Summary of “The Biggest Surprises and Disappointments of the NBA Season”

Which player is the biggest surprise of the regular season? Justin Verrier: Victor Oladipo.
An unlucky face contusion at the hands of Markelle Fultz may sideline Embiid for the rest of the regular season, but Embiid staying injury-free from the neck down and playing at an All-Star level for 63 games is shocking given his injury-filled past.
The Raptors’ bench has been one of the best stories of the season, and he’s been the captain of it.
Which player is the biggest disappointment of the regular season? Gonzalez: Isaiah Thomas has had an awful run.
Wall’s playoff performance last year had him on a short list for the top players in the East, but his age-27 season ended up being a lost one.
Which team is the biggest surprise of the regular season? Tjarks: The Blazers have emerged out of the pack in the middle of the West and look like the third-best team in the conference heading into the postseason.
Which team is the biggest disappointment of the regular season? Gonzalez: Detroit.
There weren’t a lot of expectations surrounding the Pistons coming into the season, but given that they went all in on this season twice it wasn’t unreasonable to expect them to snatch one of the playoff spots at the bottom of the Eastern Conference-or at least make the race competitive into the final week of the season.

The orginal article.

Summary of “If You Had One Shot”

If you had to choose one current NBA player to take one shot, who would you pick? What about to play in just one game? One season? One series? We asked our NBA staff to make a pick for each, with one catch: You can’t choose the same player twice.
Shea Serrano: Let’s say the Spurs are in the NBA Finals, and let’s also say that it’s Game 7, and let’s also say that they’re playing on the road, and let’s also say that the score is 101-99, and let’s also say that there are 14 seconds left, and let’s also say that the Spurs are in possession of the ball, and let’s also say that they have just used their final timeout, and let’s also say that we’re playing against a suddenly unstoppable Cavs team, and let’s also say that in addition to the title being at stake my life is also at stake.
The gravity of the moment, the symbolism of the two best players in the game brought together in a single frame, the unique talents that Durant can leverage over every player in the NBA-it all culminated in a perfect late-game shot.
Give me the player who has a standing reach of 9-foot-2 who can ably shoot from anywhere on the floor without any chance of getting his shot blocked.
If we’re narrowing it down to the player who is actually pulling the trigger, give me Curry, who is literally the most likely non-center to make a shot, of any kind, in NBA history.
In addition to playing 57 of 68 possible games-all those people who said he’d never even play half a season sure have been quiet lately-averaging a double-double and making his first All-Star team, no one in the league has had more fun than JoJo.
Now he has a 3-point shot and the bulk to play center full-time and play through the various minor injuries and uncalled fouls that have stalled his ascension.
The league’s best player has a supercomputer mind and has played in four playoff series in each of the past seven seasons-an unfathomable advantage in game data over every other player in the NBA. He knows exactly how the league has changed over the past five seasons.

The orginal article.

Summary of “An Exploration of Jared Dunn’s Bizarre Childhood”

Jared had a really, really messed-up childhood, which we learn about only when he mentions it in passing-like in Season 4, when Richard asks how he knows how to paint nails so well and Jared calmly replies, “When I was on the street, it was a means of survival.” Dude what?!
In his Pied Piper bio, Jared writes that he was raised by “Largely well-meaning foster parents.” But it seems that there were periods of his childhood when Jared’s caretakers were far from responsible.
Jared Found Solace in Friends Both Real and Imaginary “The boys at the home and I used to play a game called ‘Rose and Thorn,’ ranking the highs and lows of our day, and, well, these past few have been a thicket of thorns.” – Jared Dunn, Pied Piper Blog, “A Thicket of Thorns”.
Jared’s Relatives Were Awful “Hey! Sorry if I scared you. I know I have somewhat ghost-like features. My uncle used to say, ‘You look like someone starved a virgin to death.'” – Jared Dunn, Silicon Valley, Season 1, Episode 2, “The Cap Table”.
He also introduced Jared to what he called “Uncle Jerry’s Game,” where Jared would pretend that everything around him was OK, when it clearly wasn’t, in a facile attempt to block out the traumas of his childhood.
Jared’s biological father was last seen in a militia in the Ozarks, as Jared said in Season 3’s fifth episode, “The Empty Chair.” It seems unlikely that Silicon Valley will introduce any of Jared’s biological relatives in future seasons-though for Jared’s sake, it’s probably for the best.
Jared Attended Vassar, and Was Part of the Women’s Rowing Team? “I’ll have you know none of my foster homes were not remotely this luxurious, and my dorm room at Vassar was nearly as Spartan.” – Jared Dunn, Pied Piper Blog, “Personal Management”.
Silicon Valley covered a lot of ground when it came to Jared’s upbringing, especially when you factor in that non-disclosure clause! And despite some very unfortunate moments-Uncle Jerry and his game, all the foster homes, the unnamed assailants-Jared actually turned out OK. Not only that, Jared is hysterical; he’s the beating heart of Silicon Valley.

