FiveThirtyEight: The NBA’s small guys are getting bigger, and that’s bad news for Isaiah Thomas

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailDon Juan Moore/Getty ImagesBY: Chris Herring and Dimitrije Ćurčić(NEW YORK) — Of all the shocking NBA free-agency moves this summer, Isaiah Thomas’s deal with Denver — for just one year, at the minimum salary for a veteran player — might have been the most telling, in terms of where the league is heading.This time last year, Thomas — one of the NBA’s most underpaid players even then, at just over $6 million — was saying openly that the Celtics “know they’ve got to bring the Brink’s truck out,” a reference to the nine-figure max contract he felt he deserved. And on some level, it would have been difficult to argue with him. At 28 years old, the diminutive point guard was coming off a banner season in which he finished fifth in MVP voting while averaging almost 29 points per game (on one of the league’s best true shooting percentages) and led the Celtics to the East’s best record.It’s no secret that much of the market collapse for Thomas’s services stemmed from questions about the torn labrum in his hip, which cost him months of rehab time before he ever suited up for the Cavs, then required surgery in March (while he was playing for the Lakers). But it also appears that the ever-changing NBA flipped its script entirely just before Thomas could cash in on a deal that scorers of his caliber generally get. The about-face highlights the fear teams have about committing big money to someone as short as Thomas, given the challenges his height creates in yet another league where an increasing number of players are roughly the same size.Point guards and centers were closer in height last year than they’ve ever been, separated by an average of just 8.3 inches — down 21 percent from the 10.5 inches or so that stood between them during the mid-to-late 1990s, according to data from shifts affect Thomas in two meaningful ways. First, the Tacoma, Washington, native — who, at just 5-foot-9, is the shortest player in the NBA — isn’t even close to the average size for a point guard of 6 feet, 2.5 inches. Which brings up the second issue: As such an outlier, the undersized Thomas becomes an even bigger liability on defense when his team is forced to switch on screens at that end of the floor — something that’s become far more common in the past five years alone. The median number of switches leaguewide has more than doubled over that span, from 4.3 per 100 possessions in 2013-14 to 9.1 switches per 100 possessions this past season, according to Second Spectrum.“To even have a chance against a team like Golden State, you have to make a point of not being put into rotations,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni told me in May. “They’ll kill you that way.”Certain teams are better equipped to play that kind of defense than others — the Rockets and Warriors, widely considered the league’s best teams, led the NBA in switch frequency — but the process doesn’t always work as well when Thomas is in the midst of it. The Celtics were 5 percent more efficient defensively in switch scenarios when Thomas was off the floor than on in 2016-17, according to Second Spectrum. And while Thomas’s departure coincided with a slew of other changes in Boston prior to last season, the team’s jump to from No. 12 to No. 1 in defensive efficiency after dealing Thomas supports the notion that a merely solid defensive team can become great on that side of the ball once it removes its weakest link.With teams vying to become switchier in an increasingly versatile league (and some clubs perhaps having pushed the envelope too far on that front), it raises the dilemma of how to integrate Thomas into a defensive gameplan without torpedoing it altogether.Even on offense, where Thomas is undoubtedly a boon, his greatest strengths are ones accentuated by a particular style of play. With Boston, he made use of direct-dribble handoffs more than anyone — a play that worked well alongside screen-setter Al Horford in part because coach Brad Stevens was committed to building an offense in which Thomas could thrive. The plays didn’t work as well in Cleveland, where the Cavs ran them about half as often and with less efficiency. (The same was true during his stint with the Lakers, according to Second Spectrum.)Taken together, this suggests that Thomas — like most players but perhaps unlike most stars — needs a specific ecosystem around him in order for him to thrive, or for him to be the max-level talent he believes himself to be. He could be that player in Boston, where the Celtics had good defenders and players that could not only screen but also space the floor for him. The likelihood of that being true on a team with far less talent seems remote.Thomas’s new situation in Denver splits the middle from that standpoint. He will be in an up-tempo system with an abundance of talented players, including Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap and FiveThirtyEight favorite Gary Harris, among others. Thomas has also played previously for coach Michael Malone, the first NBA head man to coax 20 points per game out of him. But there’s a catch: The Nuggets, like last year’s Cavs, play almost no D, meaning Thomas won’t be able to expect much help on that end as he works to rebuild his value as a sixth man.Again, the tactical constraints of Thomas’s size are far from the only question marks surrounding him. The health of his hip is key, obviously. The Cleveland situation — a particular challenge because of the win-now pressure created by LeBron James’s pending free agency — was disastrous for Thomas: The team’s awful defense made him a bad fit, and his penchant for taking shots at either teammates or coaches became problematic. His difficulties were compounded by the seesaw nature of the free-agent money that’s changed hands in recent years.When Thomas began talking about being paid handsomely, it was during the summer of a massive salary-cap increase, when players like Evan Turner, Bismack Biyombo and Nicolas Batum — who’ve never been All-Stars — got $70 million, $72 million and $120 million, respectively. Mistakes from 2016 are still being felt by certain teams, and it doesn’t help that some are keeping the books clear ahead of next year, when several stars are expected to hit the market. So, much of this boils down to Thomas’s free agency coming at the worst time.“You can always play the what-if game, but man, I’ve been F’ed over so many times,” Thomas told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, while acknowledging that potential suitors were undoubtedly concerned about the health of his hip. “But of course I think about [the money]. I’m human.”If there’s a bright side, or at least a glass-half-full equation, it’s that Thomas can still redeem himself. He is, or at least can be, a supremely gifted scorer. Yes, he gets his shots blocked often, but Thomas has learned how to use angles as leverage, and he displays bursts of quickness to outsmart defenders. Prior to his truncated 2017-18, he was driving to the basket more than almost anyone, and he connected on a high percentage of his shots around the rim. He’s still proven to be automatic from the line. And in the past, Thomas has shown he can catch fire from deep.As he’s done so many times before, Thomas, famously the last player picked in the 2011 draft, will have to overcome the odds. He may not even need the absolute perfect fit to begin building his value again. Instead, Thomas may just need the ever-shifting NBA to sit still just long enough for him to find a new normal.Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved. Beau Lund Written bycenter_img August 15, 2018 /Sports News – National FiveThirtyEight: The NBA’s small guys are getting bigger, and that’s bad news for Isaiah Thomaslast_img read more

