Cape musician Johannes Coetzee specialises in playing the guitar using a teaspoon as a plectrum. (Image: Solms-Delta) • Solms-Delta lives a transformation ethos • Gallery: South Africa’s rich and colourful heritage • Using the arts to build an inclusive South Africa • South African music • The history of South AfricaNdaba DlaminiThe Solms Delta wine estate in Franschhoek, in the Western Cape, goes by a tag line that says the farm is much more than just a wine estate. True to its word, Solms-Delta does not only produce classical wines, but classical music as well.The wine estate is located in the picturesque Franschhoek Valley, a valley dominated by imposing mountains and spectacular vineyard vistas. Many centuries gone by, the natural beauty of the valley may have struck many a San or Khoi musician, compelling them to come up with a song or two marvelling at the scene. Music van de CaabToday, the musical rustle of the grapevine leaves may lend credence that long-gone San and Khoi musicians may be strumming some musical notes of yore and giving support of the Music van de Caab, a Cape music project established by Solms-Delta owner Mark Solms to revive the culture and spirit of the original dwellers of Franschhoek Valley. School children are taught to play various musical instruments by music teachers at the Cape Rural Music Centre. (Image: Solms-Delta)When Solms bought the farm in 2001 he realised that he has to do quite a lot to address the social and economic inequalities of the farm workers around the Cape Winelands. After a lot of research, he decided to establish a trust which he called the Wijn de Caab Trust that would provide financial assistance for education at all levels, private healthcare and assist those in distress.The Cape Rural Music CentreIn 2007, with the help of local musician Alex van Heerden, the Trust initiated a Cape music project with the aim of creating a sense of inclusivity among the Winelands community. The Cape Rural Music Centre, after much research, was built at Solms Delta Wine Estate and has managed to capture and revive the indigenous music of the different cultures of the Winelands. Children from the Cape Rural Music Centre perform at the Solms-Delta Harvest Festival. (Image: Solms-Delta)Rich musical heritageMany cultures have contributed to the heritage of Franschhoek Valley. The original inhabitants – the San and the Khoi – were long ago joined by other groups from all corners of the world. The resultant blending of cultures has produced a rich musical heritage which the children attending the Cape Rural Music Centre are attempting to revive. The Franschhoek Valley is renowned for its rich musical culture which has a heavy San and Khoi influence. (Image: Solms-Delta)Learning to play musicMost days after school, children from Solms-Delta Wine Estate and surrounding wine farms converge at the centre to attend classes run by music teachers. All children are provided with instruments to play and take care of as their own. They learn to play the guitar, the trumpet, the trombone and the ghoema drum. To top it all, they also learn music theory, how music is written through notation and codes. A child learns music notation and code at the Cape Rural Music Centre. (Image: Solms-Delta)Oesfees FestivalAfter much lots of learning writing music, blowing on trombones and banging of drums, children at the music centre prepare each year for the Solms-Delta Harvest Festival, or Oesfees Festival, where they are given the platform to rub shoulders with seasoned musicians on stage. The festival is a celebration of the music of the Cape and draws people from the Western Cape and beyond. The Oesfees Festival is a celebration of Cape music and features music groups from the Franschhoek Valley and surrounds. (Image: Solms-Delta)Museum van de CaabMuseum van de Caab tells the story of Delta Farm, well before Solms bought the wine estate. It tells the history of Delta Farm, starting from the very beginnings of human settlement on the farm, through pre-colonial pastoral usage of the land, the establishment of private ownership through colonial viticulture, the scars left by slavery and apartheid until the present day. It also tells the stories of individual farm workers, giving the original dwellers, the San and Khoi – a living face. Visitors to the Museum van de Caab can discover the origins of Cape music through interative displays. (Image: Solms-Delta)Recently, a musical exhibition opened at the Museum van de Caab featuring touch-screens showing interactive displays. Each interactive displays has its own audio, and a display case containing instruments such as the bow lute and an oil-tin blik kitaar is on show. The musical exhibition traces the origins of Cape music, particularly the music of the Khoi and San. Khoi and San musical instruments like leg rattles made from Springbok ears or moth cocoons are also showcased.The museum is open seven days a week and admission is free. For more information contact Solms-Delta on 021 874 3937 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
