Summary of “Philadelphia Loses Carson Wentz and the NFL Has a Football Problem”

NFL quarterbacks throw short of the first-down sticks nearly two-thirds of the time on long third downs.
The story of the modern NFL offense is that despite the athletes getting better and this generation of quarterbacks throwing more passes from high school on than ever before, NFL teams somehow took these pieces and gave us the most conservative passing era of all time.
When Houston’s Deshaun Watson, one of the most fun players in the NFL, was ruled out with an ACL tear last month, I wrote, “If you’re still looking for a silver lining for the 2017 season with Watson gone, Carson Wentz is fun, and Alex Smith and the Chiefs are interesting.” The Chiefs are no longer interesting, and Wentz is joining Watson on the ship of lost quarterbacks.
If you are an interesting or fun NFL player, you’ve probably suffered a serious injury in the past year.
Football Outsiders says the number of reported injuries has spiked since 2007.
NFL superstars get hurt because they are human and the open field of an NFL game is no place for humans.
The NFL needs stars, and it needs even more of them.
In the same week that saw scary injuries to Ryan Shazier and Tom Savage, the NFL just lost another superstar.

The orginal article.

Summary of “LeBron James Could Form the Superteam to End All Superteams in Houston”

There’s a new contender in the LeBron James sweepstakes.
With Los Angeles in the midst of another disappointing season, chatter about LeBron going to Houston has been growing around the league.
James Harden would be the best player LeBron has ever played with.
Dwyane Wade’s prime years playing with LeBron James were beset by injury, and Kyrie Irving had yet to enter his in Cleveland.
In 15 seasons in the NBA, LeBron has averaged fewer than 37 minutes per game only twice.
LeBron may be able to build a superteam with some combination of Paul, Paul George, and DeMarcus Cousins, but the Lakers wouldn’t have the money to sign any role players.
LeBron in Houston is way scarier for Golden State than anything he could do in Los Angeles.
The NBA needs someone who can challenge them, and LeBron has only so many years left that he can play at his current level.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Best TV Shows of 2017”

To read about what this year’s television shows meant to 2017, see Alison Herman’s accompanying year-end essay.
BoJack Horseman BoJack is often reduced to its de facto logline of “Depressed talking-horse show,” but I find that Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s animated dramedy is simply about what it’s like to be a person.
As always, BoJack found a way to articulate abstract and elemental anxieties-What if you know a relationship is good for you but still can’t make it work? What if you’ve staked your sense of self on independence, but need help anyway?-by rendering them in candy-colored 2-D. BoJack is a thoughtful show on every level, from tightly crafted episodes to the slow-but-steady progression of its characters’ spiritual journey.
Riverdale Sometimes, one must apply the KonMari principle to list-making: Does this show bring me joy? Minute for minute, no show on television brought me more joy this year than the CW’s knowingly absurd Archie adaptation, a power-clash of a show that brings together ’50s aesthetics, ’80s teen drama, and a thoroughly contemporary sense of irony and camp.
The plot can be messy, the character development inconsistent, the disregard for typical teen show bread and butter blatant.
The Keepers A confession: Excellent though it might have been, I wouldn’t have predicted Netflix’s true crime series landing in my top shows of the year when it arrived on the streaming service this May. But as sexual violence and its insidious systemic roots in some of our most prominent institutions began to dominate the news this fall, my thoughts kept returning to the television show that conveyed the problem more powerfully and empathetically than any other work in 2017.
In the process, the show achieved a near-miraculous balance.
Ambiguous endings can feel like an infuriating cop-out, but The Leftovers-in which grieving mother Nora Durst may or may not have discovered where the 2 percent of humanity who vanished into thin air actually went-felt perfectly in line with the show’s exploration of belief’s psychological power.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Eli Manning Mailbag”

