With Phish making their first-ever appearance in Jacksonville, FL, it seems that one local venue is planning to have a total blowout in honor of the band’s upcoming return on October 16th. The show, which will take place at Mavericks Live, and will feature an impressive lineup of improv stalwarts. Eric Krasno will be on guitar, with Roosevelt Collier on pedal steel guitar, Todd Stoops on keys, Reed Mathis on bass, and Jeff Sipe on drums.The show starts just after Phish’s encore comes to a close at the Veterans Memorial Arena, and will feature funky improv well into the night. You can find tickets, starting this Friday, September 16th at 10:00am, by following this link.For fans of Reed Mathis, Todd Stoops, or Roosevelt Collier, you won’t want to miss them performing alongside members of Dead & Company, The String Cheese Incident, The Disco Biscuits, Joe Russo’s Almost Dead, Lettuce, Soulive, Medeski Martin & Wood, Snarky Puppy, Primus, RatDog, Dopapod, and so many more, at the second annual Brooklyn Comes Alive – in the heart of Williamsburg – with over 50 artists spanning three venues in just one day: October 22nd. Mathis and Stoops will be performing as part of the exciting new electronic classical music project Electric Beethoven. Get tickets here to Brooklyn Comes Alive here.
(Visited 303 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Translating Darwinese primarily involves taking out the assumptions and assertions and seeing if anything is left.If, like the late Phillip Johnson argued, Darwinian evolution is naturalistic philosophy masquerading as science, then it follows that Darwinian ‘science’ is fake science. It may include some tangible objects, like fossils or genes, but it will be wrapped in rhetoric intended to promote naturalism. Consequently, a perceptive reader needs to learn how to translate Darwinese. The mystical language of Darwinese makes it seem as if observational data supports evolution, when it’s really the other way around; naturalism colors the data. A successful Darwinese translator is always focusing on the actual evidence. One must filter out the assumptions and assertions to see what the data are actually indicating. Here we teach by example.Before starting, one must vaccinate oneself against bluffing, intimidation and irrelevant details. A Darwinese article, for instance, is often dressed up with attractive photos, clean website designs, pictures of smiling Darwinists, and artwork supporting the evolutionary narrative. All of that must be ignored. It has nothing to do with the science. It is irrelevant. The Darwinese translator must keep a laser-sharp focus on the evidence.Stick to the EvidenceWas early stick insect evolution triggered by birds and mammals? (University of Göttingen). Most of the first paragraph of this press release simply states observable evidence. Then the writer inserts the word “phylogeny” — an evolutionary word to watch out for.Stick and leaf insects are a diverse and strikingly bizarre group of insects with a world-wide distribution, which are more common in tropical and subtropical areas. They are famous for their impressively large body size, compared to other insects, and their remarkable ability to camouflage themselves as twigs, leaves or bark in order to hide from potential predators. A team of international researchers led by the University of Göttingen has now generated the first phylogenomic tree of these insects.For animals below the rank of family, Michael Behe shows in his book Darwin Devolves, one can expect variability in genera and species. Many creationists accept this view as well. The stick insects belong to Phasmatodea, an order, the taxon above the level of family. So if the writer is trying to link all the families within Phasmatodea into a tree of common descent, the translator needs to be on guard. Does the evidence support it? The research team at University of Gottingen examined 2,000 genes for 38 species of globally-distributed stick insects. Watch what happened:The most surprising finding is that the relationships between the early emerging groups of stick and leaf insects largely disprove the earlier assumptions. In fact, the genealogy reflects more the geographic distribution than the anatomical similarity of the animals. The authors revealed a New World lineage of purely North and South American species and a group of Old World origin that comprises species from Africa to New Zealand.In short, there was no clear phylogenetic picture. The genes looked similar, but the animals did not. When new evolutionary stories disprove old evolutionary stories, probably both stories are wrong. Next, the team ramps up the perhapsimaybecouldness index to visualize moyboy ages:The age estimation of the phylogenetic tree suggests that most of the old lineages emerged after the dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago. Thus, the remarkable camouflage of stick and leaf insects most probably evolved afterwards as adaptation against predatory mammals and birds.We have an emergence-y. The team just leaped into fantasyland, saying these remarkable animals “emerged” somehow long, long ago. Do they have fossil evidence for this? No; stick insect fossils are rare. This is pure Darwinian speculation.To translate the article into science, the translator must filter out the Darwinese. The result should include the first paragraph up to the sentence about predators, and stop. It might mention the 2,000 genes of 38 species examined, and tabulate