Thursday, December 11, 2008

Murino's Musings

New York Sports

• As a Mets fan, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the Putz trade. To have this guy as an 8th inning guy is just spectacular. I guess you have to worry about his injuries, but he should be fine. Putz is a top 3 set-up man. Before an injury-plauged 2008, Putz had 2 seasons of at least 36 saves, an ERA 2.30 or under and a WHIP under 1.00!

• On the other hand, it’s tough to lose the defense of Endy Chavez. It’s extremely valuable to have a 4th outfielder you can go to in the late innings of a game you’re winning who you know will make all the plays in the field. Joe Smith is also a very, very good pitcher. But, this is a risk the Mets had to make.

• As for Sabathia, that’s an interesting deal. The player option after three years makes me nervous, if I’m a Yankee fan. Does C.C. really hate New York THAT much? Is he nervous he’ll just be itching to get out of there in three years? Again, though, I think this is a risk the Yankees had to make. He’s an incredible pitcher, and although many have concerns about his future health because of weight problems, he hasn’t broken down yet.

• Also on the Yankees front, it looks like they are the frontrunners for Burnett. Don’t like the move. He’s a good pitcher, but he’s never on the field. And I don’t consider him elite and therefore not worth the 5 years and $80 million it’s being reported he was offered. Also, even when he is on the field, he is extremely inconsistent.

• I haven’t had this much fun watching the Knicks since Latrell Sprewell was a star on the team. For the first time in years, it seems as if the team genuinely cares about basketball. And even after the trades, which supposedly mailed in the season for the Knicks, and the injuries, which are piling up faster than a Michael Crabtree 40, they have continued to fight hard. David Lee is the latest injury. We’ll see how they respond, but I give all the credit in the world to Mike D’Antoni, who has been even better than anyone could have imagined. He’s the best coach the Knicks have had since Van Gundy and Riley.

National Sports

• Interesting NBA trade. Suns get Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley and a 2nd round pick. Bobcats get Boris Diaw, Raja Bell and Sean Singletary. Suns improve offensively, while Bobcats improve defensively. I really like Diaw. I think if he is used well, he can be a very good NBA player. He has regressed in recent seasons, but he has definite talent. And Raja Bell is a shutdown-defender, which every championship team needs. Richardson is a scorer. Plain and simple. I think the Bobcats actually get the slightly better end of the deal because they get two useful players. I don’t consider Jared Dudley useful as anything but an 8th man type. Overall, an interesting and pretty even trade.

• I must agree with my colleague, The Sherm, in that Lebron may be the best player in the NBA right now. I argued Kobe last year, and it’s still really close, but Lebron seems to be much more of a team player and is infinitely better at keeping his teammates involved and interested. Lebron’s numbers are slightly down this year because he’s playing five less minutes a game. He doesn’t need to play 40 mins a game anymore, with the addition of Mo Williams, the steady play of Zydrunas Ilgauskas and the emergence of Delonte West as a solid 4th option.

• How bout Carmelo pouring in 33 last night for the Nuggets, tying the record for points in a quarter? He can play, too. Right now, the Nuggets are my pick to play the Lakers in the Western Conference Finals. Chauncey Billups makes that team for real.

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