Carmelo Anthonys Contract Could Doom the Knicks to Mediocrity

The New York Knicks have won 55 percent of their games since Carmelo Anthony joined the team in 2011 — a rate that equates to a 45-37 record over a regular season and a first-round exit from the playoffs.Get ready for more of the same. It’s not that Anthony is a bad player. He’s a very good player — perhaps even an underappreciated player, as my Grantland colleague Bill Simmons notes. He’s improved some problematic aspects of his game, like 3-point shooting, since arriving in New York.But Anthony’s new contract — reported to be in the range of $125 million over five seasons — will pay him every penny he’s worth. NBA teams win championships by getting players at discounts instead — and Anthony probably won’t qualify. Let’s take a deeper look at the case.Evaluating an NBA player’s contract requires three things: some measure of his basketball value, a way to translate back and forth between basketball value and the economics of his contract, and a system for projecting how his value will change as he ages.For our overall measure of basketball value, I’ll be using statistical plus-minus (SPM), a system designed by my FiveThirtyEight colleague Neil Paine. This is the same metric I used to (hypothetically) place LeBron James on different clubs and see how many wins his new team was projected to produce. SPM is usually denominated in points — how much having a player in your lineup changes a team’s scoring margin per 100 possessions — but I’ve translated it to a wins above replacement (WAR) basis instead.SPM and other plus-minus metrics take a middle ground in valuing shot creation. That’s important for Anthony, an extremely high-volume shooter whose efficiency is only slightly better than average. Other metrics either give a player no credit for taking shots or considerably too much credit for taking mediocre ones.I don’t want to spend too much time in the weeds of the shot-creation debate — but it’s too important to gloss over in Anthony’s case. My read of the evidence is that we ought to give a fair amount of credit to this skill. Anthony can draw double-teams and create better opportunities for his teammates, who become more efficient shooters with him on the floor — an effect we’ve also observed for James. He can also take tough shots when his team doesn’t have many alternatives — last season, 42 percent of Anthony’s field goal attempts came with eight or fewer seconds on the shot clock compared to a league average of 31 percent.1And 17 percent came with four or fewer seconds compared to a league average of 11 percent. In those situations, shooting efficiency drops drastically — but Anthony’s numbers held up well, and he was bailing out his team from a desperation attempt or a shot-clock violation.2SPM captures this because its estimates of player value are calibrated based on how well a team performs overall with or without the player on the floor — including residual value from helping teammates be more efficient.Translating between wins and player salaries is another challenge. I’ve done it a lot in the past — but I’m now convinced I was doing it wrong. A lot of NBA advanced metrics use a zero-win baseline, which implies that if you filled a team with replacement-level players — guys who could be had at the league-minimum salary — it would go 0-82. But it wouldn’t; if you’d fielded a roster last year with actual league-minimum players, that team would have gone about 16-66 instead.This makes a bigger difference than you might think. Last year, the average NBA team had a payroll of about $67 million and went 41-41. Divide $67 million by 41 wins, and you get a valuation of about $1.6 million per win.But we should be dividing $55 million by 25 wins instead, which comes out to $2.2 million per win. Where do these numbers come from? The $55 million represents the money a team spends above and beyond the minimum contracts for a 12-man roster,3I calculate this by subtracting $12 million — $1 million for each player on a 12-man roster — from $67 million. But there are two complications: First, the league-minimum salary varies depending on a player’s experience. One million dollars is a reasonable round figure. Second and more vexing: The NBA has a salary floor in addition to a salary cap. However, it’s a mistake to assume that a team shouldn’t care about how it reaches the salary floor. Even if it’s happy to give up on its season, it can trade for players who have negative value — like a player on the final year of a $15 million-per-season contract who is no better than a $1 million league-minimum player — and in exchange also pick up future assets, such as draft picks from a team desperate to clear cap space. and 25 is the number of wins it takes to go from replacement-level (16 wins) to league average (41).I nudged this $2.2 million number upward further for two reasons. First, the $2.2 million estimate includes players still on rookie-scale contracts, who generally make considerably less than their market rate. Excluding them gets us to a valuation of about $2.6 million per win for free agents. Second, the figure is out of date — the salary cap is increasing by 7.5 percent next season. Assuming player salaries will rise at the same rate, that produces a price of $2.8 million per win in this summer’s free-agent market.4This doesn’t imply that the average player is more valuable than when I’d figured the price of a win at $2 million instead. The reason is that previously we’d been crediting a player with about 2.5 wins — or $5 million in contract value — just for showing up and starting 82 games at replacement level. If we’re only spending $1 million on replacement-level players instead, that leaves us with quite a bit more money to allocate to the stars.The last task is to project Anthony’s performance over his next five seasons. There are a lot of quick ways to do this if you’re indifferent to whether the aging curve for a league-average player resembles the one for a star player. But here we’re interested in a star.So I built something resembling a lo-fi version of PECOTA, the baseball projection system I designed many years ago, which uses comparable players to project an athlete’s career path. Other people have attempted and refined this approach in the NBA, and my version is a work in progress. But it compares players on the basis of a number of attributes: height, weight, position, minutes played and minutes per game, true shooting percentage, statistical plus-minus — and points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and turnovers per 36 minutes played. (Not all components are weighted equally.)5SPM is triply weighted; points, rebounds, assists and true shooting percentage are doubly weighted; and minutes, minutes per game, steals, blocks and turnovers are half-weighted.. Comparables must be of the same age, so Anthony, who was 29 for most of last season, is compared against historical players in their age 29 seasons.There isn’t as much choice as in baseball. There are five starters per NBA team rather than nine in Major League Baseball, and I’m using NBA data only from the late 1970s forward rather than the 1940s, as PECOTA did. Furthermore, Anthony is something of an oddball player, being a hybrid between a “big” and a “wing.” But these were the top 10 names the system came up with:Dirk NowitzkiAlex EnglishVince CarterPaul PierceTom ChambersDominique WilkinsSean KempJulius ErvingKobe BryantBob LanierSome of these work better than others, but I was fascinated to see Nowitzki in the No. 1 slot after reading the Simmons article that compared Dirk and Melo. Nowitzki was the better player, but the statistical differences were subtle. Anthony, at age 29, had 25.5 points per 36 minutes along with 7.