the similarities and differences, but leave it there. Science has no tolerance for “emergence” and speculations about what “might” have happened over millions of Darwin Years.Spitting for DarwinA secret in saliva: Food and germs helped humans evolve into unique member of great apes (University of Buffalo). The proposition needing translation from Darwinese goes like this:Two million years of eating meat and cooked food may have helped humans shift further from other great apes on the evolutionary tree. The evidence is in our saliva, according to new research from the University at Buffalo.After putting this press release through the Darwinese translator, there won’t be much left but a bucket of warm spit. These Darwinians are trying to buffalo readers into thinking you can use divination on saliva from apes and humans and perceive a story of evolution, visualizing humans losing their hair and learning to cook.Human saliva is unique in that it is waterier and contains a different mix of proteins. The findings came as a big surprise to the researchers, since humans are known to be genetically close relatives of the great apes, chimpanzees and gorillas.The evolutionary story is lubricated with perhapses and maybes, ending with futureware: “The study’s findings provide a necessary basis for future studies to assess whether the differences in human salivary proteins were caused by natural selection.” In other words, they don’t even know that natural selection had anything to do with spit. It’s illogical to think it might have anyway; the Stuff Happens Law doesn’t ’cause’ anything.The only evidence that can be salvaged from this article involves design in our salivary glands and the complex proteins that help us digest our food. After translation from Darwinese into science, therefore, the article will be very short.Darwinizing DarwinismAn evolution in the understanding of evolution (University of Virginia Engineering). The heroine of this article thinks that evolution needs evolution itself, in order to be understood. Kristen Naegle spent a lot of time running divination studies on proteins to praise Darwin, but all for naught. After running her work through the Darwinese translator, there would be precious little left. She and her student Roman Sloutsky try to impress readers with their wizardry. Such divination is not for laymen, she says. In order to justify the exercise, she tries to convince the peasants that it could cure cancer.Reconstructing evolutionary branches is tricky, especially when many species share a similar type of protein that might have evolved to perform somewhat different functions. Mathematically, the problem quickly becomes very big, but discovering the implications of this protein evolution could lead to a better understanding of how our bodies deal with cancer and other diseases.First of all, she incorrectly thinks that proteins, those amazingly sophisticated and sequence-specific molecular machines, are products of evolution. That’s a show stopper right there. Second, it’s a pipe dream to think that Darwinism is going to help understand or cure cancer. A Darwinist believes that cancer is one of those things that just happens. Third, the work leaves nothing accomplished for Darwin worship. It’s all futureware.Naegle made one statement that could be a redeeming feature, and worth saving in the translated article. “Most models of protein evolution in use today are probably wrong,” she said.Including hers.With a little practice, you, too, could become a skilled Darwinese translator.
The new Protection from Harassment Act will come into effect on 27 April 2013.The new anti-harassment law will enable South Africans to approach the courts for protection from sexual harassment, including harassment via SMS or e-mail. (Image: Pixabay)Brand South Africa reporterThis year’s Freedom Day will not only mark 19 years of democracy, it will also see the new Protection from Harassment Act come into effect, enabling South Africans to approach the courts for protection from sexual harassment – including harassment via SMS or e-mail.Those hiding behind anonymity to send offensive SMSes will be able to be traced because the Act compels service providers to give the addresses and ID numbers of offenders when asked to do so by the courts.Currently, only people involved in a domestic relationship can seek recourse if they are the victims of domestic violence. They can obtain a protection order to ensure protection from the person with whom they are in a relationship.The chairman of Parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and constitutional development, Luwellyn Landers, said this left people not in a domestic relationship unprotected against harassment.“With the new law, they’ll have protection. They can approach a Magistrate’s Court and get an interim protection order, which comes into effect immediately upon being issued. Protection is immediate,” Landers said.The Protection from Harassment Act covers as many types of sexual harassment as possible because “sexual harassment comes in many forms”.“Suppose a woman was standing at a bus stop or taxi rank every day and was being pestered daily by a person, whom she didn’t even know, and who was making funny remarks,” Landers explained.