By now, it’s pretty commonly suspected — and not just by bitter pitchers, either — that MLB’s recent home run surge can be traced back to a supply of zippier-than-usual baseballs. The research of our colleague Rob Arthur and The Ringer’s Ben Lindbergh backs up that theory, regardless of what Commissioner Rob Manfred has to say on the matter.And with apologies to those poor, beleaguered pitchers, we say: Good! Who doesn’t enjoy the old-fashioned fun of watching baseballs be launched into the atmosphere? (Judging from the ratings for last week’s Home Run Derby,1Which aired on ESPN — the company that owns FiveThirtyEight. nobody — that’s who.) As a celebration of the long ball, then, we used data from ESPN’s Home Run Tracker to plot out just how far MLB’s hitters have bashed the ball over the years.(All data in this story was up to date as of the All-Star break. Inside-the-park home runs and homers without distance information have been excluded from the data.)Anyone who watched Aaron Judge’s performance at the Derby could be excused for thinking that baseballs can, in fact, exit the solar system. The true distances that home runs travel are less than interstellar, of course — though still impressive. According to the Home Run Tracker, which has data going back to 2006, major league batters have crushed 56,785 tracked homers over the last 11.5 seasons, adding up to a grand total of 22,599,628 feet — or 4,280 miles.To put that number in perspective, let’s do a little geography experiment. If we started in Cooperstown, New York, home of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and laid the distances of every home run in that span end to end heading east across the Atlantic Ocean as the crow flies, we would reach the border of Mali and Mauritania in northwestern Africa. Head south and the homers reach the northern corner of Chile, near its borders with Peru and Bolivia. Head north, the homers easily clear the pole, with the last one landing somewhere near Russia’s Bolshevik Island. Across the country, Mike Trout has been busy trying to make his team’s “Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim” moniker legit with his home runs. With a little over 14 miles’ worth of bombs to his name, Trout has already homered enough distance along Interstate 5 to land in Los Angeles County — and about halfway to downtown L.A. Only a guy who might end up being baseball’s greatest player could reconcile the most absurd team name in sports back to some semblance of reality. No discussion of Trout would be complete without a comparison to Bryce Harper, his longtime rival. At 24, the Washington Nationals right fielder is the youngest player with at least 10 miles of career home runs, and he’s on pace to add nearly three miles this season alone. He’s already hit enough to reach the D.C. suburb of Bethesda, Maryland, to the north or Mount Vernon to the south; give him enough years, and he might get to Baltimore. (Or — if the rumors are right — Staten Island.) Because of the home run surge, that circle is growing more rapidly than ever. Already this season, hitters have driven the ball 1,337,266 feet, or 253.3 miles. That’s 69 percent of the yearly average distance between 2006 and 2016, and as of the All-Star break, we were only 55 percent of the way through the schedule. At that pace, this season will eventually see 466 miles of home runs be hit; that would easily be the most in any season since 2006, and it would be a 10 percent increase over the previous high of 425 miles, set in 2016.Among players whose entire body of homering work falls within the Home Run Tracker era, the biggest bopper is Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz. Cruz has mashed 297 tracked home runs over a cumulative distance of 121,805 feet, or a hair over 23 miles. String those together, and that’s enough to travel from Safeco Field in downtown Seattle south to Tacoma. At age 37, Cruz is the elder statesman of this era’s long bombers. But it might not be long before he is surpassed by Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins, who’s already hit nearly 18.5 miles’ worth of home runs in just 7.5 seasons of action. Stanton’s average homer has traveled 414 feet — tops among anyone with at least 100 home runs in our data set — helping him rack up enough total distance to reach from Marlins Park to the Everglades or Biscayne National Park. (Sadly, though, even Stanton is unlikely to hit the 90-plus miles of home runs necessary to reach Cuba.) Speaking of New York City, we don’t have a Judge map yet because he’s only hit 34 career home runs (for 2.7 miles — basically the distance from Yankee Stadium to Central Park). We’ll have to wait and see just how far he can mash the ball in the years to come.Likewise, we don’t have data for most of Barry Bonds’s record-breaking career, either. But if we assign each of his 762 career dingers the 2006-17 MLB average of 398 feet (which, given homers like this, might be far too conservative an estimate), Bonds would have ended up with about 57 miles of homers in his career. (That’s roughly the distance between AT&T Park and Santa Cruz, California; it’s also over 10 times the height of Mount Everest.)Cruz, Stanton and company still have many more miles to go before catching up to that lofty total. But the way today’s hitter-friendly baseballs have been flying out of parks, maybe we’ll see somebody get to 60 miles of home runs before too long.Check out our latest MLB predictions.
