Coach Kerr takes backseat in Warriors rout of Suns

first_imgLATEST STORIES ”It’s the players’ team,” Kerr said. ”It’s their team and they have to take ownership of it. As coaches, our job is to nudge them in the right direction, guide them. We don’t control them. They determine their own fate. I don’t think we’ve focused well the last month. It just seemed like the right thing to do.”Kerr said he told the players of his plan after the previous game and they ran the show for most of the day. Andre Iguodala took over at morning shootaround, JaVale McGee ran the computer for the film session and Iguodala, Draymond Green and David West got most of the work designing plays and running the huddle during timeouts.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkKerr and his assistants handled the substitutions before allowing the players to take over from there.”It had to do with me trying to reach my team and I have not reached them the last month,” Kerr said. ”They’re tired of my voice. I’m tired of my voice. I wasn’t reaching them so we figured this was a good night to pull something out of the hat.” OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Drama in karate: Tsukii ‘very sad’ over coach’s bullying, cold shoulder PLAY LIST 05:21Drama in karate: Tsukii ‘very sad’ over coach’s bullying, cold shoulder00:50Trending Articles06:27SEA Games 2019: No surprises as Gilas Pilipinas cruises to basketball gold02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Newsome sets focus on helping Bolts open new PBA season on right track MOST READ OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson UP NEXTSuns: Visit Utah on Wednesday.Warriors: Visit Portland on Wednesday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Michael Porter Jr. stays patient as playing time increases Mitchell delivers down the stretch, rallies Jazz past Spurs After the game, Kerr made a point of seeking out Phoenix interim coach Jay Triano to tell him the move wasn’t made out of any disrespect for the Suns, who became the first team to reach 40 losses this season.”You have to do what you have to do to build your own team up,” Triano said. ”If he thinks that helps them, I tip my hat.”Stephen Curry scored 22 points for the Warriors. Omri Casspi added 19 in a rare start in place of the injured Green and Kevin Durant had 17 as Golden State won its 12th straight in the series, its longest active streak against any team.Elfrid Payton scored 29 points in his second game since being acquired at the trade deadline from Orlando, but Phoenix still lost its sixth straight and 11th in the past 12 games.”We have to keep fighting,” Payton said. ”We can’t hang our heads. That’s the great thing about the NBA, there’s another game in two days. So learn from it, get better ready to have a better effort.”ADVERTISEMENTcenter_img Nonito Donaire vs Naoya Inoue is BWAA 2019 Fight of the Year Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Draymond Green leads the Golden State Warriors’ huddle during a timeout in their game against the Phoenix Suns. APOAKLAND, Calif. — With the grind of a long NBA season wearing on his team, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr believed it was time for his players to hear a new voice in the huddle: their own.Kerr turned over most of the coaching duties to his players on Monday night and they responded in fine fashion, playing with more focus than they had in recent weeks in a 129-83 victory over the Phoenix Suns.ADVERTISEMENT Almazan vows to comeback stronger after finals heartbreak Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Payton scored 16 points in the first quarter before Curry got on the scoreboard, but he got little help. Payton made his first seven shots, but his teammates started 1 for 15 and the Warriors managed to take a 25-24 lead by the end of the first after being outscored by 32 points in the first quarter of the previous three games.Curry scored 10 points in the second quarter as Golden State built a 17-point lead at the half and coasted the rest of the way.”We have so many smart basketball minds on our team,” Casspi said. ”The guys really used this opportunity to run things they like.”TIP-INSSuns: G Devin Booker (hip pointer) missed his fourth straight game, and G Tyler Ulis (back) sat for the second straight game. … Phoenix has lost 12 straight in Oakland, last winning here on Feb. 7, 2011.Warriors: G Patrick McCaw, who has been spending time in the G League between NBA games trying to get his confidence back, scored nine points in the second quarter after having just eight in the previous 10 games. He then left the game with a sprained right wrist.QUOTABLE”I was horrible actually. I thought about a play and forgot the second option and had two guys on the wrong place on the board and I actually got a delay of game coming out of halftime because I was scrambling,” Curry said about his role as a coach.FATHER-SONCurry’s 22 points gave him and his father, Dell, a combined 28,883 points in their careers, tying Rick and Brent Barry for the third-most ever by a father-son combination, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Joe and Kobe Bryant have the most of any duo with 38,895 (33,643 from Kobe). Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew View commentslast_img read more

