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The Case For Russell Westbrook MVP

Russell Westbrook is the MVP. You are likely already familiar with Westbrook’s claim to the award because every conversation that suggests someone else is the MVP must do the work of explaining why it is not, obviously, Westbrook.Westbrook’s case for MVP is self-evident. His season-long triple-double is a historic accomplishment, and its grandeur only grows when adjusted to account for the way the game is played today. Here are the top seasons for the triple-double stats sorted by John Hollinger’s Versatility Index, which shows how good players are at those three metrics, combined1Versatility Index is the geometric mean of points, rebounds and assists per 100 possessions., which adjusts for pace: Source: NBA.com SEASONPLAYERPOSS. PER GAMEPTSREBOUNDSASSISTSVERSATILITY INDEX Versatility index is the geometric mean of points, rebounds and assists (per 100 possessions).Source: basketball-reference.com 4’14-’15Westbrook95.741.110.612.517.6 3’15-’16Westbrook96.733.911.315.118.0 LeBron James126+15.140.667.332.124.6 Jimmy Butler141+12.831.563.041.329.4 … 34’61-’62Robertson124.926.710.89.914.2 PER 100 POSSESSIONS 1’16-’17Westbrook97.844.815.114.721.5 James55.152.3+2.840.937.2+3.7 DeAndre Jordan105+3.21.968.818.723.4 5’04-’05Garnett89.131.419.18.016.9 Isaiah Thomas163+18.225.065.446.026.4 2-PT SHOT PERCENTAGE3-PT SHOT PERCENTAGE Kawhi Leonard137+24.023.055.440.428.5 Source: NBA.com PLAYERCRUNCH TIMENET RATINGASSIST %TS %USAGE %PIE DeMar DeRozan139+16.128.854.842.926.1 PLAYERTEAMMATES’ WIDE-OPEN 3-PT % James42.4 Source: NBA.com Top NBA players by involvement during crunch time In general, the more possessions a player uses,2Plays on which a player takes a shot, draws a shooting foul or commits a turnover. the less efficient his personal offense becomes. You can see the frontier of exceptional player seasons forming a rough diagonal, sloping down from Kevin Durant’s 2016-17 in the upper left to Westbrook’s in the lower right. Generally, that’s the frontier of achievement for maximizing efficiency and usage, and anything that breaks past the outer rim is in the running for the best season in NBA history. Curry’s 2015-16 was more or less unprecedented, but was followed up quickly by Isaiah Thomas and Harden this season, each putting up absurd efficiency numbers with what have traditionally been extremely high usage rates. Then there’s Russell Westbrook.While a glance at the advanced stats (55.4 true shooting; 41.7 usage percentage) will give you the gist of the relationship — less efficient, more usage — they mask just how far out of the norm Westbrook has been. He has bucked the trend that’s afflicted super-high-usage NBA players for as long as the league has existed: Westbrook’s usage has exploded … and his efficiency hasn’t really changed. As a challenge to the basic makeup of NBA efficiency trends, Westbrook’s season is just as much of an aberration as Curry’s 2015-16.This is the final entry in our series making the case for five NBA MVP candidates. We’ve also made the cases for James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Lebron James and Stephen Curry. Also, check out our NBA predictions.That said, just because Westbrook’s season has been impressive does not necessarily make it useful or valuable. And while it’s undeniably hard to do what Westbrook has done, it’s been an open question how much value there is in his tirelessly filling up the box score while also eating up possessions. Players such as Curry and Harden, who shake up the ratio by adding efficiency to a standard-issue star player workload, are far easier to evaluate. But a player who can take on limitless responsibility with seeming immunity to defensive attention is a dangerous tool in situations where good possessions are hard to come by, even if he isn’t the most efficient guy on the floor. We’ve seen Westbrook deliver in those situations this season.An unstoppable, moderately efficient forceWestbrook has been laboring under LeBron-esque playoff demands all season long as the late-game anchor for a severely offensively handicapped team.Westbrook’s crunch-time numbers this season are comical. We’ll define “crunch time” here as the last five minutes of a game (or overtime) in which neither team has a lead greater than five points. In those situations, Westbrook has been unstoppable. His already absurd usage percentage jumps from “just” 41.7 to 62.3. (Sixty-two point three!!!)Something else interesting happens to Westbrook during crunch time: As his usage goes up, so does his efficiency. His true shooting percentage creeps up to 56.9, and his assist percentage goes to 58.3. While he’s on the court in crunch time, the Thunder is outscoring opponents by 21.7 points per 100 possessions (up from +12.5 overall). In fact, Westbrook’s work rate late in games is so prolific that he produces as much value as entire teams. No, really.We know this thanks to a little-noticed stat on the NBA’s stats site called Player Impact Estimate, or PIE. PIE is the share of all box score activity in a game (so points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks) with deductions for negative stats (turnovers, missed shots, personal fouls). The