Speaking of Giants, here’s the best way to describe Eli Manning’s career in New York: memorable enough to warrant a chunk of his own mailbag not quite memorable enough to carry the entire mailbag himself.
Q: How do we know that Eli Manning won’t make the Hall of Fame? He would have made for a terrible sports movie character.
Would any actor want to play Eli Manning in a movie? No way, no how.
Giants fans defended Eli to the death and allowed Eli arguments only within their closed-off circles, much like Friday Night Lights fans adore Saracen and avoid any and all “Which Friday Night Lights QB would you rather have for one big game: Saracen or Vince?” discussions.
Was Eli good? Was Eli great? Was Eli lucky? Was Eli secretly terrible? Would you want Eli as your QB? We argued and argued and argued about it.
A profoundly mediocre Eli Manning leads the Jets to a 2019 SB win over the Giants.
Eli looking sad in a Jets uniform? Eli bringing his horseshoe to the AFC East? The Jets fans immediately jumping on the Eli bandwagon after lobbing grenades at him for the past 12 years? The obligatory montage of veteran QBs that the Jets landed three to seven years too late? The thought of the Brady-Belichick era ending with the Pats blowing a Round 2 playoff game at home to Eli and the 9-7 Jets? Only Eli on the Ravens would scare me more than Eli going to the Jets.
Even worse, what if Eli saves the season and WINS THE SUPER BOWL for the Patriots, followed by Giants fans claiming co-ownership of Super Bowl 52 and clinging to a brand-new “We would’ve won six Super Bowls with Eli if we had Belichick as our coach!” argument.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Robert Covington Is the NBA’s Best Undrafted Player”

No one is more inextricably tied to the Process than Robert Covington.
Through a quarter of the young season, Covington, who will turn 27 next month, has transformed into one of the league’s premier 3-and-D wings - the perfect complement to ball-dominant rising stars Embiid and Ben Simmons.
Currently averaging 14.9 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.7 steals per game, Covington is among the league leaders in made trifectas and 17th in steals per game.
Following the 2013 draft, Covington signed with the Houston Rockets but spent most of the season with the 3-point-heaving Rio Grande Valley Vipers, a team that served as a petri dish for Daryl Morey’s grand analytical experiment.
Ben Falk, who was the Sixers’ vice president of basketball strategy during Hinkie’s tenure, recalled when Covington first joined the relatively barren Philly roster.
Covington is tied for 17th in the league in steals per game and was, respectively, sixth and 14th in steals percentage over the two prior seasons.
Covington credits the Sixers coaching staff, along with his time in the weight room and studying film, for his defensive improvement, and said he wasn’t even aware of his freakish ability to clamp mitts on the ball until the team started monitoring deflections.
Robert Covington is not only part of the story, but someone who deserves a ballad of his own.

The orginal article.

Summary of “What we can learn from star turn for Case Keenum of Minnesota Vikings, and whether he could be re-signed”

If you happened to be watching football with some less enthusiastic football-watching members of your family on Thanksgiving, you probably had to explain who exactly Case Keenum was as the Vikings quarterback sliced up the Lions.
Even if Keenum does fall back toward the pack and give way to Bridgewater, there’s a lot to learn about the football universe from his role on a 9-2 Vikings team.
Let’s run through a few of the Keenum arguments here before we take a look at his future, both inside and outside Minnesota.
In Minnesota Keenum has succeeded under offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, who was overmatched as a head coach in Cleveland.
You don’t need me to tell you that Keenum is making less than the vast majority of starting quarterbacks, but with $1 million guaranteed at signing, Keenum wasn’t even making good backup money.
The premiums teams pay for an even lower tier of backup – guys such as Matt Cassel and Matt Schaub – are still more than what Minnesota paid for Keenum, and those quarterbacks are hopeless on the field.
Keenum’s numbers across the board in 2017 – particularly his remarkably low sack rate – top Bridgewater’s marks before the torn ACL. While it’s fair to say that Bridgewater possesses more upside than we would have expected Keenum to hold before the season, the best-case scenario for a Bridgewater campaign in 2017 would look a lot like what we’re seeing from Keenum right now.
If the Vikings lock themselves into a playoff berth by Week 17, it would seem logical to name Keenum the postseason starter and give Bridgewater the final game of the season against the Bears to get loose in case he’s needed during the playoffs.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Five Small-Ball Lineups That Could Challenge Golden State’s Dominance”