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists; he shot 45 percent from the floor, 40 percent from 3-point range, and 85 percent on free-throws. Nowitzki, at the same age, has 24.5 points per 36 minutes, 8.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and shooting numbers of 48/36/88. The difference amounts to about one rebound a game, one assist every other game, two field goal attempts a game, and one shot every two or three games that Nowitzki makes but Anthony misses.Otherwise, Anthony’s list produces a lot of throwback players — English, Wilkins. In some ways, he fits that hero-ball aesthetic: lots of midrange jumpers (another thing he has in common with Nowitzki). Very high shooting volumes. Good-but-not-great efficiency. Inconsistent defense.The point is not to argue over whether Nowitzki or Wilkins is the better comp for Anthony — further refinements to the method might change the ordering and remove some of the more dubious names from Anthony’s list (like Patrick Ewing, Melo’s No. 16 comp). But we can get a basic sense for how high-volume scorers (who otherwise aren’t grossly dissimilar to Anthony) held up as they entered their 30s. That’s what’s reflected in the chart below, which lists each player’s WAR from age 27 through 34.6In calculating win shares, seasons shortened by labor stoppages are prorated to 82 games. Lanier and Dan Issel do not have values listed for their age 27 seasons because my database does not go back that far. Dwyane Wade does not have his value listed for his age 33 and 34 seasons because he hasn’t played them yet and isn’t included in the averages for those years. The average Carmelo comparable averaged about 11 wins per season from age 27 through 29. But he declined to nine wins in his age 30 season and then lost about one more win in every subsequent year.It isn’t a total disaster: Some comparables, such as Kemp and Adrian Dantley, had abrupt ends to their careers, but others like Nowitzki and Paul Pierce held most of their value through their mid-30s. All of these guys were starting from a high baseline, so they could lose some value and still be worthwhile players. But the overall trend is uniform: All but two of Anthony’s comparables were more valuable at age 29 than at age 32.We can value Anthony’s contract by applying our wins-to-dollars translation.7I assume further leaguewide salary inflation of 3 percent per year after next season and add $1 million to Anthony’s value in each season to represent the minimum salary that any team would be obligated to spend on any player. I’ve adjusted his projection slightly upward because he was slightly better than his average comparable in his age 29 season.8More precisely, I took a weighted average of Anthony’s WAR total for his past three seasons, using (as Simple Projection System does) a weight of six for the most recent season, three for the second-most recent and one for the third-most recent. Then I compared it against the weighted average for Anthony’s comparable players. Anthony’s weighted average was about eight-tenths of a win higher than for the average comparable, so I adjusted his projections upward by the same amount. It results in an estimate that Anthony is worth about $122 million over the next five years — almost exactly what the Knicks will be paying him.9The year-by-year details of Anthony’s new contract have not been made public. I assumed that he’ll receive the maximum salary increase of 7.5 percent per year. So, what’s the problem? Actually, there are two. One is that Anthony’s value is front-loaded — he projects to be worth about $7 million more than his salary next season. But by age 34 — in the 2018-19 season — he’ll be worth $9 million less than his salary. That’s inconvenient for the Knicks, who will have much more opportunity to improve their roster in the summers of 2015 and 2016 than they do this year.The more fundamental issue is that teams don’t win NBA championships by paying players fairly: They need to sign them for less than they’re worth. To a first approximation,10The complication is that the NBA has a “soft” salary cap, so teams can exploit it by finding loopholes that allow them to exceed it a team of players paid at their market rate will finish at the league average record of 41-41.Could a roster built around Anthony win the championship? Simmons makes the case that it could — in part because of the comparison to Nowitzki, who won one in Dallas.If taken literally, the question is absurd. A team on which Anthony was the best player and every other player on the 12-man roster was just a bit worse than Anthony (a borderline All-Star who complemented Anthony’s skills) would be a prohibitive championship favorite and would probably post a win total somewhere in the 70s. Further, we could argue for hours about whether Anthony would qualify as the best player on some teams that did win the championship, such as the Bad Boys Pistons or the Pistons’ 2003-04 team — or perhaps even last year’s World Champion San Antonio Spurs.It’s also possible to construct plausible championship-caliber lineups for next season on which Anthony would be the best player. For example, consider a team with a starting five of Anthony, Damian Lillard, Danny Green, Paul Millsap and Marc Gasol. For the reserves, we’ll use some actual Knicks: Pablo Prigioni, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Kenyon Martin and Cole Aldrich. That team would project to 63 or 64 wins, according to my system. You could just barely fit it under the salary cap if Anthony agreed to play for $15 million next year instead of somewhere in the $21 million range.That team relies on a number of underpriced assets: Anthony at well under the max; Green for next to nothing; Lillard on his rookie-scale deal. Even with one overpriced player in Smith on the roster, those contracts more than pull their weight.But in practice, it may be easier to build a team around a singular superstar like LeBron. Historically, teams with an MVP-caliber player like James are about three times more likely to win championships than those with mere All-Star starters like Anthony.The reason may be the league’s maximum salary: James is worth something like $45 million per season by this method but will make only about $20 million. Surround James with 11 league-average players, paid at their market rate, and his team would be projected to win about 56 games. Add in one other favorable contract to the mix, and it would be somewhere in the 60-plus win range and a championship front-runner. It isn’t easy to find a LeBron, obviously. But the league’s very best players are so underpaid that getting one of them can be as valuable as signing three or four Lillards or Milsaps or Greens to pretty good deals.That didn’t make this an easy call for the Knicks, who had neither course available. Nor would dropping Anthony have provided for a clear path forward.11Had the Knicks let Anthony go, they would have adopted a higher-variance strategy: perhaps more of a chance to build a championship contender four or five years from now, but also more of a chance to strike out on free agents and draft picks, and to be mired in the 30-something win range for several seasons. In Sacramento or Milwaukee, that risk might make sense. In New York, where a 43-39 Carmelo team still figures to sell out every game at Madison Square Garden, perhaps not. In poker, good players put their opponents in positions where all of their options are equally bad — and bad poker players put themselves in those positions. The Knicks are suffering for past sins: the assets they gave up for Anthony in 2011 when they could have signed him as a free agent; the horrible deal given out to Amar’e Stoudemire; the inexplicable trade for Andrea Bargnani. Jimmy Dolan played a bad hand, and he’s paying the price. read more

