QPR fans on Twitter react to Holloway’s Washington plea

first_imgIan Holloway’s plea for QPR fans to give striker Conor Washington a chance to succeed – and not suffer the same fate as Ben Gladwin – has split supporters on Twitter.Rangers boss Holloway was unhappy at the jeers Gladwin endured before the midfielder was sent back to former clb Swindon on loan.And with Washington having also endured a difficult start to his QPR career, Holloway has appealed to supporters to give the striker time – but some feel both players were given a fair chance to impress.@WestLondonSport start doing what you’re meant to do then , Gladwin is dire though , Washington nowhere near as bad !— Tony R (@rizzb64) January 26, 2017IMO Washington has been given a great chance by the fans every time he has played. He needs to start performing now.— John Burke (@JonnyBoyQPR) January 26, 2017@davidmcintyre76 @WestLondonSport I get his point but gladwin hasn’t performed maybe a level to high for him?— Deano Fry (@dean_fry9) January 26, 2017People say don’t boo gladwin and give him a chance, we love our club and pay money to watch someone amble about a pitch looking lazy #qpr— Jamie Symon (@jamie_symon) January 26, 2017Maybe Gladwin scored against Swindon as that is his level Ollie? #QPR— JJB (@bradyboyqpr) January 26, 2017But other fans were quick to defend the players and criticise the minority who had jeered them.@WestLondonSport makes me cringe sometimes hearing the reactions of our ‘supporters’ when certain players come on/go off!— Wayne (@wayneoeyers) January 26, 2017Pretty much sums up some of our fans. Always looking for a scapegoat. Now that Ollie says don’t do it, will they listen.#qpr https://t.co/RJYGL8vokT— 🎧Roger F 🎧 (@qpr_doughboy) January 26, 2017Re Gladwin, CW, booing…..Ollie trying to restore players confidence, build spirit, unite the club, get all the fans back on side. #QPR— Jeff Ford (@jayfordy) January 26, 2017However, one player supporters have united behind is Darnell Furlong, with the right-back agreeing a new deal on Thursday.Good to see Furlong sign a contract extension. Real optimism for youth products at #QPR now with a much clearer route to first team.— Tom Bermingham (@TQPRBermingham) January 26, 2017Nice to see Darnell Furlong extending his contract. Another step towrds rebuilding the club and moving to the right direction. #QPR— Yousef Marafi® (@Yousef_QPR) January 26, 2017@QPRFC @DarnellFurlong Good work by the club again !! Congratulations Darnell, just shows what hard work can achieve !! #QPR— Colin Clarke (@QprColin) January 26, 2017Darnell Furlong he’s one of our own 🔵⚪️ #QPR #TBATW https://t.co/xTQUAvxkuE— TBATW (@TBATW_) January 26, 2017   Ads by Revcontent Trending Articles Urologists: Men, Forget the Blue Pill! This “Destroys” ED x ‘Genius Pill’ Used By Rich Americans Now Available In Netherlands! x Men, You Don’t Need the Blue Pill if You Do This x What She Did to Lose Weight Stuns Doctors: Do This Daily Before Bed! x One Cup of This (Before Bed) Burns Belly Fat Like Crazy! x Do This Immediately if You Have Diabetes (Watch) x Follow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

Tomorrow’s Hope: Lebo Malepa

first_imgFounder: Lebo’s Soweto BackpackersWhy is Lebo considered to be Tomorrow’s Hope?Lebo Malepa is one of those young, passionate South Africans who are extremely proud of where they come from and want to share their vision with others.When Lebo was selling African crafts outside the Hector Pieterson Museum back in 2002, he was also selling tourists on the many attractions of Soweto and its rich cultural surrounds.What sets Lebo apart is that, instead of being saddened by the busloads of tourists being whisked in and out of South Africa’s biggest township with only a few pictures and museum brochures in hand, he saw an opportunity to offer a more “real” Soweto experience.It wasn’t long before Lebo had ditched the crafts and opened a place where tourists can experience Soweto as a living museum of the country’s rich history and culture.In his own words.“Being around different people from different countries telling you how much they love South Africa makes you realise how special I am to be living in this country.”Fast FactsLebo’s Soweto Backpackers is run by Lebo Malepa and his life/business partner, Maria Westlund.The backpackers was originally Lebo’s grandmother’s house.Lebo won an Emerging Tourism Entrepreneur Award in 2007.The backpackers is within walking distance of the Hector Pieterson Museum and Orlando Stadium, which is currently under reconstruction as a training venue for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.The backpackers offers a variety of walking and bicycle tours of Soweto.The backpackers works closely with a network of organisations and projects in the area, like orphanages, youth clubs and schools, and makes it possible for guests to spend time at or donate goods to these initiatives.How can I experience Soweto?If you want to experience Soweto life first-hand, Lebo is sure to have a walking/cycling tour or event to suit your needs. Visit Lebo’s Soweto Backpackers.Contact Lebo’s Soweto BackpackersTel: 011 936 3444Cell: 084 851 8681E-mail: lebo@sowetobackpackers.co.zaStory published on SAinfo on 4 June 2008.Source: Brand South Africalast_img read more