UK: HMS Campbeltown Marks 69th Anniversary of World War II Battle with Royal Navy Veterans

first_img View post tag: Anniversary View post tag: Naval UK: HMS Campbeltown Marks 69th Anniversary of World War II Battle with Royal Navy Veterans April 8, 2011 View post tag: News by topic View post tag: Navy View post tag: 69th View post tag: Campbeltown View post tag: Battle The Plymouth-based Royal Naval frigate HMS Campbeltown has marked the 69th anniversary of a World War Two battle with two Royal Navy veterans. The ship sailed from Falmouth to St Nazaire, in western France, scene of the ship’s main battle honour, at the end of March with veterans Bill “Tiger” Watson (MC) and Stephen Barney on board.Also present were a contingent from 131 Independent Commando Royal Engineers and 29 Commando Royal Artillery whose units share the battle honour for the St Nazaire Raid, also known as Operation Chariot.The raid involved the former obsolete destroyer HMS Campbeltown packed with delayed-action explosives and rammed into the Normandie dock gates on 28 March 1942. The action put the dock out of service for the Nazis for the rest of the war. At the same time a force of commandos landed to destroy machinery and other structures. Authorities Share this article View post tag: with The current ship’s commanding officer, Commander Keri Harris, said:”It is humbling to think that St Nazaire was very heavily bombed by the Allies and had to be rebuilt after the war but they still venerate the memory of the first HMS Campbeltown and the audacity of Operation Chariot.”“This turned the tide in the Battle of the Atlantic and gave the French hope in 1942. Their remarkable gratitude and bonhomie is still evident today.”The name of HMS Campbeltown has a distinguished record of Royal Navy service during World War Two, with honours for the Battle of the Atlantic 1941-1942 and Operation Chariot at St Nazaire 1942.The ship conducted a seven-gun salute on her departure from St Nazaire. The town was HMS Campbeltown’s final port of call under the White Ensign before she decommissions in Devonport tomorrow afternoon.[mappress]Source: royalnavy, April 8, 2011 View post tag: UK View post tag: II View post tag: world View post tag: HMS View post tag: Veterans View post tag: War View post tag: Marks View post tag: Royal Back to overview,Home naval-today UK: HMS Campbeltown Marks 69th Anniversary of World War II Battle with Royal Navy Veterans last_img read more