The Rate of Domestic Violence Arrests Among NFL Players

Last week, the NFL suspended Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice for two games over an incident in which Rice was charged with knocking his fiancee (now wife) unconscious during an altercation in a New Jersey casino. Many have criticized this suspension as too lenient, particularly compared to the usual four-game suspension handed down for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Whether Rice’s punishment is fair touches on a number of delicate issues, including the NFL’s history and role in punishing off-field conduct, as well as its authority and obligations under the collective bargaining agreement.But Rice’s offense — he pleaded not guilty and instead will participate in a pretrial intervention program — is indicative of a larger pattern in arrests of NFL players; they have been particularly prone to domestic violence arrests.Although there seems to be an endless stream of stories about NFL player arrests and misconduct, this is largely because there are a lot of NFL players (and they’re famous). At the league’s peak (during training camps), there are about 2,560 players attached to NFL teams (limit 80 each). As I’ll show, arrest rates among NFL players are quite low compared to national averages for men in their age range — but there are some types of crimes that trail the pack significantly.This data was tricky to work with. For NFL arrests, the most comprehensive source I could find was the USA Today NFL Arrests Database, which goes back to 2000 and is updated through the present (I calculated rates based on the 2,560 players per year estimate). For national arrest trends, I used the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ Arrest Data Analysis Tool to find the arrest rates per 100,000 for the male population in the 25-to-29 age group (this group is the most similar to the NFL as a whole, where the average team age varies from 25 to 27 years old). The difficulty is that the two sources code offenses differently, so I had to make several grouping choices. There’s a full explanation of my methodology at the end of this piece.As you would expect from a much more affluent group (e.g. the poverty rate among NFL players is zero), NFL players have much lower arrest rates than average — basically across the board:The most common arrests among the general public are for drug-related offenses and DUIs. The most common among NFL players is DUI, with assault a distant second. Overall, NFL players’ arrest rate is just 13 percent of the national average. But this isn’t distributed evenly across crimes in the slightest:Note that murder scores relatively high, but the raw numbers are extremely low (there are two in the database, though a third case — domestic in nature — resulted in suicide). But there are 83 domestic violence arrests, making it by far the NFL’s worst category — with a relative arrest rate of 55.4 percent.Although this is still lower than the national average, it’s extremely high relative to expectations. That 55.4 percent is more than four times worse than the league’s arrest rate for all offenses (13 percent), and domestic violence accounts for 48 percent of arrests for violent crimes among NFL players, compared to our estimated 21 percent nationally.Moreover, relative to the income level (top 1 percent) and poverty rate (0 percent) of NFL players, the domestic violence arrest rate is downright extraordinary. According to a 2002 Bureau of Justice Statistics Report covering 1993 to 1998, the domestic victimization rate for women in households with income greater than $75,000 (3.3 per 100,000) was about 39 percent of the overall rate (8.4 per 100,000), and less than 20 percent of the rate for women ages 20 to 34. That report doesn’t include cross-tabs, and it’s a little out of date (more current data is harder to find because more recent BJS reports on the issue do not include income breakdowns), but that sub-20 percent relative victimization among high-income households is consistent with the NFL’s 13 percent relative arrest rate overall (arrest disparities between income levels are probably even greater than victimization rates).Indeed, perhaps the question of how the NFL should “police” its players is the wrong analogy entirely. This situation may be more akin to tort law than criminal law: If the NFL is capable of reducing any harm its players are causing — whether through harsher suspensions or other policies targeting behavior — it may have a legal (or at least moral) duty to do so.Methodology: Now, I’m not experienced working with crime data, so I apologize if I grouped things unconventionally:Assault: The BJS statistics make a distinction between aggravated assault and regular assault (the NFL data does not), but they don’t break out battery, attempted murder or manslaughter (NFL data does). So I’ve grouped all of these under “assaults” on both sides.Sex offenses: The BJS statistics break down sex crimes into rape and non-rape, while the NFL arrest data is broken down by assault and non-assault. Therefore, I’ve combined those categories on each side into “sex offenses.”Gun-related: Because the BJS data specifically says its gun data is of the carrying/possession variety, I’ve combined other types of gun offenses in the NFL data with their respective crimes instead of in their own group.Prostitution-related: The NFL data breaks out pimping and solicitation, and the BJS summary data doesn’t, so I’ve combined these into “prostitution-related.”Disorderly conduct: In the NFL data, it appears that some “disorderly conduct”-type crimes are listed individually, and some aren’t. I took my best guess and included everything that sounded like disorderly conduct, including: alcohol-related crimes, resisting arrest, criminal mischief, disturbing the peace, evading police and public intoxication.Drugs: There were 11 cases in which a player was arrested in connection with something nonviolent while in possession of both drugs and guns. Because it was unclear to me whether all of those guns were illegal or not, I grouped these as drug offenses.Domestic violence: The BJS summary data bunches domestic crimes with their respective counterparts. Because the vast majority of these are assault cases, I’ve broken down its assault data into domestic and nondomestic, based on another BJS report which states that approximately 21 percent of violent crimes are domestic. (How exactly that translates into arrests is very tricky; I tried calculating it from the huge National Incident-Based Reporting System data set myself and got a tentative number closer to 15 percent, but to be conservative, I’ve stuck with the 21 percent baseline for purposes of this analysis).Finally, note, of course, I’m not saying that all of the players arrested are guilty, and only a small number are ever prosecuted or disciplined (which is also true to varying degrees for the general public). read more