average for a player should be about 103Since there are 10 players on the court., and the average for a team about 50.4Since each team makes up half the players. It’s an especially useful stat when used in tandem with net rating, because you can then see both how well a player is doing individually (the PIE rating) as well as how well the team is performing overall (the net rating).5Net rating is just a team’s scoring differential per 100 possessions.Anyway, Westbrook’s PIE in crunch time is 40.3, meaning he accounts for about 40 percent of both teams’ combined activity all on his own — a greater share of game stats in his clutch minutes than five teams6The Pistons, Heat, Lakers, Nets and Suns. collect as a whole. The Thunder as a team has a 61.4 PIE in crunch time, fourth in the league, which tracks more or less with its 19.9 net rating, which ranks second overall. Westbrook58.2%48.6%+9.633.1%31.4%+1.7 Harden62.652.5+10.134.037.6-3.6 A player totally unfettered from the effect of a defense is dangerous all game long, but a particular nightmare late in games.Team composition mattersOK, so Westbrook can get his whenever he wants to get his. No one really doubts this. But Westbrook’s ability to get his teammates quality shots is a lingering question because Westbrook is not Curry, who distorts the parameters of the game without even touching the ball. Curry’s teammates find better shots and make more of them without Curry ever having to generate a traditional assist. But Westbrook’s teammates … let’s just say not even Curry could charm Andre Roberson into hitting his wide-open 3s.The Thunder roster is not quite as bereft of talent as it’s sometimes made out to be — Steven Adams is a very good center, and Enes Kanter, Victor Oladipo and a few young players like Domas Sabonis all have their uses. But the team’s players are the worst long-range shooters in the league.This is made clear when we separate out the team’s doomed long range shots. 2’16-’17Harden100.038.410.714.818.3 PLAYEROFF PASSES FROM PLAYEROTHER SHOTSDIFFOFF PASSES FROM PLAYEROTHER SHOTSDIFF Curry40.0 Anthony Davis163-2.78.351.736.124.8 Harden38.3 The best pace-adjusted triple-double seasons Nevertheless, clucking about the righteousness of one MVP candidate over another inevitably returns to an epistemological debate about “value.” And there are a variety of cases to be made for players who had less outstanding, but perhaps more “valuable,” seasons than Westbrook did. James Harden moved to point guard and turned in a season that was two parts Steve Nash, one part Corey Maggette, and his Houston Rockets have faint yet plausible finals hopes. LeBron James had the best statistical season of his career at age 32, in his 14th year in the league. And Kawhi Leonard squeezed 61 wins out of a depleted San Antonio Spurs roster on which Dewayne Dedmon has a reasonable claim to being the second-best player. Each of those players’ teams has a far greater chance than Westbrook’s Oklahoma City Thunder of making the finals and winning a championship.But what if a player is uniquely valuable when the stakes are highest? We’ve seen an example of this before: LeBron James during the 2015 Finals. During that series, James took two games against the ascendent Warriors basically all by himself. James led all players in points, rebounds and assists, and did so while carrying a true shooting percentage of 47.7 and a usage percentage of 39.3. It was a marvelous series for James despite his poor efficiency, in part because his efficiency remained basically in proportion to what’s expected of the most efficient stars despite an altogether absurd workload.Russell Westbrook has done over 82 games what James did for six. He has scrambled our sense of what game-altering dominance looks like in the age of advanced stats, and he’s done it largely without the benefit of the most important tool of the modern game: reliable 3-point shooting, from himself or his team. Westbrook’s success this season has argued convincingly that top-end efficiency isn’t an absolute requirement for success in today’s NBA, so long as you can make up for a dip in quality with sheer force of quantity.Efficiency is not a vacuumAmong a certain part of the advanced stats-minded crowd, Westbrook is easy to dismiss as an outdated, high-usage, low-efficiency volume shooter in an NBA that has moved beyond ball hogs. This makes sense if you view the split between Westbrook and high-efficiency players like Harden as a proxy battle in some broader war for the aesthetics of basketball. On one side you have the game played as a brutal, Pat Riley-style combat sport, and on the other the spread-’em-out game of the Rockets or Warriors. But Westbrook is defying the norms of efficiency, too. He’s just doing it in his own way.Take a look at this chart showing usage percentage and true shooting percentage, which originally ran in an article by my colleague Ben Morris, in which he made the case for Steph Curry as the MVP: How teammates shoot after passes from their stars Russell Westbrook148 min+21.758.3%56.9%62.3%40.3 When a Westbrook pass leads to a 2-point shot, his teammates are shooting 58.2 percent; when they take 2-pointers not directly following a pass from Westbrook, they shoot 48.6 percent. This