Toronto’s made jumpers throughout the playoffs have been by far the most suspenseful of those of any of the final eight teams, taking an average of 0.117 seconds to fall into the basket. That hang time was 44 percent longer than the average of the other seven clubs. And looking at a larger sample size doesn’t change much about the result: At an average of 0.108 seconds, the Raptors’ successful regular-season jumpers at Scotiabank Arena took longer to fall through the basket than any other team’s makes on their home courts, too, according to the SportVU analysis. You might remember that Leonard hit a game-winner in March against Portland — a fadeaway from Scotiabank’s right baseline, with the shooter’s bounce and all — that looked almost identical to the one he would eventually make against Philadelphia.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/KawhiBLAZERS.mp400:0000:0000:12Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.To be clear, even though the Raptors have the longest hang time at home, their numbers are far from an outlier in the data set. The arena did have an odd rim-related issue last season, when officials had to delay a game because one of the rims was slightly crooked and required an adjustment. But no one could look at the numbers presented here and realistically suggest that anything about them is crooked, or that the arena’s rims are fundamentally different from others in the NBA.Still, there’s no doubting the fact that Toronto has gotten a couple of very friendly bounces over the course of the playoffs — not just from Leonard, but also from Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, who told me somewhat candidly, “I hate our rims.” (While that might sound odd, given his incredible hot streak lately, VanVleet had struggled mightily the last two postseasons from the perimeter.)Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/BOUNCES.mp400:0000:0002:21Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.There are a number of potential factors to consider with unusual data like this. One counterintuitive example: A team with dead-eye shooters, for instance, often won’t get opportunities for much hang time on the rim because their jumpers will swish through the net, registering a minuscule amount of time around the basket as a result. At the same time, though, players and teams who use considerable arc might be better positioned to get a beneficial bounce or roll, regardless of how soft or tight the rims are.2Midrange shots usually require less arc than 3-pointers, so a team taking more triples — like the Raptors, who have taken more than 40 percent of their shot attempts from that distance this postseason — might ultimately get more soft bounces. And no team has put more air under its 3-pointers this postseason than Golden State.In fact, while the Raptors’ shots have had the most hang time on the rim during home games, the Warriors have seen the league’s biggest home-road disparity in terms of how much longer the ball has teetered on the basket while playing in familiar confines. Golden State’s jumpers have stayed in the vicinity of the rim 0.02 seconds longer at Oracle Arena this postseason than on the road, by far the biggest gap of any playoff club. By contrast, Toronto’s shots actually hang near the rim slightly longer on the road than they do at home, so it’s hard to claim a soft-rim advantage at home for the Raptors. Trail Blazers-0.001 76ers0.216 Raptors0.224s Raptors-0.008 On jump shots of 10 feet or more, among teams that advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs.Sources: STATS SportVU, SECOND SPECTRUM Celtics-0.004 The notion of shot arc is where Leonard’s series-ending jumper comes into play. While Kawhi generally doesn’t put much arc on his shots at all, he had to loft the one against Philly over the outstretched hand of 7-footer Joel Embiid to avoid having it blocked. Leonard’s shot reached a peak height of 18.2 feet before bouncing on the rim — a night-and-day difference from the league-average peak height of just 15.1 feet. The extra height almost certainly gave the shot a greater chance of going in from a physics standpoint.And that shot is the first thing that comes to mind now whenever the Raptors benefit from seemingly lucky bounces. VanVleet, even with his expressed hate for the Toronto rims, has fully leaned into the idea that something magical — with the baskets or otherwise — is happening here.