Penn State Cheerleader Suffers Brain Injury After Fall

The darkest year in the history of Penn State University was moved to prayer this weekend when sophomore cheerleader Paige Raque fell 39 feet out of a fifth-story window in the apartment building where she lives.She is in critical condition with severe brain injuries at a local hospital. The campus, which has endured the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, has come together in prayer for their classmate.“She did show some signs of movement,” Randy Jepson told Yahoo! Sports. Jepson, who is acting as the Raque family spokesman, coaches Paige’s older brother, Parker, on the Penn State gymnastics team. He is also the father of Paige’s freshman year roommate.“She did open her eyes a bit,” Jepson said. “It is a very slow recovery process.”Raque, 19, is from Louisville, where she attended the Christian Academy. A phone call to the school was forwarded to the marketing department and not returned.“She’s very fun-loving,” Jepson said. “A lot of spark. A great smile. She has so many friends and family supporting her. We’re just hoping things turn around for her.”Penn State head coach Bill O’Brien said Tuesday he would reach out to the Raque family.“My heart goes out to Paige and her family and I feel terrible about that,” O’Brien said during a press conference, “When I get back over there I’ll make some calls and make sure that their family understands. I know her brother is a great gymnast here, and it’s a terrible thing. Like I said, my heart goes out to that family.”Jepson said Raque has cheered at home football games this year and she is a “die-hard Penn Stater.”State College police are investigating the fall, though it appears it was accidental. While the Penn State community waits for updates, support is flooding in from football players, cheerleaders, and other well-wishers across the country under the Twitter hashtag #prayforpaige.“There seems to be a groundswell developing,” Jepson said. “When tragedy strikes, people show their true colors.”That’s happened at Penn State all year long. And it will have to keep happening, as Jepson said Raque’s recovery process will be “somewhat long-term.”“I just know that God is going to heal my sister/bestfriend in due time,” Parker Raque tweeted. “He loves his children and is the almighty healer.” read more

An NBA Players DraftDay Grudge Doesnt Help Him Play Better

Within each group, there is once again little to no evidence that win shares can be attributed to differences in draft category. In most of the plots above, the Shoulder Chip group appears to fall at or below the other two categories in terms of future production.Looking at these charts and more formal statistical modeling7We also used an ANOVA model of win shares as a function of the five draft slot categories and expected draft slot. Expected draft location was not a significant predictor in this model., it’s clear that it doesn’t matter where an NBA player is drafted relative to where he expected to be drafted. The guy’s going to play how he’s going to play, it seems.It is important to point out that these results, however, do not account for the possibility that Shoulder Chip players are more hit or miss than their counterparts. In many cases — such as Boozer’s and Sullinger’s — Shoulder Chip players fell because of injury concerns, and it would make sense that those types of players could provide the biggest risk for a team on draft day.It’s possible that the boom-or-bust phenomenon often associated with taking injured players or those who come with “baggage” is legitimate. General managers should still consider taking Shoulder Chip players, if only because they could be diamonds in the rough. A third of NBA second-rounders never play in the league, so players like Boozer may indeed offer the highest return on teams’ limited investments. You might get a dud, but you also might get a stud. After a college career that included winning the 2001 national championship with the Duke Blue Devils and appearances on the All-ACC first team and All-American third team, Carlos Boozer thought he’d be a first-round pick in the 2002 NBA draft. Mock drafts agreed, predicting the junior would go between 15th and 25th overall.The NBA invited Boozer to New York for draft night, but the power forward and his agent decided to stay at his parents’ house in North Carolina and throw a party with his friends and family. It was set to be a celebration — he remembers an excellent food spread. But as the picks kept coming, Boozer kept waiting. “I was excited and nervous and all those emotions that come through when you are waiting for your name to get called,” he recently told FiveThirtyEight. “The first three or four picks go by. The first 10 picks go by. Shoot, then the first 20 picks go by, and I’m like, ‘Wait, when’s my name going to get called?’ ”Boozer dropped out of the first round — all the way to the Cleveland Cavaliers at 35. Boozer said the experience inspired him. “That night left a huge chip on my shoulder with a lot to prove,” he said. “It’s like anybody in America going for a job interview and getting turned down, except when you’re an athlete and you’re trying to go to the professional level, you get turned down on national television over and over and over again.”Boozer isn’t unique in saying that falling in the draft created a chip on his shoulder. The Boston Celtics’ Jared Sullinger said his drop in 2012 will stay with him “for the rest of [his] career.” In 2013, Ben McLemore slipped out of the top five, then told reporters, “I can definitely say I come in with a chip on my shoulder.” This year, Shabazz Napier led the University of Connecticut to an NCAA championship but didn’t hear his name called until No. 24, prompting draft-night talk of his desire to prove himself. Nik Stauskas went eighth, which he felt was too low, claiming that both he and former Michigan Wolverines teammate Trey Burke (drafted the previous year) would play with chips. Even analysts use the trope. Bill Simmons, editor in chief of FiveThirtyEight’s corporate sibling Grantland,1Noah Davis, one of this article’s authors, also contributes to Grantland. said about Burke’s potential: “I also think he’s going to have a chip on his shoulder since he went ninth. You want chip-on-the-shoulder guys in the draft.”Boozer said he “was making a list of the teams I couldn’t wait to play.” He cataloged which teams passed on him once, which passed on him twice. “I couldn’t wait to play Milwaukee [who drafted University of Tennessee power forward Marcus Haislip 13th].” But when he played them, he scored only four points in 23 minutes.It got better from there. By the end of the season, he earned second team All-Rookie honors. Boozer eventually made two All-Star teams, and among all players drafted in 2002, he is second only to Amar’e Stoudemire in career win-shares.The data, however, suggests Boozer’s success wasn’t due to the chip on his shoulder, just as the players picked ahead of him didn’t flame out because they had nothing to prove. After looking at 10 years of the first and second rounds of the NBA draft, we found little to no evidence that players who drop in the draft perform any better than players who were selected either near their expected draft location or before it. The chip-on-the-shoulder narrative might make for compelling copy, but it’s not much more than that. It’s more fable than facts.We categorized 480 players into three categories — Shoulder Chip players (fell in the draft compared to mock drafts’ expectations2We got our mock drafts from nbadraft.net.); Team Darling players (picked before their expected slot); and Expectation players (drafted around their expected slot)3Given the nonlinear decrease in both contract value and eventual player success level for picks later in the draft, falling 10 picks in the first round is different from falling 10 picks in the second. We made the decision to group players who fell roughly two spots or more (from mock pick No. 5), five spots or more (from No. 20), and 10 spots or more (No. 30) within the Shoulder Chip group. — based on where they were drafted relative to where the mock drafts said they’d be drafted. Overall, 18 percent of players drafted between 2001 and 20104Players drafted who were not listed on mock drafts were eliminated from the data set, leaving us with about 80 percent of all players taken during this time frame, including 97 percent of players taken in the first round. ended up in the Shoulder Chip group, 16 percent in the Team Darling, with the remaining 65 percent of players in the Expectation cohort.To judge a player’s success, we used the number of win shares he earned in the first four years of his career.5NBA win shares are a function of a player’s offensive and defensive statistics relative to his team’s point totals. As a result, our methods cannot account for the possibility that Boozer and other Shoulder Chip players help a team in ways that do not appear in a traditional box scores. The chart below shows the percentage of players in each category who had various numbers of win shares. If the Shoulder Chip group was different from the others, we’d expect its line to have a noticeably different distribution. And yet …It doesn’t. There are no obvious differences in eventual player performance based on draft category. The curves for the Shoulder Chip and Team Darling groups are slightly to the right of players who were drafted at their expected slot, but the difference is not significant.Simple enough, but for this analysis to hold up, we have to do more than just compare the overall distribution of player win-shares in the Shoulder Chip group to other players. After all, Chip players were, on average, picked later in the draft, meaning that this group is inherently devoid of surefire superstars and No. 1 picks like LeBron James, Dwight Howard and Derrick Rose.The easiest way to get around this is to compare players against others who were drafted in similar positions. We grouped players into one of five categories: Picks Nos. 1-5, 6-10, 11-20, 21-30, and 31 or above.The graphs below replicates the curves from the previous chart but does so within each draft category. (Given that there were only two Shoulder Chip players in the group with Picks 1-5, we aren’t showing that plot).6Within each of the groups we are showing, there are at least 11 Shoulder Chip, Team Darling and Expectation players. read more