20 FebruaryPlans for the first phase of Operation Phakisa, which promotes economic growth and job creation in line with the goals outlined in the National Development Plan, are on track, the Cabinet has heard.It was briefed on the progress made in Operation Phakisa’s oceans economy laboratory at its ordinary meeting in Cape Town this week.“The operation has now entered an implementation phase, which involves monitoring and project managing the implementation,” Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, said during the post-Cabinet briefing on 19 February.The oceans economy lab is estimated to have the potential to contribute up to R177-billion to South Africa’s gross domestic product and create just over one million jobs by 2033.It has four priority areas: marine transport and manufacturing, offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture, as well as marine protection services and ocean governance.“Delivery units have been established and monitoring and escalation mechanisms and processes are in place,” Radebe said.He added that the planning phase of the oceans economy lab took place in Durban during July and August 2014, and resulted in the production of detailed plans to grow the ocean economy.Operation Phakisa (“phakisa” means “hurry up” in Sesotho) was launched by President Jacob Zuma in July last year and is an adaptation of the Big Fast Results methodology that was successfully applied by the Malaysian government in the delivery of its economic and government transformation programmes.Operation Phakisa consists of two projects aimed at growing the economy: taking advantage of the ocean’s untapped resources, and transforming all public sector clinics into ideal clinics that provide good quality care to all communities.The second phase of Operation Phakisa, which is led by the Department of Health, was launched by Zuma in November 2014.Source: SAnews.gov
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Members of Congress are working feverishly to undo a newly instated tax break that is meant to level the playing field between agricultural cooperatives and corporations who received a dramatic tax break under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.“One unintended consequence to the tax bill had to do with cooperatives and the way farmers who sell to cooperatives are treated. The bill created a larger than normal deduction for farmers selling their commodities to a cooperative. That immediately set off alarm bells and started to create distortions in the market,” said Pat Wolff, senior director of congressional relations for American Farm Bureau. “Farmers were told that if they sold commodities to a co-op they’d get a bigger tax deduction than if they sold it to a private company. Immediately, Congress said that this wasn’t intended and that they intended to change it. We have been waiting since January for the fix to come out. Congress wants to put the fix in the omnibus spending bill that has to be passed by March 23 or the government will shut down. It is considered a must-pass legislation and we’re expecting the co-op 199A fix to be a part of that bill.”The National Council of Farmer Cooperatives (NCFC) and National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) issued a joint statement regarding a stakeholder-driven proposal to resolve the unintended consequences of Section 199A of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The two organizations said they support inclusion of the legislation to amend Section 199A as part of the fiscal year 2018 Omnibus appropriations bill this month, and believe it warrants bipartisan support. The legislation, if approved by Congress, would be retroactive to the start of the 2018 tax year on Jan. 1.The legislative language that has been developed is designed to achieve the two fundamental objectives of stakeholders:First, to replicate to the greatest extent possible the tax benefits accorded to farmer-owned cooperatives and their farmer-patrons under the previous Section 199, also known as the Domestic Production Activities Deduction (DPAD), of the tax code, as it existed prior to its repeal in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted on Dec. 23, 2017; andSecond, to restore the competitive landscape of the marketplace as it existed in December 2017 so that the tax code does not provide an incentive for farmers to do business with a company purely because it is organized as a cooperative or private/independent firm.