Full text of cabinet appointment

first_imgPresident Jacob Zuma delivering hisinauguration speech at the Union Buildingsin Pretoria on Saturday 9 May 2009.(Image: BuaNews)The following is the full text of President Jacob Zuma’s statement on the appointment of South Africa’s new cabinet on 10 May 2009. Members of the media,Good afternoon and thank you for joining us.We have since the launch of the ANC Manifesto indicated the type of new administration we envisaged in terms of size, shape and political focus.We went into an intensive process through the ANC’s National Executive Committee to discuss the type of government structure that would best serve our goals. We wanted a structure that would enable us to achieve visible and tangible socio-economic development within the next five years.It should be a structure which would enable us to effectively implement our policies.The structure of Cabinet and national departments has therefore been re-organised to achieve better alignment between the structure, our electoral mandate as per our election Manifesto, and the developmental challenges that need to receive immediate attention from government.In summary, some of the changes in the structure of government are the following:Following extensive research on international models on how governments in other parts of the world plan and monitor performance, we have decided to establish a National Planning Commission which will be based in the Presidency.The NPC will be responsible for strategic planning for the country to ensure one National Plan to which all spheres of government would adhere.This would enable us to take a more comprehensive view of socio-economic development in the country.We have also created a monitoring and evaluation competency in the Presidency, to monitor and evaluate the performance of government in all three spheres.There will therefore be two Ministers in the Presidency, one responsible for the NPC and the other for Monitoring and Evaluation as well as administration in the Presidency.Other changes are the following:The Department of Minerals and Energy will be split into two separate departments of Mining and of Energy, each with a MinisterThe Department of Education will be split into separate Ministries, one for Basic Education and the other for Higher Education and Training.The Department of Housing will be called the Department of Human Settlements to take on a more holistic focusThere will be a new department of Rural Development and Land Affairs, which are part of our key priorities for the next five yearsThe Department of Water affairs and Forestry becomes the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs.A new Department of Economic Development has been established to focus on economic policymaking. The implementation functions will remain with the Department of Trade and IndustryA new department of Tourism has been createdAgriculture becomes Agriculture, Fisheries and ForestryThe Department of Provincial and Local Government becomes Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.A new Ministry has been created for Women, Youth, Children and People with Disability, to emphasise the need for equity and access to development opportunities for the vulnerable groups in our society.The Cabinet that will fulfill our objectives is composed as follows:The Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa will be Mr Kgalema Petros Motlanthe.The rest of Cabinet in alphabetical order is as follows:1. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister: Tina Joemat-PetersonDeputy Minister: Dr Pieter Mulder2. Arts and Culture Minister: Lulu XingwanaDeputy Minister: Paul Mashatile3. Basic Education Minister: Angie MotshekgaDeputy Minister: Enver Surty4. Communications Minister: Siphiwe NyandaDeputy Minister: Dina Pule5. Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister: Sicelo ShicekaDeputy Minister: Yunus Carrim6. Correctional Services Minister: Nosiviwe Mapisa-NqakulaDeputy Minister: Hlengiwe Mkhize7. Defence and Military Veterans Minister: Lindiwe SisuluDeputy Minister: Thabang Makwetla8. Economic Development Minister: Ebrahim PatelDeputy Minister: Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde9. Energy Minister: Dipuo Peters10. Finance Minister: Pravin GordhanDeputy Minister: Nhlanhla Nene11. Health Minister: Dr Aaron MotsoalediDeputy Minister: Dr Molefi Sefularo12. Higher Education and Training Minister: Dr Blade Nzimande13. Home Affairs Minister: Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-ZumaDeputy Minister: Malusi Gigaba14. Human Settlements Minister: Tokyo SexwaleDeputy Minister: Zou Kota15. International Relations and Cooperation Minister: Maite Nkoana-MashabaneDeputy Minister (1): Ebrahim Ismail EbrahimDeputy Minister (2): Sue van der Merwe16. Justice and Constitutional Development Minister: Jeff RadebeDeputy Minister: Andries Nel17. Labour Minister: Membathisi Mdladlana18. Mining Minister: Susan Shabangu19. Police Minister: Nathi MthethwaDeputy Minister: Fikile Mbalula20. Public Enterprises Minister: Barbara HoganDeputy Minister: Enoch Godongwana21. Public Service and Administration Minister: Richard BaloyiDeputy Minister: Roy Padayachie22. Public Works Minister: Geoff DoidgeDeputy Minister: Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu23. Rural Development and Land Reform Minister: Gugile NkwintiDeputy Minister: Dr Joe Phaahla24. Science and Technology Minister: Naledi PandorDeputy Minister: Derek Hanekom25. Social Development Minister: Edna MolewaDeputy Minister: Bathabile Dlamini26. Sport and Recreation Minister: Makhenkesi StofileDeputy Minister: Gert Oosthuizen27. State Security Minister: Siyabonga Cwele28. Minister in The Presidency (1) National Planning Commission: Trevor Manuel29. Minister in The Presidency (2) Performance Monitoring and Evaluation as well as Administration in the Presidency: Collins Chabane30. Tourism Minister: Marthinus van SchalkwykDeputy: Thozile Xasa31. Trade and Industry Minister: Rob DaviesDeputy Minister (1): Thandi TobiasDeputy Minister (2): Maria Ntuli32. Transport Minister: Sbusiso Joel NdebeleDeputy Minister: Jeremy Cronin33. Water and Environmental  Affairs Minister: Buyelwa SonjicaDeputy Minister: Rejoice Mabhudafhasi34. Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities Minister: Noluthando Mayende-SibiyaWe stated clearly during the campaign that we want an efficient, caring and effective administration, which will be accessible and responsive to the needs of the people.We reiterate that we will not tolerate laziness and incompetence, and that we will emphasise excellence and achievement from the Cabinet and the public service.With these objectives in mind, I am confident that the new structure of government will enable the state machinery to speed up service delivery.Civil servants will not lose their jobs as a result of these changes. This is a matter of principle in terms of the country’s labour relations dispensation.I however want to stress to our public servants that the era of hard work has begun. Public servants who do their work diligently and efficiently have nothing to worry about.I wish the new team all the best with their responsibilities.We request the South African public and all key sectors of our society to support them in their national service.Let me also take this opportunity to wish all South African mothers well on Mother’s Day today.Mothers are the backbones of our families, communities and our nation.We truly appreciate their role in our society, in both the public sphere and within families.I thank you.Source: The Presidency – Republic of South Africalast_img read more