The orginal article.

Summary of “It’s Never Too Early For Gregg Popovich To Call A Timeout”

The Spurs hadn’t even run an offensive play yet, but as soon as he crossed half-court, Green began walking toward the bench, knowing that his coach would call a timeout.
He’s come to expect this sort of thing from Gregg Popovich, who’s called more abrupt timeouts than anyone in recent years – in some cases to shout at Green specifically.
“In a nutshell, when he calls us over that quickly, it’s to say: ‘Wake up – get your head out of your butt. This is a big game. You can’t fall asleep on defense and fail to execute on the very first play of the game.’ He uses language that’s a little stronger than that, but if he has to call timeout that early, it’s pretty much to chew you out for not really being in the game mentally yet.”
Popovich, the longest-tenured coach in American professional sports, has never been shy about burning an early timeout to get his point across.
Popovich has called an NBA-high five timeouts within the first two minutes of a game this season – an eye-popping number given that more than a third of the teams in the league haven’t used even one such timeout – and is currently on pace to call more than he ever has in a single season.
Popovich said there was no true rhyme or reason to the nature of his timeout calls, other than something looking out of place.
In the past, Popovich would call timeouts a minute or two ahead of first-quarter commercial breaks that were scheduled to happen anyway – a practice that allowed him to sit his starters and buy them a little bit of extra rest.
Regardless of whether the Spurs make the playoffs, one thing is clear: Popovich will always get his points about precision across to his players – even if it means calling a timeout 14 seconds into a game to do so.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Overload: Will any shows from the Golden Age of TV endure?”

HBO had been churning out original programming for decades-stand-up specials and sports programs and nudity-filled reality shows like Real Sex; mediocre sitcoms like Arli$$ and critically acclaimed ones like The Larry Sanders Show; lurid, pulpier fare like Oz-before David Chase’s gangster opus premiered.
The year 2013 also saw the premiere of Netflix’s House of Cards and with it a new model for distributing shows: Unlike network channels or broadcast TV, which doled out their premier programming a week at a time for three months or so, Netflix released the whole season at once.
Revolution Was Televised is a must-read history of TV running from the debut of HBO’s Oz through AMC’s emergence as a power player with Mad Men and Breaking Bad. Seitz and Sepinwall have collected their recaps-brief critical summaries of TV episodes published online as quickly as possible after the episodes’ initial airings-of those two shows in, respectively, Mad Men Carousel: The Complete Critical Companion and Breaking Bad 101: The Complete Critical Companion.
The sheer volume of new shows-the thousands of hours of new stuff-and the new distribution models make it difficult for older shows to stay in circulation and for excellent new shows to impress themselves upon the national consciousness.
How much of the urge to include The Simpsons or Seinfeld comes from familiarity? Would the entirety of your list simply draw from programs that were on the air when you were watching TV? Whereas an all-time-top-10 movie list compiled by a person under the age of 40 would likely contain at least a few films made before he or she was born-Citizen Kane or The Godfather/The Godfather Part II or The Wizard of Oz or Vertigo or A Clockwork Orange or On the Waterfront-how many TV shows that aired before 1978 would make the cut? Some of you might perhaps pick I Love Lucy or The Twilight Zone-but even then, these are likely shows you watched over and over again in syndication growing up.
Another major difficulty that arises when thinking about which TV shows will last and be of interest to future generations is their length.
So is there any point to determining a TV canon at all? There certainly are excellent TV shows, especially relative to other TV shows.
There are TV shows that are produced with artistic genius and beauty and that shed light on timeless truths about the human condition.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Most Important Players of the NBA’s Final Month”

Since getting a few days off in mid-February, Iguodala has been a new player: He’s shooting 69 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3 while averaging five rebounds and 3.5 assists in 25 minutes a game.
He’s averaging 4.7 assists per game in 29.8 minutes, taking care of reserve bigs Daniel Theis and Greg Monroe, and forming a surprisingly effective partnership with fellow guard Terry Rozier.
He’s missed the past four games because of an ankle injury, and Toronto’s youthful depth has been able to cover for that.
Nance, who has started the past two games, isn’t going to win you a playoff game, but he can help LeBron carry the Cavs there.
Jusuf Nurkic, Trail Blazers Uggetti: Nurkic averaged nearly 30 minutes a game in the month of November and averaged 16.8 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.
Harrell, who is averaging 14.5 points per game since Griffin was traded, is part of a Clippers contingent playing above their pay grade and keeping the team right in the middle of the playoff race.
Harrell has scored in double digits his past seven games, and the Clippers are three points per 100 possessions better when he’s on the court than when he’s off.
Nikola Jokic, Nuggets O’Shaughnessy: The Joker balled out against Cleveland on Wednesday, but the outing came after four games of struggling to readjust to life with Paul Millsap on the court.

The orginal article.