“Throughout the tax reform process that began last year, NCFC has consistently called on Congress to retain DPAD for farmer co-ops and their member-owners and this legislation largely meets that goal. The old Section 199 had a proven track record of letting farmers keep more of their hard-earned money. We expect these provisions to do the same,” said Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC. “By combining the individual-level business deductions that farmers can claim and the pass-through from their co-ops, farmers selling to cooperatives have the opportunity to see benefits in excess of the 20% 199A pass-through deduction.”NGFA President and CEO Randy Gordon said great care was taken by stakeholders to develop a concept that provides tax relief to farmers, as envisioned in the tax-reform law, while restoring to the maximum extent possible the competitive balance in the marketplace. NGFA noted its members consist of an almost equal number of grain, feed and grain-processing businesses organized as cooperatives and private/independents.“Given the complexities of the issue and the different types and sizes of businesses, no legislation will ever be perfect for every income or business situation,” Gordon said. “But the stakeholder concepts on which this legislative language is based have been analyzed and reanalyzed in excruciating detail by tax experts representing both cooperative and private/independent businesses, as well as Congressional tax staff experts. We believe the solution merits enactment so that competitive choices remain available to agricultural producers and the marketplace — not the tax code — determines with whom they do business. We appreciate the commitment of members of Congress, Republicans and Democrats alike, to get it fixed.”While the measures may address the inequity for buyers of agricultural products, there are concerns that the farmers and cooperatives that would have significantly benefitted from the tax breaks will lose out.“Corporations just received one of the largest tax breaks in their history, the addition of 199A was an attempt to level the playing field for cooperative businesses. To repeal parts of this important tax break would be to strike at the single most important benefit family farmers received from tax reform,” said Roger Johnson National Farmers Union president. “Not only would corporations be better off, but farmers would be disadvantaged by working with their cooperatives. Wage limits contained in this proposal will discriminate against family farms that don’t hire outside workers, especially if they work with small cooperatives who also have a limited wage base. Farmers could alternatively see the 20% deduction on taxable income reduced to 11%, if they do business with a co-op. Under this new proposed language, farmers could sell to a private company and lock in the 20% deduction, or they can sell to a co-op and receive an 11% deduction.”
Haryana Police on Saturday arrested two persons, including a woman, in connection with the broad daylight murder of Congress leader Vikas Chaudhary in Faridabad. Haryana’s Additional Director General of Police Navdeep Singh Virk, on Twitter, said that Police have arrested Roshni and Naresh from Gurugram, for their alleged involvement in the criminal conspiracy to murder Vikas Chaudhray.Roshni is the wife of gangster Kaushal while Naresh is their servant. “Roshni and Naresh made available weapons to the accused, Vikas alias Bhalla and Sachin who were involved in the firing along with one-two other persons,” he said. Mr. Virk in his statement on Twitter added that Naresh, through the CCTV footage, has identified Vikas and confirmed that he was the same person to whom he had made available the weapons.The vehicle used in the murder has also been recovered. Initial investigation revealed that the motive behind the murder was a financial dispute between Kaushal and Chaudhary. Meanwhile, Haryana Director of Police Manoj Yadava, has constituted a Special Investigation Team to arrest the remaining accused in this case. Chaudhary, a party spokesperson, was hit by multiple bullets when outside a gym in Sector 9 area of Faridabad on Thursday.
DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anew MOST READ Triumph on ice Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles LATEST STORIES Ethel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated It was Etheridge’s ninth clean sheet of the season and also pushed the Welsh club’s tally to 31 points from 34 matches for 18th place, which is the last and final spot up for relegation.If they don’t turn things around, the Bluebirds will drop back to the Championship after just one season in the 20-club Premier League, missing out on a chance of luring more sponsors and getting a share of the league’s lucrative sponsorship deals.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logistics“A lot of people wrote us off at the start of the season, but we’ve still given ourselves a chance [to avoid relegation],” Etheridge told the Inquirer.“It was a massive win against Brighton, which we can actually say was a must-win game for us. We have to keep on knocking on the door and keep playing the way we have. Our togetherness as a team has been fantastic over the past few months. Now, we’re looking forward to the battle [against relegation].” Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting CONTRIBUTED PHOTOFilipino international Neil Etheridge is confident that Cardiff City will keep its place in the English Premier League, even with a tough run of matches to close out the season.The Bluebirds remain in the relegation zone despite closing the gap on Brighton with a 2-0 victory last Tuesday and Etheridge believes they have lots of fight left to survive the drop.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess The Bluebirds have an uphill battle against leaders Liverpool on Sunday, but like their chances against already relegated Fulham and Crystal Palace, before wrapping up their season away at Manchester United.Brighton is at 17th with 33 points but has to play three Top 6 teams in its last five matches.“It’s not going to be easy, but we’ve had some games that are winnable and if we win those, we’ll have a chance,” said Etheridge. “Cardiff is such a big club and it belongs in the Premier League.”ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next View comments
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Southampton midfielder Ward-Prowse: Sloppy defending cost Man City defeatby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton midfielder James Ward-Prowse admits they paid for “sloppy” defending in defeat to Manchester City.Saints were behind inside ten minutes when David Silva converted namesake Bernardo’s cutback, by which time the goalscorer had already been denied by a fine save from Alex McCarthy.Saints responded well and deservedly drew level through Pierre-Emile Højbjerg, but succumbed to two goals in the dying minutes of the first half that ultimately decided the game, before skipper Højbjerg was dismissed late on.“It’s a disappointing result, obviously. I think we started the game poorly and didn’t quite get into the flow of the game,” Ward-Prowse said.“I think we showed glimpses in the first half of what we’ve been working on as a team, pressing high, and the goal came from that.“I felt we were right in it, but two unlucky, sloppy goals at the end of the first half killed the game.“When you give a team like that those sorts of opportunities and chances, they’re going to run away with it, which they did.”
New Delhi: Housing prices rose by a modest 7 per cent in seven major cities during the past five years, while sales and new supply have declined 28 per cent and 64 per cent, respectively, according to brokerage firm Anarock. In its analysis of the performance of the real estate sector in the past five years of the current central government, Anarock founder and Chairman Anuj Puri said many steps were taken to reform and improve the image of the Indian real estate sector. Measures such as demonetisation, new realty law RERA and GST did cause some pain for the sector in short term but would prove beneficial in the long run, he added. On operation performance of the housing segment, Puri said the prices in primary markets have seen more of a “time correction” rather than a price correction, with average prices across top-seven cities seeing a meagre 7 per cent increase in the past five years. “Considering inflation (assuming seven per cent a year), all cities will have seen negative price trends in the last five years,” he added. These seven cities are Delhi-NCR, Mumbai Metropolitan Region, Chennai, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Pune. The supply of new housing units reduced by 64 per cent in the past five years from 5.45 lakh units in 2014 to 1.95 lakh units in 2018. Housing sales were also slow, dropping by 28 per cent during the same period from 3.43 lakh units in 2014 to 2.48 units last year. “Like it or lump it, but (Prime Minister Narendra) Modi’s victory in 2014 ushered a new era in Indian real estate starkly marked by his vision to set the ‘house’ in order and alter the scarred face of an unorganised sector beset by unscrupulous activities,” Puri said. Prime Minister Narendra Modi “tightened the Centre’s grip on real estate previously the largest dump-yard for black money hoarders and introduced big-bang schemes to benefit consumers”, he said. Puri said the government set the stage for the real estate sector in the long term through major policy overhauls and initiatives like 100 smart cities and Housing For All by 2022. The chairman of Anarock said demonetisation, realty law RERA and the GST brought about a paradigm shift in the way the Indian real estate does business and laid the groundwork for improved transparency and efficiency in the sector. “The measures he took to achieve this did have short-term negative impacts, but nobody can argue that this is a case where short-term pain is necessary for the sake of long-term gain,” he added. However, Puri felt that the on-ground implementation for most of these initiatives could have been better to achieve more even in these five years.