“The victim of this unwanted attention can then go to a Magistrate’s Court to see the Clerk of the Court to persuade him or her that there was a case of harassment.”The clerk will assist the complainant to approach the Magistrate’s Court for an interim protection order, which will be given if the court is satisfied that there is enough substance in the complaint.In cases where the victim does not know the address of the stalker, mobile phone service providers can be approached for these details, as well as ID numbers. The Acts states they have to supply this information to the courts.“This is an order of a Court of Law which takes effect when granted. So the complainant doesn’t have to wait for it to be served and the stalker [to] sign acknowledging receipt of the document before the order comes into operation,” Landers said.“The order must be given to the person doing the stalking. The order must be served by the police, and the onus will be on the Clerk of the Court and not the complainant to see that it’s served on the person concerned.”The person on whom the interim protection order has been served will be given time to respond as to why it should not be made permanent.The complainant will also get a certified copy of the interim protection order to present to the police in case the harassment continues.It is not only victims who can appeal to the courts for help. Adults can ask the court for assistance in the case of minors whose parents fail to seek legal help. Further, people who have obtained an order against domestic violence may also apply for an interim protection order, Landers said.“This is an excellent law as it fills a gap that always existed in our law.”Source: South African Government News Agency.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
Poets and musicians collaborate on The Mash Up, a weekly SAfm radio show. Between them and the audience, they teach the host and listeners about South Africa’s musical history.Naledi Moleo, host of The Mash Up, says the first show was broadcast on 13 August 2016. It was nominated for Best Music show in the 2017 Liberty Radio Awards in April. (Image supplied)Melissa JavanTo learn about South African music from the listeners and the artists in studio is one of the benefits of hosting The Mash Up radio show on SA FM Radio, says Naledi Moleo.“Songs like Jikijela by Letta Mbulu and Naughty Little Flea by Miriam Makeba are songs we would never have sourced and played had it not been for the listeners and artists who have requested real South African classics,” she adds.The Mash Up, explains Moleo, is a weekly hour-long show broadcast on Saturdays. It features live poetry and music by renowned and upcoming South African poets and musicians. “Each week, The Mash Up will bring together a poet and a musician. Through interviews, live poetry and music performances, they collaborate by ‘mashing up’ their respective crafts.”The artists may also give a selection of their favourite South African songs. “The listeners will be introduced to artists from different backgrounds, ages and genres. The show is about nation building and celebrating the extraordinary talent from South Africa.“The listeners love it. I get excited especially when listeners SMS us, giving us names of musicians and poets that we should have on the show,” says Moleo.How it startedShe realised there was a major opportunity to create a platform for South African poets, says Moleo. “Poetry has the power to either make really difficult conversations more palatable or raise our awareness of injustices. More than anything, poetry can also just uplift and renew us.“I believe that South Africans really need that in this day and age. We are bombarded with so much bad news and pressure that it is necessary to reflect. I too am in need of therapy that the live music and poetry offer at the end of every long week.”It is just magical, she says, to watch two artists who have never collaborated forced to make it work live on air — they have no prior preparation. “They always come into the studio feeling completely nervous and leave on cloud nine because they are so proud of themselves.“South Africa has always been a country that enjoys music and poetry. Think of how we sing with every major event. Think of the praise poetry and official events and even traditional weddings. The Mash Up is just a reflection of how South Africans have always expressed themselves. As a talk radio host all I really am interested in is hearing those different forms of self-expression.”The collaborationsMoleo says the musicians are usually the underdogs in the industry. “Artists like Nono Nkoane, Msaki and Tribute Birdie Mboweni are immensely talented and underrated. We think it’s important to celebrate their work.“Every now and then we will also have some of the legends of the music industry. Maestros such as Lex Futshane, Vusi Mahlasela and Pops Mohamed have also graced our studio and it’s wonderful because we get to celebrate their wonderful work and share with a younger listener who perhaps hasn’t had the opportunity to interact with their work.”One of the collaborations was Tshepo Molefe and Sabelo Mthembu.