Biking from Beitbridge to Cape Point

first_imgSouth Africans Misty and Dylan Weyer received a warm welcome at Cape Point on 1 November after completing a gruelling two-month mountain biking trip along the Dragon’s Spine – from Beitbridge, southern Zimbabwe, to Cape Town’s Cape Point, via neighbouring Lesotho – to raise funds for children with cerebral palsy.The couple, who hails from East London, set off from Beitbridge on Sunday 1 September, riding eight to 12 hours a day without a support crew to complete the 4 000 km mountain bike route, which runs mainly on district roads and jeep and animal tracks, with a few tar exceptions.Dylan and Misty Weyer getting into the funicular at Cape Point Nature Reserve to celebrate the end of their epic 4 000km journey from Beit Bridge border post to Cape Point to raise funds for children with cerebral palsyCape Point funicular staff, lead by general manager, Celeste Bell, welcomed the couple and treated them to a trip up the funicular to experience the unbeatable view from the topmost lighthouse.Bell says: “Upon hearing about Misty and Dylan’s epic journey we decided these inspiring people deserved a special welcome. A warm meal at the Two Oceans restaurant and a funicular ride to the top of the cliffs overlooking the Point with views of the colliding currents is a wonderful way to celebrate their achievement of raising awareness of cerebral palsy – we commend them.”Occupational therapist, Misty, and environmental scientist, Dylan, are extreme adventure seekers who put their minds, bodies and four-year marriage to the test in tackling the Dragon’s Spine.The couple wanted to raise funds for non-profit organisation (NPO) Malamulele Onward, where Misty works as a field therapist. She treats children with cerebral palsy in Butterworth in the Eastern Cape and is a project manager for the Carer-2-Carer training programme, where she trains parents of children with cerebral palsy to run workshops for other parents in 10 rural areas.“We had a strong conviction that our two-month adventure could not simply be for our own enjoyment, so we decided to do it for a cause,” said Misty.“We are blessed to have seen such a beautiful part of our country, while doing what we love and raising money for charity. Cerebral palsy is a complex disability and without access to specialised treatment and a good understanding of the condition, both parents and their children are victims of a very difficult journey.”Johannesburg-based Malamulele Onward provides specialised therapy services, equipment and caregiver training to 11 poorly resourced rural areas in South Africa and Lesotho, where children severely disabled by cerebral palsy have little or no access to rehabilitation therapy and equipment.The Weyers will also give 10% of funds raised to Greensleeves Place of Safety, an East London NPO providing residential care for abandoned and abused children.“Although we have not reached our goal of R200 000 yet, the funds are slowly coming in and are testament to the physical, mental and spiritual challenges we have experienced on this journey,” said Misty.“We will continue to use this event to raise funds and awareness for another three months and hopefully reach our goal by the end of January 2014.We are extremely grateful to each and every person who showed their support and opened their hearts, minds, pockets, and homes for our cause.”For more information visit www.groupspaces.com/DragonsSpine4CP or follow the Weyers on Twitter @wildweyers.MALAMULELE ONWARDEvery child matters regardless of their having disabilities or not and every child has the potential to change the world (Images: Malamulele Onwards)Malamulele Onward provides specialised treatment like physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy to poorly-resourced rural areas of South Africa and other African countries like Lesotho where children severely disabled by cerebral palsy have little or no hope of receiving treatment.At the heart of the organisation is a group of volunteer healthcare professionals who have been using their expertise to help ease the strain on families who cannot afford their children the care necessary for them to lead healthier and less strenuous lives.The organisation also offers caregiver training to parents and others who have children suffering from cerebral palsy in their care.The Malamulele staff believe that every child matters regardless of their having disabilities or not and that every child has the potential to change the world much like you readers at home have the potential to change theirs.Anybody who wants to make a difference in the lives of the children receiving care from the Malamulele Onwards organisation can visit their website to attain details on how to volunteer or donate to their cause.Alternatively you can contact the organisation via email or telephonically on 011 484-9456.Don’t hesitate, do best and play your part in bettering the lives of those in need.For more information visit www.capepoint.co.za or call the Information Centre on (021) 780 9010/11.last_img read more

Standhardinger on his one-handed freethrows: ‘I’m not very conventional’