Summary of “133 Amazing Facts for People Who Like Amazing Facts”

“We didn’t think of Sarah as Buffy because we thought she was too smart and too grounded and not enough of a misfit in a sense, because Buffy was this outsider. How could Sarah be an outsider? She’s so lovely. So we brought her in as Cordelia, and she was fantastic as Cordelia. Then we went to the network, they knew that Sarah was a star from her previous work, and that she could be Buffy, and that we could do that Buffy.”
In the Buffy movie, the vampires looked like regular people with sharper teeth and paler skin.
Vampires don’t fly on Buffy or turn into bats because the show didn’t have the money and Whedon thought it looked silly.
THE GENTLEMEN WERE INSPIRED BY A DREAM. A version of Buffy’s creepiest villains first appeared in a dream of Whedon’s; they floated toward him while he was in bed.
THE HARDEST CHARACTER FOR WHEDON TO KILL OFF WAS BUFFY’S MOM. One of Buffy’s most critically acclaimed episodes is season five’s “The Body,” in which the slayer’s mom, played by Kristine Sutherland, dies of natural causes.
The moments after Buffy discovers her mother dead on the couch were done in a single take, which Whedon had Gellar perform seven times.
THE SHOW SPAWNED ACADEMIC COURSES…. A number of colleges and universities offer courses on the show; they’re called “Buffy Studies.” People have written books and held conferences dedicated to discussing the themes of the show and presenting papers on it.
According to the Los Angeles Times, attendees at a 2004 Buffy conference “Were presenting 190 papers on topics ranging from ‘slayer slang’ to ‘postmodern reflections on the culture of consumption’ to ‘Buffy and the new American Buddhism.’ There was even a self-conscious talk by David Lavery, an English professor at Middle Tennessee State University, on Buffy studies ‘as an academic cult.'”.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Dispatches From the NBA’s Tank Wars”

There is usually a moment of acceptance after the All-Star break that happens to most of the league’s worst teams, when a team agrees to give up the ghost and reincarnate as a hollowed-out version of itself, all for a chance at a franchise-altering selection come June.
There are currently eight teams within four games of the worst record in the NBA, an unprecedented amount of competition for pole position in the draft.
According to FiveThirtyEight projections, only four wins will separate the 2017-18 team that finishes with the worst record in the NBA and the team that finishes with the seventh-worst record.
Since 1996-97, a four-win gap would be smaller than the difference between the worst team and fourth-worst team every season, let alone seventh-worst.
Tanking teams commonly pile on the handicaps by disrupting team chemistry through trading players away or adding players on 10-day contracts fighting for their NBA lives.
D-II players make up less than 1 percent of the league at large, but on the Atlanta Hawks, they make up 12.5 percent of the team’s active roster.
His tweets make him sound like the team’s nutritional adviser, not a player who just signed a three-year deal.
The First Rule of Tank Club Sources: The NBA issued a warning to the Chicago Bulls this week on resting healthy players, and the team now plans to play veteran starters Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday again more extensively to close the season.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Is This the End of the Spurs’ Dynasty?”

The Spurs are the standard in the NBA. In the past 20 years, they’ve never missed the playoffs, made six Finals appearances, won five championships, and never won less than 60 percent of their games in a single season.
The last time Leonard played, on January 13, the Spurs smoked the Nuggets by 32.
Leonard, for what it’s worth, was asked Wednesday whether he wants to finish his career with the Spurs.
Leonard’s quad issue caused him to miss 18 games during the 2012-13 season and forced the Spurs to address the issue over the offseason.
Let’s not forget that the Spurs were in control in Game 1 of last season’s Western Conference finals until Leonard got hurt.
Parker’s contract is up, and he said he wants to play 20 seasons for the Spurs, which means that the franchise will have to be willing to offer a three-year deal to a 35-year-old who is average at best on defense and is shooting 19.2 percent from 3.
The Spurs are always good, so they always draft in the back half of the first round, but they haven’t hit a bull’s-eye with a single one of their picks since they swapped George Hill for Leonard in 2011.
The free-agent market will be harsh for players this summer, so an opportunity could be there for the Spurs to poach a player and reshuffle their roster in a way that sets them up for greater success.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The James Harden vs. Russell Westbrook Argument Is Over”

Last season, Russell, powered by sheer, near-nuclear rage, won the MVP award.
If Russ is Paul Bunyan, James Harden owns the lumberyard.
Last season, the pro-Harden argument was wonky and faintly intellectual and involved charts and required his supporters to deliver a passionate defense of foul shots.
The Rockets have the best record in the league, a historically great offense, and James Harden is their best player.
Put another way, Harden gets fouled at a rate commensurate with superstar players throughout history who got fouled on purpose.
Even though the MVP voting and the playoffs and the potential for yet another Harden vanishing act are still months away, the debate between Harden and Russ feels so settled, it hardly feels like a debate at all.
Harden will take over 700 3s again this season and he’s leading the league in points.
His triple-double-laden MVP season increasingly seems like much sound and fury, signifying nothing.

The orginal article.