Who Did Better in the Bargnani Trade?

By: Prad

Andrea Bargnani will be wearing a New York Knicks uniform next season. Talks between the Toronto Raptors and Knicks have concluded and the Knicks will be trading away Marcus Camby, Steve Novak, Quentin Richardson, and a first round pick in 2016 to along with second round picks in each 2014 and 2017. The former #1 overall pick was drafted by Toronto in 2006. He holds career averages of 15.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and a 82.5 % free throw efficiency. His lackluster ability to pull down rebounds is odd considering he is a seven footer. This is attributed to him not going inside as frequently as other big men. He tends to take shots from outside the key and perimeter jumpers along the three point arc. I certainly believe this trade will benefit the NY Knicks in the foreseeable future.

Andrea Bargnani Courtesy of Bleacher Report
Andrea Bargnani
Courtesy of Bleacher Report

New York Knicks’ Side of the Deal

Although he was barred from playing last season due to an elbow injury, I think that he can contribute some solid minutes for the Knicks. The Knicks played smaller than usual this season when Carmelo Anthony was starting at the power forward position. They traditionally had a guard at the three spot this season. With a healthy Amar’e Stoudemire and Bargnani, Carmelo can shift back to his natural position, small forward. Either Stoudemire or Bargnani will be the starter but they will essentially split minutes and each play around 25 minutes. They can play even more if Coach Woodson decides to go with a bigger lineup. But, that might not happen because it will force Melo to move to shooting guard. Plus, the Knicks needed to obtain a big man this offseason since their only true big men are Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler, but Stoudemire was plagued with injuries last year. Some big man needs to be a part of the bench if Stoudemire were to start at the four spot. The only part of this deal that I disagree with is the fact that the Knicks gave the Raptors THREE draft picks. The Knicks don’t have too much young talent already. Trading away these draft picks will not be great for the future of the organization. The gamble that the Knicks are willing to take with their short term plan, could not end up being worthwhile in a few years. And that attitude is from a Knicks fan that roots hard for his team. However, it is clear that the Knicks are trying to win a title in the next three years. I believe that they want to win an NBA Championship by 2016, a feat which they haven’t accomplished since 1973, 40 years ago. If Bargnani fits well into Woodson’s system and can coexist with Stoudemire at the four spot which I think will occur, then the risk they take by giving up future talent and attaining Bargnani will be quite rewarding.

Marcus Camby Courtesy of ESPN
Marcus Camby
Courtesy of ESPN

Toronto Raptors’ Side of the Deal

They traded a player who was the centerpiece of their offense in the past few years with the exception of last year. The aforementioned injury to Bargnani prevented him to play many games last season. He was limited to 28.7 minutes a game in 35 games. In return, they received a once defensive juggernaut who has expectedly aged over his 17 year career. Camby doesn’t have close to what he had almost seven years ago when he won the Defensive Player of the Year award. He averaged 1.8 points and 3.3 rebounds to go along with 0.6 blocks and 0.3 steals last year with the Knicks. He was drafted by the Raptors in 1996 and stayed with them for two years until he was traded to the Knicks in ’98 for his first stint with the team. In addition, Steve Novak is a very efficient three point specialist, but that’s the problem. He’s a “specialist”, besides shooting threes, he can’t do very much else. He’s 6’10” but can’t drive in the post, defend well, or even rebound well for an almost seven foot athlete. In the last two seasons with the Knicks, Novak has averaged 1.9 boards a game. His atrocious defense is due to his lack of athleticism for an NBA player. He’s not fast, agile, or strong enough to drive in the post. And the last player that they acquired in the trade, Quentin Richardson is the last man on the bench, the 12th man. He played one game this whole past regular season. In the playoffs he played in a total of five games averaging 2.8 minutes a game. What I mentioned in the Knicks section is important though. The Raptors got draft picks through the deal, which could serve them well during a rebuilding process in the future. Ultimately though, the Knicks got the better side of the trade.

Steve Novak Courtesy of NY Times
Steve Novak
Courtesy of NY Times

MLB’s Most Impressive Starting Pitchers

By: Josh

Max Scherzer Courtesy of Sports Illustrated
Max Scherzer
Courtesy of Sports Illustrated

1.) Max Scherzer has been the most successful pitchers so far this season, improving dramatically from his 2012 campaign.  He has been the first pitcher to achieve a 12–0 record since Rodger Clemens 27 years ago.  Aside from the win/loss record, he has put up some impressive stats with a 0.90 whip and only 6 hits per 9 innings.  Scherzer’s biggest improvement is how he has dealt with left-handed hitters, due in part to his newly developed curveball.  Scherzer shows no signs of slowing down and hopes to lead his team to a World Series.

Matt Harvey Courtesy of ESPN
Matt Harvey
Courtesy of ESPN

2.) Matt Harvey has also compiled prolific numbers so far. He has recorded 132 strikeouts in 117 innings with a 0.86 whip.  Despite playing for a mediocre hitting team, Harvey has won 7 times and lost only once.  However, this breakthrough season will most likely be useless as the Mets sit in fourth place in the NL East behind the Braves, Nationals, and Phillies.

Hisashi Iwakuma Courtesy of 3u3d MLB Blogs
Hisashi Iwakuma
Courtesy of 3u3d MLB Blogs

3.) After coming over from Japan, Hisashi Iwakuma has been dominant this season.  Throwing 5 different pitches, Iwakuma has kept hitters off balance all season long.  His sinker/2-seamer and splitter have allowed him to stifle righty batters.  Opposing right-handed hitters only have a .203 BA and a .215 OBP.  Iwakuma is establishing himself among the MLB’s elite.

Cliff Lee Courtesy of Waiting For Next Year
Cliff Lee
Courtesy of Waiting For Next Year

4.) Despite a rough 2012 season, Cliff Lee has bounced back dramatically.  He has three more wins right now (9) than he did all of last year (6).  He has also lowered his whip by about 15 points and his ERA over half a point to 2.59.  Most importantly, he has kept an aging and injured Phillies team in the playoff hunt.  Without Lee, the Phillies are 30 and 42.  He has been moved to number 1 in the rotation after the Halliday injury and is performing like a true ace.

Clay Buchholz Courtesy of Boston Herald
Clay Buchholz
Courtesy of Boston Herald

5.) Despite his recent injury, Clay Buchholz has had a breakout season this year with a 1.71 ERA in the powerful AL East.  His current ERA is an incredible 2.85 points lower than his 2012 campaign.  Buchholz has been able to succeed due to his much improved control.  He has shed about 0.3 points off his whip from last season.  Along with his stunning whip, Buchholz is averaging only 0.2 homeruns per nine innings.  Keeping on-base and slugging percentages low, Buchholz is shutting down teams while putting together a 9–0 record.  The true test for Buchholz will be the second half of the season, when arm fatigue generally starts to set in with pitchers.

 

Stats from ESPN.com