“I think we’ve got a special thing going. Just kind of the aura, and the magic in the air, you can feel it a little bit,” VanVleet told me. “We have a lot to do with that, our fans have a lot to do with that, and things are just going the right way for us.”Check out our latest NBA predictions. Bucks0.206 Celtics0.210 Are the Raptors getting lucky rolls on their home rims?How long shots hang on the rim by team in home games, 2019 playoffs TEAMADDED HANGTIME AT HOME On jump shots of 10 feet or more, among teams that advanced beyond the first round of the playoffs.Sources: STATS SportVU, SECOND SPECTRUM The Warriors’ shots survive on the rim longer at Oracle ArenaHow long shots hang on the rim at home vs. on the road by team, 2019 playoffs Warriors+0.020s Trail Blazers0.220 Rockets+0.006 Bucks0.000 Rockets0.181 TEAMBALL IN VICINITY OF RIM 76ers-0.006 Nuggets0.208 Warriors0.214 Nuggets-0.014 Kawhi Leonard’s rainbow arc game-winner in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals over Philadelphia — a buzzer-beating miracle that bounced on the rim four separate times, for 1.8 seconds, before falling through — was historic the second it went down. And that shot will arguably become even more iconic if and when the Toronto Raptors dethrone the Golden State Warriors’ dynasty in the coming days. Few shots have provided that sort of drama while also indirectly ushering in what figures to be a changing of the guard in the sport as we know it.Because of that shot, it’s been hard not to notice the others that have all but taken up residence on the cylinder at Scotiabank Arena. “Those rims are really soft,” Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said.But do shots really hang on the rims more in Toronto? Will the Raptors have some hidden advantage when they take their home court and try to close out the NBA Finals in Game 5? As it turns out, yes, the Raptors’ jump shots do roll on and around the rim longer in Toronto than other teams’ jumpers do in their respective arenas. But no, that isn’t somehow evidence of anything underhanded at play.In an analysis of Second Spectrum shot-tracking data run by Matt Scott of STATS SportVU, we looked at all jumpers of 10 feet or greater, both in the regular season and the playoffs, and pulled the time measured between when the ball hit the rim and when it left the vicinity of the cylinder for a miss or went through the net for a make. The Raptors’ jump-shot attempts at home this postseason have bounced on or around the rim for an average of 0.224 seconds, the longest of any team to advance beyond the first round.1Even if you exclude Leonard’s wild shot against the Sixers from the data set, the Raptors’ jump-shot attempts have still hung on or around the rim longer, on average, than any other team that made it to the second round.
Rodgers is second only to Andy Dalton of the Bengals in Points Above Replacement.2Points scored above what would be expected with a replacement-level quarterback. Ranking and chart limited to QBs on pace to qualify for ESPN’s QBR leaderboard with highest PAR on their team. Yet the Packers have spent the fifth-smallest amount on offensive non-quarterbacks for the 2015 season. Part of this is because the Packers are fiscally responsible and aren’t spending much in general on payroll. But they also specifically rank near the bottom consistently in spending on the guys who play with their quarterback. Here’s how the Packers’ offensive spending over the past three seasons (including this one) stacks up to the rest of the league: Check out win and loss projections and playoff odds for all 32 NFL teams. The NFL salary cap alone explains some of this chart. Teams spending more on QBs often end up spending less on other offensive players, simply because they have to spend less money somewhere. But it’s striking to me just how much a lot of teams with big-name, big-money QBs lean on them. For example, the Packers, Steelers and Giants all spent less money than average on offense despite having three of the top QB salaries in the business. In general, many of the top QBs in the game probably deserve even more esteem than the considerable amount they receive already. For instance, Eli Manning should get a bit more of a break sometimes, as he receives literally the least financial support for his offensive teammates in the league.Rodgers, despite his team spending barely more money on offensive teammates than the Giants have for Eli Manning, has put up much better numbers. He has 73 TDs and 15 interceptions (counting the playoffs) since 2013, compared with 58 and 43, respectively, for Manning. What could Rodgers have done with another $60 million worth of offensive linemen?Twitter question of the weekAs usual, tweet me questions @skepticalsports and there’s a chance I’ll answer them, even if they seem a bit silly. Like this one: OK, silly, but interesting. The precise mechanism of NFL home-field advantage is still an open question. The conventional wisdom is that it has something to do with atmosphere, for example how crowd noise affects