Archive for : September, 2019

Podcast The NFL Draft Mayweathers Past And How Many NFL Players Go

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Embed Code Welcome to this week’s episode of Hot Takedown, our podcast where the hot sports takes of the week meet the numbers that prove them right or tear them down. On this week’s show (for April 28, 2015), we look at the upcoming NFL draft and whether there is anything to all the measuring and testing that goes into evaluating prospects; Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao, the future of boxing, and Mayweather’s violent past; and ESPN’s Pablo Torre visits the studio to discuss a new study on how many NFL athletes go bankrupt. And our significant digit this week is -14.7 — how many points the Toronto Raptors underperformed by this offseason.Plus: An update on the first Hot Takedown crowdsourcing project, which asks you to submit your ideas to help stop tanking in the NBA.Stream the episode by clicking the play button above, or subscribe using one of the podcast clients we’ve linked to.Below, some links to what we discuss in this week’s show:How would you fix the NBA draft and stop tanking? Tell us.Neil Paine on how NFL teams try to beat the draft — and fail.How surplus value works in the NFL Draft.What does the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight mean for the future of boxing?“Outside The Lines” on Mayweather’s troubled past.A look at whether we missed out on the best possible fight between these two boxers.Pablo Torre’s 2009 article “How (and Why) Athletes Go Broke.”The recent NBER paper on NFL bankruptcy. Hot Takedown read more

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These CavsWarriors Games Are Not Previews Of The NBA Finals

The Golden State Warriors beat the brakes off of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday in a 126-91 win. Basketball fans are fairly well trained not to extrapolate too much of the regular season to what will happen in the postseason, but with a walloping this thorough it’s natural to wonder if the Cavs have any chance in the Finals.But after two Warriors-Cavs games this season, we likely still haven’t seen what the teams will look like if they meet for the third Finals in a row this June.Basketball matchups aren’t really between teams, they’re between lineups. Fans are familiar with the famous five-man units, like the Warriors’ Death Lineup of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Andre Iguodala and Harrison Barnes, or the Megadeath Lineup, which swaps out Barnes for Kevin Durant. But the ramifications of more minor adjustments can be profound: In last season’s Finals, LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, Richard Jefferson, J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson outscored opponents by 26.9 points per 100 possessions in 66 minutes; but when they swapped out Thompson for Iman Shumpert for 14 minutes, the Cavs were outscored by 16 points, or 56.6 points per 100 possessions.So lineups matter. And during the regular season, the Cavs’ and Warriors’ Finals lineups don’t play each other very much.The Cavs’ five most-favored lineups against the Warriors during the regular season have played a combined two minutes against them in the Finals. Two minutes! Obviously, injuries have been a factor: Kevin Love missed all the 2015 Finals, and Kyrie Irving was injured in Game 1 and did not play again in the series. But considering the most-played lineup against Golden State in 2016-17 includes DeAndre Liggins, and neither J.R. Smith nor Kyle Korver appears in a top-5 lineup, it’s a safe bet that we haven’t seen Cleveland’s preferred lineups against Golden State.The Warriors haven’t been much more consistent. In 2014-15, the five lineups that played most161 percent of available minutes. against the Cavs in the Warriors’ regular season games played 45 percent of available minutes in the Finals, anchored largely by the Death Lineup, which played 24 percent of the minutes (most of any lineup in that Finals) and outscored the Cavs by 21.8 points per 100 possessions.Last season, however, an injury to Bogut and a slump from Barnes threw the Warriors into disarray, as their five most favored lineups against the Cavs from the regular season played just 15 percent of available minutes in the Finals. Plus, the Death lineup didn’t play the Cavs enough during the regular season to crack the top five (and it was outscored by 12 per 100 possessions in 53 minutes anyway).All of which is to say that while the Warriors have reconstituted their roster since blowing a 3-1 lead to the Cavs in the Finals, it’s likely both teams will shuffle things again between now and June.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