Lavender earns sixth doubledouble en route to win over South Carolina Upstate

Recovering from its first loss of the season, the No. 10 Ohio State women’s basketball team dominated in the paint, landing itself an 87-55 victory over South Carolina Upstate on Tuesday night at the Schottenstein Center.Before the game, Upstate Spartans coach Tammy George said she planned to “make (OSU) beat us from the outside.”But George’s strategy didn’t go as according to plan, as the Buckeyes (8-1) had no trouble racking up points in the paint. Freshman Ashley Adams and seniors Sarah Schulze and Jantel Lavender helped lead the Buckeyes to a 58-28 scoring advantage. Lavender scored a game-high 33 points and earned her sixth double-double of the year.Lavender is “a great player,” George said. “Ohio State is very good. They lived up to their billing.”OSU held the lead from the opening tipoff until the final buzzer. All 12 players on the Buckeyes’ roster played in the game, and nearly every one of them earned the team points.“It’s great as we head down the road,” said OSU coach Jim Foster, referring to every Buckeye getting playing time in the game. “We have some versatility.”The win over Upstate was sandwiched between the loss to unranked Syracuse on Dec. 11 and the highly anticipated matchup against No. 1 University of Connecticut on Dec. 19 at Madison Square Garden.Though the Buckeyes have a tough match ahead of them, Foster said the team’s focus is always on the match at hand.“Winning is always important,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who’s next.”Schulze agreed.“It’s easy to stay focused,” she said. UCONN “is just another team on the schedule.” read more

Urban Meyer Luke Fickell did not interview for the Florida Atlantic job

Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier (2) sacks the quarterback during a game against Purdue Nov. 2 at Ross-Ade Stadium. OSU won, 56-0.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorOhio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell did not interview for the head coaching vacancy at Florida Atlantic University, OSU coach Urban Meyer said Wednesday.FAU is currently searching for a new coach after former coach Carl Pelini resigned because of illegal drug usage.Meyer told the media Wednesday after practice, “there’s absolutely no interviewing going on during this time.”Meyer said a mid-season interview would be disruptive to the team’s pursuit of a national championship. He also said he would have had to grant an interview.OSU is on its second bye week of the 2013 season, but still faces an important weekend in its push for a national title. Three other unbeaten teams that sit alongside OSU face off against top-15 opponents, including No. 3 Oregon who is set to take on No. 5 Stanford Thursday at 9 p.m.Meyer said rooting for certain teams to fail isn’t on his weekend agenda, which includes recruiting Friday night and watching his daughter play volleyball Saturday.“For us to waste energy on that, that’s not fair to the players we coach,” Meyer said.Junior linebacker Ryan Shazier said he plans on taking in college football’s entire landscape this weekend, and even admitted to having a rooting interest Thursday night.“I just want to see everybody this weekend, to see where everybody’s at right now,” Shazier said. “I would be lying if I said I won’t be pulling for (Stanford).”Shazier said he believes everything will fall into place on its own at the end of the season.Junior defensive linemen Michael Bennett said his squad can’t focus on things out of its control.“Personally, it’s not that frustrating to me, ‘cause if I can’t control something, then I’m just going to not worry about it,” Bennett said. “All we can control is how much we beat the teams that we’re playing right now.”Bennett said a bye week this late in the season is “really, really helpful” in getting key pieces of the team back to full strength.Even with the additional time to rest, a banged-up OSU, with both sophomore right tackle Taylor Decker and junior linebacker Curtis Grant suffering from injuries, will depend on its developing depth to step up when it returns to action against Illinois Nov. 16.“We’ve been fortunate enough the offense has been putting up points on people so we can get younger guys in there,” Bennett said.Shazier said while the bye week will help himself and his teammates heal, he almost wishes there were a game this weekend.“I kind of wish I was playing on Saturday, (because) we’re in a good groove right now on defense and offense,” Shazier said. read more