Stewart’s Shops help dairy farmers during pandemic

first_imgThey also are now helping dairy producers by having increased competitive premiums of 50 cents from .10 per cwt to .60 cents per cwt for the month of May and it could possibly extend into June. They also are extending their fuel savings with a decreased hauling charge for the month of May. In a statement from a local dairy farmer Chris Koval he said, (WBNG)- Stewart’s Shops has announced that they plan on helping dairy farmers as they have been forced to dump milk. “As a local farm family, we are proud to work with Stewart’s.  Our partnership is a true team effort.  We work together to put the best product from our cows out to store shelves.  It’s gratifying to be able to supply high quality, fresh product to our friends and neighbors. Stewart’s makes it easy to be proud of what we do.” On their website, they said that they have decreased the cost of their milk in their stores by 10 cents for their customers.last_img read more

Rockets’ Daryl Morey believes Magic and Rob Pelinka “are well prepared” for new role

first_imgHOUSTON >> Daryl Morey’s familiarity with the famed Lakers legend first stemmed from Magic Johnson’s name and Hall-of-Fame credentials. Morey then became Johnson’s trading partner.As the Rockets’ general manager, Morey’s connection with Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka traced much deeper. A handful of Pelinka’s previous clients at Landmark Sports Agency play for Houston, making his interactions with Morey perhaps as frequent as when regular-season MVP candidate James Harden draws trips to the free-throw line.That has put Morey in a unique position to offer perspective the Lakers’ new front office has offered before the Lakers (20-47) play the Houston Rockets (46-21) on Wednesday at Toyota Sports Center.“With how the team is set up,” Morey said, “I think Magic will get them on the right track pretty shortly.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersMorey called Pelinka “one of the top agents, if not the top agent” and he “loved working with him” as he represented the Rockets’ Harden, Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon. That familiarity contrasted starkly to Morey’s previous history with Johnson. Morey had only interacted with Johnson when the two met at the Tech Summit during NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans. Less than a week later, Morey became the lone NBA general manager to make a deal with Johnson before the trade deadline.On Feb. 21, the Lakers sent veteran guard Lou Williams to Houston for a first-round pick and forward Corey Brewer. The Lakers also dealt 32-year-old guard Marcelo Huertas to the Rockets for 22-year-old guard Tyler Ennis.Those early returns prompted Morey to argue Johnson and Pelinka “will have a successful run,” despite neither working previously in any NBA front office.“Rob has so much experience and Magic obviously has been connected through the league. It’s not like they’re walking in cold,” Morey said. “I understand they haven’t had these exact roles before. But given their knowledge of basketball and working continuously in the game, they’re well prepared to take over.”Morey spoke those words as one of the NBA’s most respected general managers. He also spoke those words as someone who took his own unconventional route toward front office roles with the Boston Celtics (2004) and Houston Rockets (2007). Before those gigs, he had been a principal consultant with STATS, Inc., which helped pioneer the use of analytics in most NBA front offices.center_img “When you come from different backgrounds, sometimes that gives you an edge as you come in a new role,” Morey said. “I like the concept. Magic did the smart thing in pairing up with him. I think it’s going to be a good team.”The Lakers have not been a good team for a while. They are about a month away from missing the NBA playoffs for the fourth consecutive season. They have gone through four head-coaching changes since 2011, while striking out on their primary free agent targets since the 2013 offseason.So two days before the NBA trade deadline, Lakers president Jeanie Buss fired longtime general manager Mitch Kupchak and relieved her brother, Jim, of his duties as executive vice president of basketball operations. Johnson wasted little time making changes to the roster through his trades with Morey.“He was great to work with,” Morey said of Johnson. “He knows basketball. He knows what he’s trying to do. He clearly has a plan for the team. I think the trade we did made sense for both sides given what we’re both trying to accomplish right now.”Though the Lakers cherished Williams’ team-leading 18.6 points on 44.4 percent shooting and veteran presence, Johnson found more value in collecting a first-round pick and opening up even more playing time for third-year guard Jordan Clarkson and second-year guard D’Angelo Russell.Meanwhile, Morey had become interested in Williams “for a while.” Morey said he hoped to acquire Williams in the 2015 offseason, but lacked the cap space to top the Lakers’ three-year, $21 million offer given to Williams. Since the trade, Morey observed Williams “has fit in better than we expected” while averaging 14 points in nine games.“He’s always played a style of play that fit how we like to play,” Morey said. “For us to have the best chance this season to have a deep playoff run, we had to make sure we had shooters on the floor throughout the entire rotation.”Shortly after that trade, Johnson then sent Huertas to Houston for Ennis. While the Rockets waived Huertas, the Lakers are giving backup minutes to Ennis after struggling to find a definitive role through his first three NBA seasons.“It was a very minor transaction, but it showed a lot that Magic is willing to do them,” Morey said. “There’s quite a few teams that don’t even bother doing them because it’s considered too small for their radar.”Therefore, Morey laughed on the idea he had tried to fleece Johnson and take advantage of his inexperience.“No,” Morey said, chuckling. “When people look back on deals and say some of these deals are great or not great for one side, it’s usually with the hindsight of time that they can say that. Generally at the time these deals are made, it takes two to tango and the deals are fair for both sides. At the time the deal happens, it’s rare that deals are lopsided.”Morey said he expects more deals to land in the Lakers’ favor for a few reasons.He complimented Lakers owner Jeanie Buss. Morey cited the Los Angeles’ market. He brought up Pelinka’s expertise in the NBA salary cap. Morey suspected Johnson’s presence could give the Lakers “a leg up in free agency” because of his stature and charismatic personality. After all, Morey cited the presence of former Rockets coach and former Celtics standout Kevin McHale helping the Rockets pluck Dwight Howard away from the Lakers via free agency in the 2013 offseason.“They have relationships with superstars,” Morey said of Johnson and Pelinka. “The league is very superstar driven, obviously. In negotiations, you get to be on both sides, it gives you an advantage in seeing it from both sides. Those two off the top of my head would be the two big advantages.”For now, though, the Rockets and plenty of other teams have advantages over the Lakers. But while the Lakers enriched the Rockets temporarily, Morey predicted Johnson’s long-term vision will soon yield some purple and gold Magic.last_img read more

