Summary of “Takeaways From the Sloan Conference”

“I’m not a person that frowns upon analytics,” ex-NBA player Jalen Rose said this weekend during a panel at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston.
Morey pointed out that although a statistic like RPM can pick up on how some players provide a role when they’re on the floor that helps the team win, “That player could be very replaceable by multiple players with that same skill set. Even though it’s correct that they’re creating that winning, in our roles of having to decide player to player, you have to think about how else can you fill that role.” In other words, data can’t be the be-all and end-all.
One front-office stats guy told me that he observes people making mistakes most frequently with NBA.com’s defensive rating, which is a team statistic, not a player statistic.
The situation, the referees, the players on the floor, and luck all play a significant role in any number that a machine spits out.
Multiple league executives say that a better way of analyzing defense is to focus on the process rather than the results-looking at whether rotations were on time or late, or the way in which a player navigated a screen to chase a shooter, or whether a player was in the right position to help.
Intriguing Trade-Reform Ideas Morey said he thinks the fundamental challenge with trades is that draft picks are the only way to bridge the gap between how two teams value one player.
“The value changes up and down all the time, and it makes for a not-very-liquid market.” Morey said that the league should allow teams to put player-performance conditions on draft picks during trades, so that a pick’s ultimate position could be affected by the success or health of a traded player.
Bhostgusters! The coolest research paper at Sloan this year is titled “Bhostgusters: Realtime Interactive Play Sketching With Synthesized NBA Defenses.” In the paper, a five-person team from the Technical University of Munich aims to approach “Play sketching from a data-driven perspective.” In layman’s terms, you can draw up a play on a touch screen using their system, then simulate how a defense might respond to it.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Oklahoma City Thunder star Carmelo Anthony is learning to accept a new role”

Through training camp and the first six weeks of the season, that was the unofficial mantra of the Oklahoma City Thunder, or at least its three headliners, Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Anthony.
After the Thunder lost to the Cavs on Feb. 13, amid the forced quiet of the locker room, Anthony walked from the shower to his locker carrying his phone.
“I’ve been on teams with bad guys,” says Thunder backup point guard Raymond Felton, who played with Anthony in New York.
Sept. 22, three days before the start of training camp, Anthony got a call asking if he would be willing to add the Thunder to his list of approved teams if a deal could get done.
Hundreds of them showed up at the airport to greet Anthony when he arrived from New York after the trade.
“In New York, there was so much going on with the organization and the city,” Anthony says.
Never in his career – not in his eight years in Denver nor his seven in New York – had Anthony been open to the idea of reducing or even altering his role.
Without saying the words, he said he would make every effort to bring Olympic Melo to OKC. The next day, Anthony called Westbrook and George together and told them the new plan.

The orginal article.

Summary of “A Field Guide to the Characters of Michael Jordan Lore”

Michael Jordan or LeBron James? It is one of the essential questions in the modern era of sports fandom, encompassing facts and biases, statistics and anecdotal evidence, and the ever-shifting barometer of cultural relevance.
So if you ask, “Why would Cliff Levingston fall down simply from a faked pass?” I would respond, “Because it was Michael Jordan who was faking it, and everything Michael Jordan was doing with a basketball at that time was fucking terrifying.”
Jordan is on the left of Rollins, scowling at him, very clearly making a “Bitch, I told you don’t jump” face, and there’s Oakley on the right, very clearly doing a “Bitch, he told you don’t jump” finger point.
A quick summary of the Kwame-Jordan history: Jordan was the head of basketball operations for the Wizards when they selected Kwame with the no.
During Kwame’s time with the Wizards, there were multiple reports of Jordan bullying him, some instances of which were so crushing that they moved Kwame to near tears.
The opposite version of the Kwame story is what happened with Steve Kerr, who played with Jordan for three seasons.
In Jackson’s new book, “Eleven Rings,” he says the punch was a wake-up call for Jordan and a turning point for the championship-winning 1995-96 Bulls who won 72 regular-season games, a record that will likely never be broken.
It’s hard to imagine that Jordan ever would’ve wound up becoming the highest grade of basketball royalty without Scottie running along next to him.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How the NBA’s New Guard Remembers Michael Jordan”