Football Dwayne Haskins finds his Road to Glory

Ohio State freshman offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere (77), redshirt sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) and junior tight end Rashod Berry (13) celebratefollowing the game against Northwestern on Dec. 1. Ohio State won 45-24. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorDwayne Haskins knew how he wanted his future to look — like the Road to Glory mode in the now-extinct NCAA Football video game. He said he would play the story mode every season, portraying himself as a 6-foot-4, 220-pound quarterback donning No. 7 for Ohio State. And with this quarterback, he won the Heisman Trophy every season he played. In his first season as the starting quarterback for Ohio State, the numbers the 6-foot-3, 220-pound quarterback has put up have been video game-like, breaking the single-season Big Ten total yards record, the Big Ten single-season touchdowns record, the Big Ten passing yards record and the Big Ten passing touchdowns record. And now, he has the chance to live the fantasy of the video game he played as a kid after being invited as one of three finalists for the Heisman Trophy, which will be announced on Dec. 8. Haskins is joined by Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and Oklahoma redshirt junior quarterback Kyler Murray as the three up for the award.Head coach Urban Meyer, who has traveled to New York for the Heisman ceremony four times, once with former Utah quarterback Alex Smith in 2004 and three times with former Florida quarterback Tim Tebow from 2007-09, had no doubt Haskins was worthy to be considered for college football’s top award after the performances he’s had. “That’s such an incredible experience for those players, to bring them,” Meyer said. “But he’s going one way or the other. I’ll fly him there myself. With the way he played and the stats against the other quarterbacks, he’s gotta go to New York.” But in the grand scheme of Haskins’ performance for Ohio State this season, it’s more than just the numbers he recorded, the records he’s broken and the games he’s won. He changed the perception of the Buckeyes’ offense. Haskins knew who he was as a quarterback. He was never going to be the dual-threat J.T. Barrett was before him, which he told coaches coming into his college career. “Coming out of high school, I always voiced to coach and whoever the offensive coordinator [was] that I wanted to be in a passing offense,” Haskins said. “Being able to have that change this year and have the blueprint for whoever is playing when I get done playing, just to show that we can throw the ball all over the field.” That did not seem likely at the beginning of the season, coming into an offense with two former 1,000-yard backs, the typical dream of a coach with a balanced offensive mind such as Meyer. That thought has not changed for the head coach, saying on Sunday if a particular team can’t run the ball consistently, they will lose at some point. And, even though he has been placed more in the category of former Florida quarterback Chris Leak and Cardale Jones instead of Barrett and Tebow, Meyer said Haskins has done an excellent job doing anything he could to move the chains. “How do you measure a quarterback? Obviously wins. Can he get and will he get a first down for you?” Meyer said. “Because once he gets one first down, he will get the next one.” There was an element of change in the offense that Meyer acknowledged, giving the credit to offensive coordinator Ryan Day. Haskins said Meyer’s trust in him got to a point where the quarterback could attempt a pass in short-yardage situations, something that, with the quick and veteran receivers he had in his arsenal, became the bread and butter of the Ohio State offense. Haskins said that level of trust took time, crediting both Day and Meyer for putting him in those offensive situations. “I’m glad I have been able to give him the confidence this year,” Haskins said about Meyer. “I know he can rely on me in tough moments whether that was with a running play or a passing play.” But Meyer played another important role for Haskins during the 2018 season. While Day primarily put the quarterback in a position to succeed, the head coach continued to keep him grounded. Despite the success he had over the course of the 2018 season, leading the nation with 4,580 passing yards and Ohio State to the No. 2 passing offense in the country, Haskins said Meyer did not want him to become too “big-headed.” “He does a great job of keeping me humble and doesn’t really give me too much praise,” Haskins said. “He really wants me to be the best quarterback in the country, whether he voices that to anybody or not.” But after Haskins’ 499-yard day against Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship, Meyer and Ohio State began vouching for their starting quarterback, beginning his Heisman campaign. Haskins said these were the same players and coaches who helped him to be elite this year. And that is what Haskins wanted to prove. He feels like he has given enough to be warranted for discussion for Ohio State’s first Heisman winner since Troy Smith in 2006. “I feel like I did what I needed to do to give my case to win the Heisman,” Haskins said. “It’s not my choice for who gets to win the Heisman, but either way, I just wanted to be considered for it. If I win, I win. If I don’t, it’s getting ready for Washington.” Meyer said he does have thoughts about what Haskins’ future would look like, saying it would be unfair to him and his family to discuss that at this point. Haskins might not know either. The Heisman Trophy and the national championship is where the Road to Glory ends in the NCAA Football video game.But with Haskins as a Heisman finalist, a quarterback who broke Big Ten and Ohio State records and a quarterback who changed the dynamic of the Ohio State offense, who knows? There might be a 6-foot-4, 220-pound My Player wearing No. 7 in a Madden video game Haskins might be preparing to emulate. read more