first_imgHere’s something you don’t see everyday. @CStandhardinger shooting one-handed free throws. pic.twitter.com/xE4W1HvCDG— Randolph B. Leongson (@RLeongsonINQ) November 9, 2017 ‘Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance PLAY LIST 01:30’Excited’ Terrence Romeo out to cherish first PBA finals appearance01:07No. 1 pick Standhardinger’s monster game further fuels SMB debut hype00:50Trending Articles01:37Protesters burn down Iran consulate in Najaf01:47Panelo casts doubts on Robredo’s drug war ‘discoveries’01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games READ: Standhardinger ‘very excited’ to play with Fajardo at SMBIn Hong Kong Eastern Sports Club’s 98-85 tuneup victory against NLEX on Thursday, the Fil-German forward unveiled a new weapon in his arsenal – a one-handed free throw.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. — Randolph B. Leongson (@RLeongsonINQ) November 9, 2017It may look unconventional, but that’s exactly what 28-year-old bruiser is going for.“If you watch me play, I’m not very conventional you know. I’m just efficient. That’s the same thing with the free throw. It has not been working for me so good in the last two years, so I’m figuring out something unconventional,” he said.“I hope that it works better for me and I have a good feeling with it.” Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH “I’m working on some stuff, trying to figure some stuff out, but I’m pretty confident that I’m going in the right direction,” he said in a short chat after the game at FCL Center Gym.Standhardinger, who is set to play in the ASEAN Basketball League this month before suiting up for San Miguel in the PBA, said that he’s sticking with his unique free throw shooting style because it works for him.“It feels good and I like it,” he said. “I’m sure that I’m gonna be ready with it. Worst case scenario, I’ll be ready with it when the PBA starts, but I think I will be ready with the free throws when the ABL starts.”Here’s some proof that @CStandhardinger can make those one-handed FTs! pic.twitter.com/7Nd5E1fl64ADVERTISEMENT Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s weddingcenter_img Court acquits Taulava of P9.5-M tax evasion charges Christian Stanhardinger during the tune up game between Hong Kong Lions and NLEX Road Warriors. Photo by Randolph LeongsonChristian Standhardinger has been playing basketball for quite sometime, but he’s not afraid to try something new.Six months away from his PBA debut, the no. 1 overall pick is working to develop his game into something unconventional.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC View comments Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion MOST READ Read Next CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA LATEST STORIESlast_img read more

Sanjay Manjrekar-Michael Vaughan war-of-words escalates over flawed approach tweet

first_imgA day after Michael Vaughan took a jibe at Sanjay Manjrekar over the former India cricketer’s tweet on England cricket’s flawed approach, Manjrekar has hit back at Vaughan. One of the game’s most respected analysts, Manjrekar questioned England all-rounder Sam Curran’s batting position in the first Test against the West Indies in Bridgetown.Curran, who was impressive in England’s 4-1 Test series win against India at home, batted at No.9 in both innings of the Bridgetown Test and managed only 14 and 17 as England lost by an innings and 381 runs. “Trevor Bayliss said that Sam Curran has endured the first bad game of his career. Curran has 15 wickets in 15 innings. So it’s more his batting Bayliss is talking about…Curran bats at no 8 & 9. Highlights the flawed thinking & approach of England,” Manjrekar had tweeted.Vaughan, a former captain did not take lightly to Manjrekar’s observation. “The same flawed thinking that beat India 4-1 Sanjay,” he tweeted.Sanjay Manjrekar, however, sought to end the debate with this:Trevor Bayliss said that Sam Curran has endured the first bad game of his career. Curran has 15 wickets in 15 innings. So it’s more his batting Bayliss is talking about…Curran bats at no 8 & 9. Highlights the flawed thinking & approach of England.#ENGvWISanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) January 29, 2019The same flawed thinking that beat India 4-1 Sanjay .. #OnOn https://t.co/u9Lq2jKeWHMichael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) January 29, 2019That you are reacting this way further highlights the flawed mindset. I rest my case. https://t.co/0kRCC83kpWadvertisementSanjay Manjrekar (@sanjaymanjrekar) January 30, 2019Manjrekar, who played 37 Tests and 74 ODIs from 1987 to 1996, has recently raised several questions on England’s tactics and approach. England, after defeating top-ranked India at home, whitewashed Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka but crashed to a heavy defeat against the West Indies, who are 8th in the ICC’s Test rankings.”Anyone who follows me on social media will know my latest bugbear is English cricket – its planning and decisions, and the discourse around it,” Manjrekar wrote in an article for ESPNcricinfo. “This is basically an outsider looking in at English cricket.”My heart melted the first time I toured England as a player, in 1990, and has done every time since then, watching their fans flock to the grounds to enjoy cricket, especially Test cricket: how they are glued to the action on the field, every ball of the day, applauding every maiden over. I wish you could clone them for Test matches all over the world.”India is the new powerhouse of cricket, but England still remains cricket’s conscience, its soul. And that is why, for long, I have felt that England cricket fans deserve a champion team to support,” he wrote.Also Read | Former India cricketer Jacob Martin out of danger after help from cricket fraternitylast_img read more

