Once again, fans will have the opportunity to vote for Boston’s best young athletes in NBC Sports Boston’s annual “20 Under 25” list. For multiple reasons, this list should look pretty different from last year’s.
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For starters, 8 of the 20 players on last year’s list have since turned 25, including the top two -- Mookie Betts (No. 1) and Xander Bogaerts (No. 2). One of the players from the 2016 list has also since been traded -- Jacoby Brissett (No. 19).
But the question isn’t about who’s off the list or who figures to drop -- and there’s at least one candidate there in Malcolm Mitchell (No. 5 last year). Rather, it’s about the pretty large number of new additions.
The rating system looks like this:
1: Not going to make an impact
3: End of the bench
5: Consistent contributor
10: Franchise cornerstone
The Bruins certainly have a few candidates. Charlie McAvoy was on last year’s list at No. 16, but youngsters Danton Heinen (22 years old), Jake DeBrusk (21) and Anders Bjork (21) should also end up on the list.
The Patriots added Brandin Cooks in the offseason; he should near the top of the list.
But in my opinion, this list could be topped by a Celtic. Jaylen Brown was No. 6 last year, but the 21-year-old could push for No. 1. Of course, he’d need to beat out 19-year-old teammate Jayson Tatum for that honor. What’s wild is that Kyrie Irving (25 years old) just misses the cut; otherwise, it’s possible the top of the list would be all Celtics.
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0:41 - J.D. Martinez hasn’t officially been introduced by the Red Sox, but don’t panic. Evan Drellich and Lou Merloni break down the current situation with the new Sox slugger as well as where he’ll play during the season and how his addition affects the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry.
5:52 - Marcus Smart has been cleared to return. Tom Giles, Tom Curran, Kayce Smith and DJ Bean discuss how Smart’s absence affected the team and how tolerable his outburst that causes the injury is.
11:21 - With Rob Gronkowski’s retirement becoming more of a possibility, Tom Giles and Tom Curran break down the Patriots' depth at tight end and Kayce Smith, Albert Breer and DJ Bean debate the potential of the Patriots trading Gronk.
0:41 - Obviously when comparing Gordon Hayward to Marcus Smart, it’s understood that Hayward is the better player. But A. Sherrod Blakely argues that Smart’s return to the lineup is more important that Hayward’s potential return. Kayce Smith and Tom Giles debate the point.
5:09 - David Ortiz is gone. Accept it. While this sounds like a topic from last season, Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox are still trying to replace Big Papi. Can Hanley Ramirez following the TB12 Method help fill the void? Evan Drellich joins Giles to discuss.
10:32 - While the NBA All-Star break isn’t quite the midway point in the season, it’s as good a time as any for picking some ‘first half’ awards. Giles, Holley, Smith and Rob "Hardy" Poole from 98.5 The Sports Hub reveal their MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year award winners.
17:23 - While Kyrie Irving has enough on his plate as the leader of the Celtics, he’s been developing his own personal brand off the court. Holley, Smith and Giles discuss Kyrie’s appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live where he talked about his upcoming “Uncle Drew” movie.
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