Every other contender has to operate on two separate tracks: They have to figure out what mix of players and style of play works for their team, as well as which of those lineups can best match up with Golden State.
It’s almost impossible to stay big against Golden State’s best players.
The only way to match up with the Lineup of Death is to beat them at their own game, and use lineups with five players who can play on the perimeter on offense and defense.
Playing Harden, Paul, and Gordon together would make Houston undersized on the perimeter, but playing three limited offensive players like Mbah a Moute, Tucker, and Ariza would put a lot of pressure on the other two guys in the lineup.
Houston, like everyone else, doesn’t have as many elite two-way players as Golden State.
The problem with using this lineup against Golden State is that it asks a lot from Green, a famously inconsistent player who has teased coaches with his talent his entire career.
In the playoffs, moving Giannis to a point/center role would unlock some fascinating lineups for Milwaukee and allow the Bucks to play their five best players at the same time.
Playing Giannis at the 5 would allow them to play Parker without compromising their 3-point shooting and defense too much.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Sorting through wild NFC playoff field through Week 10 of 2017 NFL season”

It’s a shame that the NFC can’t lend its fellow conference a playoff team, because it’s going to leave a worthwhile contender at home.
On last week’s episode of my podcast, Will Brinson of CBS pointed out that there were essentially six good teams in the NFC competing for five playoff spots, leaving out the Vikings and their comfortable lead atop the NFC North as an essential lock.
There are nine teams realistically competing for six playoff spots in the NFC. While there are four AFC teams that the Football Power Index assigns at least a 97 percent shot of making the playoffs, the Eagles are the only team in those rarefied heights in the NFC. It’s wide open.
The Cowboys haven’t been the same defense with Lee off the field this season; former Notre Dame star Jaylon Smith has been an inspiring story in returning from a serious knee injury, but teams have taken advantage of him in the passing game.
Next week, the most meaningful – and important – game of Dallas’ season will come against a much-improved Philadelphia team on Sunday night.
The Seahawks basically turned into a different team after Thomas broke his leg last season, and it’s fair to wonder if the same thing will happen now that Sherman, a future Hall of Fame cornerback, is done for the season.
The Vikings are in the middle of an NFC contender battle royal and might have thrown Washington out of the ring by winning at FedEx Field on Sunday, given that Jay Gruden’s team now has just a 4.4 percent chance of making the playoffs.
One of the strange ironies of this bizarre 2017 season is that the Saints look like one of the best teams in the league in a year in which Drew Brees is shouldering less of the workload than ever before.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Don’t Sleep on Steph Curry”

Through no fault but his own virtuosity, Curry has raised his own bar.
No, Curry hasn’t suddenly become LaMarcus Aldridge, but he’s flashing a slightly different repertoire with the same high level of efficiency.
Golden State is 32.4 points per 100 possessions better when Curry is on the floor.
That’s a ridiculous difference that, as Basketball-Reference points out, is 10 points more than what it was in the 2015-16 season, when Curry won his second MVP and the Warriors won 73 games.
Even when Curry dominates a game in multiple ways-he had 22 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals, and a block in 30 minutes of Wednesday’s 125-101 beatdown of the Timberwolves-he now receives shrugs, even from his teammates.
In one motion, Curry is somehow able to create space with his shooting range and also create an easy look at the basket.
Curry doesn’t just blow by Austin Rivers with a quick dribble; he holds Rivers at bay with his backside to allow the roll man-in this case, JaVale McGee-to get to the hoop in time.
A closer look will show you that Curry is the compass of one of the greatest teams ever.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Does Eric Bledsoe Complete the Bucks’ Puzzle?”

Bledsoe gives the Bucks another perimeter player who can create his own shot and be the focal point of the offense.
How will Bledsoe adjust to a smaller role in the Bucks offense, where he won’t be able to dominate the ball? That’s the central question the Bucks will have to answer.
Bledsoe will replace either Malcolm Brogdon, who has taken another big step forward in his second season, or Tony Snell, who has embraced his role as a 3-and-D wing.
How much Bledsoe will help depends on what version of him the Bucks are getting.
According to the tracking numbers at Synergy Sports, Bledsoe was in the 13th percentile of NBA players in defending the ball handler in the pick-and-roll last season, the 46th percentile as an isolation defender, and the 25th percentile in defending players as they come off screens.
Even if Bledsoe had been totally locked in on that side of the ball, he was playing with a bunch of young guys who were learning their assignments and couldn’t help him when his man beat him.
After spending the last four seasons in relative obscurity in Phoenix, Bledsoe will be playing under a microscope.
Eric Bledsoe has waited his entire career for a chance to make a splash.

The orginal article.