Summary of “Present Is Prologue: What to Watch for in the Upcoming NBA Season”

The 82-game NBA regular season may drag along at times, but it’s what you make of it.
I’m watching the 2018-19 NBA season with an eye on how the present will set the slate for the future.
Ler is expected to play in the Wolves’ season opener on Wednesday, but team owner Glen Taylor “Came to an agreement” with Butler that the front office will continue to seek a trade, The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski reported Sunday.
A productive exhibition season can be predictive of a successful young career-whether it was Nikola Jokic in 2015, Joel Embiid in 2016, or Kyle Kuzma and Donovan Mitchell last year.
Losing Redick would hurt a roster that’s thirsty for floor spacers to surround its young centerpieces-none of whom are credible outside threats entering the season.
Part of me even wonders if Shamet, who can seamlessly operate within an offense on and off the ball, might help fill the void that Fultz left last season better than Fultz can this season.
Even higher-profile players like Hassan Whiteside and Cody Zeller are getting into the fun, attempting a combined six triples after only five last season.
The 2018-19 season is about far more than this season.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The 34 People and Things That Will Define the 2018-19 NBA Season”

We heard you like rankings, so to kick off The Ringer’s 2018-19 NBA Preview, we’re devoting the week to evaluating the players, the story lines, and the odds and ends that promise to make the upcoming season one to remember.
The two consensus top-10 recruits took peculiar routes to the NBA draft - Robinson eschewed his commitment to Western Kentucky to dedicate the season to draft preparation; Simons, a 2018 recruit, eschewed college basketball altogether.
For all of the accelerated aging Smith forced upon James during their three-plus seasons together, their working relationship helped the Cavs to four Finals in a row and the game’s most infamous marksman to squeeze out some good basketball - and land one last big payday - as he crept into his 30s. What will happen now, with Smith entering his age-33 season without James by his side? Judging by the glimpses we’ve gotten of his offseason improvements, it will be captivating no matter what.
Smith followed up a dreadful 2016-17 season with an equally brutal 2018 postseason; if the downward trend continues, and one of the young wings in the Cavs’ stockpile takes a step forward, our access to Smith and the life he injects into the game may be limited.
Porzingis’s games played have trended downward since his rookie season and could hit a career low this season depending on when he returns from February’s torn ACL in his left knee.
Dwyane Wade’s Retirement Tour Chau: Just over 12 years ago, in the 2006 NBA Finals, Dwyane Wade seemingly solidified his standing as a top-five shooting guard of all time - in only his third season.
It’s not hyperbole to suggest that the shoulder issue that derailed the first NBA season of the no.
For all the possibility that Simmons’s first NBA season elicited, the Celtics’ success in exposing his limitations was a cold, hard reminder of how far the 22-year-old still has to go.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Most Underrated Acquisitions of the NBA Offseason”

While Howard made a significant impact on the league in his heyday - he was a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time All-NBA selection - he never annihilated opponents in the ways that Shaq could and never progressed the big-man template as the game changed.
Howard has become a player that no one wants, an antiquated offensive big man whose schticky humor annoys anyone in his orbit.
Despite being a player that everyone loves to hate, Howard is still effective.
Dwight Howard, Wizards Signed for two years, $10.9 million with a player option in the second season.
Howard isn’t the defensive force he once was, but he’s still a deterrent around the rim, using his sheer size and length to alter the competition’s shot or defend like a brick wall in the post; he ranked 14th in interior defensive rating - an advanced defensive statistic created by Stephen Shea - for players who logged at least 1,000 minutes last season.
Now he’s going to play with Wall, the best point guard he’s played with since James Harden.
If Howard does focus more on rim runs, cuts, and rolls - and a Washington Post interview with Howard and his trainer, Justin Zormelo, suggests that Howard knows it’s “Either evolve, adapt or get left behind” - then Howard and a core of Wall, Bradley Beal, and Otto Porter Jr. could actually make things interesting in the open Eastern Conference.
Parker wasn’t a hot commodity for two reasons: He has torn his ACL twice and plays defense like he doesn’t think players get paid for it.

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Summary of “How Did 30 Chinese Baseball Players End Up on the Texas AirHogs Roster?”

