4th thoughts: Taking stock of each of Boston's major sports teams
Happy Fourth of July, friends. Let's take the holiday to shed some light on Boston's major sports teams.
The C's have gone from having too many mouths to feed to simultaneously having no front court and still potentially having too many mouths to feed.
Yeah, plenty has been subtracted off last season's roster, but did anyone act for a second like Al Horford and Aron Baynes were part of the log jam? Hell to the no. As is currently constructed, this roster could badly use both of those guys.
Meanwhile, while the biggest "what about me?" candidate from last season is gone in Terry Rozier, did we ever learn that Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward can coexist? I wouldn't trade Brown for a big man right now because I don't think his stock is high enough, but I'd give those three half a season to show it can work (a lot of that depends on whether Hayward is finally back) and then go from there.
Either way, the Celtics have gone from one set of problems to a list of others, namely "who is guarding the bigs when you play Milwaukee and -- I hate to say this -- Philly?"
It's scary to say, but do we know if the defending Eastern Conference champions get out of the first round? Toronto's gotten a lot a better, while Bruins will likely return 90 percent of the roster that barely got past the first round last season.
On that: Don't take Don Sweeney's inactivity for complacency or satisfaction. He's stuck. There's a big difference.
The Bruins can't possibly be ignorant enough to think their current roster is a great bet to get back to the Cup Final. They know they got huge help from Tampa and other contenders dropping out early. They just don't have the dough to retain last year's entire group, let alone upgrade it.
It's either trade or bust for the Bruins. We knew they weren't going to be players in free agency the minute draft weekend passed without David Backes and a boatload of picks going out the door.
That leaves the Bruins left to either explore a hockey trade with Torey Krug or make a number of complicated maneuvers to free up space to add anyone established. The Bruins are what they are right now, and it's not necessarily because they're resting on their laurels.
Alex Cora hasn't really changed, but golly does his uber-confident approach look strange in a mediocre season. Sure, winning fixes everything and losing ruins everything, but that almost defiant confidence has come off as tone-deaf sometimes.
He's the ultimate I-believe-in-my-guys manager, but I can't believe he actually answered a question recently about whether this roster could win the World Series without dismissing the topic outright.
"Yeah, we can win the World Series," Cora said, repeating, "We can win the World Series" to a follow-up about the bullpen getting in the way.
Cora didn't need to go full Jim Mora, but even acknowledging the World Series when you're no shoo-in for a play-in game is pretty brash.
We should have taken him at his word when he first announced his retirement, but photos of a skinny Rob Gronkowski should make it clear that he's not coming back.
Having not drafted a successor or properly gone to market, the Patriots are currently thinner at tight end than Gronkowski is in real life, but it doesn't matter. Even with the losses of Gronk, Trey Flowers and multiple coaches, nobody in the AFC got good enough this offseason and the Patriots didn't get bad enough. The charmed life for Patriots fans continues.