston Celtics

I made a promise to myself I would not watch a single second of the NBA Final because I did not want to give David Stern his much desired television rating.  My problem, however, is my access to Twitter.  Tuesday, June 18, the Spurs were 5 seconds away from beating LeBron James and the Miami Heat for the NBA title.  My twitter feed blew up.  I could not resist temptation.  I had to tune in to see the sad faces of LeBron, Wade, and Bosh.  I even had my tweet all lined up.  Not 6, Not 5, Not 4, Not 3, Not 2!  1!  I tuned into the game just in time to see Chris Bosh tip a rebound out to Ray Allen, yes Ray Allen above all people, bury a three from the corner to send the game into overtime.  Why did it have to be Ray Allen?  Former member of The Big Three.  The guy who left town to take less money because he did not want to play in Boston in anymore.  The guy who abandoned Pierce and Garnett to go play with the Celtics’ biggest rival.  Why did it have to be Judas Shuttlesworth?

As we all know the Heat went on to beat the Spurs and win their second straight NBA title.

On the local front, the Celtics traded Doc Rivers to the Clippers for a 1st round draft pick.  I am yet to determine how I feel about NBA Finals Game 6: Los Angeles Lakers v Boston Celticsthis. The beef between Bill Simmons and Rivers further complicates things.  I have long been a fan of Doc Rivers.  I am on the fence about Simmons.  Some days I like him, most days I find him wildly annoying.  As it stands now, I find myself being annoyed with Doc Rivers.  He essentially asked out-of-town because he did not want to be apart of a rebuild.  Knowing he did not want to be apart of a rebuild, he had no problem signing a 5 year contract for $35 million last season.  Obviously KG and Pierce would not be around for those 5 years.  He obviously knew a rebuild was happening.  Instead of owning up to him quitting on the current Celtics, he has made many excuses as to what went down between he and Danny Ainge leading up to this trade.

There is a lot of Ray Allen in Doc Rivers.  The both feel the need to be liked by the fans.  They can’t handle the fact Boston fans may be upset with them.  Ultimately, I am glad the Celtics received compensation for Rivers.  But the bottom line is Rivers did quit on the Celtics and he is currently trying to protect his reputation with Celtics fans by saying it was not his idea to leave town.

After Rivers asked to be dealt to the Clippers, the writing was on the wall Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett would be moved as well. Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce Believe it or not, I have mixed emotions about this one.  Paul Pierce has been a Boston Celtic since I was 13 years old.  I can’t remember what the Celtics were like without him.  I remember when he slipped to the 10th pick in the 1998 draft.  I was ecstatic,  That ecstasy lived on for the last 15 years.  Anyone who knows me, knows I will argue Pierce is a top five player over the course of his career.  Seeing him don a Brooklyn Nets uniform will be difficult.  Seeing him be coached by Jason Kidd will blow my mind.  It is not hard to forget the Nets were Celtic rivals in the early 2000’s.  Right at the center of that rivalry? Paul Pierce and Jason Kidd.

Seeing Kevin Garnett go will be difficult as well.  I remember working as a camp counselor the summer of 2007 when Garnett was traded to the Celtics.  I walked around the camp with a radio, listening to WEEI, as the trade talks heated up.  Garnett brought an unparalleled intensity to Boston.  It was impossible not to get fired up along with him when you were at the Garden.  Credit Garnett for getting that building as loud as it got most nights.  Without Garnett, there is no Banner 17 hanging from the rafters.

#34 will hang from those same rafters one day.  I hope #5 does as well.  They were great Celtics.  Great isn’t even the word.  There are no words to describe Pierce and Garnett.  Their last move as Celtics?  Bringing home three first round picks to help rebuild the franchise.  It does not get any better than that.   Damn it, I hope they knock off the Heat next year.

June was an awful month in Boston. July 2013, I welcome you with open arms.

I can be followed on Twitter @ScottieNTCF