Michael Jordan or LeBron James? It is one of the essential questions in the modern era of sports fandom, encompassing facts and biases, statistics and anecdotal evidence, and the ever-shifting barometer of cultural relevance.
Asked later where he first heard of MJ’s exploits, Smith, a North Carolina native, said “My pops. He didn’t want hear no comparisons.” After learning of Jordan, Smith went on YouTube and tuned into NBATV in search of Jordan’s greatest hits.
As the game turns to young players like Mitchell and Smith, it’s simultaneously distancing itself from a past ruled by Jordan.
From the time he was 3 years old, Collins said his mother would play the Jordan documentary Come Fly With Me for him every morning.
“I’m not gonna lie, when people say Michael Jordan is the greatest, I don’t know if he’s the greatest,” Hield said.
In March 2017, after passing Jordan for most postseason points ever, LeBron James talked about Jordan’s impact on his career.
“When you’re growing up and you’re seeing Michael Jordan, it’s almost like a god. So I didn’t ever believe I could be Mike. So I started to focus myself on other players and other people around my neighborhood because I never thought you could get to a point where Mike was. So I think that helped shape my game.”
They may not have seen Jordan at his peak, but they can see his imprint everywhere around today’s NBA. Jordan might not officially be the Logo, like Jerry West, but his silhouette adorned every jersey in Sunday’s All-Star Game.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Long Life of Luc Longley”

For a brief, miraculous instant, Luc Longley looked like the best center on the planet.
In the locker room, an enraged Jordan vowed, “Luc, I am never, ever going to say a nice thing about you again.” As Longley later told Inside Sport, “He was true to his word.”
For a while, Luc Longley wasn’t telling these stories.
That’s where you get Luc unplugged: In it, we learn that the T-Wolves practiced on a court inside a giant health club, so they were always being ogled by people riding exercise bikes; Longley calls his time there a “living hell.
Longley got traded to the Bulls during the year and a half that Jordan was playing minor league baseball.
Longley didn’t know about the casual wickedness Jordan dished out to big-man teammates like Bill Cartwright and Will Perdue.
Jordan tried to throw the ball to Longley while he was moving traffic in the post.
Sitting in the Bulls locker room every night, Longley became one of the world’s most underrated Jordan observers.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Spring Awakening of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Theatre Kids”

Cameron Kasky, the seventeen-year-old firebrand who started the Never Again movement with his classmates, told Wolf Blitzer, “Well, if you had seen me in our school’s production of ‘Fiddler on the Roof,’ you would know that nobody would pay me to act for anything.”
Taken aback, Blitzer responded, “ ’Fiddler on the Roof’ is a great-who did you play, by the way?” The answer was Motel the Tailor, and Kasky, staying remarkably on message, told him, “And I have to tell you, what we’ve seen so far is a ‘Miracle of Miracles.’ ”.
“All these kids are drama kids, and I’m a dramatic kid, so it really meshes well,” Emma González, one of Kasky’s compatriots, told Emily Witt.
On Thursday, the morning after Kasky asked Senator Marco Rubio if he would promise not to take any more donations from the N.R.A., Kasky tweeted, “Using my in flight chat to learn my Spring Awakening lines.” He was referring to the Tony Award-winning rock musical from 2006, by Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater.
“Spring Awakening” had already been on my mind as I watched Kasky, González, and their classmates show more moral clarity and vision than we’ve seen in the gun debate for a long time.
Based on the 1891 play by the German dramatist Frank Wedekind, the musical shows what happens when neglectful adults fail to make the world safe or comprehensible for teen-agers, and the onus that neglect puts on kids to beat their own path forward.
It’s hard to imagine watching “Spring Awakening” in Broward County, a community where the living are indeed walking on for the dead. Like Melchior, Kasky and his classmates have vowed to remake a world that failed them-a role that no teen-ager should have to play, especially in the wake of tragedy and trauma.
We don’t find out what happens to Melchior in the next scene, but I’d like to think that he goes back to school and gives his Latin teacher the same look that Kasky gave Rubio on Wednesday night-one that says that the world no longer belongs to the grownups, because the kids have seen through the B.S. and know that their lives are on the line.

The orginal article.