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As Deron Williams And Otto Porter Go So Do Their Teams

Oladipo’s red-hot corner-threesUnderstandably, Russell Westbrook’s torrid flirtation with a season-long triple-double has been the only topic of conversation when it comes to the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. Yet guard Victor Oladipo has quietly been putting together a solid season since coming to OKC in exchange for Serge Ibaka.Specifically, he’s become a lights-out shooter from the corner, and his shot selection has become more precise. Oladipo, who took just 10 percent of his threes from the corner as a rookie, has increased his share of 3-point shots from there every season (from 21 percent to 26 percent, and now to nearly 31 percent). His accuracy from that spot has markedly improved, too, from 30 percent as a rookie to 34 percent in 2014-15, 41 percent in 2015-16 and 52 percent this season.Westbrook, the best and most explosive table-setter that Oladipo has ever played with, has a ton to do with that. Oladipo receives 14 passes a night from Westbrook, up from the 9.5 passes he got from Elfrid Payton in Orlando last season. The roll men in the middle of the floor, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter, also keep defenses honest and help open things up for Oladipo.The next step is for Oladipo to return to the playmaking ability he showcased in Orlando. His assist percentage and free-throw rate are both down considerably, in part because of how much Westbrook does on offense. But it’d be better for both Oladipo and Westbrook if the scale were a bit more balanced going forward, if only to provide relief for the overburdened MVP candidate.Check out our latest NBA predictions. If there’s a downside to the breakneck pace of the NBA season, it’s that there’s too much basketball for even a full-time basketball watcher to keep up with. (A wonderful problem to have, I know.)The Four-Point Play is my attempt to keep it all straight. During the season, I’ll regularly piece together four statistical trends that are happening around the league and lay out what they tell us about where a team’s been or where it’s heading. Find a stat you think should be included here? Email or tweet me at chris.herring@fivethirtyeight.com or @Herring_NBA.In the meantime, here is this week’s edition of The Four-Point Play.The Mavs’ improved spacing, Deron Williams’s cross-court passesIt may be a bit too soon to talk about the possibility that Dallas may sneak into the playoffs. That thought would’ve sounded crazy a little over a month ago, when the Mavericks owned the worst record in all of basketball, but it isn’t as far-fetched now. The team is just four games back of the eighth seed despite its 15-29 record and has played the NBA’s third-toughest schedule to this point.The club’s offense, fourth-worst for the first two months of play, came to life after Andrew Bogut hurt his hamstring on Jan. 9. Since then, the team has moved Harrison Barnes to power forward and Dirk Nowitzki to center, and the results on offense have been great. Dallas has averaged 111.6 points per 100 plays since implementing a five-out lineup two weeks ago, ranking sixth in offense in that span. (Speaking of — why do Bogut’s teams seemingly always find lineups that work once he goes down?)In particular, the Mavs have gotten great production recently out of Deron Williams, the three-time All-Star who experienced a sharp decline when chronic ankle injuries sapped his agility a few years ago. He’s taken advantage of the space provided by the lineup change, driving 6.8 times per game since Jan. 10, up from 4.8 times previously. The Mavericks have been solid from deep lately, connecting on 40.7 percent of their 3-point tries since Jan. 10, third-best in the league. (Those makes have boosted Williams’s assist totals: He’s averaging 9.3 dimes during this hot streak, up from 6.7 before that.)One other Williams note: The Mavericks have been lethal when he gets a step on his defender and then fires a cross-court pass to a spot-up shooter this season. There aren’t exact stats for this situation, but one hint of how good they’ve been is their efficiency when taking shots immediately after Williams passes that travel 30 feet or more. As of last week, they’d