signal-calling. I can see how these kinds of effects might reach a nadir immediately after the half. But using ESPN’s play-by-play data, I tried filtering for drives by away teams that start immediately after the half, and found that they averaged a similar number of points as other drives.3Ditto for expected points for the handful of plays immediately after the half: I filtered for offensive plays by the visiting team in the first 100 seconds of the second half and found their average expected points added to be virtually identical to that for the visiting team on other plays. But for the margins we’re dealing with, that sample size is way too small to be meaningful.4I looked at about 2,200 third-quarter drives between the 2006 and 2015 seasons. So I fished around a bit and found that, broadly speaking, the third quarter is better for road teams than average.5That is, teams in the third quarter improved their chances of winning (as modeled by win probability added) by just about 1 percent per drive (over around 9,800 drives) in the third quarter (while matching modeled WPA in other quarters).Now, contra the conventional wisdom, many — though not all — statistically minded NFL analysts think home advantage is more likely to relate to officiating. So with that in mind, I looked a bit more carefully at penalties in particular. Penalties tend to favor the team on offense, but they favor the offense even more often when it’s the home team. The margins here also don’t look huge, but it’s pretty clear over more than 400,000 offensive plays: For every 100 plays a home offense runs, it normally nets about three (expected) points from all penalties called. The equivalent rate for away offenses is just more than two expected points per 100 plays. That difference adds up to about a point per game: not a large fraction of your typical scoreline, but a pretty big chunk of the total home-field advantage that we tend to see (generally around two to three points per game).But here’s the interesting bit: The home team’s advantage from penalties isn’t divided equally by quarter. Nor is it strongest in the fourth quarter, when calls are most crucial, as in basketball. The home team’s largest advantages are in the first and second quarters, with the smallest coming in the third quarter:Curious!I really don’t have any explanation for this, and at this point I would categorize my speculation as “wild.” For instance: Perhaps the second half is when refs start trying very hard not to give in to their unconscious bias toward the home team.Most empirically significant game of this weekThere are many great and potentially revealing matchups set for this weekend, including the Panthers at the Seahawks. A lot of rookie quarterback theory hinges on the fate of Cam Newton — whose rookie campaign bore the hallmark (namely lots and lots of production) of a potential all-time great, but who has had only one winning season in his first four years.But Carolina-Seattle gets only an honorable mention, because the matchup of the week is clearly the Patriots at the Colts. Since the AFC championship game thrashing by the Pats (known for a certain controversy), these two teams — and their two star quarterbacks — have been on very different trajectories. The Patriots obviously did this little thing called winning the Super Bowl, and have started this season on a tear reminiscent of their 16-0 campaign in 2007. Andrew Luck, meanwhile, has been outplayed by 40-year-old backup Matt Hasselbeck — the oldest non-kicker in football this year.After having one of the league’s strongest offenses last year, the Patriots have managed one of the league’s biggest offensive improvements this year (the biggest improvers have been the Cardinals, who with Carson Palmer back at quarterback have had the league’s second-best offense):Rodgers essentially has maintained his MVP form, while Peyton Manning seems finally to be in real decline. But the Colts and Luck, their 26-year-old quarterback, have underperformed by nearly as much as the Broncos have with 39-year-old Peyton Manning at QB.Luck, who is practically the patron saint of Skeptical Football, is expected to return. Given the result the last time these two teams met, the Patriots are expected to romp. Whether that happens or not, we should learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of some of the most important figures and phenomena in the sport today.Reminder: If you tweet questions to me @skepticalsports, there is a non-zero chance that I’ll answer them here.Charts by Ella Koeze and Reuben Fischer-Baum. Stop the presses! Last Sunday, the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers threw two interceptions, his first in Green Bay since December 2012. Granted, they were completely