Usain Bolt pictured with another mystery woman as he parties into the

first_imgUsain Bolt grins on a night out in London – his second in a rowCredit:Palace Lee/REX/Shutterstock The pair were photographed as they enjoyed a night out on the townCredit: Palace Lee/REX/Shutterstock Usain Bolt turns the tables on photographers by snapping them from a car Bolt posed for a photo with the studentCredit:Jady Duarte/Whatsapp Miss Duarte said she had not realised who the athlete was until her friend pointed it outCredit: Jady Duarte/WhatsApp The Olympic champion, who reportedly persuaded two women he met in a club on Monday to return to his hotel for an after-party, cheekily turned the tables on photographers by snapping them with his smartphone.  Usain Bolt 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. Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, has been pictured with another mystery woman on a second night out in London as he continues to celebrate his Rio Olympic success.The athlete – who was earlier this week pictured in bed with a Brazilian student amid rumours he would be marrying his girlfriend Kasi Bennett after the Games – was photographed in the small hours of Wednesday.The Jamaican gold medallist was pictured leaving his London hotel with an unknown woman, who wore a revealing black dress, before heading to a party.Bolt, who has been dating his Jamaican girlfriend for two years, grinned as he faced the cameras in ripped jeans and a baseball cap. Usain Bolt turns the tables on photographers by snapping them from a carCredit:Palace Lee/REX/Shutterstock It came a day after the athlete’s sister, Christine Bolt-Hylton, told The Sun she that Bolt and his girlfriend are serious and expects the couple to get engaged on his return to the UK.Miss Bennett (below) has been in a relationship with Bolt for two years.center_img Jady Duarte shared WhatsApp pictures that show her wearing a white top while embracing a bare-torsoed Bolt Bolt was reportedly pictured kissing a different woman in a club on Monday night. The unknown woman is said to have been wearing a lanyard with Olympic branding in the VIP area at the venue.Bolt had previously been photographed dancing with another woman while celebrating his 30th birthday in Rio.It comes after Jady Duarte, 20, shared pictures of herself in bed with the athlete on Whatsapp.She tweeted in Portuguese to say her night with the sprinter was “not a big deal” and “normal”, admitting she had not realised who he was until her friend pointed it out.One photo shows Bolt kissing the woman’s cheek and, in another, he is posing with his arm around her. Bolt posing with Jady Duarte He was pictured walking down a London street with an unknown woman wearing a revealing dressCredit:Palace Lee/REX/Shutterstock He also said that as a celebrity it was difficult to “stay with one woman” when there was temptation from others. “It’s hard for you to stay with one woman because girls are literally just throwing themselves at you,” he said. ” And that’s unfair to us guys – it’s hard to say no, you know what I mean? ” Miss Duarte said she met the track star at a club in Barra, west Rio. Following the incident, Bolt followed her on Instagram but the student says she is not proud of the pictures.”[The impact] is very negative,” she told Brazilian news site EXTRA. “I never wanted to be famous, I’m dying of shame.””I’d rather not talk about it – in order not to complicate matters. Like I said, it was normal.”The revelation may not have negative consequences for Bolt, who revealed in the Daily Telegraph that he believed cheating was acceptable. “Jamaican culture is different, when you look at women and men having more than one [partner], it’s different,” he said.”I’ve noticed that in Britain, every famous person, as soon as they get famous, they have to get married – like, it’s a rule. And I’m like, that’s not fair!'” Usain Bolt's female companion Usain Bolt grins on a night out in London - his second in a rowlast_img read more

Sir Nicholas Serota steps down as Tate director to join Arts Council

first_img“He brings unparallelled experience, creativity and wisdom and will continue to be an enthusiastic champion of the arts in his new role. “I would like to thank Sir Peter Bazalgette for his fantastic energy and hard work in the role as he passes the baton to Nicholas.”Sir Nicholas called the new role an “enormous honour”, having already dedicated years to speaking out about issues in the arts world.Announcing he would be leaving Tate towards the end of next year, Serota said: “Over the past thirty years there has been a sea-change in public appreciation of the visual arts in this country. Sir Nicholas oversaw the development of the new Tate Modern The Switch House extension to Tate Modern, London “Tate  has always been fortunate to have enjoyed the support of artists and to have benefitted from the international acclaim for the work of British artists in recent years.”The news comes after much change at Tate, with Frances Morris only recently appointed director of Tate Modern and Alex Farquharson joining Tate Britain last year.Sir Nicholas is thought to have stayed on in his position to ensure continuity, overseeing the opening of the multi-million-pound new Tate Modern building earlier this year. Nick Serota is to leave Tate next year 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. The Switch House extension to Tate Modern, Londoncenter_img Listing his achievements at the gallery, a spokesman for Tate credited Sir Nicholas with the  creation of Tate Modern and Tate St Ives, broadening the collections, and curating blockbuster exhibitions including Cy Twombly, Gerhard Richter and Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs.Among the acquisitions he has overseen are Wright of Derby’s An Iron Forge 1772, Reynolds’s The Archers 1769, Turner’s Blue Rigi 1842 and Constable’s Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows 1831, adding major works by Bacon, Beuys, Bourgeois, Brancusi, Duchamp, Horn, Mondrian, Richter and Twombly to the modern collections.Lord Browne, Tate’s Chairman, said: “We have been privileged to have in Nicholas Serota one of the world’s greatest museum directors and a leader for the visual arts on a global stage.”Under his leadership Tate has become a preeminent cultural organisation nationally and internationally and one of the most visited in the world.”He has championed British art and artists throughout the world while at the same time ensuring that Tate has become a much loved, open and accessible institution for the public.”He leaves Tate in a strong position on which to build for the future. We wish him well as he takes on new responsibilities which will be for the benefit of all the arts.” Sir Nicholas oversaw the development of the new Tate Modern Nick Serota is to leave Tate next year Sir Nicholas Serota is to step down as the director of Tate after nearly 30 years in the role, as he takes up a new position as the chairman of Arts Council England.Sir Nicholas, 70, is to leave the galleries at the end of next year, taking over from Sir Peter Bazalgette to work part time at the Arts Council and ensure safe handover of the roles.The announcement means the search is now on for his successor, in one of the most prestigious jobs in the art world.Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, said: “Nicholas Serota has transformed the Tate during his time there, making it one of the leading art institutions in the world, and I am delighted he is taking up the position as Chair of Arts Council England.   Darren Henley, chief executive at Arts Council England, added: “Nick is a visionary arts leader of immense national and international standing, whose cultural credentials are second to none.”He has led Tate with flair and wisdom for the past three decades, ensuring new audiences across the country can enjoy contemporary art.”I’m thrilled that we will now benefit from his insight and expertise at Arts Council England. “Our excitement at Nick’s arrival is only tempered by sadness at Baz’s [Sir Peter Bazalgette’s] departure.”We owe him a great debt of gratitude for his truly outstanding leadership and his intelligent championing of public investment in arts and culture over the past four years.”In both our outgoing and incoming chairs, we couldn’t have wished for better appointments.”last_img read more