is a massive difference, but also a logical one: Players shoot better when their point guard sets them up for shots.Things go downhill quickly once OKC ventures out beyond the arc. There, Westbrook passes lead to makes on only 33 percent of attempts; without Westbrook passing to them, his teammates make 31.4 percent. Both numbers are staggeringly bad. The Thunder simply don’t have players who can shoot NBA 3-pointers. Westbrook30.9% Curry58.555.5+3.041.835.6+6.2 STATS DURING CRUNCH TIME Leonard47.249.6-2.443.838.3+5.5 As a team, the Thunder were a bit above average at creating wide-open 3s (meaning the nearest defender was six or more feet away). Getting open 3s is good! Except, they shot 32.4 percent on those wide-open looks, good for dead last in the league. Westbrook himself shot 40 percent, which means the rest of the team shot 30.9 percent. Again, on wide-open 3s. No defender within six feet. Thirty point nine percent. A tabletop cactus could shoot 30 percent with the defense out to lunch.So while Westbrook does not have as profound an effect on his teammates’ shooting as his peers, this is hard to pin on Westbrook himself when he’s holding the bag for an Oklahoma City front office running back the ’93 Knicks.“Stat hogging” is not a phenomenonOne final line of suspicion about Westbrook’s stat line revolves around the notion that the numbers are inflated by methods unnatural to the game. One of those allegations: that Westbrook’s teammates let him collect rebounds to help stuff the stat sheets.But it’s not that simple. For one thing, stars have always received preferential treatment on cheap rebounds. There’s an old story about Rockets players getting gassed up when Yao Ming finally began to yap at teammates who tried to scoot in on missed free throw rebounds — generally the easiest to collect — because those are reserved for the star big man, and the NBA runs on hierarchy. And Kevin Love made a habit of grabbing the ball at the ends of quarters, just after the buzzer sounded, and doing a quick turn, point and grin in the direction of the scorer’s table trying to get credit for the board.7These anecdotes came from Bill Simmons interviews that are lost to history after Grantland was shut down.The Thunder also aren’t as blatant about giving Westbook rebounds as they’re made out to be. Yes, it’s conspicuous that Westbrook is pulling in 8.5 uncontested rebounds per game, up from 5.9 a season ago. But we can track how often teammates give up a rebound so that a nearby teammate can pick up the ball: It’s a stat called deferred rebound chances. This season, the number of the Thunder’s deferred chances has decreased to 16.8 per game from a league-high 17.7 a season ago. What’s changed? Well, the 6.6 uncontested rebounds per game Kevin Durant collected in 2015-16 needed to be redistributed somewhere.Unlike shooting or passing, rebounding suffers from severe diminishing returns. There are only so many rebound opportunities, and only so many bodies needed to corral them. Oklahoma City finished first in overall rebound rate, and third in defensive rebound rate. The Thunder have decided to use this surplus of rebounding to leak extra bodies out into the break, knowing their point guard can collect the rebound and start the break. In other words, the Thunder have made a conscious effort to let Westbrook get the rebounds because they think it helps them win, not just because they wanted Westbrook to hoard triple-doubles. The Thunder are fifth in percent of points scored via transition, so it’s working out for them.But there’s a downside: This strategy often leads to Westbrook playing abysmal defense as he hunts for the rebound — the number of shots he contests is dismal, and by far the lowest among league leaders in defensive rebounds, though they are more or less in the same range as those contested by Harden and LeBron. But then, Westbrook has never been a great defender, and it makes a certain amount of sense to have him sacrifice already questionable defensive attention in service of the offense, especially since the defense manages just fine (10th in efficiency) without him. That’s not an ideal outcome, of course. In a perfect world, Westbrook would be more engaged defensively, and have teammates with shooting range that extends beyond the college 3-point line. But the Thunder’s willingness to let Russell be Russell is its own sort of progress.For years now, we’ve been hearing about how evolutionary players such as Kevin Durant or Anthony Davis or even Steph Curry were set to move the NBA game forward. That has largely turned out to be true: Offense in the league has improved at record rates, primarily because players and front offices have maximized efficiency at every opportunity. The league has found a way to squeeze more production out of more specialized players. And that works just fine as a general rule. But Russell Westbrook’s season proves that’s not the only way to remake the NBA in your image. Shaving away minor imperfections in pursuit of the ideal less-for-more ratio isn’t necessary if you come equipped with a never-ending supply of more. Stephen Curry90+10.827.361.836.123.3 Which stars have teammates who can shoot? James Harden133-3.040.055.651.021.5 Leonard41.4 read more