inconsequential, and at least the first was pretty much a freak accident — his pass deflected off a linebacker — but Rodgers accepted at least some of the blame for them all the same. Despite the embarrassment, his touchdown-to-interception ratio remains the stuff of legend. Now in his eighth year as a starter, he has 66 interceptions for his career, along with 262 touchdowns (counting the playoffs). Normally, I’m not impressed by such stats. As I wrote last year (and have defended on numerous occasions), I think that his incredibly low interception rate is in part the result of a potentially costly unwillingness to gamble — particularly in situations where his team is down multiple scores late. I haven’t changed my mind.But I don’t think this quirk of Rodgers substantially diminishes his value. Or put another way, he is so valuable to begin with that even if he’s slightly too risk-averse, it’s largely irrelevant. Of course, Rogers is still relatively young (he’ll turn 32 in December), and he hasn’t had to deal with the ups and downs of a full career yet, either. But he’s a huge outlier, even for a quarterback at this stage of his career. For example, here is how he has accumulated touchdowns relative to interceptions game by game for his career, compared to every QB in NFL regular-season history since 1960:For most quarterbacks, losing causes interceptions just as much as interceptions cause losing. Rodgers is no different; he’d be even more valuable if he made certain win-maximizing adjustments (even though they might hurt his statistics a bit). But the steepness of Rodgers’s rise has no parallel. Criticizing him for it is a bit like criticizing Bill Belichick for not going for it enough on fourth down, or criticizing Lionel Messi for playing tiki-taka football so much instead of trading as many possessions as possible with his opponents. That is, they’re still pretty much the best at what they do, but could possibly be doing a little bit better.There’s one more reason to give Rodgers the benefit of any (skeptical) doubt. Which brings us to our …Chart(s) of the WeekNaturally, a quarterback’s ability to win games is affected by his team’s running game, defense, special teams, coaching and everything else. Even his broader statistical portfolio is largely a team accomplishment, and untangling everyone’s contributions can be nearly impossible. But one indicator of the strength of a quarterback’s teammates is money paid on their salaries. Some teams spend lavishly to surround their quarterbacks with high-powered offensive teammates.1Whether NFL teams are any good at this is a different question. The Packers, not so much:
UPDATE (Feb. 25, 4:58 p.m.): Since publication of this post, the Last Man organizers have acknowledged that their database did not include one contestant who was still viable in the competition. She has since been eliminated, but the numbers in this post would be slightly different if the database had been correct at the time of publication. Eighty-five percent of participants have already been felled by what competitors call “The Knowledge,”2Not to be confused with “The Knowledge.” according to the Last Man website. Sixteen percent of all players had, despite their best efforts, learned who won the Super Bowl by midnight on the night of the game (Feb. 7).3I wasn’t a declared player, but I made it only to 9:17 a.m. the day after the game, by which point 27 percent of players had learned the result, too. By the end of the next day, more than half of the competitors had lost their blissful ignorance. The more time that passes, the safer the players are; only about a quarter of competitors who made it through the first post-Super Bowl week perished in the second. Now, as you can see in the chart above, the survivor curve is more like a plateau.But that’s no reason for the survivors to let down their guard. They could still be taken out by the kind of thing that has felled other competitors — phone calls, cupcakes, baby photos, the usual. And it’s not always just the Last Manners who suffer when they lose: One competitor learned the Super Bowl winner via “email from treacherous husband I thought I could trust.” And that husband may find that the guilt of being the spoiler weighs on him for longer than The Knowledge haunts his spouse. It’s been more than two weeks since the Super Bowl, and there are still at least 29 people1As of Sunday, when the data was last updated. who don’t know who won. Those 29 are the recorded survivors of the Last Man challenge, a war-of-attrition, just-for-glory competition to be the last person in the U.S. (or at least in the challenge’s database) unaware of who won Super Bowl 50. (For all of you who still don’t know who won, this post is a safe space.)