New Delhi: Former champion Kidambi Srikanth reached title round after a 17-month drought but P V Sindhu bowed out after losing a close semifinal contest at the USD 350,000 India Open here Saturday. Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, who had won the event in 2017, blew four game points in the opening game to go down fighting 21-23 18-21 to China’s He Bingjiao. The third seed will face two-time champion Ratchanok Inthanon of Thailand in the finals Sunday. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”I think I need to be more patient, I should have taken the first set, it was crucial for me but after losing it, I became a bit nervous. I made crucial mistakes in the second game,” Sindhu said. “I did change strategies. She also got lucky with net cords in the first game. I came back and could have maintained the led but I couldn’t. She played well.” Srikanth had entered the finals of Commonwealth Games last year but he failed to reach the summit clash in any BWF Superseries or BWF World Tour tournament since his French Open win in October, 2017. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterThe 26-year-old from Guntur on Saturday eked out a 14-21 21-16 21-19 triumph over China’s Huang Yuxiang in an engrossing semi-final encounter. He will face second seed Viktor Axelsen, who beat India’s Parupalli Kashyap 21-11 21-17, in the final. “It’s been really long since I reached a final. I’m just happy to be here, playing the final again,” Srikanth said. “I was trailing in the decided and I am happy to pull it off. I’m happy to come back in the second. It was about keeping the shuttle in. The crowd kept me going in.” In the women’s semi-final, Sindhu managed to hold a 11-8 lead at the break. She kept the shuttle in play, mixing her strokes to push Bingjiao to commit errors to lead 20-16. But Indian committed a heap of unforced errors to allow the Chinese level score. At 21-21, a lucky net chord put Bingjiao on lead leaving Sindhu frustrated, who sent another one at the net to lose the opening game. The second game begun on an even keel as the duo rode on each other’s errors to move 8-8 before Sindhu grabbed a 11-9 advantage at the break. The Indian stayed a step ahead, despite Bingjiao constant threat. At 16-13, a few weak returns from Sindhu allowed the Chinese to level scores. Bingjiao quickly grabbed two points to take two match points. Sindhu then sent the next shuttler to the net to bow out. In the men’s singles semi-finals, Srikanth used his flat tosses and deep lifts to engage his rival into rallies but Huang was also up to the task before the Indian managed to held a 11-10 lead at the first break. The duel continued before the Chinese moved to a 18-14 lead after the Indian lost a few points at the net. Srikanth saved two game points with a cross court smash and a precise net shot before hitting wide to lose the first game.
Balurghat/Gangarampur/Berhampur (South Dinajpur/Murshidabad): Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee alleged on Friday that BJP and RSS are backing the Congress candidate in Berhampur and in the same breath, said the saffron party will not be coming to power in Delhi.She was addressing a mammoth rally at Berhampur. Earlier in the day, Banerjee addressed two more rallies at Balurghat and Gangarampur in South Dinajpur. Without naming sitting Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury, she said: “He does not stay in Murshidabad and his only business is to criticise Trinamool Congress. On the last day of the Parliament, he gained support from BJP by calling Trinamool Congress a party of thieves. Who is honest? Saradha was set up in the 1980s and CPI(M) and Congress leaders were involved. But no action was taken against them. The Congress leaders have betrayed the voters as they follow Congress during the day, BJP in the afternoon and CPI(M) at night,” adding that “RSS is backing Congress in Berhampur.” Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe Trinamool supremo said BJP will not be able to make a comeback in the Lok Sabha polls. “From where will they get seats? In Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Bengal they will get zero seats. In Uttar Pradesh the number of seats will be reduced. In Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh BJP cannot do well. From where will they get seats to form the government?” she asked. In Murshidabad district, Congress got two seats in Berhampur and Jangipur while CPI(M) had bagged the Murshidabad seat in 2014. Banerjee said when she was in Congress, she had come to Murshidabad several times with Mannan Hossain. She had cordial relations with veteran leaders of the district like Abdus Sattar and Atish Chandra Sinha. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”We had to take part in the general election within 22 days of setting up Trinamool Congress in 1998. I could not come to the district and reach out to the people,” she regretted. In Balurghat and Gangarampur, Banerjee urged the voters not to cast their votes in favour of BJP. “If BJP is voted back to power there will be no democracy in India. The society will be divided and the economic condition of the country will become worse. In the past five years, BJP has not done anything,” she said. Stating that all-round development has taken place in South Dinajpur, she said: “There is not a single family that has not been benefitted by the schemes of the state government. The farmers have been greatly benefitted as the state government is paying the premium of the crop insurance. The annual income of the farmers has gone up three times. Kanyashree has benefitted the girl students enormously. Under Khadya Sathi, people are getting rice at Rs 2/kilogram.” She said the time has come when people should think before casting their votes. “Rest assured that Trinamool will play a major role in the formation of the new government in Delhi. There will be a secular and pro-development government, where the interest of all sections of people will be protected,” she said. Banerjee also urged the first-time voters to cast their votes in favour of Trinamool Congress. “Don’t vote for CPI(M) and Congress as it will strengthen the hand of BJP. Vote for Trinamool Congress to set up a democratic government at the Centre,” she said.