Managing phosphorus for yield and reduced edge of field losses

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Greg LaBarge, CPAg/CCA, Ohio State University ExtensionA new factsheet highlights eight steps to reducing edge of field P losses while maintain soils for increase crop production. The Phosphorus Nutrient Management for Yield and Reduced P Loss at Edge of Field-AGF-509 (https://ohioline.osu.edu/factsheet/agf-509) highlight practices that can be used to reduce edge of field losses of P. There are eight field specific steps to considered.Control erosionIdentify surface inlets to tile and use appropriate practices to reduce surface lossesConsider ground and weather conditions prior to application of fertilizer and manureTake a representative soil testUse soil test as screening tool to meet crop production and water quality goalsWith a soil test P value of 40 PPM Mehlich III or less, you can reduce risk of crop yield losses with nutrient application for crop yield.• A soil test P value of 20 PPM defines the critical level. At 20 PPM or less, the risk of yield loss increases. Annual in-season P nutrient application recommended. Recommendations to build soil test P value to critical level are available.• The maintenance STP range is 20 to 40 PPM. The recommended rate of P is equal to P removed in harvested crop. Annual application is not required. Risk of yield loss is low with flexibility to delay application one (or more) growing seasons, if needed. The greatest risk for event P losses occur when nutrient application is followed by runoff-producing rainfall. Use the following steps to reduce P loss risk at application for water quality.• Use an agronomic rate of no more than two years’ worth crop removal as recommended in the Tri-State Fertilizer Recommendations. • Time fertilizer applications so predicted rainfall 12 hours after application is less than a 50% chance of more than 1 inch of rainfall. • Time organic nutrient applications so predicted rainfall 24 hours after application is less than a 50% chance of more than 0.5 inches of rainfall. • Subsurface placement reduces losses over surface application. 7.  With a soil test P value above 40 PPM Mehlich III, response to fertilizer is highly unlikely for improving crop yields.• Do not apply additional fertilizer due to lack of economic return. • Organic applications should be determined using P content from testing the organic source and not exceed P crop removal rate for the next two (and no more than three) crops in the rotation. • Consider in-crop application to a nitrogen-using crop to reduce purchased N, maximizing economic return to organic application. • Where in-crop application is not used, incorporate organic nutrients.In terms of water quality, the risk of P loss increases with STP values over 40 PPM, with greater risk after 150 PPM. Do not apply additional fertilizer due to lack of economic return and do not make organic applications when STP is greater than 150 PPM. Follow NRCS 590 site and rate criteria between 40 to 150 PPM. Time organic applications so predicted rainfall 24 hours after application is less than a 50 percent chance of more than 0.5 inches of rainfall. Use the Ohio P risk index, field scale hydrology/water quality models, or monitoring to evaluate site risk for P losses and need for further site BMPs. See step 8. 8. BMPs for high risk P loss sites: Monitor fields for P loss using the Ohio P risk index and field scale hydrologic and water quality models. For sites with predicted high P losses, consider one or more of the following water management practices based on fitness and cost effectiveness for field site:• Production practices that increase soil organic matter to retain water on site • Drainage Water Management (NRCS 554) • Nutrient removal wetlands (NRCS 656) • P Precipitating Filter • Saturated Buffer (NRCS 604) • In-field water storage or detention basins.last_img read more