Some Fouls Are So Bad Theyre Good

Last week, prompted by ESPN’s new “30 for 30” documentary on the “Bad Boys” Detroit Pistons, I examined the question of just how “bad” the Bad Boys really were. In that piece, I used relative technical foul rates as a proxy for “badness” to establish that the Bad Boys Pistons teams did, indeed, deserve that moniker. Their two championship squads were two of the “baddest” teams in the past few decades, earning more technical fouls relative to their peers than any other teams since 1982. But one question lingers: Were they so good because they were so bad, or in spite of it?To find out, I looked at 30 years’ worth of the league’s correlation between technical fouls and winning. Technicals are the NBA’s official in-game punishment for conduct that the league and officials deem “unsportsmanlike” (short of a flagrant foul), which is why we’re using it as our proxy for badness.1In the Bad Boys Era, what are now flagrant fouls were mostly just technical fouls, and didn’t carry the extra penalty they do today. They, of course, have the immediate and measurable result of giving the other team one free throw by the shooter of its choice — worth around .85 points on average.2There’s also a minor effect of sometimes adding time to the opponent’s shot clock.Despite that negative consequence, teams that get more technical fouls than average tend to be pretty good. What’s more, the more technicals they earn, the more likely they are to be even better.Here’s a plot of the number of technical fouls (badness) a team had relative to the league average that year against its win percentage (goodness). The data below is pulled from all team seasons since 1982-83,3Limited to teams for which we have at least 10,000 combined minutes worth of data. showing only those that were badder than average.Look at the red dots, which are rolling 25-team averages. As the teams get more techs — or get badder — their winning percentages increase. That’s intriguing, as is the fact that the top 26 baddest teams in the data set all had winning records. Overall, 63 percent of these bad teams were good enough to have a winning record, and the top 100 of them had an average winning percentage of 60.3 percent.4The correlation between technical rate and win percentage is .27, which is pretty high for any metric based on only one stat.But finding a relationship in one season isn’t enough. The real test is whether the metric predicts performance in other seasons.5This is called taking your test “out of sample,” which separates cause and effect. Note, though, that it doesn’t necessarily tell you which is which. Below you’ll find a graph showing how technical fouls predict team strength in neighboring seasons, and how they compare to a variety of other popular metrics. For strength, we’ll use SRS, or “Simple Rating System,” which is a team’s average margin of victory adjusted for strength of schedule6The technicals per game metric I used is calculated relative to each season, while the other metrics are not. This gives it a slight advantage.:Effective field goal percentage comes out on top of this group, but technical foul rate holds its own, coming out as a better predictor of past or future team strength than stats stalwarts like points per game or rebounding percentage.7Also, technicals are more positively predictive than turnovers are negatively predictive, which is fascinating but beyond the scope of this article.That’s a bit wacky — the technical foul, remember, can’t provide value directly, because it gives up .85 points (on average) to the opposition. From where I sit, then, there are two potential kinds of explanation: Explanations that embrace the nasty. These would argue that teams that get more technical fouls are better because the behavior that leads to the technicals (i.e., bad behavior) likely provides more benefit than the occasional .85 points that it costs.8OK, actually there’s a third line of thinking, which is that technical fouls don’t cost the .85 points that we think they do because, say, referees overcompensate for calling technicals by giving teams better calls later in the game. But for all intents and purposes, I’ll treat those as part of the second theory. In baseball, high/inside pitches used to brush batters off the plate usually result in balls or sometimes even hit batters, but are commonly believed to be worth it (whether they actually are or not, I don’t know). For what it’s worth, I checked a boatload of possible confounding variables and combinations thereof, such as home/away (53 percent of technicals go to the away team); ahead/behind (57 percent go to the trailing team); and playoffs/regular season (if it were strictly a matter of effort, we would expect a difference when all teams have equal incentives to play hard. No major differences found). Coaching technicals appear to be at least as predictive as player technicals. If there’s a correlation between aggressive play and winning and aggressive coaching and winning, Occam’s Razor suggests that you should favor a single theory that explains both phenomena, such as that an aggressive ethos (which applies equally to coaches and their players) causes winning. In football, I’ve found that rookie quarterbacks who throw more interceptions (all else being equal) often have more productive careers. In basketball, offensive rebounds have a potentially similar problem from the opposite direction: While apparently a good thing, in quantity they signal that a team doesn’t shoot very well. In poker, a too-high showdown win percentage likely indicates that a player doesn’t bluff enough and/or doesn’t make enough marginal calls. So far my research hasn’t turned up any smoking gun proving the case one way or the other, but on balance I’d say the results are more consistent with the second option: Technical fouls exist to deter certain types of unsportsmanlike behavior, but if those behaviors are broadly advantageous (by intimidating or hurting the opponent, for example), they could be “priced incorrectly” at only (roughly) -.85 points each.9Compare it to the deterrence problem: In order to coerce different behavior, things have to be punished at a rate much worse than their actual effect.That something ostensibly negative can ultimately be predictive of something positive (or vice versa) isn’t an unheard of dynamic in sports. For instance: Not all good teams get a lot of technical fouls (the San Antonio Spurs, for example, consistently rank near the bottom of the league), but the vast majority of teams that get a lot of technical fouls are good. Of the 27 teams with the best winning percentages since 1982, two-thirds (18) have had more technical fouls than the league average at the time. (Compare that to the top 26 technical-getting teams having winning records.) But it’s unusual in basketball for an event with a negative impact to have a positive correlation with team strength. Take a look at some other things that have a direct impact on the