For the past few seasons, the best defenders in the NBA have been some combination of Draymond Green, Rudy Gobert and Kawhi Leonard. But with Leonard and Gobert out for all or much of the season so far and Green’s production falling off just a bit, we’ve got some new blood in contention to be the NBA’s best defender.To put a number to this, we’ll use data from Second Spectrum that shows us both the total number of shots defended by a player and how much he affected those shots. There are a few ways to get at this, but we’re going to use “quantified shot probability” (qSP) — which determines the expected value of shots defended using shot distance, shot location and defender position, among other variables — and “quantified shot making” (qSM) — which subtracts the expected effective field goal percentage on those shots from the actual eFG to determine how much of an effect the defender had. In other words, does the defender make shots worse? And if so, by how much?We’ve used metrics like this in the past, but the rub with this set is it adjusts for who’s taking the shot, meaning weak defenders who guard bad shooters don’t get as much credit, and defenders tasked with guarding superstars aren’t punished for their assignment — the star’s excellence is baked into the stat.The per possession numbers will look a little different from the overall effect — players like Tarik Black and Marreese Speights have defended a lot of shots very well in short minutes — but this chart should demonstrate that there is a wide spread on defender effect. What we’re missing here, though, is how many shots a defender actually affects. Kevin Durant, Golden State WarriorsThe Warriors are unfair. Draymond Green — for my money the best defensive player in the league — has for whatever reason been a little off during the first quarter of the season, possibly because the Warriors can sleepwalk to a bare-minimum 2-seed. He’s not been bad, mind you, just not quite as dominant as usual. That’s left quite a lot of slack in the Golden State scheme, and Durant has picked up more than his fair share of it. Golden State ranks eighth in defensive rating, down from second a season ago, but that almost feels like a threat more than a falloff given how flat the team has looked at times. Beware, it says, this is a top 10 defense even while almost completely half-assing things, just on the virtue of Kevin Durant showing up to work. Durant has been improving as a defender for years, going back to his time with the Thunder. (If you ever go back and watch the 2016 series between OKC and San Antonio, watch Durant on defense — he was the best defensive big man in that series.) His style is also entirely his own: KD gives up relatively “great” shots — ones his opponents would be expected to turn into 52.3 eFG against an average defender, or about what Austin Rivers gives you as a defender. Not great. But because Durant is so long, so mobile and so smart positionally, the actual shots against him fall at a rate of just 45.2 eFG. This still happens within the overall Golden State system — Andre Iguodala and Steph Curry have similar opponent eFG numbers, albeit on fewer shots defended — but Durant’s role has him not only locking down his own man but also covering up for lapses by his teammates.Green may remain the more important defender for the Warriors — he’s the anchor, and what he does from his position is impossible to replicate. But Durant’s play so far has been the strongest on a Golden State defense that should end up being a top-3-type unit, at minimum. But despite the limitations, these metrics are a pretty good way to look at who’s having the best defensive season. A few players stand out on the list: Honorable mentionGiannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid have both been outstanding through the first quarter of the season, but they don’t have quite the same track record as some of the players listed above. Just the same, neither seems to be a fluke. We’ll be a little more certain how permanent their new defensive excellence is by the All-Star break. The same goes for Kristaps Porzingis, who last season was in the tier just behind Gobert and Green for overall defensive value, but this year fell off early before making up some ground in the past few weeks.Some others seem more like early-season mirages — Josh Richardson, Gary Harris and Eric Gordon are all having excessively good years by the metrics but are playing way above the levels they had in previous seasons.