Youth Congress calls for dialogue to introspect defeat

first_imgAfter it’s drubbing in the Lok Sabha elections, Congress organisations in the State are set to introspect on what went wrong. The State unit Youth Congress has called for an open dialogue on June 3 to introspect the results. Former and curent office-bearers of the party’s student wing National Students Union of India (NSUI) and Youth Congress are among those who have been invited to voice their opinion to find out where did the party go wrong and to discuss the future strategy.“Though Lok Sabha elections results are shocking for the Congress, we humbly accept the mandate given by the nation. The Congress is going through a difficult phase and youth need to stay united in same old fighting spirit in such adverse political circumstances,” said Satyajeet Tambe-Patil, president, Maharashtra Youth Congress.Mr. Tambe-Patil said it is time for the young workers of the Congress to come together and put a formidable fight against the Bharatiya Janata Party-Shiv Sena in Maharashtra. “It is our duty to ensure that Congress comes back to power in the State and for which we have to decide the future strategy,” he said, adding that the meeting will discuss how to go forward for Assembly polls and which programs should be highlighted in front of the people.“Assembly polls are different than the Lok Sabha polls. We have invited all the workers to ensure the focus is back on party organisation and to let everyone talk as openly as possible. It will bring out some negative points which can be tackled in the course of time as well,” he said.last_img read more

Coach defends Clarke, Hughes on drinking allegations

first_imgAustralian cricket coach Tim Nielsen on Thursday defended Michael Clarke and Phillip Hughes over allegations that the pair was found drinking at a Melbourne bar well into the night on the eve of their humiliating Ashes series defeat at the MCG.Aussie players Phillip Hughes. AP”These guys are playing cricket all day, every day. And they’re never playing at home. They were out for dinner. All the information we received straight after the incident was that they were out for dinner together and nothing but polite and courteous to the people out in the the public.”They posed for photographs and signed autographs, they talked about the Test match. I can promise you they wouldn’t have been feeling great because we were under pressure in the Test and going to the fourth day looking like the Ashes were going to be lost,” Nielsen said.According to some photographs released by the media Down Under, the duo was spotted drinking at the World Restaurant Bar on the third night of the Melbourne Test, which Australia went on to lose by an innings and 157 runs to help England retain the Ashes on foreign soil for the first time in 24 years.The pictures had raised some serious questions pertaining to the professionalism and discipline of Aussie cricketers but Nielsen said the photographs of the cricketers showed the two players were well behaved and simply enjoyed drinks with dinner.”I don’t really mind what anybody says. (But) I can’t expect – I won’t expect – any of my players to sit in their hotel room for 250 nights of the year, especially if they’re having a bad day or a good day,” Nielsen was quoted as saying by the ‘Sydney Morning Herald’.advertisementNielsen spoke in defence of the players after a 25-year-old local woman, Emily Goodyear, had claimed that the pair drank vodka with her and and told her “it doesn’t matter that we are out, we’ve lost the match anyway.””And Philip added, ‘I’m not batting and I don’t think there’s any chance we’re going to win.’,” she added.Aussie vice captain Michael Clarke. APTest vice-captain Michael Clarke had defended himself and his team-mate Hughes by arguing that they have done nothing wrong.”There’s no doubt Phillip and I went to a restaurant bar, we had dinner there, I had two drinks and didn’t have a late night at all. We posed for a lot of photos with a lot of people, we were polite to a lot of people and there were even a few of the Barmy Army there.”I have absolutely no idea what time I got home, but I guarantee you it wasn’t late,” the 29-year-old Clarke said.- With PTI inputslast_img read more