shot 21-of-28, according to an analysis run by SportVU. The Mavs have a whopping 107.1 percent effective field-goal rate off those looks — far higher than the league average of 59.6 percent off such passes.Otto Porter’s emergence as a star role playerThe Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, whose play has begun to live up to his Greek Freak nickname, will almost certainly run away with the season’s most improved player award. But Washington’s Otto Porter has emerged as one of the league’s best role players and deserves a look, too.Porter takes such a back seat to John Wall (who’s having a career year) and Bradley Beal that even some of the best defensive teams don’t make him a focal point of their game plan. That may be the wrong strategy: The 23-year-old and his shot opportunities appear to be a bellwether of sorts for the resurgent Wizards.His long-range attempts, particularly on corner threes, are a sign of Washington’s vitality on offense. When Wall is breaking down defenses and getting deep paint penetration and Beal is aggressively coming off screens, it creates disarray on defense and encourages ball movement. And when the ball gets to Porter, good things follow.Washington is just 6-11 when Porter, who leads the league in 3-point percentage with 45.6 percent, takes three or fewer triples but is 8-3 when he launches six attempts or more from outside. (It’s telling that seven of the 10 games in which Porter’s gotten at least six attempts have come within the last month, a span in which the Wizards have jumped from 10th place in the East to fifth.)With Beal and Wall on the court, Porter has shot 57 percent overall and 48 percent from three, but with just Wall and no Beal, he has shot 48 percent overall and 33 percent from deep, according to NBA Wowy, which shows how teams play with different lineup combinations. Having a healthy Beal alongside him is part of the reason that Porter has been so much more effective as a cutter, scoring on more than 80 percent of such plays, according to Synergy Sports Technology. Porter still can’t create his own looks consistently, but when both of his teammates are flying around at full strength, defenses are going to occasionally lose sight of him.Milwaukee’s defense has crateredAs I wrote earlier this month, the Bucks’ franchise has made enormous strides the past few years on the strength of its unusual versatility on defense. But in recent weeks, Milwaukee — now 19th in defensive efficiency after being tied for 10th in the category earlier this month — has shown the pitfalls and limitations that stem from that style of play.All season, the Bucks have allowed teams to take a higher-than-average number of 3-pointers. But because they’ve contested an NBA-best 87 percent of opponent’s threes, teams haven’t always been able to capitalize on those attempts.That’s changed a bit over the past three weeks, a span in which opponents have hit 39 percent of their threes against Milwaukee, the fifth-highest mark in the NBA. And it’s worth wondering whether some of that stems from a couple of offense-minded bench players getting more playing time lately.Where the Bucks’ starters are long, interchangeable and annoying to shoot over, some of the team’s reserves aren’t as disruptive and don’t move nearly as well or as quickly. Jason Terry, Michael Beasley and Greg Monroe just aren’t as agile or long as Antetokounmpo, Tony Snell and John Henson.Because of that, the team’s defensive ideas don’t work nearly as well with the bench unit — Beasley and Monroe in particular — seeing an increase in minutes as of late. That partly explains why Milwaukee has been playing well to start games but struggling in second quarters. (It’s anyone’s guess — whether it’s a lack of adjustments, fatigue or something else — as to what on earth is happening in third quarters, when the Bucks have been getting blasted lately.)But the Bucks are younger than most teams, and this latest stretch, in which they dropped five straight before knocking off Houston, may be nothing more than a regression to the mean for the time being. Still, it’s worth keeping tabs on whether their defensive quirks prevent them from being able to perform as consistently as they’d like. Wait, Are The 76ers Good Now? Related: Hot Takedown read more