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Anthony Davis, New Orleans PelicansFrom the time he was a rookie, Anthony Davis has had all the tools. He’d block shots and steal alley-oops and tug on his shorts and check the opposing point guard 30 feet from the basket. He came into the league as a destructive defensive force, but for reasons ranging from injury to scheme to sheer offensive burden, Davis’s aggregate effect on the defensive end hasn’t always lived up to the promise of those moments. This season, it has. Davis ranks seventh in the league in shots defended overall, and the defense gets 12.7 points per 100 possessions worse when he sits down. That’s nearly double his defensive on/off split from last season, which was already by far the best of his career.Partly this is because of his partnership with DeMarcus Cousins. Defensive intensity hasn’t always been Cousins’s strong point, and that’s still true today, but he has defended the most shots in the league, and done so while holding opponents to a middle-of-the-road 51.4 eFG on shots he defends. Not great, certainly, but it’s a respectable backstop for the defense.Because of Cousins’s role as a reliable constant, Davis is free to cover more ground without making risky moves to get back into plays. And because of that, his personal foul rate is at an all-time low (2.6 fouls per 100 possessions). This allows Davis to do what he does best — stick to his man, rotate to help in the paint without overextending, and blitz spot-up shooters on the perimeter faster than anyone else his size in the league. Here we’ve got total shots as well as the qSM (the difference a defender makes on each shot) plotted against each other to show who’s affecting how many shots to what degree. This isn’t perfect. For one, a great defender doesn’t simply challenge shots — he denies them from happening, forcing a team to reset its offense. But by the same token, great defenders also work their way back into plays, affecting shots by playing smart help defense and covering acres of ground. Another thing these numbers don’t reflect the is overall quality of the shot — there are a few defenders who don’t depress value of each individual shot by as much as others but who force opponents into low-quality shots in general (through hard work and smart positioning) so that the overall effect is the same. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Al Horford, Boston CelticsThe Celtic defense has continued to crush opponents. Boston is 18-4, with a league-leading defensive rating (100), the second-lowest effective field goal percentage allowed (48.6) and a roster full of live-bodied defenders who can switch practically any assignment. Even Kyrie Irving is chipping in on the effort. But while every Celtic is doing his part, some parts are more critical than others. It’s undeniably been the play from Smart, Brown and Horford that has carried the Celts so far.Smart does not possess the most graceful set of skills, but what he provides is unmistakable to anyone watching. He’s all over the floor, hounding ball handlers, bodying up on bigger players in the post and bumping cutting players he isn’t even guarding, like a middle linebacker jamming a slot receiver.Brown is a little different. While the Boston defense is built on interchangeable pieces switching and denying an offense space, it also needs players who can stick to their man across multiple screens, then square up and check their man as he plants and drives. Brown has stepped into that role and dominated so far. He can fight over screens (or just outright avoid them) to allow the defense to keep its shape, and he has the quicks to shut down first steps with the length to challenge pull-up attempts.Horford, meanwhile, does not have nearly the same reputation as the other two, but this season, he looks livelier than he has in the past when making switches, and he has defended the most shots of any Celtic. The newfound agility in space is especially important — because the defense will semi-regularly ask him to survive on an island against a wing, but also because his role at the center of the defense requires him to scuttle shooters who’ve just run over two or three screens trying to escape Smart or Brown.