Heated 2nd half run propels Miami to romp of Pistons

first_imgUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chief MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting And thanks to a 21-0 run to open the second half, the Miami Heat now have a tiny bit of breathing room in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The biggest Heat run of the season led to the biggest Heat win of the season, a 108-74 romp past the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night.“Just a professional win by us tonight,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “We played against a team that wasn’t making shots early, and we continued to keep going at them and continued to keep applying pressure.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSUrgent reply from Philippine ‍football chiefSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesJustise Winslow scored 16 points for Miami, which had seven players in double figures. Dion Waiters scored 14, Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside each had 13 and Wade finished with 11 for Miami.Miami’s starting five — Richardson, Winslow, Waiters, Bam Adebayo and Kelly Olynyk — played 12 minutes together. They shot 12 for 17, 4 for 4 from 3-point range and Miami outscored Detroit 36-13 in those 12 minutes. Andre Drummond fouled out with 6:30 left and finished with five points and nine rebounds — snapping his run of 19 consecutive double-doubles, which left him tied with Bob Lanier for the Pistons’ all-time record streak in that department.It wasn’t Drummond’s night.It wasn’t the Pistons’ night in any way. They shot 36 percent, got outrebounded 51-36 and were 8 for 37 from 3-point range — 1 for 17 in the second half. It went down as Detroit’s second-worst loss of the season, topped only by a 37-pointer at Indiana on Dec. 28.“For two games in a row now, we didn’t come out in playoff mode,” Pistons coach Dwane Casey said. “There’s nothing schematically. There’s nothing X-and-O wise. It’s our approach. We have to understand at this time of year … the only thing you can do is scrap and play hard.”TIP-INSPistons: Detroit hadn’t lost a quarter by 25 points since Oct. 30, 2010. … Drummond was looking to join Kevin Love (53), Dwight Howard (separate streaks of 33 and 20), Griffin (27) and Russell Westbrook (23, earlier this season) as players in the last decade with 20 straight double-doubles.Heat: Miami opened on an 8-0 run, its best to start a game this season. … It was Miami’s 600th sellout at AmericanAirlines Arena — the last 413 of those coming consecutively — and 900th home sellout overall. … The Heat celebrated Pride Night, and the national anthem before the game was performed by the South Florida Gay Men’s Chorus.EIGHT IS ENOUGHThere have been four instances of a team holding another to eight points or less in a quarter this season. Miami is responsible for three of them. Houston held Chicago to seven in the third quarter on Nov. 3 — and the rest of the list is all Heat. Miami held the Los Angeles Clippers to eight points in the fourth quarter on Dec. 8, and kept the Milwaukee Bucks to that many in the first quarter on Dec. 22.WADE BLOCKS Minus Kevin Durant, Warriors stop Rockets’ 9-game win streak LATEST STORIES Wade had a first-quarter blocked shot against Detroit’s 7-foot-1 Thon Maker. It was the 879th block of Wade’s career, leaving him 14 shy of Michael Jordan’s all-time regular-season record for guards. When adding playoff games, Wade already has more blocks than any guard in history.SLOW STARTDetroit has trailed after the first quarter in each of its last five games, and the 12-point deficit after 12 minutes in this one matched the Pistons’ third-largest, after-one-quarter hole this season. They had rallied to win three of the first four in those cases — but didn’t come close in this one.UP NEXTPistons: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.Heat: Host Milwaukee on Friday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next 1 dead, 3 injured in Quezon road crash PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss View comments Trump campaign, GOP groups attack Google’s new ad policy “Our starting lineup has had some good starts and some play that’s been trending in the right direction,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “But that was as inspiring as they’ve been.”Blake Griffin scored 13 points for Detroit, which got 11 from Wayne Ellington. Detroit missed its first 11 shots of the third quarter, eight of them from 3-point range.The Pistons have now dropped consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 25 and 29 — and both were blowout losses, with this one on the heels of a 103-75 rout in Brooklyn on Wednesday.“It’s about our mental fortitude and coming out and having a better mindset at the beginning of games, myself included,” Griffin said. “I’m not excluding myself from that at all. If we have any fight about us at all we’ll come out and rectify that.”Miami (32-35) is still No. 8 in the East, now two games ahead of No. 9 Orlando and two games back of No. 7 Detroit.ADVERTISEMENT P2.5 B shabu seized in Makati sting, Chinese national nabbed Hong Kong tunnel reopens, campus siege nears end Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson backs proposal to elect president and vice president in tandem SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (21) and guard Josh Richardson (0) celebrate after Whiteside scored during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, March 13, 2019, in Miami. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)MIAMI — The outcome was in doubt at halftime.It didn’t stay that way for long.ADVERTISEMENTlast_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