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South Carolina And Oregon Took Unlikely Roads To The Final Four

Oregon was supposed to be doomed by Chris Boucher’s season-ending knee injury. South Carolina wasn’t supposed to go deep into the tournament, especially after the Gamecocks lost their first game in the SEC tournament, a quarterfinal matchup. So how’d these two programs end up in the Final Four? In the video above, FiveThirtyEight sports editor Chadwick Matlin walks us through their journeys and talks about just how improbable they’ve been.

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Whos the Hottest Goalie in the Playoffs

The Chicago Blackhawks are up 1-0 in the Western Conference finals going into Game 2 against the Los Angeles Kings Wednesday night, thanks in part to the outstanding performance of their goaltender, Corey Crawford.The notion that the NHL playoffs are about which goalie catches fire at the right time has been repeated to the point of cliché. But that doesn’t make it untrue. As I wrote at the beginning of this year’s playoffs, save percentage is more important than shots per game, shooting percentage or shots allowed. Strong play in net may be highly unpredictable in the sense that we don’t really know which goalie is going to rattle off a dominant run, but it’s also hugely important for a team seeking to hoist the Stanley Cup.We can measure how “hot” an NHL goalie has been in the playoffs by comparing his postseason performance (measured by save percentage) to what we would have expected from his previous statistics and the strength of the teams he’s faced. To approximate a goalie’s current talent level, I modified baseball’s Marcel projection system to predict hockey goaltending save percentages. I used a weighted average of the goalie’s previous three regular seasons, with a little regression to the mean incorporated as well. Then, using Hockey-Reference.com data on playoff games going back to 1988, I plugged the goalie’s talent level and the regular-season shooting percentages of the teams he faced during the playoffs into a formula attempting to predict how well he would play in a given playoff game.The difference between this expected performance and the goalie’s actual performance is “hotness” quantified, and we can even convert that number into a goals saved above replacement (GAR) figure using the league average save percentage within a given postseason.This year, a couple of goaltenders have emerged as the clear-cut top candidates for the title of “hottest of the playoffs.”The Blackhawks’ Crawford has delivered about 8.6 more GAR than expected. He’s posted a .933 save percentage; we would have predicted a mark of .912. His save percentage was only a little bit better than average during the regular season, and while his current foes, the Los Angeles Kings, shot poorly during the regular season, Chicago’s prior playoff adversaries, the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues, were both above-average shooting teams.Also vying for the title is the New York Rangers’ Henrik Lundqvist, who has produced 8.4 more GAR than expected during these playoffs. Lundqvist’s previous record suggested he’d be very good in the postseason, but he’s gone up against a tough slate of accurately shooting teams. The Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers both shot the puck well in the regular season, and the Pittsburgh Penguins were the fifth-best shooting team in the NHL. Against all of them, Lundqvist has a .934 save percentage, compared to an expected .915.The goaltenders for the other two of hockey’s final four teams haven’t been quite as hot. Carey Price of the Montreal Canadiens has contributed only 2.3 more GAR than expected, putting up a .919 save percentage against an expectation of .913. And he’s out for the remainder of Montreal’s series against the Rangers with an injury. Price’s backups, Dustin Tokarski and Peter Budaj, have collectively put up 5.1 fewer GAR than expected, thanks to a combined save percentage (.836) about 84 percentage points lower than we would have predicted. In the Western Conference, Kings goalie Jonathan Quick has essentially played right to expectation with a .912 save percentage. That’s been good enough for the Kings to get the job done (if barely), but it won’t win him any hot goaltending awards.It bears repeating, though, that all of this is retrospective. Crawford and Lundqvist have been outstanding so far, but there’s a fickle corollary to the hot goalie theory: Today’s hot goalie isn’t guaranteed to be a success tomorrow. read more

Who Gets To Lose To The Warriors In The NBA Finals

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Welcome to The Lab, FiveThirtyEight’s new basketball podcast, a weekly conversation about the NBA that will come to you all season long. Last week, FiveThirtyEight writers Neil Paine, Chris Herring and Kyle Wagner broke down the Western Conference’s projections and made their predictions for how the season would play out. In this week’s episode (Oct. 11, 2017), the squad is back and telling you what to make of Adam’s Silver recent comments about playoff reseeding. Then we go through every Eastern Conference team: the few potential champs at the top, the large chunk of maybes in the middle, and a couple at the bottom that we’re not expecting much from.Subscribe to the show in your favorite podcasting app, or use the links in the player above.Here are links to what we discussed this week:This year’s ESPN NBA preview ranks all the teams and asks the question on everyone’s mind: Can anybody beat the Warriors?The Ringer dove into all the important, very serious questions facing each team in the Eastern Conference. FiveThirtyEight Embed Code read more

