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I feel the same way. I mean nobody says, this trip down the court - during the first 45 minutes of the game - is big, as this do say, this at bat or this down - no matter how early in a baseball or football game - is big.
I was going to say that the only thing I don’t really watch is basketball. It has to do with my personality, how I’m wired. You can’t make a play in the first quarter of a basketball game that will determine the ultimate outcome the way you can in baseball or football—like if a touchdown is scored in the first quarter, that could conceivably be the only big play of the game. So I can never figure out why I’m supposed to watch the first half of a basketball game. Well, except for the pure athleticism—seeing something like the crazy Blake Griffin dunk from last year.
That starts today with this deep, deep dive into the world of Super Bowl prop bets. For the uninitiated, casinos around the world (like the LVH, whose list I’ll be working from in this piece) produce hundreds of “prop bets” or “exotics” that allow you to bet on events that are, at worst, tangentially related to the Super Bowl. How slim can the relationship be? Oh, you’ll see.
As we watch a game that we know is dangerous, we soothe ourselves with the idea that these men must be aware of the risks, too; that they are being well compensated to take on those risks; and that, at least when they’re on the field, in front of the cameras, they are living the dream that we all craved as kids, and they’re having fun.
But what we can take from this story, and from the fact that, on the surface, this weekend’s games were filled with such excitement, is the fact that so much of football’s barbarism takes place beyond our vision and behind closed doors.
Five players, though, seem to be especially important. Of the team’s 27.5 Wins Produced (again, the team has won 27 games), 23.1 can be traced to the numbers generated by Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Matt Barnes, DeAndre Jordan, and Eric Bledsoe. These five players are responsible for 84% of this team’s wins. In other words, the remaining seven players on this team are not producing much.
It’s different but repetitive. It’s the same different thing over and over and over.
A behind the scenes look at a Fox NFL broadcast.
However, while Nash was busy playmaking and while Kobe was busy jump shooting, Dwight Howard had taken about seven steps toward his happy place — the restricted area — fought off the gigantic DeMarcus Cousins, and gained optimal rebounding position. Kobe’s miss ricocheted upward from the rim before descending back down into the hands of Howard, who quickly put the ball in the basket; the Staples crowd went wild (in the dark). Did Kobe just miss a shot or did he just inadvertently set up Dwight Howard for an easy score? Are some of Kobe’s missed shots actually good for the Lakers? Are some of his misses kind of like assists?
Truly terrible teams — those that lost most, if not all of their games — typically saw a slight but temporary improvement. The University of Washington’s infamous 0-12 season under Tyrone Willingham in 2008 comes to mind. Willingham was sacked and replaced by Steve Sarkisian. The Huskies have improved under his stewardship but remain mediocre at best.
Mediocre teams — those that won about half their games — did worse after replacing the coach. A good example is the University of Michigan, which replaced Lloyd Carr after a sub-par if not completely awful 2007 season. Much ado was made over Rich Rodriguez, who inherited a top-10 recruiting class and still led the Wolverines to a 3-9 season in 2008, the team’s worst ever.
[L]et’s imagine for a moment that there is a link between spending and winning. In fact, let’s imagine that if you spend enough money you can guarantee that you will have the “best” team in baseball. Would that be enough to guarantee your team a World Series title?
Photographer Jessica Hilltout travelled Africa documenting homemade footballs/soccer balls improvised across the continent.
Reminds me of my childhood when my brother, the neighborhood kids, and I would use makeshift balls and bats to play homerun derby in the backyard. Good times.
The Dodgers don’t give a rat’s ass about supposedly smart versus supposedly dumb ways to build a roster. They’re perfectly cool with losing the dollars-per-WAR championship. And if actions and words are any indications, they don’t care about any damn luxury tax either. They want to win, they have money, and they’re going to spend it. (via Financial concern is out the window when it comes to the new Dodgers regime - Grantland)
A similar point was actually made by Doug Collins during the broadcast of the 2012 gold medal game. Both coaches seemed to ignore how the quality of players sent to the games changed over time and focus instead on issues of team chemistry, coaching, and systems.
Again, the data suggests that Coach Collins and Coach K. are not exactly right. It really does look like the key to the success of Team USA is simply the productivity of the players on the team.
With that in mind, let’s take a stab at who can win the gold medal for Team USA in 2016.