#TheMashUp with @naledimoleo brings you poet @tshepomolefe942 and musician @sabelomthembu. Expect an hour of awesome live poetry and music pic.twitter.com/YtmwB6mhL3— SAfmRadio ? (@SAfmRadio) June 24, 2017#TheMashUp thanks so much to our guests this evening the phenomenal @sabelomthembu and wordsmith @tshepomolefe942 @naledimoleo pic.twitter.com/6Fdk60HnfO— SAfmRadio ? (@SAfmRadio) June 24, 2017Molefe has been writing poetry for two years. “It began when I was still a student at [the University of the Witwatersrand] and I entered a poetry competition called DFL Lover + Another. There, I met a poet who goes by the name NoLiFE [or Nobody Lives ForEver] and he introduced me to a platform called Cuddle Sessions. This in turn introduced me to the Joburg poetry scene. I haven’t looked back.”According to Molefe his poetry ranges from social issues, such as alcohol abuse and miscarriage from a father’s perspective, to political commentary to his own struggles and the problems he has with his family.He describes his experience on The Mash Up as amazing.Molefe believes collaborations such as these build a better and more versatile network between artists. “What I mean by ‘more versatile network between artists’ is often we get caught up our own artistic spaces, for instance I would normally stay in and interact with my poetry circles, and not know of other creative spaces that are out there.“Such spaces would include soul singers and instrumentalists. The Mash Up kind of collaborations opens doors for artists in different fields to first know that they exist and if they would someday want to work on a joint project, provided that they like each other’s work.”Musician Mthembu agrees: “I truly enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the vibe between the poet and I was great. It was the first time I collaborated with a poet.“There was an instant gel of styles.”He says collaborations teach him that artists need each other to grow. “Working together we have the capacity to achieve more as a people.”Mthembu has been in the music industry for about 10 years. “I did backing vocals for Louise Carver for about five years before releasing my solo project.”He says although he started singing in church when he was five years old, singing was not a first career choice growing up. “I enjoyed doing it very much though. It was only after participating on South Africa’s Idols in 2007 that I decided to pursue it more aggressively.Besides Carver, he has contributed backing vocals on various artists’ projects. He calls his music “Afrosoul with a touch of jazz and classical music”.You can listen to the podcasts of The Mash Up here.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material
Jaipur, Apr 24 (PTI) The Rajasthan Cricket Association (RCA) today sank deeper into legal tangles as 18 of the 33 District Cricket Associations claimed that they have suspended President Lalit Modi and other top three officials in an EGM. The secretary of the Jhunjhunu District Association said that since the elections were called off with “malafide intentions” we decided to call an EGM and suspended the top four officials. The other suspended were deputy president Mehmood Abdi, secretary Sumendra Tiwari and treasurer Pawan Goyal. Rathore claimed that the EGM had 18 districts present while 10 others had extended their support. “We have the majority and Modi faction has been reduced to only five supporters. We would move the court as the election procedure once started cant be stopped. We would continue with the election process and if Lodha Committee objects we would ratify in accordance with it,” said Rathore. The rebel group has announced that they would constitute a five member committee with Rajendra Singh Rathore as its chairman and this committee would be looking after affairs of RCA. The Lalit Modi faction had called off the elections slated for April 26 on legal grounds, saying that the provisions of Sports Act and Lodha Committee recommendations were not in conformity and Registrar had refused to ratify the proposed amendments in the constitution of RCA. But the C P Joshi faction had cried foul, claiming that they were having the clear-cut majority and that was why the Modi faction had called off the elections. citing legal angle. The hue and cry was over Ruchir Modi, the 22-year-old son of former IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi who was trying to rule RCA through him. The Modi faction was busy preparing ground for Ruchir by helping him to the post of president of Alwar District Cricket Association. The move did not go down well with the majority of districts because they felt Ruchir would be of no help until Lalit Modi is removed from post of President of Nagaur District Association. The BCCI had suspended RCA stating that Lalit Modi, who has been for life by the Board, should be removed from RCA and also the primary bodies. PTI DS PDS PDSadvertisement
US-based crude oil shipping company Gener8 Maritime has taken delivery of the ECO Very Large Crude Carrier (VLCC) the Gener8 Miltiades on October 25, 2016.Delivered from China’s shipbuilder Shanghai Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, the 301,000 dwt vessel represents the sixteenth of 21 ECO VLCCs expected to be delivered into Gener8 Maritime’s fleet.Upon delivery, the 333-meter-long ship entered Navig8 Group’s VL8 Pool.Featuring a capacity of 328,848 m3, Gener8 Miltiades is the sixth ECO VLCC delivered by SWS to Gener8 Maritime, concluding the company’s newbuilding program with the yard.In September, the shipping firm added its fourteenth and fifteenth VLCCs, the Gener8 Perseus and the Gener8 Oceanus, which were built by South Korean shipbuilders.Upon delivery, the two VLCCs entered Navig8 Group’s VL8 Pool.Three more VLCC newbuildings are scheduled for delivery in 2016, while another two are expected to join the company in 2017.As of October 27, 2016, Gener8 Maritime has a fleet of 43 wholly-owned vessels comprised of 26 VLCCs, including 5 newbuildings, 11 Suezmaxes, four Aframaxes, and two Panamax tankers.
