So while getting in my truck just moments ago I heard Tony Massarotti and Jim Murray on 98.5 The Sports Hub talking about where they rank the four teams of Boston right now. (At first I wasn’t sure if it was for the future or just for 2018)
They each had the Celtics at one and they agreed the Pats would be number two on that list.
So I get that the Celtics have the most promising future of Boston’s core four but if we’re ranking for 2018 alone I don’t see the C’s being #1. The Celts are loaded, especially with Gordon and Kyrie coming back, but I don’t think they’ll ultimately beat Golden State’s video game roster.
Since it’s mid-July, the worst part of the sports season (unless you’re into the World Cup this year), there’s not much to talk/blog about so I love this topic of ranking teams. If there’s one thing people enjoy these days it’s ranking things on lists. So I’m going to rank the four teams both for 2018 and also for the future.
Boston’s Four: 2018-2019
1.) Patriots: Alright, alright it’s such a boring/un-original pick but let me explain. Yeah it “seems” things are kind of a mess right now in Foxboro with the whole Brady/Belichick feud and Rob Gronkowski not having his extension yet (will we see a classic Belichick training camp trade?!). That drama may be true or it may not be but what I do know is that once the pads are strapped on and the boys hit the field the Pats will be the Pats. [Insert arrogant Pats fan sentence here] Brady and Bill may hate each other but there’s always been one thing they hate more than anything and that’s losing. These two are a couple of the most competitive guys we’ve seen in sports history, especially Brady. He may kiss his son on the lips but when it comes to competition we’ve recently seen Tom stiff arm his kid into the dirt or whip a dodgeball at his sister or mom while on vacation in Montana. He doesn’t take any game lightly. The bottom line of this mini rant is that come September Brady and Belichick will have one thing on their minds, winning a sixth Super Bowl.
2.) Celtics: Even though Golden State has like a 99.99999% chance of winning the NBA title once again it appears the Celts basically have an automatic bye to the NBA Finals. Okay that may be a little cocky but with Gordon Hayward and Kyrie finally being on the court together with Tatum and Brown I don’t see anyone beating them. Hell they might even push the Warriors to six games. I think the NBA is the worst of the four major leagues but God I love this Celtics team. It’s been said a million times but they truly feel like a college team, fighting on every possession. A big part of that mentality is the grit of Marcus Smart, who still hasn’t officially re-signed with Boston but it looks like he will. The Eastern Conference playoffs will likely be very boring next spring but I feel safe saying the Celtics will be sitting there waiting for the winner of Warriors/Lakers…spoiler alert: it will be the Warriors.
3.) Red Sox: So it was tough deciding between the Red Sox and Bruins for the three and four spot on this list but I had to go with the boys of summer. Right now the Sox have won eight straight and own the best record in baseball. They are such a fun team to watch but this team has sucked the past couple of postseasons, getting swept by the Indians in 2016 and getting steamrolled by the eventual World Series champion Astros last year. I don’t know what it is but once Boston has reached the playoffs they just haven’t been themselves. Maybe the third year is the charm for this group of young studs with the core of the three B’s of Betts, Benintendi, Bogaerts. The key to beating the Yankees or Astros this year down the stretch will be pitching. Chris Sale is an early Cy Young Award candidate but he still has yet to show us that stuff in the postseason. The same goes for the number two and three guys Rick Porcello and David Price. Price pisses his pants every time he faces the Yankees so I don’t like their chances of reaching the world series with him in the rotation. Last fall Price made the move to the bullpen and was dynamite as a reliever, giving the Sox an Andrew Miller type of arm out of the pen. I’ll likely come out with a mid-year/all-star break type of predictions blog soon so stay tuned for that…
4.) Bruins: First let me make this clear, I LOVED last year’s Bruins team. They fought hard and proved every critic wrong and it really felt they had the “it factor” of previous cup contending teams. If they had landed John Tavares a week or so ago they likely would’ve skyrocketed on this list to two or three in my opinion but instead he joined division foe Toronto. The Leafs are already a young and stacked team and with Tavares they immediately become one of the faves to win Lord Stanley’s cup next spring. As far as the Bruins though, they’ve got a great young roster but are just a few players short of being a true contender. Their defense is weak even with Charlie McAvoy looking like the next big thing, Chara gets older and slower each year, and in net Tuukka is a question mark. I’m confident for the team offensively with the usual suspects returning in Bergeron, Marchand, Pastrnak, and Krejci. It will be exciting to see what the young guys Ryan Donato and Jake DeBrusk will do in their second year as Bruins. They’ll be a playoff team but I don’t see them going past round two in their current state unless someone really steps up.
Boston Four: Future (2019 and beyond)
1.) Celtics: This one is pretty clear with the team having two talented players under the age of 22. Kyrie Irving’s future with the team remains unclear but Gordon Hayward should stick around for awhile. A core of at least Hayward, Tatum, and Brown alongside the best coach in the NBA in a LeBron-less East should mean NBA Finals for years to come for Boston.
2.) Bruins: They were number four on the 2018 list but for the future things look pretty bright. They have two stars of the future in Ryan Donato (22 years old) and Charlie McAvoy (20 years old). Brad Marchand is one of the league’s best goal scorers and he’s locked up as a Bruin for awhile at only age 30 and Patrice Bergeron has plenty left in the tank at age 32. Bruce Cassidy appears to be the perfect coach in Boston and the Bruins should be competing in the East for the next five to seven years.
3.) Red Sox: Once again the three and four spots were tough to pick. The Red Sox get the edge over the Pats due to their young talent. The problem that is keeping the Sox from being higher on this list is due to a lot of contracts expiring at the end of 2018. Chris Sale will be an unrestricted free agent and Betts will be up for arbitration. It’s very unlikely they lose a player like Betts, Benintendi, or Bogaerts but it will be a tough offseason. All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel will also be a free agent so there’s the chance Boston loses both Sale and Kimbrel in the same offseason. Red Sox ownership better be ready to dig deep in their pockets if they want to keep this team together. There’s rumors swirling that the Yankees could sign Manny Machado next winter so it’s not a time that the Red Sox want to be losing players. It’d be nice to see the core of the team return as well land a big fish let’s say…in the form of Bryce Harper via free agency in 2019.
4.) Patriots: Whoa! The Pats on a bottom of a list? I’m afraid so. This team could very well win a sixth and seventh Super Bowl over the next couple of years but beyond 2019 this team may be complete garbage. Wow…garbage and the Patriots in the same sentence. I’m a “Pats homer” to the bone but we have to be real here, Brady is weeks from being 41 and Belichick probably has about three years left? Who really knows with him. There’s not really a whole lot of youth to this team either. You’re best receiver is 32 and just had a torn ACL, Gronk is 29 with health issues and no long-term deal, Dont’a Hightower is 28 believe it or not and also is made of glass, and Belichick hasn’t exactly had the best drafts the past couple of years. In fact he basically punted on the draft in 2017, so that’s great. With Jimmy Garoppolo the Pats would have an insured future (although we still don’t REALLY know how good he is…) but now they have Brian Hoyer and Danny Etling as their “future” quarterbacks. Who knows maybe in a couple of drafts they’ll draft Jake Fromm or something and be fine. Until then it’ll be one year at a time for the Pats.