QLD wins ‘Friends of Rugby League’ Origin battle

first_imgA rainy Canberra morning didn’t stop a keen bunch of politicians and former Rugby League stars from battling it out in the 2015 ‘Friends of Rugby League’ Touch Football match at the Senate Oval, Parliament House on Wednesday morning. With New South Wales dominating the annual match in recent years, 2015 marked Queensland’s turn to lift the trophy, much to the delight of captain, Senator Barnaby Joyce. Former Queensland Origin player, Michael Crocker also joined the Queensland team, who ran away with a 4-2 win in the wet conditions.  NRL Chief Executive, Dave Smith donned a green and gold uniform for the second year running, joining both sides throughout the match. This comes one day after helping New South Wales to a 2-1 win in the Victorian Friends of Rugby League match at AAMI Park on Tuesday morning.Former New South Wales’ great, Nathan Hindmarsh was another player who backed up again in the 2015 match in the Blues side, led by MP Alex Hawke, hopeful of continuing their winning streak.But it wasn’t to be, with the Queensland side confident that this morning’s win will be a good omen for tonight’s main game. Touch Football Australia would like to thank Touch Football ACT referees, Adam Flint and Clint Jory for refereeing the game as well as ACT representatives Chris Tarlinton, Andrew Moylan, Ian Bateman, Jayde Bennett and Damian Prendergast for playing in the match. To view some of the photos from the event, please visit the Touch Football Australia Facebook page –www.facebook.com/touchfootballaustralia.  Related LinksQLD Wins Origin Gamelast_img read more

Kelly Ripa And Lisa Robertson Star In QVC PSA For Charity

first_imgTwo of the hottest hosts in live television – Kelly Ripa and Lisa Robertson – appear in both print and television public service announcements promoting QVC Presents Super Saturday LIVE on QVC Saturday, July 27 at 2 PM (ET), with net proceeds benefitting Ovarian Cancer Research Fund (OCRF).Both longtime supporters of OCRF’s “celebrity garage sale” in the Hamptons, Ripa who is best known as the co-star of “LIVE with Kelly and Michael”, will once again serve as its host while Robertson will take viewers inside the prestigious event during the “QVC Presents Super Saturday LIVE” broadcast.QVC began broadcasting from the exclusive Super Saturday sale in 2006 to help bring the fun and excitement of the event to its 100 million U.S. households, while also offering its viewers premier fashion, beauty, jewelry, accessories and home items for HALF the manufacturer’s suggested retail price*, with net proceeds benefitting OCRF.“It has been a pleasure to host this exciting show since the beginning and watch it rapidly grow into one of our highest viewed programming events,” said Robertson. “For me, personally, it has been amazing to be a part of such an important cause. If even one woman benefits from our broadcast then I feel that we have made an impact in helping to build awareness for this difficult- to-diagnose disease.”Often undetected in the early stages due to lack of specific testing, Ovarian Cancer is the leading cause of death from gynecologic cancers in the United States and is the fifth leading cause of cancer death among American women. QVC’s PSA campaign was designed to bring more awareness to this often “masked” disease and, thanks to Ripa and Robertson, spread the word to other women that could be affected.“QVC continues to be one of our greatest supporters and we are so thankful to Kelly and Lisa for continuing the fight this year to help bring attention to the importance of research for Ovarian Cancer,” said Audra Moran, CEO, OCRF. “We look forward to QVC’s involvement again this year and, of course, the amazing awareness that their broadcast brings to the event.”last_img read more