Former Ohio State diver Katie Bell hopes to end Olympic dream on

About a year ago, former Ohio State diver Katie Bell had a friend who wanted to watch her compete among the world’s elite and buy tickets to the 2012 Summer Olympics. At the time, the purchase seemed optimistic at best, with Bell still months away from even getting the chance to qualify for the London Games. On June 24, though, at the United States Olympic Diving Trials in Federal Way, Wash., Bell made her friend’s premature purchase worth the while after finishing second in the 10-meter platform competition-securing one of two Olympic berths in the event. For Bell, who has dreamed of being a member of the U.S. Olympic team since she could walk, the fact that she has reached her lifetime goal still hasn’t totally hit her. “I’m still in shock,” said Bell, who will compete with the U.S. Diving team Aug. 8 and Aug. 9 in London. “People keep asking me if it feels real and how I’m feeling, and I don’t know. I don’t think it’s going to feel real until I’m at the Games and in the Village and at the pool with USA behind me.” An All-American diver at OSU, Bell has been telling her family and friends that she would be an Olympian since a young age. “We’ve been talking about it since she was six or seven years old, about going to the Olympics, we really have,” said Bell’s father, Chris Bell. “It’s never been a doubt.” The only thing up in the air was what sport Bell wanted to compete in. Diving was not her first choice. She started her athletic career as a gymnast. A Clintonville native, Bell watched the U.S. women’s gymnastics team, dubbed the “Magnificent Seven,” at the 1996 Games in Atlanta. Filled with many teenage sensations, they were the first U.S. gymnastics team to win a gold medal. “Watching (former Olympians) Kerri Strug and Dominique Moceanu and their stories (inspired me),” Bell said. “I had every possible book about them, and I just wanted to be like them.” By the age of five, Bell was practicing gymnastics before and after school. A few years later, she started to dive during the summer at Olympic Swim Club in Columbus, but only as a backup option. “I started (diving) when I was eight just because I told my Dad I wanted another chance to go to the Olympics,” Bell said. “Then, when I was 13, I ended up switching from gymnastics to diving.” Bell’s goal, and her diving career, almost came to an end during her freshman season at OSU. At the 2007 Big Ten Championships, Bell attempted an arm-stand triple for her second dive. She lost her position midair, knowing neither where the ceiling or the water’s location was. Bell landed flat on her stomach, collapsing a lung, separating chest cartilage and popping ribs out of place. It took two years, according to Bell, for her to get back into diving shape-both mentally and physically. During that time, Bell thought about quitting the sport altogether. She almost transferred from OSU. “One of my diving teammates, who was a year younger than me, the other day she said she remembered I would come in (to practice), do one or two dives and cry or get upset because it was so hard,” Bell said. Bell’s father remembers those years as the only point in his daughter’s athletic career when he thought the hard work and dedication wasn’t worth it. “She was hurting a lot and they still try to figure out why she’s not getting better and why she’s hurting so much. That was really hard and maybe not (worth it),” he said. After consulting a psychologist and numerous rehab sessions with doctors at OSU, Bell came back, only to get injured again. She tore her labrum and suffered rotator cuff damage in her shoulder at the USA Diving Winter Nationals and World Cup Team Trials at OSU in February 2010. “It was another process back,” Bell said. “A lot of diving is mental. Coming back from all of that and getting up there and doing those dives again, there’s always a risk of getting hurt. I just learned to always think about the positives that come with it.” Bell did not just become a better diver after the injuries; she said she also became a better person. “I was not an open person. I didn’t have very good communication with people. After (the injuries), I learned a lot about myself, and about other people around me,” Bell said. Like every sport, injuries are a part of diving. So are sacrifices outside of the pool, something Bell has become very accustomed to since she arrived at OSU. “Since I came to Ohio State, (head coach) Vince Panzano always told us, ‘You are not normal. You can’t go out with all the other kids at Ohio State and get in trouble,’” Bell said. “It took me a while to figure that out in college. You kind of want to go a little crazy, but as I got older, I realized I wanted to focus all my time on diving. When I’m done, then I can hang out and have fun.” A self-described hippie, Bell said she missed out on her family’s venture to a bluegrass music festival a few weeks ago. She had to train for the trials. Her family told her not to be upset; she could have fun after the Olympics. In London, Bell will get the chance to make all her efforts pay off. It won’t be the first time she dons the Red, White, and Blue at the Olympic pool, though. She, and Upper Arlington native Abby Johnston-also on the U.S Olympic team, and friends since childhood-competed at the FINA Diving World Cup in London in February. When they dove together at the international biennial competition, Bell and Johnston made a pact that they would return to London, together, for the Olympics in the summer. The experience the two had in February will help them when they compete in August, Bell said. “Just seeing (the pool) and being in that environment already, I think has prepared me to be back,” she said. When she competes for the first time as an Olympian, Bell said she will not be satisfied with just being there. The pageantry and camaraderie will be nice, but Bell said she wants more than a memory. She wants something, possibly made of gold, silver or bronze, to bring back to OSU and the United States. “I think with all of my best dives that I’ve done, I’m competing right up there with everyone,” Bell said. Bell is set to leave for the U.S. diving team’s Olympic camp in Maryland on July 12 before heading to England four days later on the 16th. She said she hopes to medal so her family, the friend that bought a ticket a year in advance, and the rest of the world can watch her lifetime dream end on a high note. read more