How will your favorite NBA team do this year? See all of our predictions for the 2016-17 season » There is little reason for the casual NBA fan to pay attention to the Denver Nuggets this season. They are a bad-to-mediocre team with a ceiling of mediocre-yet-interesting. Where they fall along that spectrum will probably depend on what becomes of Emmanuel Mudiay.Mudiay, who skipped college ball in favor of getting paid as a pro in China, looked like a steal as the No. 7 overall pick in the 2015 draft. He walked into the starting point-guard position in his rookie season and went on to play 30 minutes of horror-show basketball every night. And, yet, because of the quirks of his position, his obvious talent and some promising stats papered over by the all-around badness, Mudiay remains a tantalizing prospect despite having one of the worst rookie seasons in recent memory.The baseline stats belie just how bad he was: Mudiay averaged 12.8 points and 5.5 assists per game while shooting 36 percent from the floor and 32 percent from behind the arc. Dig a little deeper and it starts to look worse: His turnover rate was just a hair under 18 percent, and he finished the year with his win shares per 48 at a tidy -0.049. That’s not good! It is in fact very bad!How does a supposed phenom have a season that bad? By having no idea how to put the ball in the basket. Among qualified players, Mudiay ranked dead last in both effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage. He somehow managed to put up worse shooting numbers than Kobe Bryant, who spent the season heaving up as many shots as possible despite his body being held together by bungee cords. Bryant at least had the excuse of being a shameless gunner and 700 years old. Mudiay managed to be a black hole despite taking 200 fewer shots than Old Man Bryant. This isn’t to say that Nuggets fans should be feeling great about Mudiay’s future as he heads into his second season running the offense. The inclusion of Westbrook, Mike Conley and John Wall in the comparable players section of his CARMELO comps will surely induce a few fist pumps, but the sight of Sebastian Telfair and Brandon Jennings should leave them in a cold sweat.Whether Mudiay is able to overcome his growing pains and carry his second-half improvements into this season won’t mean much for the Nuggets’ immediate future — they’re likely a long shot for the playoffs even if Mudiay is great — but it means everything for their long-term plans. Aside from Mudiay and Nikola Jokic, this is a roster almost entirely made up of solid but uninspiring players. Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari and Will Barton are fine basketball players, but they aren’t a group that’s equipped to turn the Nuggets into a consistent playoff contender.In the coming years, the Nuggets will have to choose which of their good-but-not-great players are worth keeping around and which are better jettisoned. But none of those decisions will matter if the team can’t find a true star or two to anchor the roster. Jokic looks like he’s ready to play the part, but so much still depends on what becomes of Mudiay. At this point, one timeline sees him developing into an oversized point guard with a passable jumper who can use his speed, strength and vision to control the game. The darker timelines see him slogging through a disappointing NBA career, launching jumpers from a trebuchet and never quite catching onto the rhythm of the game. Mudiay will be much closer to one of those destinies at the conclusion of this season, which means it’s probably going to be a very good or very bad year for the Nuggets.Check out our NBA predictions. An optimist would point out that Mudiay’s shooting improved in the second half of the season; he shot 39 percent from the floor and 36 percent from 3-point range after the All-Star break. A pessimist would dunk on that optimist’s head by reminding everyone that shooting was far from Mudiay’s only problem — he created just 0.64 points per possession for his team as a pick-and-roll ball-handler last season, a rate that was nearly doubled up by Steph Curry (1.11) and lagged behind less lofty competition like Jimmy Butler (0.89) and Jamal Crawford (0.82).Rookies often take a while to find their stroke — Kris Dunn shot 24.2 percent over his last five preseason games — but what makes Mudiay’s shooting stats so ugly is that they weren’t just the result of a broken jumper. He struggled just as much around the basket. He made only 44 percent of the shots he took less than five feet from the rim, a