10 bizarre animal rescue stories from 2016 orange seagull to cat in

first_imgFrom the seagull that turned orange after a curry mishap to the cat posted 260 miles by accident, there have been plenty of bizarre animal rescue stories in 2016.The RSPCA has released a list of some its most unusual rescue efforts as 2016 comes to a close. “Animals really do do the funniest things,” a spokesperson for the charity said. “But sometimes, they need a little help getting themselves out of the trouble they find themselves in… And the RSPCA is always there to help!” Eight-year-old Siamese cat, Cupcake, had a narrow escape after climbing into a box – which was then posted 260 miles from Cornwall to West SussexCredit:RSPCA RSPCA A Pokémon Go gamer contacted the RSPCA after discovering a cow with her head wedged in a metal feeder in Wythenshawe Park, Manchester, in July. RSPCA RSPCA 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. RSPCA 1. Bar-king mad! Five-month-old Schnauzer, Juno, had to be rescued after getting her head wedged between two bars during an afternoon walk in Stockport.“Juno was out on her walk and, as a young, excitable dog, was running around very fast,” RSPCA Animal Welfare Officer Steve Wickham said in March.“She ran full pelt into the fence and her head went straight in between the bars. I don’t know for sure how she managed to do it but once her head was in there it was completely stuck.”The RSPCA and Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service helped free the canine who thankfully did not suffer any injuries in the mishap. 2. Slippery customer Six goldfish were rescued from a culvert in Abergavenny Credit:RSPCA Who knew seagulls were such big fans of curry?An unfortunate gull turned bright orange after falling into a vat of cold Tandoori curry in Newport in August. “The RSPCA were called to rescue him and rushed him to a wildlife centre for a check-up by a vet,” a spokesperson for the charity said.“Luckily, he was uninjured and, after a good clean, was all ready to be released.”6. Have your cake and… post it! This cat had a very lucky escape Credit:RSPCA It was a happy ending when Juno was freed with a wagging tail and no injuriesCredit:RSPCA ‘I can’t see a thing!’ Credit:RSPCA RSPCA RSPCA RSPCAcenter_img Curiosity almost killed feline Maggie May in October when the unlucky pet got stuck under her owner’s stairlift. RSPCA staff used a car jack to lift the seat off the tabby cat who miraculously escaped without any injuries.5. Spice gull RSPCA The horse got stuck on a footbridge Credit:RSPCA An unfortunate predicament Credit:RSPCA Six goldfish were rescued from a culvert in Abergavenny after the RSPCA were called to the same location – twice.On March 22, two goldfish were rescued from the entrance to the open drain, and four more were found on March 30.8. What ewe looking at? RSPCA A gull in Newport had to be rescued after having a craving for a taster of beak-a masala or some gull-frazi Credit:RSPCA A snake in a vacuum Credit:RSPCA In March, a Siamese cat had a very lucky escape when its owners accidentally posted her 260 miles away to West Sussex.Cupcake’s owners were sending some DVDs to a buyer in Worthing but failed to spot their pet was asleep in the cardboard box.The feline spent eight days in the post but miraculously survived the traumatic journey from Falmouth in Cornwall.7. Rescue goes swimmingly well Inspector Jason Finch was called to the Norwich garden on 20 July to help free the porky toadCredit:RSPCA A couple from York were left stunned after finding a corn snake in their airing cupboard back in October.The slippery pet snake, who had been missing for three months, slithered into the head of the couple’s vacuum cleaner before being reunited with his owner.3. Fail at first fence RSPCA This chubby toad may think twice the next time he attempts to squeeze through a hole after getting wedged in some garden decking in Norwich.“He was the biggest, fattest toad I have ever seen,” said RSPCA inspector Jason Finch.“Much like his literary counterpart, this Mr Toad had got himself in a spot of bother.”10. Bull-basaur A dog walker came to the aid of a horse found stuck on a footbridge in Alfreton, Derbyshire, by alerting RSPCA officials.“Luckily, despite some bloody wounds, she wasn’t seriously injured and RSPCA officers, fire crews and a vet managed to pull her free and get her to safety,” a spokesperson said.4. Curiosity [almost] killed the cat More animal news A smiling dog faced losing his new home after this adoption selfie alerted police. While the ‘world’s saddest polar bear’ kept in shopping centre has finally seen some sunlight.   Would ewe believe it?A sheep needed the help of the RSCPA after getting a traffic cone stuck on her head in the middle of a field in Hertfordshire.The RSPCA said: “Thankfully, despite feeling a little sheepish, the ewe wasn’t injured and happily ran off to rejoin her flock.”9. Toad in a holelast_img read more