Summary of “The Rockets Are Fun to Watch or Proof That Science Is Ruining the NBA”

It works! The Rockets entered the playoffs with the best record in the NBA and the presumptive runaway MVP, and they represent the league’s best chance at derailing the Warriors’ dynasty in the weeks to come.
What isn’t quite as clear is a debate so hotly contested it’s bound to tear this country apart: Are the Rockets fun to watch? Does their manifestation of math and statistical probability create a visually appealing brand of basketball? I don’t mean to suggest that Houston should stop trying to win and make its primary focus entertaining idiots like me.
This is the best argument for the Rockets being fun to watch, and it’s also the reason NBA Jam was one of the greatest video games of all time.
NOT FUN: There’s flopping in the NBA, and there’s whatever the hell the Rockets do.
FUN: It works! The whole premise of this exercise is to ignore assessing whether Houston’s system is the best way to win an NBA championship and instead focus on determining whether the Rockets are fun to watch.
Utah’s Game 2 win felt like a massive deal; it wouldn’t have carried the same weight if the Rockets went 49-33 and not 65-17.
VERDICT: The Rockets are fun, but not as fun as they should be.
If the NBA reaches the point where every team follows the Rockets’ lead and essentially tries to find glitches that can be exploited, the league might as well just let computers simulate all of the games.

The orginal article.

Summary of “NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Has a Game Plan”

Beyond being one of the biggest providers of sports programming, it has expanded its lines of business into adjacent areas: the WNBA; the NBA G League, a developmental league; the NBA 2K League, an e-sports league based on the NBA’s video game NBA 2K; NBA League Pass, a popular video streaming service of live games; and a host of experiments with leading technology platforms including Facebook, YouTube, and Tencent.
The 2018 Los Angeles All-Star game was the 55th anniversary of the first All-Star game we played in Los Angeles in 1963.
S+B: What role do you think video games, in particular, play in the NBA’s fan ecosystem? How is their significance similar to or different from, say, what you said about social media?SILVER: We’ve always believed that, to an extent, young fans become engaged with the NBA through our video games, and by learning about the players and the teams, they’re more likely to want to engage in the live product.
We think there’s an opportunity to capture a new kind of fan, one who currently isn’t necessarily watching our games on television, but is more of a gamer, and is interested in NBA content and enjoys playing our NBA 2K game.
We saw an opportunity to create a league with our partner Take-Two around our NBA 2K game, using a new set of competitors who are professional gamers.
What if a mobile user gets an alert that a game is close, or that Steph Curry is going for 50 points, or that a game is going down to the wire? How do we then provide an opportunity for them with one click to buy some portion of the game that they can watch on their phone? Maybe we’ll be able to set the price based on the amount of content consumed rather than selling the entire game for a set price.
Tencent has been very focused on discovery: for example, on how it alerts users that there’s an interesting part of the game on, or that a player that users have already demonstrated an interest in is playing.
Bob Johnson, the founder of BET, when he was the owner of the Charlotte franchise, said watching an NBA game [on TV] is like watching one of the old silent movies.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Legend of Brad Stevens”

It’s just the latest instance in which Celtics coach Brad Stevens has managed to squeeze the most out of a limited roster of players on one of the biggest stages in basketball.
As you probably know, Stevens is already widely considered the greatest coach in basketball history.
On James Naismith’s deathbed, he turned to his loved ones and said, “My greatest achievement is inventing the sport that one day Brad Stevens will coach,” which confused everybody, because the name “Brad” wasn’t invented until 1974.
Widely considered the inspiration for Norman Dale in Hoosiers, Coach Taylor in Friday Night Lights, and Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln, Stevens is the first-and to date, only-recipient of the Nobel Prize for coaching.
Give Stevens a ragtag band of NBA players with no stars, and he will advance through the playoffs.
1997: Air Bud You don’t get college coaching jobs fresh out of college, so at 21, Stevens took a volunteer coaching gig-as the head coach for the Fernfield Timberwolves, a middle school team in Washington.
After consulting the rulebook and ensuring that there were no bylaws preventing a dog from playing basketball, Stevens crafted a role specifically for Buddy.
Air Bud never gave any quotes about how Stevens helped his surprisingly prolific career, but he did roll over and allow the coach to rub his belly in the presence of reporters.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Parenting the Fortnite Addict”