Boxers Simranjit and Sakshi one win away from qualifying for Tokyo 2020 at Asian…

first_imgImage Courtesy: Indian Olympic AssociationAdvertisement s35qNBA Finals | Brooklyn Vs2tptmWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E8nt( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 04iWould you ever consider trying this?😱xCan your students do this? 🌚bfcabRoller skating! Powered by Firework The Asian Olympic Qualifiers are currently being hosted by the International Olympic Committee’s Boxing Task Force in Amman, Jordan. As boxers are battling it out to secure berth for the main event in Tokyo, two Indian pugilists are very close to qualification. Simranjit Kaur and Sakshi Chaudhary, the two female boxers from the country have advanced to quarterfinals, and a semi final entry will secure their place in the Olympics.Advertisement Image Courtesy: Indian Olympic AssociationStarted in 2nd March, a total of 63 boxers were selected for the qualifier, including eight men and five women boxers from India. Qualifying for the semis of the tournament will automatically earn the boxers an entry into Tokyo 2020.Simranjit and Sakshi, currently in the quarter final stage, are just one win away to see themselves secure a place in the main event.Advertisement Competing in the women’s 60 kg category, Simranjit dominated Rimma Volossenko of Kazakhstan 5-0 in the pre quarterfinal bout of the event.The official Twitter handle of BFI released a video where Simrajit spoke about the match. Check it out below-Advertisement Following the stunning victory, the Asian Championships silver medallist said: “Today was my first bout… the pre-quarters against the Kazakhstan boxer. I won it. I followed the strategy that the coaches had shared with me. They had told me how to play against the Kazakh boxer so I simply followed the same and won.”The 24 year old, who will take on no. 2 seed Monkhoryn Namuun of Mongolia on 9 March in the quarter final, thanked BFI and her mentors for her success.“I want to take this opportunity to thank the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) and coaches for their support. Thanks to everyone… just keep praying and supporting me,” she added.Sakshi, who competes in the women’s 57 kg category, surprised the audience as she defeated Asian silver-medallist Nilawan Techasuep of Thailand, who is seeded 4th in the qualifiers.The former junior world champion won her match 4-1, and revealed the strategy from the coaches that worked in her favour in the post match clip released by BFI. Check it out below-“I stuck to the strategy of counter-attack through the bout and I think she couldn’t handle it. My coaches had told me not to deviate from the plan and I didn’t,” the 19 year old said.On 9th March, Sakshi will be taking on Im Aeji of South Korea, where she will be aiming for a swift victory to earn her maiden Olympic entry.Also read-Read which Indian boxer has been seeded 1st in Asian Olympic Qualifiers! Advertisementlast_img read more