The Shooters’ Take

Note: In an effort to revive this blog by making it easier to write, “Shooter’s Take” is my brief thoughts on my five favorite sports stories of the day, with the occasional extra feature piece. 

LOCAL

Blazers “Stuck”  – ESPN’s TrueHoop blog waxes poetic about the Blazers’ recent crunch time difficulties. The thing is that, despite the ongoing injury carousel that has hampered their frontline, the Blazers may well be the same team they were in November, when crunch-time was effortless. Nevertheless, there needs to be a better answer of “how do we get a game winner” then “Let’s have Damian Lillard isolate on Jody Meeks and try to hit a contested three!” as the attempted against the Lakers a couple weeks ago, with unfortunate results. Just because “Big Game Dame” is pretty darn clutch doesn’t mean a little subtlety can’t help. But there’s no shame in being “doomed” to the five seed in the uber-loaded West.

Franklin on the move? – ESPN’s Dave Schoenfield collects all the legitimate Nick Franklin rumors into one place. I like the idea of sending him to The Bronx not only because it will make my mother happy (she’s got a little crush on Franklin AND is a Yanks fan), but because Phelps seems like a decent renumeration for Franklin. I’d also be happy with a flip down to LA for either Matt Kemp or Andre Ethier, but those are less likely, methinks. Either way, I hope this gets done soon, for Franklin’s sake.

Almonte in center – Lookout Landing is asserting that Abraham Almonte’s place as the Mariners’ everyday center fielder is all but set. I’m excited. He’s a defensive upgrade on anyone else who was sniffing the job, and I’m not all that worried about his spring hitting numbers. While the Ms truly couldn’t hit last year, their vomit-inducing outfield defense was a bigger concern. This should help fix it. I still want another outfielder, preferably with some pop AND a decent glove.

BASEBALL

Worries about Sabathia – Pinstripe Alley takes notice of just how perceptible the decline of C.C. Sabathia has become. I argued last fall that Sabathia was no longer the Yank’s Ace, and I stand by it. Though the Yankees’ rotation will likely be Sabathia-Hiroki Kuroda-Mashahiro Tanaka-whatever, I’d honestly consider putting Sabathia between the two Japanese pitchers, since it has been noted elsewhere that they are very similar in their styles, mechanics, and approaches.

NBA

Griffin “Frustratingly Good” SI’s Rob Mahoney that the player I’ve taken to calling “Big Bad Blake” takes more hits then anyone in basketball not only because he’s a physical, aggressive post player, but because his expanding offensive game has begun to frustrate his matchups. His mid range shooting numbers this season are on par with the elites in that role, namely Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge. and his ability to explode to the basket make guarding him a double-edge sword. Considering the way he’s been carrying the Clippers offensively as of late, I think it’s long past time to find other things to rag Griffin about. Is he a minus defender? Yeah. Can he be very, very agitating for those not in Clippers blue? yes. Is he a one-dimensional dunker with no other offensive gift. Not even close.

AND-ONE

The Bracket Maker – Ted Miller’s look at the life and times of Jamie Zaninovich, WCC Commissioner and NCAA mens basketball selection committee member, is gold. A nice look at the insane process of going from the crazy field to the 68 team bracket.

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