game that’s similar to that of technical fouls (slightly above or below -1 point each):If everything else were equal, we would probably expect technicals to be in the same range as turnovers or steals, so the total gap from where they ought to be based on in-game value and where they actually are, predictively, is massive.10Note the gap between opponent offensive and defensive rebounds is smaller, even though there’s a straightforward reason that offensive rebounds are a mixed blessing (because it means the team is missing more shots).But even if we’re satisfied that technicals can predict wins, there’s still something we haven’t considered yet: Wins may predict technicals.11It’s like the Euthyphro question, but for sports gods: Are technicals good because the sports gods love them, or do the sports gods love technicals because they’re good? This theory has a few possible scenarios associated with it, such as: Teams that are in contention are playing hard all the time — so hard that they occasionally earn a technical — while teams that are out of contention don’t really care enough to do “whatever it takes” to win.That kind of explanation is intuitively appealing, both because the scenario has a plausible ring to it and because it’s the sort of unsexy answer you often find when you try to explain a strange result.To test this theory, I looked at play-by-play data over the last four years, which breaks fouls — including technicals — down by type. That yielded 1,963 player techs, 422 coach techs, 278 flagrants (similar to the technical, but with a much harsher punishment), and 2,448 three-second violations.12For the data set I used below, I also applied a number of filters: I filtered out the fourth quarter because variance is too great and tactical considerations trump other things. I also dropped hanging, taunting, non-unsportsmanlike and team technical fouls because their numbers are too small to break out, and I’d like to keep the main-line group as homogenous as possible.I combined all that with in-game win percentage calculations provided by Dean Oliver of ESPN Stats & Info, estimating the foul-committing team’s chances of winning before and after the foul (including the resulting free-throw).13I also duplicated all of this research using margin of victory so as not to rely entirely on the predictive algorithm, and the results were virtually identical. We’re interested in the difference between what that foul did to a team’s projected results and its actual results.Averaging across all plays, we can represent the results of this comparison in a slope chart that shows how the team’s chances should have changed in that moment, and how often it actually ended up winning. Take note of those two (well, four) lines for player and coach techs. Both player and coach technicals ostensibly cost teams about a 1.8 percent chance of winning the game, which is what we would expect based on the surrendered free throw. But the actual win percentages of technical-foul-getting teams appear much higher than we would expect. Teams ended up winning 2.1 percent more often than expected after player techs, and 3.8 percent more often than expected after coach techs.14Flagrant fouls don’t do as well, though they include a harsher penalty, including the possibility of the player being ejected.While this result supports our finding that technical fouls predict winning over an even larger number of observations, it’s also consistent with either type of explanation for why this is so. If there were any bias in how technical fouls are distributed — as suggested by the “wins predict technicals” theory — unfortunately it would still bias these results.But there’s something we can do to avoid that. Instead of computing the averages in that chart across every single foul, we can compute them on a team-by-team basis first, and then average the result across all teams equally — treating each team’s results as one data point regardless of how many technical fouls it received. That helps us avoid potentially skewed data if different types of teams (like winning teams) are more likely to get technicals in the first place. When we do that, here’s what we get (the new chart is on the right, with the old one on the left for comparison’s sake):Lo and behold, they’re extremely similar! Teams tend to win 1.4 percent more often when their players get a tech, and a whopping 5.5 percent more often when their coaches do. That similarity broadly suggests that “bad” (technicals) begets “good” (winning), rather than the other way around.To illustrate: If one great team, let’s call it SuperBad, earned every technical foul every year, but by virtue of being a great team won 5 percent more often than its expected win percentage would suggest, that would show up as a 5 percent gain in the chart on the left. (That’s because each time a team got a technical it won 5 percent more often, even though it was the same team every time, and even if the winning was unrelated.) But when averaged across all 30 teams in the league, it would only show a 0.16 percent gain in the chart on the right (SuperBad team ran 5 percent above average when getting a technical, but the other 29 teams ran 0 percent better15OK, technically undefined in this example, so add epsilon if you must.). This would be a perfect “winning begets technicals” scenario.On the other hand, if every team got an equal share of the same number of technicals as our SuperBad team, and every time a team got a technical it won 5 percent more often than it would have otherwise, it would show up both as a 5 percent gain on the left and a 5 percent gain on the right. This would be a perfect “technicals beget winning” scenario.The charts above seem much much closer to this second “technicals beget winning” scenario, as there doesn’t appear to be much difference whether we aggregate by plays or by teams. Indeed, the main reason this isn’t a smoking gun is that the sample size for the right-hand chart is only 120 team seasons, which would normally be much too small to even attempt to draw conclusions about differences of only a couple of percentage points either way. But being so consistent with the much larger sample of the play-by-play chart is powerful corroboration.Here are a few other things that cut against the “winning predicts technicals” theory: Finally, let’s return to the question that kicked off the piece: Were the Bad Boys Pistons so good because they were so bad, or in spite of it?Based on what I’ve looked at so far, I’d say the former has the stronger case: While technical fouls can’t lead directly to winning, the types of behavior that lead to technical fouls just may. Explanations that avoid the nasty conclusion that unsportsmanlike play gives a team an advantage. For example, it could be that technical fouls are committed more often by teams that are already winning, or that winning teams and players just have a propensity to get more technical fouls, and are willing to absorb the cost. read more