Ohio State womens hockey set for firstever regular season game at the

Coming off a four-game winning streak, the No. 8 Ohio State women’s ice hockey team (9-3-0) is set to play its first-ever regular season games inside the confines of the Schottenstein Center. The Buckeyes, which typically play at OSU’s Ice Rink off of Woody Hayes Drive, will take on the Wisconsin Badgers (7-3-2 ) . The change in venue, arguably, has left the team with plenty to look forward to this weekend. “I think we’re all definitely really excited. It’s going to be a different atmosphere,” said senior forward Tina Hollowell. “We react well to any situation, doesn’t matter if there’s a bunch of people or only a couple people there.” With a much larger stage and arena surrounding it, the Buckeyes might need to do their best to maintain focus and, as coach Nate Handrahan said, realize it’s just another series. “The reality is that it’s an ice surface, and both teams have to just play on it,” Handrahan said. A change in location, however, doesn’t mean a change in the team’s attitude. “I think we kind of create our own atmosphere and excitement on the bench,” said sophomore forward Taylor Kuehl. “And if we do that, it doesn’t really matter where we play.” With only one loss at home this year (a 2-0 setback against North Dakota on Oct. 13), the team hopes to continue its winning streak into this weekend and take down the Badgers. “Our team gets excited to play wherever we are; we could be on the road or even here on the ice rink,” Handrahan said. “I think this will be a really good test for us.” Similarly ,Kuehl said, regardless of the venue, the camaraderie between OSU’s players might be enough to carry them past any distractions and the Badgers. “I think the chemistry is great right now for the team,” Kuehl said. “We’re just excited to be here.” Working on the team’s chemistry and continuing to pull in wins is how Handrahan said he wants to power through the rest of the season. “Ultimately, our goals as a program are to be in the NCAA tournament, and it’s not many times you get to play on your own campus,” Handrahan said. “Overall, we’re just preparing for today and tomorrow and a great Wisconsin team.” The Buckeyes are set to take on the Badgers at 2:07 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Schottenstein Center. read more