Though adults may worry that shooting games cultivate aggression, C. Shawn Green, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison who researches video games, notes that, “There’s really no evidence that playing a violent video game would take someone who has absolutely no violent tendencies and suddenly make them violent.”
Research does confirm that action video games cultivate the spatial skills needed in advanced mathematics and engineering.
Fortnite incorporates much of what game designers know about how to ensure a captive audience.
The heavily social aspect of Fortnite serves to make the game even more compelling.
Enthusiasts may devote hours to watching streaming videos of highly skilled gamers, studying highlight reels posted on YouTube and tracking the game’s strong social media presence and following among celebrities like Drake.
Parents might reduce some friction at home by talking with their family gamer about how best to keep Fortnite in check.
At a certain point, Dr. Pines alerts Noah that he’s on his last game, knowing that a single game can take less than a minute for a gamer ambushed by an adversary who quickly finds a rifle, or not more than 20 minutes for the competitor who wins.
Adults who are catching up to Fortnite shouldn’t hesitate to ask young people about the game.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Inside Nintendo’s secretive creative process”

Nintendo is coming out of a rough patch in its 128-year history.
Takahashi paints innovation as a side-product of Nintendo’s working culture – something about which the company has always been notoriously secretive.
In the last few years it has started to open up just a little; its regular Nintendo Direct broadcasts show the faces behind games such as Mario, Zelda, Animal Crossing and Splatoon.
For a long time, the creative face of Nintendo was Shigeru Miyamoto, the creator of Mario – but now there is a newer generation of game creators in the limelight, including Splatoon’s director Tsubasa Sakaguchi, who joined the company in 2004.
Nintendo does not prioritise experience in its hiring, says Takahashi – instead it looks for focus.
“This is the advantage we have at Nintendo as a software/hardware integrated organisation – when we do research for our new hardware systems, our software developers, our artists, our programmers and our hardware engineers all get together and decide what we should aim for. We’ve been doing that for many years.”
Nintendo Labo – the company’s most recent big idea, which uses the Switch console to turn cardboard models into interactive toys – is emblematic of Nintendo’s preference for finding new ways to use old or cheap technology, rather than rushing to keep up with cutting edge.
The remark recalls a philosophy ascribed to legendary Nintendo engineer Gunpei Yokoi who referred to his great achievements – the Game & Watch and Game Boy – as “Lateral thinking with withered technology”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Survival of the Mediocre Mediocre”

Mediocrity is in fact the sine qua non of survival itself.
Agency and satisficing are emergent aspects of mediocrity, not explicit calculations involved in the generation of mediocre behavior.
Sometimes antifragility will point to mediocrity as the way, and other times mediocrity will exhibit antifragility.
Computers have learned to be mediocre, but haven’t yet learned to compete at mediocrity out in the open world.
Mediocrity qua mediocrity? We still have an edge there.
Soft mediocrity is mediocrity revealed through middling performance in domains where A-Ark excellence is actually possible on one end of the performance spectrum, and error-free correct, reliable C-Ark useful performance is possible at the other.
So a mediocre chess player, or a sloppy assembly line worker both exhibit soft mediocrity, because both excellence and error-free play are achievable and meaningful.
While disruption always involves mediocrity, mediocrity does not always imply disruption.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Video Game ‘Loot Box’ Offers Coveted Rewards, but Is It Gambling?”

Most of those bills have stalled sparing for now a substantial revenue stream for the video game industry, which is eager to counter rising production costs.
Dan Hewitt, vice president of media relations for the Entertainment Software Association, an industry trade group, said loot boxes are not gambling because they each provide something to use in the game.
Most loot boxes can be accumulated free by playing the game, but they are also for sale: In Overwatch, a vibrant team-based shooter by Blizzard, they are sold in packages from two for $2 to 50 for $40. The items in the loot boxes vary in rarity: common, rare, epic and legendary.
The software association has compared loot boxes to packs of sports cards or games like Pokémon and Magic: The Gathering.
Gaming commissions in the United Kingdom and New Zealand have said loot boxes are not gambling.
Faced with the perception it was greedy, Electronic Arts, the game’s publisher, removed the option to pay for loot boxes hours before the game was released.
A company spokesman declined to comment, and it was unclear how it will incorporate loot boxes in future games.
Loot boxes have been prevalent for at least a decade, mostly in free games, but the Battlefront controversy was “The first real big punch in the gut,” said Christopher Hansford, the political engagement director for Consumers for Digital Fairness, which wants randomized in-game transactions regulated as gambling.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Players Have Crowned A New Best Board Game”