Why This NBA Rookie Class May Be The Best Of The Century

As we approach the end of the NBA’s regular season, awards conversations are all the rage. As usual, the two most talked-about races are for Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year. Whether it’s “Get Up” or The Jump, Sports Illustrated or CBS or NBA TV, or even NBA players themselves, everyone’s got an opinion on who should take home the hardware at the end of the season.The Rookie of the Year debate, at this point, pretty much boils down to the Mavericks’ Luka Doncic, who stormed out of the gate and grabbed onto front-runner status fairly quickly, and the Hawks’ Trae Young, who started off terribly but has been shining during the season’s second half.But lost among this debate is this: The entire 2018 NBA rookie class — or at least the top five picks — deserves an award. Collectively, they are having the best debut season of any group of top five picks in more than 25 years.Doncic (pick No. 3) is carrying averages of 21.2 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game while acting as the primary facilitator and scoring option in Dallas. He is only the second rookie in NBA history to average at least 20, 7, and 5 in those categories, and the other is Oscar Robertson, who did so during the 1960-61 season.The man whom Doncic was traded for on draft night,1The Hawks drafted Doncic and traded him to the Mavericks in exchange for Young and Dallas’s top-five protected 2019 first-round pick. Young, has been nearly as productive, albeit less consistent, in his debut season for Atlanta. Young’s season-long numbers of 19.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game are strong.2He’s one of only three rookies to have gone for 19, 3 and 8 per game. Those numbers, though, are dragged down by his poor start to the year. Since the All-Star break, he’s averaging 25.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 9.2 assists a night, with shooting numbers that are far better than those he was posting earlier in the season as he struggled to adjust to the NBA game.Two of the first five picks in a given draft looking this good, this early, would be impressive on its own; but Doncic and Young are not alone in their shining debuts. The other three players selected in the top five — the Suns’ DeAndre Ayton (No. 1), the Kings’ Marvin Bagley III (No. 2) and the Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson Jr. (No. 4) — have each been pretty damned good this year too.Ayton has been a monster offensive force for Phoenix from Day 1, and he is already one of the league’s best post scorers and offensive rebounders. Among rotation players averaging at least 2 post-ups per game, per NBA.com, Ayton’s 1.03 points per play on post-ups ranks third, behind only Joel Embiid and LaMarcus Aldridge. Ayton’s offensive rebound rate, meanwhile, ranks 22nd among the 263 players who have qualified for the minutes per game leaderboard. And he’s been improving on defense throughout the season.Bagley is averaging 14.8 points and 7.4 rebounds per game off the bench for the surprisingly frisky Kings. And he’s been even better since returning from a five-game, injury-related absence in early March, posting 18.5 points and 8.2 rebounds a night with an improved shooting line. He has a diverse, varied face-up game and is working to stretch his jumper, and given his athleticism and quick feet, his defense could eventually come around as well.Memphis shut down Jackson in late-February due to a quad injury, but before his season ended he averaged 13.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.3 combined steals and blocks in just 26 minutes a night. He did all that despite being, at 19 years old, the second-youngest player in the league.3The Lakers’ Isaac Bonga is about a month younger than Jackson, and Bonga has played less than 100 minutes this season. Jackson also knocked down 35.9 percent of his threes and carried an above-average usage rate and true shooting percentage, which is wildly impressive for a player whose primary contributions were expected to come on the defensive end of the floor.So how does this season’s top five stack up against past classes? The chart below plots the collective win shares and win shares per 48 minutes for the top five picks in each draft class from 1979 through 2018 (otherwise known as the three-point era) during their respective debut seasons. Note that only players who played during the season immediately following that year’s draft are counted in this analysis; because we’re looking at the top five picks as a class, if a player did not debut with the rest of his class, it doesn’t make much sense to count him along with the others. For example, Ben Simmons was the No. 1 overall pick in 2016, but he did not play during the 2016-17 season, so he counts for 0 minutes and 0 win shares toward the total of that draft class. Simmons was excellent as a rookie once he did step on the floor, but it also would not make sense to group him with the 2017 draft class, because he was not drafted in 2017. Likewise, the same logic applies to Simmons’s Sixers teammate Joel Embiid, who was drafted in 2014 but did not debut until two years later.4It also applies to Jonas Valanciunas (stayed in Europe for a year before coming over and joining the Raptors); Blake Griffin (injured); Ricky Rubio (Europe); Greg Oden (injured); Danny Ferry (went to Italy for a year because he refused to play for the Clippers); David Robinson (naval service); and tragically, Len Bias (an overdose-caused death). 1982WorthyCummingsWilkinsGarnettThompson0.129 The top-five picks in the 2018 draft are in HOF companyThe five NBA draft classes with the highest win shares per 48 minutes Year1st2nd3rd4th5thWS per 48 min 1979JohnsonGreenwoodCartwrightKelserMoncrief0.137 1992O’NealMourningLaettnerJacksonEllis0.118 Hall of Fame inductees in boldSource: Basketball-Reference.com Draft pick 2018AytonBagley IIIDoncicJackson Jr.Young0.102 1984OlajuwonBowieJordanPerkinsBarkley0.174 As you can see, the 2018 class fares extremely well in both win shares — which represent Basketball-Reference.com’s attempt to divvy up credit for team wins to the individual players on the team — and win shares per 48 minutes. The 21.1 win shares collectively accumulated by Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young ranks eighth among the last 40 draft classes during their respective debut seasons, while their win shares per 48 average of 0.102 makes this class one of just six to exceed 0.100 win shares per 48.One of those six classes (2009) saw only three players actually take the floor during their debut season, thanks to an injury that knocked Blake Griffin out for the year and Ricky Rubio’s contract with Barcelona that kept him in Spain for two years before he arrived stateside. Hasheem Thabeet, James Harden and Tyreke Evans saw varying degrees of success during their respective rookie years and ended up posting a collective average of 0.108 win shares per 48 minutes, but they also combined for only 11.9 total win shares, far fewer than the other five classes that stand out in this analysis, each of which exceeded 20 total win shares.It’s worth noting, then, who was actually taken in the top five in those five NBA drafts (1984, 1979, 1982 and 1992). It’s also worth noting that just a single class between 1992 and 2018 saw its top five post a win shares per 48 average better than 0.100, meaning it’s been nearly a generation since we saw an actual top five class debut with a performance as good as the one we’re seeing from the most recent draft class. Among the 20 players selected in the top five of those four drafts, eight are currently in the Basketball Hall of Fame. Another four — Bill Cartwright, Sidney Moncrief, Terry Cummings and Christian Laettner — made at least one All-Star team during their career. And six more became long-term rotation players. Only Greg Kelser and Bill Garnett failed to pan out at all, as they wound up out of the league entirely within a few seasons.That’s an incredible hit rate of solid NBA players, and bodes well for what we should expect from Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Jackson and Young in the future. It’s obviously far too early to predict that any of these players will be enshrined in Springfield one day, but the future certainly appears bright, and it seems likely that the 2018 draft class will be remembered as one of the best in quite some time.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