Tom Brady Doesnt Need Gronk — Or Moss Or Welker — To

By 2010 — a down year by New England’s standards but the first year of the Pats’ experiment with two-tight end jumbo packages — 31 percent of Brady’s passing yards were coming on play-action passes; rookies Gronkowski and Hernandez helped the Patriots to the highest rate in the league, a stark contrast from 2006 when Brady ranked 29th out of 32 qualified passers.The unpredictability goes for other supposed Brady calling cards, like consistent yards after the catch. Brady typically rates among the league leaders in YAC per completion, but he dipped to 24th out of 33 qualified passers in 2014, a season in which the Pats went 12-4 and won the Super Bowl.There’s no telling how long Brady will keep making it deep into the postseason, but just as compelling as wondering how long the old man can keep this up is waiting to see what sort of offense he’ll bring with him if he does.VIDEO: The Patriots better worry about Julio Jones Related: Hot Takedown When the New England Patriots upset the St. Louis Rams in Tom Brady’s first Super Bowl, way back in 2002, Brady was throwing passes to Kevin Faulk, Troy Brown and David Patten. By 2008, he was throwing to the greatest wide receiver of all time, backed by a deep, talented receiving corps. Once Randy Moss left town, the Pats retooled with perhaps the best tight end in NFL history — and again once that tight end was repeatedly lost to injury. These were all very different players with very different strengths, but the Patriots found success with all of them.One of the more remarkable things about Brady appearing in his seventh Super Bowl on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons at age 39 is how many different styles of offense he has found success in. It’s rare enough to find a quarterback who can make all of the throws, let alone one who can do it to so many different players with so many different game plans.Brady isn’t going to beat anyone with his legs (although he’s an effective sneaker), but the Patriots are unmatched in tweaking their offensive strategy for the personnel on hand. New England has had great offensive seasons in which over 70 percent of passing yards went to wide receivers, a high rate for the NFL. The Patriots have also had great seasons when WRs caught half of their yards or less, a rarity in the league. Five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Wes Welker was greatly responsible for some of the Patriots’ most concentrated (and successful) passing seasons, eating up yards alongside Moss and Gronkowski. During his four best years, the Patriots were truly a star-driven passing offense, with fourth and fifth options like Jabar Gaffney and Danny Woodhead making a comparatively small impact in the passing game. In 2011, New England’s most top-heavy season of the Brady era, Welker, Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez accounted for 33 of Brady’s 39 receiving touchdowns and over 70 percent of the team’s receiving yards.But the Pats don’t need stars in order to succeed. In 2005, Deion Branch, David Givens and Troy Brown caught just a little over 50 percent of the Pats’ receiving yards, with Ben Watson, Tim Dwight and Kevin Faulk adding contributions. An injury to Edelman in 2015 led to a similar situation – Gronk was the only player to crack 700 receiving yards, but eight players had at least 250. Of course, it helps to have some talent — the 2006 Patriots didn’t get much happening in their passing game with Reche Caldwell as WR1.That success with diverse sets of receivers has also come with diverse sets of game plans. Unlike, say, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers rolling left or Cardinals signal-caller Carson Palmer gunning the deep ball, conventional wisdom says that Brady’s game morphs to fit his personnel.One way we can test whether that’s true is to look at whether the things Brady was known for early in his career have continued to be central to his game as his career has progressed. At one point, the nearest thing he had to a specialty (besides those QB sneaks) was the play-action pass. Play-action is an effective part of any offense, and certain quarterbacks tend to rely on it more than others. But while Brady mastered it alongside future Hall of Famers Peyton Manning and Drew Brees, it has drifted in and out of his game over the years.ESPN’s more advanced passing data only goes back as far as 2006, after Brady had already established himself as a top quarterback — but a year before Moss and Welker showed up and the Pats began breaking passing records. Even picking up then, we can see drastic shifts in how often the Pats have gone to the run fake and how much of the passing offense it has made up. The 2016 Pats are light on wide receivers, although not exceptionally so for a Brady-led team. Julian Edelman topped 1,000 yards, and Chris Hogan established himself as a useful second receiver, but Danny Amendola mostly disappeared (putting up 243 yards in 12 games), and Malcolm Mitchell wasn’t exactly devastating. Meanwhile, tight ends Martellus Bennett and Rob Gronkowski (in eight games) combined for 1,241 yards, while running back James White chipped in another 551 in receiving.But, thanks in part to the Patriots, these positional distinctions don’t mean as much as they used to. Gronk isn’t a WR like Randy Moss was, but he is still more or less used as a receiver (a distinction that is, as Seahawks pass-catcher Jimmy Graham found, worth a lot of money in the pay scale). Perhaps a better way of looking at Brady’s versatility is how he does in the presence or absence of top targets. And while the Pats’ best seasons have come with major weapons at their disposal, they do just fine without them, thank you. Hot Takedown’s Super Bowl Special 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