zoom Greek shipowner Euroseas has signed a non-binding letter of intent with Poseidon Container Holdings Group, an owner and operator container carriers, to consider a possible combination of their respective containership fleets.Poseidon owns and operates a fleet of sixteen container carriers including four feeder containerships, two Panamax, and four Post-Panamax containerships as well as six Post-Panamaxes.As disclosed, the possible combination may include a spinoff of Euroseas’ container assets into a standalone company or take the form of a different structure.Euronav expects that any combination with Poseidon would be done on a net asset value (NAV) to NAV basis. NAV is typically calculated as the difference between the market value of a company’s assets net of the market value of its liabilities.“Euroseas’ strategy is to use its operating expertise and public company status to provide a platform of consolidation for similar assets in the drybulk and containership sectors. This strategy may be implemented by separating Euroseas’ drybulk and containership fleets into two public companies if the Board of Directors determines that such a split would benefit Euroseas’ shareholders, particularly if it may also facilitate Euroseas’ consolidation strategy,” the company said.Euroseas stressed that the discussions are “at an early stage, that the letter of intent is non-binding, and that there can be no assurance that an agreement will be reached with Poseidon or any other party.”Separately, Euroseas said that it took delivery of M/V EM Athens, a feeder containership of 2,506 TEU built in 2000 that it acquired last month from Euromar, its wholly-owned subsidiary. M/V EM Athens was acquired along with EM Oinousses, a feeder-size containership also of 2,506 TEU built in 2000.Furthermore, the shipowner has exercised its option to purchase from Euromar two additional containerships, the M/V EM Corfu, of 2,556 TEU built in 2001, and the M/V Akinada Bridge, a Post-Panamax size containership of 5,600 TEU built in 2001.Euroseas said the latest acquisitions would be financed via a combination of debt and equity. The M/V EM Oinousses, M/V EM Corfu and M/V Akinada Bridge are expected to be delivered to the company within 2017.Euroseas has a fleet of 21 vessels in the water. With the addition of the Kamsarmax newbuilding yet to be delivered, it will have seven drybulk carriers with a total cargo capacity of 499,753 dwt, and fifteen containerships with a total cargo capacity of 34,044 TEU.
DATEROUNDTEAMALL-TIME SRS RANKUSA’S RESULT 3/22FinalPuerto Rico5thW 8-0 Team USA’s path to the championship Team USA finally did it. Buoyed by a tremendous pitching performance from starter Marcus Stroman — who carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning — the United States routed Puerto Rico 8-0 in Wednesday night’s title game of the World Baseball Classic, securing America’s first-ever championship at the event.Going from mediocre (they went into 2017 with a 10-10 all-time record in the tournament) to championship worthy wasn’t easy for the U.S. Although the American roster was stacked with major leaguers, the team once again found itself facing elimination after losing to Puerto Rico last Friday. Keeping its tournament hopes alive meant beating the Dominican Republic — the second-best team in WBC history by my calculations,1I used the Simple Rating System to rank every team in WBC history. (and one that had roared back to beat the U.S. a week earlier) — in a do-or-die qualifier, then beating Japan (the greatest team in WBC history) in the semis, and then turning the tables in a rematch with Puerto Rico (who were undefeated and playing as well as any WBC team ever).Talk about a difficult path to a championship: 3/11Round 1Dominican Republic2ndL 7-5 But the U.S. persevered through it all, and now they are WBC champions. And who knows — perhaps the win will even persuade more marquee players to represent America at future World Baseball Classics.Now, if only they could do something about those painfully ’90s-looking uniforms. Share on Facebook OPPONENT 3/18Round 2Dominican Republic2ndW 6-3 3/17Round 2Puerto Rico5thL 6-5 3/12Round 1Canada17thW 8-0 3/15Round 2Venezuela9thW 4-2 The Simple Rating System (SRS) adjusts a team’s per-game run differential for strength of schedule. This SRS ranking uses data from all WBC matches since 2006, with extra weight applied to games in later rounds.Source: Wikipedia 3/10Round 1Colombia11thW 3-2 3/21SemisJapan1stW 2-1
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
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