Instead of fielding a typical American Association team of fringe prospects, has-been minor leaguers, and guys trying for one last shot at The Show, the 2018 AirHogs would, in effect, lease out the majority of their roster to players from the Chinese national baseball team.
Shipping their players to North Texas to play one hundred games against American pros would be the first big step.
The Chinese national team players that arrived in Texas were young, inexperienced, and far from world-beaters.
Nelson suggested the Chinese players-many of whom grew up playing other sports and came to baseball as teenagers-needed more games, better competition, and a more rigorous talent development system.
The AirHogs’ leadership may have been experienced, but none of them were sure how the Chinese players would compete against the American Association competition-or if they could at all.
Martin said that he had “Heard all sorts of theories on how good or bad these guys were and none of them were quite right.” McLaren, a Houston native, had known some of the Chinese players since he took over the national team in 2011, and he admitted that before the start of the AirHogs 2018 season he “Didn’t think we were ready for this.”
Signs began to emerge that there were better times ahead. Scott Sonju, who runs the day-to-day operations of Neltex Sports, told me that he knew things were looking up when an opposing pitcher beaned an American AirHog and the Chinese players responded by flooding out of the dugout and onto the field to come to his defense.
The starting lineup featured four American players and five Chinese players.

The orginal article.

Summary of “The Universal Pattern Popping Up in Math, Physics and Biology”

“Hello! I am David Kaplan, and I am not an expert. But I hope in this series to learn as much as possible and explain it to you the best way I can.”
So began Quanta Magazine’s In Theory video series, hosted by David Kaplan, a theoretical particle physicist and co-creator of the award-winning documentary Particle Fever.
Our first video, published in the summer of 2015, asked and attempted to answer: “What happens when you fall into a black hole?”.
Two years and eight videos later, spanning topics from cosmic inflation to symmetry to the origin of life, season one of In Theory concluded with a virtual Kaplan appearing among the celestial bodies in a virtual-reality tour of how our solar system came to be.
As in the first season, we plan to dive into the big, fundamental questions of science and math that serve as intellectual leitmotifs at this magazine.
We plan to do so with the same spirit of shared curiosity and open learning, but we also want to experiment with our approach to video storytelling.
In the words of the season two producer, Michelle Yun, these five new explainer videos will “Demonstrate complex ideas in science and math in a clear, quirky and aesthetically pleasing style.” To help dream up and engineer this new format, we teamed with the talented science filmmaker Emily Driscoll of BonSci Films.

The orginal article.

Summary of “and How They’re Fixing It – Rolling Stone”

You’ll often hear streaming drama creators claim that they’re making “a 10-hour movie,” which is a self-defeating concept that ignores the value of crafting individual episodes, even if those episodes are part of a big serialized arc.
So you’ll hear people talking about the underwater BoJack episode or the Thanksgiving Master of None episode in a way they don’t tend to about your dramas.
Not just with number of episodes but episode length and varying episode length.
Do you have particular favorite episodes you would cite of some of your original dramas?I actually am one of the people who liked the episode seven of Season Two of Stranger Things.
Some of those are probably for budget reasons though and they’re like, OK, how do you get the bottle episode in here? So, I’m not casting aspersion, I just, knowing production as I do, that’s often what happens.
The Good Wife did 22 episodes a year on CBS, and maybe half of them were serialized in some way and half were just to fill the episode order.
The great thing about that show is, if I’m in the mood, I can go back and revisit one episode, where with a lot of intensely serialized shows, I know that if I try to rewatch one, I’m going to want to rewatch five, and I don’t have the time.
What were some of your favorite episodes of TV ever?Favorite episodes of TV ever, oh my gosh.

The orginal article.

Summary of “Ranking the 25 Best NFL Players Who Have Been in the League Since 2008”

The average pro football career spans roughly three seasons, and even some of the league’s most talented players can flame out quickly.
Here are the top 25 players who have played in the NFL since at least 2008.
The next step for his career would be getting that elusive ring, and while the world-beating offense of 2016 isn’t coming back, Atlanta has still put Ryan in an excellent spot to be successful: Entering the 2018 season, they may have the best receiving corps in the league.
He made the Pro Bowl in each of the past five seasons, and, now on the Rams, is part of what may be the best on-paper defense in the league.
In 2018: A decade later, Smith isn’t just still in the NFL, he’s coming off the best season of his career.
In 2018: Whitworth had one of the best seasons of his career in 2017, earning All-Pro honors and solidifying the Rams offensive line, which helped quarterback Jared Goff make a sophomore jump.
He’s one of the best tackles in game, but now his health is in question: Peters tore his ACL and MCL seven games into the 2017 season, though he was participating in 11-on-11 drills in training camp.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, Raiders In 2008: Does anyone outside of Erie County, New York, remember the time when Marshawn Lynch played for the Bills? Well, he actually made the Pro Bowl in 2008 season with the team, rushing for more than 1,000 yards and eight touchdowns.

