Thursday, November 12, 2015

Random Thoughts (November 12, 2015)

Happy Veteran's Day to all past and present members of the United States Armed Forces.  Your sacrifices and unselfishness are the foundations of America's society and offer oppressed people around the world the opportunity to believe in freedom.


The Celtics are loaded with first round picks over the next few years, especially three unprotected picks from the Nets, and also have several tradeable assets on their team.  Brad Stevens may be finding ways to maximize the talent he has every night but the fact remains that the Celtics lack a bona fide star and without one, they have no chance to compete for a championship.

The time is right to package picks and players to find the type of player that can get the Celtics in to a position to be considered a contender.  While those types of players are usually difficult to find, the ineptitude of the Sacramento Kings may have created an opportunity for Danny Ainge to land the missing piece for the Celtics.

DeMarcus Cousins is many things.

Talented. Malcontent. Misunderstood.

Add All-Star to that list as well.

Cousins may not always play nice with others but he is a premiere talent and, if he is focused, is the type of talent that can transform a team from so-so to contender in an instant.

Ainge and Stevens would be wise to use their assets to gamble that they can get Cousins to be All-NBA instead of coach killer.  After five horrendous seasons with the Kings in which he has played for five head coaches, Cousins would likely be thankful to depart Sacramento for a franchise with stability in the front office and the sideline and one that is committed to building a winner.

The Celtics can package Jared Sullinger, Tyler Zeller, and Avery Bradley with the 2016 Nets unprotected first round pick, the 2016 pick owed to the Celtics from Dallas, and the Celtics first round pick in 2018.  In exchange, the Celtics would receive Cousins.

The Kings get some young talent and three first round picks and the Celtics get the star they need while also trimming some of their roster depth.

A starting five of Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, and Cousins with a bench of Evan Turner, David Lee, Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko, and rookies Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter might not be enough to win the East in 2016 but it's a step towards another title and so it's a step they need to take.


The MLB General Manager meetings are going on this week in Florida and the Red Sox, coming off another last place finish, are expected to be big players.

Many big names are available on the free agent market or the trade market and the Red Sox ownership loves big names as does new President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski.

It's not a matter of if when it comes to the Red Sox making a splash this winter but more a matter of who they will add.

My hope is that they will open the vault for free agent ace David Price, build a package of prospects to pry Sonny Gray from the Athletics or Chris Sale from the White Sox, and then use some left over cash or lesser trade chips to build bullpen depth.

Price is worth the money.  Gray or Sale would be worth Eduardo Rodriguez, Henry Owens, Jackie Bradley Jr., and Javier Guerra (or a similar package of major league and minor league talent).  The bullpen also has to be fixed and resources have to be used to address that need.

If Dombrowski goes into the 2016 season with Price, Sale or Gray, and Clay Buchholz as the top of the rotation and an improved bullpen to accompany an offense that has speed and power, his initial offseason with the Red Sox will be considered a massive success.


Here are my abbreviated thoughts on the Patriots-Redskins game that I accumulated from Section 140 of Gillette Stadium:

1. Dion Lewis will be tough to replace but I'm confident that Bill Belichick and his staff will coach up second-year running back James White enough to prevent Lewis' injury from seriously injuring their team while also game planning to maximize their many strengths.

Lewis was fun to watch and added explosiveness to the offense but Belichick preaches a "next man up" philosophy in Foxboro and has coached around injuries more serious than this one in the past.

2. One place that injuries have started to negatively impact the team is along the offensive line.  Nate Solder and Ryan Wendell have already been lost to season-ending IR, Marcus Cannon continues to be out from a toe injury, rookie Tre' Jackson has been out with a knee injury, and Sebastian Vollmer went out Sunday to a concussion just as Bryan Stork was  returning from a preseason neck injury.

The Patriots are now down to playing fourth string tackle Cameron Fleming as their starting left tackle, Josh Kline and rookie Shaq Mason at guard, undrafted rookie David Andrews at center, and last year's starting center Stork at right right tackle.  Kudos to line coach Dave DeGuglielmo for coaching up the players that he does have right now to keep Tom Brady upright and the offense moving along.

This unit needs to get healthy quickly.  If and when they do, there will be good depth developed at all three positions but until they do get healthy it is a serious area of concern.

3. Just picking nits here but when the Redskins scored a meaningless late touchdown to cut the score to 27-9, I couldn't understand why they didn't go for the 2-point conversion to try and make the score 27-11.

Yes, there were only 29 seconds left in the game and the opportunity to win was not there but if I'm Jay Gruden, the opportunity to use that as a real-time teaching situation for my team was there and he missed it.

Don't think for a second that Bill Belichick would have missed that chance.  It's just another reason why he's better than the rest.

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