A new game now tops those rankings: It’s called Gloomhaven, and it’s the current BoardGameGeek No. 1, having taken over the top spot this past winter.
The BoardGameGeek list is valuable real estate in high-end board gaming, and the No. 1 spot is, of course, the prime position – Boardwalk, if you will.
The seven No. 1s are a motley bunch, including a civilization-building game set in the ancient fertile crescent and a war game set in the 1910s.
Years ago, Isaac Childres, the game’s designer, like many budding board gamers, got his start in “Serious” gaming with Settlers of Catan, then logged on to BoardGameGeek and worked his way down its empirically ranked list: the strategic farming of Agricola, the capitalistic infrastructure of Power Grid, the castle building of Caylus.
Even still, Gloomhaven’s average user rating is a full 0.35 points higher than the second-place game, which may help it cement a lengthy legacy.
So its raters so far are likely a specific subset of the gaming culture – people who find the concept so appealing that they were willing to shell out cash for a game that didn’t exist yet.
There will always be incremental progress, in human endeavor generally and in board game design specifically.
“There’s always someone who is able to reach farther and farther limits, for whatever reason, maybe some small-scale human evolution. Board games are evolving as well, standing on the shoulders of the great games and iterating on them.”

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Sixers’ Moment Has Arrived”

Meek never got to celebrate with the team he scored, but his cause became something bigger than a Tom Brady fumble in February.
Members of the Sixers’ roster and ownership group visited him in jail.
Meek rang the Sixers’ prop Liberty Bell as the in-arena PA announced to the crowd that the rapper was supported by Sixers owners Josh Harris and Rubin and longtime fan Kevin Hart.
If the Sixers weren’t ready for the game before, they were now.
For weeks, people have been coming up to me - friends, trolls, troll-friends - congratulating me on the Sixers.
The Heat could not hang with the Sixers, so Miami tried to get into a fight with them.
There is a version of this Sixers team that might have wilted in the face of Miami’s professional fouling and streaky shooting.
Throughout the second half of the season, the Sixers made fish chum of the league’s worst squads.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Proof Is in the Pelicans”

Anthony Davis, who could finish second in MVP voting this season, might wind up being the third-most noteworthy player on his own team because Playoff Rondo is real and Jrue Holiday has emerged as the most imposing two-way presence in the NBA. The higher seed in each matchup tends to be the lens through which we view the series as a whole, as though the victors had already prewritten history and we’re all just here to fact-check for discrepancies.
Holiday transitioned to the wing to accommodate Rajon Rondo over the offseason.
Of course, Holiday and Davis are so good at the point of attack and from the backline, respectively, that the possession might’ve played out identically if Rondo hadn’t broadcast his reconnaissance.
Even if there are a number of ways to arrive at the same conclusion, in the playoffs, it might be wisest to follow Rondo’s lead. “If you’re gonna have him on your team you’ve got to believe in him enough to understand he’s gonna put guys in the right situation,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said after Game 1.
After their Game 2 victory in Portland, the Pelicans became only the seventh team since 2003, when the NBA went to a best-of-seven format in the first round, to win the first two games on the road. The most recent team to take the first two prior to these Pels was last year’s Bulls, a squad that rode Rondo’s institutional knowledge of the Celtics’ system until a fractured thumb forced both Rondo and Chicago out of the series.
Davis mentioned to the media that Rondo had stayed up all night prior to Game 1 watching film, crediting him for diagnosing plays before the Blazers could even get into their sets, something the point guard has done his entire career.
The Pelicans’ four most important players-Davis, Holiday, Rondo, and Nikola Mirotic-are all averaging no less than 38.5 minutes per game, and both games 1 and 2 have seen the final results determined by big scoring runs.
If Blazers coach Terry Stotts and his team can’t adjust at the rate Rondo has proved himself able to, there’s a chance Rondo can make up for lost time.

The orginal article.