Del Mar Racetrack is celebrating its 80th season this summer

first_img KUSI Newsroom, 00:00 00:00 spaceplay / pause qunload | stop ffullscreenshift + ←→slower / faster ↑↓volume mmute ←→seek  . seek to previous 12… 6 seek to 10%, 20% … 60% XColor SettingsAaAaAaAaTextBackgroundOpacity SettingsTextOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundSemi-TransparentOpaqueTransparentFont SettingsSize||TypeSerif MonospaceSerifSans Serif MonospaceSans SerifCasualCursiveSmallCapsResetSave SettingsSAN DIEGO (KUSI) – Opening Day at Del Mar is fast approaching and thousands of fans are excited to celebrate the official start of summer season.Del Mar Racetrack is celebrating its 80th season this year, with Opening Day on July 17th.For more information about concerts and events hosted at the racetrack click here. Categories: Good Morning San Diego, Local San Diego News FacebookTwitter Updated: 1:52 PM June 4, 2019center_img Posted: June 4, 2019 KUSI Newsroom Del Mar Racetrack is celebrating its 80th season this summerlast_img read more

Britains answer to King Tuts tomb found on roadside

first_imgAn undated handout picture released by the Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) in London on 9 May, 2019, shows an archaeolgist excaating princely burial chamber discovered in Prittlewell, near Southend, southeast England. Photo: AFPExcited archeologists on Thursday hailed an ancient burial site found on the side of a road near a pub and a budget supermarket as Britain’s answer to the tomb of Egypt’s King Tutankhamun.The small bump on a patch of grass in the county of Essex just northeast of London did not look like much when UK researchers first spotted it in 2003.”The thing that’s so strange about it is that it was such an unpromising-looking site,” Museum of London Archaeology’s (MOLA) director of research Sophie Jackson said.But a team of 40 MOLA archeologists still decided to give it a shot.Years of meticulous digging and carbon dating have now led them to conclude that they have stumbled onto an Anglo-Saxon burial chamber of a prince whose likes have never before been found in Britain.The 1,400-year-old tomb is believed to be the oldest example of a Christian Anglo-Saxon royal burial.It includes carefully arranged gold coins and vibrantly-coloured glass and wooden drinking vessels believed to have come from what is now modern-day Syria.Some of the decorations still hang on the site’s original walls.The entire structure would have formed a 13-foot (four-metre) square and been buried five feet below ground.It includes fragments of a lyre — a type of harp popularised in European folklore — and what may be Britain’s oldest example of painted Anglo-Saxon woodwork.”I think it’s our equivalent of Tutankhamun’s tomb,” Jackson said.Tutankhamun is the formal name of the mummified pharaoh most tourists visiting Egypt’s Valley of the Kings know as King Tut.”It’s a really interesting time,” the researcher explained.”Christianity is sort of creeping (into Britain). They would have been just on the transition between having pagan burials with all your gear but also having these crosses.”- Warrior prince or king’s brother? -King Tutankhamun’s tomb is globally renowned for its phenomenally preserved golden death mask dating back more than 3,300 years.The British find is less than half as old and includes the belongings and remains of a far less distinguished man whose precise identity remains shrouded in a degree of mystery.But his 5 foot 8 inch (1.72-metre) frame was exceptionally large for its time.Some suspect that he may have been a warrior prince. Jackson said her best guess was that he was King Saebert’s brother Seaxa.Saebert died in 616 after ruling Essex for 12 years. Historians think he was the region’s first Christian king.Research and scientific dating suggest the man in the tomb probably died between 575 and 605.MOLA intends to put some of its discoveries on display at a local museum this week.It is especially proud of the lyre.”This is the first time the complete form of an Anglo-Saxon lyre has been recorded,” the museum said in its research notes.last_img read more