full 15 points below the league average. According to NBA.com, Mudiay made 7.6 drives to the basket per game and converted just 38 percent of the shots he took at the end of those drives. This would maybe be understandable if Mudiay were the size of, say, Earl Boykins and built like a dachshund, but he’s a 6-foot-5 point guard who weighs 200 pounds. Driving to the hoop and finishing strong is supposed to be, like, his whole thing.If Mudiay were a center or power forward coming off a rookie season this rotten, I imagine that he would have already been written off as an Anthony Bennett-style bust, but point guards are evaluated a little differently. The inherent difficulties of the position are going to produce some ugly statistics in the first season, and the problems that rookie point guards have — unfamiliarity with the speed of the NBA, poor shooting, high turnover rate — are usually the kinds of problems that can be solved. Remember when Russell Westbrook’s effective field goal percentage was .414 in his first season? That’s why FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection model ranks guys like Marcus Smart and Elfrid Payton so highly.This goes a long way toward explaining why CARMELO is relatively bullish on Mudiay as well, projecting him to dig his way out of the basement and be a solid contributor within a few seasons: And don’t forget that for all Mudiay’s failings, he’s had his moments. It was highlights like this that made him a lottery pick to begin with:
Embed Code The New York Times’ Benjamin Hoffman reports on the details of the DeMarcus Cousins trade.ESPN Stats & Information takes a look at the numbers behind the trade.Kyle Wagner wrote about whether the trade made sense for the Kings.Chris Dobbertean’s latest analysis of the NCAA men’s field.The NCAA is looking at changing the way it chooses teams for March Madness, writes FiveThirtyEight’s Neil Paine.In a profile in TIME, James Harden makes the claim that he’s the NBA’s most valuable player.Significant Digit: 110, the number of points that Grinnell College scored against Illinois College last Saturday. Grinnell employs the Grinnell System, the hallmarks of which include shooting a lot of threes, subbing entire lineups in and out at once, and employing a full-court press. Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Feb. 21, 2017), we revisit how the Kings got fleeced in the DeMarcus Cousins trade with FiveThirtyEight’s Kyle Wagner. Next, we call up bracketologist Chris Dobbertean of SB Nation to break down the stakes in men’s college basketball as March Madness approaches. Finally, is James Harden as good as he says he is? We investigate.Links to what we discussed this week: More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight
Ohio State redshirt junior guard Kam Williams (15) and sophomore guard C.J. Jackson walk down the floor late in the second half against Nebraska on Feb. 18 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Photo EditorThe NBA released a list of early entry candidates for the 2017 NBA draft on Tuesday, and among those names was Ohio State redshirt junior shooting guard Kam Williams.The fourth-year guard set career-highs across the board, averaging 30.7 minutes, 9.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game in his first season as the regular point guard while starting in 29 of his team’s 32 games. He shot .391 from the field, including a .376 success percentage from beyond the arc. Williams also led the team shooting 91.9 percent (34-for-37) from the free-throw line.Williams is the second Buckeye player on this list, joining junior center Trevor Thompson who reportedly declared for the draft on March 14.
The Ohio State’s men’s basketball team reeled in its first recruit of the 2018 recruiting class when four-star shooting guard Torrence Watson announced his commitment to play for the Buckeyes Monday evening on Twitter.https://twitter.com/TorrenceWatson/status/884605146130501632The Saint Louis, Missouri, native is the No. 100 overall prospect and the 23rd-best shooting guard in the country, according to 247Sports composite rankings.Though Watson is the first player in his class to commit to Ohio State, he is the third to join the Buckeyes since Chris Holtmann was hired. Four-star forwards Kyle Young and Musa Jallow – each in the 2017 recruiting class – committed to Ohio State on June 26 and July 7, respectively.Three four-star players in the 2018 class – forwards Darius Bazley and Justin Ahrens and guard Dane Goodwin – have decommitted from Ohio State’s 2018 class.