NFL Week 12 guide to fantasy football

Play ‘Em Matt Cassel (Kansas City): One quarterback not getting the respect he deserves is Cassel, who has thrown for 18 touchdowns versus four interceptions. Much of that production is because of Dwayne Bowe’s emergence as a solid wide receiver. Either way, Cassel has a nice matchup against Seattle, which ranks in the top 10 in fantasy points allowed to opposing quarterbacks. Mark Sanchez (New York): Last week, Sanchez, battling a calf injury, threw for 315 yards with three touchdowns and one interception against Houston. That performance gives Sanchez three straight weeks with at least 27 fantasy points in standard scoring leagues. Consider Sanchez a low-end No. 1 fantasy quarterback against a Bengals defense that got torched by the Bills’ Ryan Fitzpatrick to the tune of 316 yards and four touchdowns last week. Mike Tolbert (San Diego): Tolbert continued his breakout 2010 season with an impressive performance Monday night against Denver, with 111 rushing yards with a touchdown. Look for similar numbers against a Colts run defense that allows the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. Darren McFadden (Oakland): McFadden has been quiet the last two weeks, totaling 103 rushing yards with zero touchdowns. Granted, Week 11 was against Pittsburgh. McFadden should return to form against a Dolphins’ defense that allows 113 rushing yards per game. Based on the matchup, McFadden is a low-end No. 1 running back. Steve Johnson (Buffalo): Like Tolbert, Johnson is having a breakout 2010 season, with 728 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. Although Johnson faces the Steelers, he is a must-start from now on. The Steelers rank 22nd in pass defense and have allowed five passing touchdowns to opposing wide receivers in their past five games. So, Steve Johnson, “Why So Serious?” Vincent Jackson (San Diego): Jackson is back after serving a three-game suspension and signing his contract late. This is great timing because Patrick Crayton (wrist) is out, Antonio Gates is still battling a foot injury, and Malcom Floyd tweaked his hamstring. Jackson will benefit by having the league’s leading passer in Philip Rivers and going against a Colts defense allowing 208 passing yards per game. Bench ‘Em David Garrard (Jacksonville): Garrard looked terrible last week, with 254 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. The Jaguars’ offense will stall a little with Mike Sims-Walker out. This week, Garrard faces a Giants defense that allowing 14 fantasy points per week. Fred Jackson (Buffalo): Jackson has been solid in his past three games, with four touchdowns and back-to-back 100-yard games. This week, he faces a Steelers defense allowing 63 rushing yards per game and a total of four touchdowns on the ground. Only the Patriots’ BenJarvus Green-Ellis has managed to go over 50 rushing yards against the Steelers. Look for other options at the running back position this week. Beanie Wells (Arizona): Wells had eight carries for 39 yards last week against Kansas City. Wells’ knee continues to be a burden and the Cardinals continue to use a two-back system. In Week 12, Wells faces a Niners defense that ranks ninth in fantasy points allowed to opposing running backs. Brandon Marshall (Miami): It’s unclear if Marshall will play this week against Oakland (top five pass defense) because of a hamstring injury. Marshall hasn’t recorded double-digit fantasy points in standard leagues since Week 6. The Dolphins’ offense is a mess, led by quarterback Tyler Thigpen. Keep Marshall on your bench and hope he’s ready for the playoffs. Johnny Knox (Chicago): Knox continues to be Cutler’s favorite target, with five catches for 55 yards on eight targets last week. But the attention hasn’t translated to fantasy production. The yards are there but the touchdowns are not (one for the year). Expect corner Asante Samuel, who leads the NFL with seven interceptions, to be defending Knox, who is more of a flex option against the Eagles. read more

EverBank Field Rating the sight of the Gator Bowl

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — It wasn’t the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., and it wasn’t the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, La., but the EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Fla., site of the 2012 Gator Bowl, was the best bowl game location Ohio State football could do this season. The stadium, home of the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars, holds more than 77,000 fans and was home of Super Bowl XXXIX between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. The mostly-full stadium held 61,312 fans for Monday’s Gator Bowl, and The Lantern was there to cover the game, and rate the quality of the venue. Here is our rating of EverBank Field, should Buckeyes, Browns or Bengals fans find themselves there in the future. All categories were rated on a five-point scale, with a five being the highest. Sight lines/seating: One of the most important factors when shelling out big bucks for an NFL game or a college football bowl game is your proximity to the field and the sight lines. Luckily for those in attendance for Monday’s Gator Bowl, the Buckeyes’ and Gators’ sideline areas were narrow. The front row of seats was quite close to the playing surface. The stadium was not particularly tall, and the higher the row you sat in, the farther you were from the action, kind of like the Rose Bowl. Upper deck seats might not have been the best vantage point, but the expansive lower bowl would be well worth the price of admission. Lantern rating: 2 Access to stadium/location: Though the stadium wasn’t at full capacity, traffic to the game was manageable — a 15-minute cab ride from downtown Jacksonville. Public transit is an option, as is an elevated, light-rail train that runs right past the stadium. Very convenient. The stadium location is also quite nice. The Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, home of the Double-A affiliate of Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins, is a beautiful, red-brick ball field adjacent to EverBank Field. Lastly, and perhaps best of all, the stadium is located on the banks of the St. Johns River, which makes for a picturesque scene. Lantern rating: 4 Aesthetics of the stadium: EverBank Field is comprised mostly of large concrete ramps that run up to the upper levels of the stadium. It isn’t very colorful or particularly eye-grabbing. The open-air facility was very open indeed, and probably not conducive to allowing crowd noise to reverberate and bother the team you’re rooting against. Lantern rating: 1 Gameday atmosphere: There was a large tailgate party situated on a lawn outside of the stadium. Hundreds of fans attended, ate, drank and watched college football on a jumbo-sized television screen. The cost of admission to the tailgate was $10, but your “ticket” to enter was the official Gator Bowl patch — worn by both teams during the game — attached to a lanyard. The patch was a fine souvenir and the tailgate grounds gave fans the opportunity to meet and get pumped for the game. Lantern rating: 4.5 To visit or not to visit: All categories considered, EverBank Field garnered a 2.875. A trip to EverBank Field, which was built in 1995, could be justified for a college football bowl game. A trip to see the Jaguars, which finished the 2011 season with a 5-11 record, though? Probably not. read more