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Summary of “The Leftovers: The Best NBA Free Agents Still on the Market”

While sights are already being set on the start of the 2018-19 season, the free-agent market hasn’t closed just yet.
Here are some of the best remaining free agents, ranked by how much they may be able to help a contending team.
His disappointing fourth season and the lack of teams with cap space has left him without a market.
It’s why the Cavaliers, who are apparently still looking to remain in the East playoffs after extending Kevin Love’s contract, are reportedly interested in signing Hood to a three-year deal way below what he expected to get heading into the season.
On a micro level, it was a reminder that he’s still got it; zoomed out, his performance raised the question of whether an aging Wade is still Miami’s best offensive option in crucial moments.
As another offseason passes with the Heat locked into the same team, bringing Wade back becomes even more important for the franchise - not just for the sake of legacies, but because they still lack a clear-cut scoring option in crunch time.
Crawford should still be good to average double-digit points - he hasn’t averaged fewer than 10 since his sophomore season, in 2001-02 - but he hasn’t cracked 42 percent from the field in five years.
Trevor Booker O’Shaughnessy: Booker made more noise among real estate agents than he did on the court last season.

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Summary of “Ringer Top 100 TV Episodes: When Do TV Shows Peak?”

We can examine whether the growing pains that Apatow described-and the hypothetical decline that Rogen alluded to-are typical of TV shows on the whole.
TV shows aren’t necessarily subject to the same forces that govern human maturation and mortality, but there is a pattern to their progression and a point at which they typically peak.
To trace the life cycle of the average TV series, we gathered episode-by-episode IMDb user ratings for the nearly 1,500 shows with at least 5,000 votes.
Granted, the quality of a creative endeavor like a TV episode can’t be quantified as easily as an athlete’s exploits: As writer/producer Alec Berg says via direct message, “The very best episodes of an unbelievably innovative show may meet with a thunderous lack of response from an audience. They don’t get it, at all.” In some cases, Berg adds, the audience rating may be less a direct reflection of a show’s merit and more a measurement of when viewers “Start to ‘get’ the show and when they tire of it.”
As it turns out, the conclusions we can draw from the stats align in some ways with what casual TV viewers might expect, as well as what TV creators have told us about the process of producing long-running shows.
To generate our TV aging curves, we filtered out documentaries, any show in the sample with only one season, and all active shows with fewer than five seasons, so as not to skew the trajectories by including series that are still in the early stages of their life cycles.
The average quality for all shows combined is close to the top end of the 1-10 range because the sample is restricted to series that were popular enough to draw the minimum number of votes required to qualify.
“After a season or two, writers on successful shows get plucked with overall deals or a pilot, not unlike a championship team losing players and front-office personnel. Supporting actors that gained traction on a drama get a series commitment on another show and now you can’t use them anymore. New stars get movies and realize they’ve committed themselves to a TV show for seven series and now wish they hadn’t, and on some occasions their performance suffers.” Witness the swoon that The West Wing went into as creator Aaron Sorkin dealt with stress and budget constraints and finally left the series along with colleagues including Falls.

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Summary of “Five Reasons Why 2018 Has Been the Year of the TV Sophomore Slump – Rolling Stone”

The Handmaid’s Tale, Luke Cage, Westworld, Legion, 13 Reasons Why, Jessica Jones and Sneaky Pete were among the second-year shows to disappoint, frustrate and/or inspire reevaluations of their acclaimed debut seasons.
There are a lot of different reasons for how and why the first group of shows went awry.
If there’s a Grand Unified Field Theory to the phenomenon, it’s this: Like second novels and albums, sophomore seasons of TV dramas have an awfully hard time living up to the original, while comedies are much more immune to this.
TV shows don’t always work that way, but at minimum, there’s often a sense in freshman-show writers’ rooms to put the most vital and resonant material into that first year to make as big an initial splash as possible.
13 Reasons Why embarrassingly contorted itself this way and that to re-solve a mystery its first season had exhaustively solved, simply because the show was apparently too popular to cancel.
On top of that, one way TV execs are trying to break though the cluttered programming environment is with flashy, high-concept work that can more easily get attention rather than “Here’s a really well-executed variation on a thing you’ve seen three dozen times already.” Together, this means that a lot of shows are in the hands of screenwriters, playwrights, novelists, etc.
TV isn’t “Movies, but longer” – and a lot of shows are in the hands of people who never learned that.
Sophomore slumps are so frequent throughout TV history, you could probably find 1960s TV criticism along the lines of, “Ugh, again with the twists, Rod Serling?” Truly great shows manage to come back strong the year after and the ones that don’t make it clear pretty quickly that it’s all downhill from here.

The orginal article.