Quibi Taps Tom Conrad a Snap and Pandora Alum as Chief Product

first_img Will Forte, Kaitlin Olson to Star in Quibi Comedy Series Other recent high-level Quibi hires include CAA talent agent Jim Toth, who is leading content acquisition and talent efforts, and Diane Nelson, former president of DC Entertainment, who is head of operations for content.Conrad, before joining Quibi, most recently was VP of product at Snap where he led the Snapchat product design teams. He left in March 2018 after two years in the job. Snapchat had broadly rolled out an app redesign in early 2018 that prompted a broad backlash among users; the company later reversed course on part of the redesign, moving Stories from a user’s friends from the chat section into the Discover section.Prior to Snap, Conrad was co-creator of music-streaming service Pandora, where he spent a decade serving as chief technology officer and executive VP of product. Conrad started his career at Apple as an engineer on the Finder and System Software teams. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Michigan.Separately, Conrad currently serves on the board of smart-speaker company Sonos, which went public last summer. Related Meg Whitman and Jeffrey Katzenberg Discuss New Joint Venture Quibi ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Popular on Variety Tom Conrad has joined Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi to lead product and customer support, becoming the latest addition to the ambitious short-form video venture’s senior management team.Conrad, a former Snap and Pandora exec, had been serving as a board adviser to Quibi since late last year. He was tapped as Quibi’s chief product officer last month, reporting to CEO Meg Whitman. Conrad officially stepped into the new role March 25 where he leads the company’s product design, product management, user research and customer support teams.Conrad’s appointment comes as Quibi (a portmanteau of “quick bites”) has been steadily rounding out its executive ranks ahead of the company’s planned April 2020 launch of a mobile subscription VOD service. Bankrolled with $1 billion from investors that include major Hollywood studios, Quibi has announced a broad range of premium short-form shows — including “Frat Boy Genius,” a series about the rise of Snapchat and co-founder/CEO Evan Spiegel.last_img read more

A better way to use atomic force microscopy to image molecules in

first_img Journal information: Physical Review Letters More information: Daniel Martin-Jimenez et al. Bond-Level Imaging of the 3D Conformation of Adsorbed Organic Molecules Using Atomic Force Microscopy with Simultaneous Tunneling Feedback, Physical Review Letters (2019). DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.122.196101 © 2019 Science X Network It has been nearly a decade since AFM was introduced, allowing researchers to create images of single molecules and better understand how molecules are assembled. But the technique suffers from a major deficiency—it only works on nearly flat molecules. Those molecules with more complex 3-D characteristics are visualized only partially clearly. The reason is that the tip of the sensor oscillates at a fixed distance from the molecule under study. This means only the parts of the molecule closest to the sensor are clearly visualized. Logic has suggested that the way to fix this problem is to move the tip of the probe up and down along a path that mimics the topology of the molecule. But such an approach has proven to be elusive. Tracking the hills and valleys in real time and moving the tip just the right amount has, until now, been untenable.To overcome the problems inherent in tracking the contours of a molecule, the researchers turned to the scanning tunneling microscope (STM). It is also used to create images at the molecular level, but uses a different approach to do so. AFM uses forces from the surface under study to keep the sensor tip the proper distance for imaging—STM, on the other hand, uses the tunneling current that flows through the vacuum that exists between the sensor tip and the molecule under study. The researchers hit on the idea of using the tunneling current from STM to guide the tip of the AFM sensor tip—moving it up and down in lockstep with the contours of the molecule under study.The researchers report that their simple adjustment resulted in images of 3-D molecules that are as sharp for complex molecules as for those that are mostly flat. Single molecule magnet used as a scanning magnetometer A team of researchers at Justus Liebig University Giessen has found a way to dramatically improve the images of topologically complex 3-D molecules created using atomic force microscopy (AFM). In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes the simple adjustment they made to the procedure that greatly improved the resolution of AFM.center_img Citation: A better way to use atomic force microscopy to image molecules in 3-D (2019, May 21) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-05-atomic-microscopy-image-molecules-d.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further The AFM imaging of an adsorbed molecule on a substrate is usually done with the AFM tip oscillating at a constant height, where optimal imaging conditions (light blue region) are met only for the top part of the molecule. Daniel Ebeling’s group uses a constant-current mode instead, in which the AFM tip closely tracks the molecule topography, allowing a complete 3D molecular imaging. Credit: APS/Alan Stonebrakerlast_img read more