However, she has said that after the release of the script of the play, which follows the adventures of an adult Harry and his son, “Harry is done now”.She told journalists: “He goes on a very big journey during these two plays and then, yeah, I think we’re done. The script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was recently releasedCredit:Daniel Leal-Olivas /AFP / Getty Depp renamed it twice – firstly to Vajoliroja, in tribute to the names of his ex-wife Vanessa Paradis, his own name and those of his children Lily Rose and Jack.Later, when he married Amber Heard, he changed the name to honour her, with the yacht becoming ‘Amphitrite’ – the Greek sea goddess and wife of Poseidon. It was built in 2001 in Turkey and can accommodate 10 guests. Rowling is said to have been entranced by the vessel when she and her family stayed on it on a charter trip. The yacht has a plush interiorCredit:Deadline News/Curtis Stokes and Associates Harry Potter author JK Rowling is reportedly selling her luxury yacht for £7m less than she paid for it just eight months ago.The 47m long vessel, called Amphitrite, is believed to have cost the writer £22m when she purchased it in January.The yacht, once owned by Johnny Depp, is now listed for sale at €17.8m (£15m) with Curtis Stokes and Associates. Depp had the yacht refitted with new lighting and wall hangings, reportedly at a cost of £5m. To charter the yacht this summer cost £100,000 a week. Rowling has recently returned to the world of Harry Potter with her involvement in the hit stage play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Described on the yacht brokerage website as “a modern motoryacht with classic styling”, she comes with five rooms and exterior dining, entertaining and relaxation spaces. The website also lists the luxury features of each room, including the salon, which offers “two separate seating areas with sofas, end tables and coffee tables port aft and forward, 2 lounge chairs and a glass storage and wine bar cabinet to starboard, a beautiful skylight above, 10 large windows on each side with curtains and shades, carpet and double teak and glass doors to the aft deck.” Johnny Depp had the yacht redesignedCredit:Curtis Stokes and Associates/Deadline News “This is the next generation, you know. So I’m thrilled to see it realised so beautifully but, no. Harry is done now.”Asked about the yacht sale, a spokesman for Rowling said they would not comment on private matters. The yacht is on the market for £15mCredit:Deadline News / Curtis Stokes and Associates Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.
Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. He added: “The overwhelming message from the experts is that Scotland could significantly reduce reoffending by better use of electronic tagging and emerging monitoring technology. “I welcome all of the recommendations the panel has made and am determined that we seize this opportunity to reduce crime even further and make our communities safer.” The new projects will see GPS tracking used in addition to the current radio frequency technology employed to monitor people as part of their sentence. An increase in the use of electronic tagging would be employed in addition to community payback orders and other measures to tackle offending behaviour, ministers said. The introduction of electronic monitoring to tackle the “disproportionately high” rate of people on remand in prison will also be explored. “Effective community sentences have driven Scotland’s reoffending rate down to a 17-year low using smarter, more effective interventions,” Mr Matheson said. “The potential of combining community sentencing alternatives with tagging will allow us to hold people to greater account during their sentence and focus on rehabilitating them.” Ministers say international research shows that short term sentences are not the most effective way of bringing down reoffending. On the use of electronic monitoring ahead of sentencing, Dr Hannah Graham, a Stirling University criminologist, said: “There is a disproportionately high rate of people on remand in prison in Scotland. “The recommendation to introduce electronic monitoring as an alternative to remand opens up extra opportunities to address this issue by closely monitoring and supporting more people in the community pre-trial, without losing sight of the need to ensure public safety.” Ministers set up expert group on taggingCredit:PA Ministers are proposing a radical expansion of the use of electronic tags in a bid to reduce reoffending. Pilot projects will involve GPS tracking, alcohol monitoring technology and tagging as an alternative to custody. The plans, announced by Michael Matheson, the justice minister, will be accompanied by a wider package of support for offenders and follow the recommendations of an expert group. The “sobriety tags” that will be tested respond to ethanol in an individual’s sweat and could be used as an alternative to prison for those who offend under the influence of alcohol. The changes, proposed by an expert group set up by the Scottish Government two years ago, will require new regulations and legislation and further pilot projects are expected to be announced in the coming months. Tagging has been used for around 15 years, largely to ensure offenders remain in their homes overnight under early release from jail, or as an alternative to prison. Under the new proposals, forms of tagging will be used as an alternative to remand in prison and as a condition of bail. Mr Matheson said he wanted Scotland to learn from the systems used in the Netherlands.