Summary of “How LeBron Can Finish His Fairy Tale Better Than MJ”

The question of Jordan or LeBron may live on for longer than they do.
It’s fair to argue about the start-to-finish careers of Jordan and LeBron, but LeBron will never surpass Jordan unless he reaches that specific point.
Jordan Rules author Sam Smith later wrote that Jordan “Couldn’t stand playing with Scottie Pippen anymore,” and that Jordan was “Sick and tired and burned out, just like in 1993.” Throw in Jordan’s hatred of Krause and that’s why Jordan walked away after that sixth title.
Former Jordan teammate B.J. Armstrong told me that Jordan walked away in ’93 because he was completely spent, both physically and mentally, and that he returned only 17 months later after noticing how dramatically expansion had diluted the league.
One of Jordan’s closest friends told me recently that, had the Bulls brought Jackson back after the 1998 Finals, Jordan absolutely would have stayed.
That’s how Michael Jordan ended up extending his own bizarre record: “Most times that the GOAT retired on top as an NBA Finals MVP: Two.”.
If LeBron wants to grab GOAT status from Jordan - and by all accounts, he does - then he can’t topple Jordan with anything other than rings or math.
It’s still a better choice than anything Jordan had 20 years ago.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Why Self-Taught Artificial Intelligence Has Trouble With the Real World”

In 2016, Google DeepMind’s AlphaGo thrashed champion Lee Sedol at the ancient board game Go after poring over millions of positions from tens of thousands of human games.
The past year also saw otherworldly self-taught bots emerge in settings as diverse as no-limit poker and Dota 2, a hugely popular multiplayer online video game in which fantasy-themed heroes battle for control of an alien world.
One characteristic shared by many games, chess and Go included, is that players can see all the pieces on both sides at all times.
An even more daunting game involving imperfect information is StarCraft II, another multiplayer online video game with a vast following.
Before the release of AlphaGo and its progeny, the DeepMind team achieved its first big, headline-grabbing result in 2013, when they used reinforcement learning to make a bot that learned to play seven Atari 2600 games, three of them at an expert level.
Within the larger category of reinforcement learning, board games and multiplayer games allow for an even more specific approach.
In game after game, an algorithm in a self-play system faces an equally matched foe.
Since 2008, hundreds of thousands of human players have attempted Foldit, an online game where users are scored on the stability and feasibility of the protein structures they fold.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Five moves each AFC team should make in 2018 NFL offseason for trades, free agency, cuts”

The Bills should designate Taylor as a post-June 1 release, which will free up $15 million on their cap for 2018 and get them over $44 million.
More likely is that they would designate Suh as a post-June 1 cut, which would free up $17 million in 2018 but leave $13.1 million in dead money on Miami’s cap next year.
The 31-year-old won’t approach the $5.5 million he’s due on his current deal if he hits the free market again, but after handing Timmons a $5 million signing bonus on a two-year deal, the Dolphins will save only $4.5 million by cutting the former Pro Bowler.
Cutting those four guys would free up just under $17 million and push the Pats to $34 million in free space.
Assuming the 23-year-old stays healthy and sees his sack total bounce back toward the mean in 2018, Williams should be in line for a five-year, $70 million extension next offseason.
If you’re the Browns and you want to give Cousins something to think about, what’s stopping you from offering him $40 million per year? You want a quarterback, right? The Browns could hand Cousins a five-year, $200 million deal with a $20 million signing bonus and $30 million roster bonuses in each of the first two seasons of the contract, guaranteeing him a total of $91 million over two years.
The former first overall pick isn’t going to be cheap, because some team is going to offer him $18 million per year if he hits free agency next year.
The Broncos already are handing Roby a raise to $8.5 million as a result of picking up his fifth-year option last offseason, so while Denver could let Roby play out his deal and work on an extension next offseason, it seems more likely they’ll sign Roby to a five-year extension in the $55 million range.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Crystal Small Ball: Predicting the NBA’s Second Half”

Which team will make the biggest push in the second half? Danny Chau: The Sixers.
The Heat are mostly an anonymous team, but they do feature a player you’re bound to hear about over the next few years.
O’Connor: It’s the same team as it was before the season: Houston.
Who will get left out of the West playoffs: Clippers, New Orleans, Portland, and/or Utah? O’Connor: New Orleans is at a severe disadvantage without DeMarcus Cousins, but the Pelicans still have the best player of any of the four teams on the bubble, so it’s hard to pick against them.
Tjarks: The good people at Denver Stiffs did a nice breakdown of the schedule for all of these teams, and the one that stands out is Utah, which plays 11 games against non-playoff contenders who don’t have much incentive to win.
It’s hard to top the existential dread induced by your owner telling Dr. J that your team is a loser, but the Kings recently started a lineup in which the oldest player was Bogdanovic, a 25-year-old rookie.
O’Connor: Mark Cuban said the best option for the Mavericks is to lose, which is certainly true, but it’s largely fascinating because the statement could either suck the life out of the team or motivate it more than ever to close the season strong.
Which team will finish first in the East standings? O’Connor: The Raptors are the deepest team in the East, and they seem to be getting better and better as the season progresses.

The orginal article.