In The Spotlight – New South Wales Mets

first_imgIn the second edition of In The Spotlight, the New South Wales Mets’ Scott Buckley speaks about his team’s preparation in the lead up to the Elite Eight. How does it feel to be a part of the 2011 Elite Eight series?Great, it’s a step forward for the sport and now the foremost elite competition in Australia so it’s always fun to play in these competitions.How is your team’s preparation going in the lead up to the event?Good. We have come together well as a group and most of us have played in the same team before which helps. We are just working on the small things that will benefit our team and give us an edge hopefully over our opposition.What would you say are the strengths of your team?Our work ethic, everyone puts the team first and understands that we all must work together and hard to get what we want.Who do you expect to be your toughest opponents?Everyone will be tough I guess that’s beauty of the competition. On paper the Country Mavericks are very strong and any team with Dylan Hennessey in it at the moment would have to be favourite, although you don’t have any easy games and can’t afford to be off your game against anyone or you will get beaten. What would it mean to you to win the Elite Eight series?It would be definitely up there, especially winning the inaugural competition, no one will ever be able to take that away from you.Stay tuned to the website for the upcoming editions of In The Spotlight, which will feature every team in the Elite Eight series. To keep up-to-date with all of the latest news and information in the lead up to and during the 2011 X-Blades National Touch League, go to www.ntl.mytouchfooty.com. Don’t forget to become a fan of Touch Football Australia on Facebook by clicking on the following link:http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Touch-Football-Australia/384949403384last_img read more

10 months agoFather of Ajax defender De Ligt opens door to Juventus

first_imgFather of Ajax defender De Ligt opens door to Juventusby Carlos Volcano10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveThe father of Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt has opened the door to a move to Juventus.De Ligt’s agent Mino Raiola met with Juve officials this week.“Juve could be a possibility, but they’re not the only team interested,” Frank de Ligt said.“Now we’re focusing on this season with Ajax. Turin is a beautiful city, I came here for the Netherlands match in June too.“In the next few months, I, my son, and [agent Mino] Raiola will make the best decision for his future.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorCarlos VolcanoShare the loveHave your saylast_img

Retail workers feel disruption from shifting shopper habits

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – With new options and conveniences, there’s never been a better time for shoppers. As for workers … well, not always.The retail industry is being radically reshaped by technology, and nobody feels that disruption more starkly than 16 million American shelf stockers, salespeople, cashiers and others. The shifts are driven, like much in retail, by the Amazon effect — the explosion of online shopping and the related changes in consumer behaviour and preferences.As mundane tasks like checkout and inventory are automated, employees are trying to deliver the kind of customer service the internet can’t match.So a Best Buy employee who used to sell electronics in the store is dispatched to customers’ homes to help them choose just the right products. A Walmart worker dashes in and out of the grocery aisles, hand-picks products for online shoppers and brings them to people’s cars.___Editor’s note: This story is part of Future of Work, an Associated Press series that explores how workplaces across the U.S. and the world are being transformed by technology and global pressures. As more employers move, shrink or revamp their work sites, many employees are struggling to adapt. At the same time, workers with in-demand skills or knowledge are benefiting. Advanced training, education or know-how is becoming a required ticket to the 21st-century workplace.___Yet even as responsibilities change — and in many cases, expand — the average growth in pay for retail workers isn’t keeping pace with the rest of the economy. Some companies say that in the long run the transformation could mean fewer retail workers, though they may be better paid. But while some workers feel more satisfied, others find their jobs are just a lot less fun.Bloomingdale’s saleswoman Brenda Moses remembers the pre-internet era, when the upscale store was regularly filled with customers ready to buy. These days, department stores are less crowded and the customers who do come in can make price comparisons on their phones at the same time as they pepper staff with questions.“You tell them everything, and then they look at you and say, ‘You know what? I think I will get it online,’” she said.Moses has seen her commission rate rise to 6 per cent from a half a per cent, but her hourly wage dropped from $19 as low as $10 before it came back up to $14. Depending more on commissions means her income fluctuates, and she’s competing with her colleagues for each sale.“Now,” Moses said, “you have to fight to make your money.”The same could be said for the retailing industry, overall. In 2017, 66,500 U.S. retail jobs disappeared (not taking into account jobs added in areas like distribution and call centres). In the past decade, about one out of every seven jobs have vanished in the hardest-hit sectors like clothing and consumer electronics, says Frank Badillo, director of research at MacroSavvy LLC. Though department stores have suffered the most, smaller businesses also have struggled to compete with online sellers.Many of the survivors are rushing to adapt. Of the retail jobs that remain, over the next decade as many as 60 per cent will either be new kinds of roles or will involve revised duties, says Craig Rowley, senior client partner at Korn Ferry Hay Group, a human resources advisory firm. He estimates the number is about 10 per cent now.How fast retail jobs will change and what they’ll look like depends on three factors, Rowley said: the pace at which online shopping advances; the speed at which robotics and other technology progress; and shifts in the minimum hourly pay.“Jobs for workers will get more interesting and be more impactful on the company’s business,” Rowley said. “But the negative side is that there will be fewer entry-level jobs and there will be more pressure to perform.”Some retail workers at the vanguard of the changes — like Laila Ummelaila, a personal grocery shopper at a Walmart in Old Bridge, New Jersey — speak glowingly of their new responsibilities.Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, has scrutinized every job in its stores as it looks to leverage its more than 4,000 U.S. locations against Amazon’s internet dominance.The company now has 18,000 personal shoppers who fill online orders from store shelves, and 17,000 check-out hosts whose responsibilities are more extensive than the greeters of old, including keeping the area clean and making sure registers move efficiently. The company has also shifted workers from back-room clerical jobs and eliminated some overnight stocker positions in favour of more daytime sales help. The customers like the changes, company officials say, pointing to more than three years of sales growth at its established U.S. stores — a contrast with other, suffering retailers.Ummelaila became a personal shopper after joining the company three years ago. To meet her store’s goals, she must pick one item per 30 seconds. If she can’t find something, she has to quickly get a substitute that’s as good or better.“You start to get to know the customers, you know what they like,” she said, “how they like their meat … and how long they keep milk in the fridge.”Best Buy, meanwhile, has begun a free service in key markets where salespeople will sit with customers in their own homes and make recommendations on setting up a home office to designing a home theatre system. Best Buy said shoppers spend more with a home visit than they do at the stores. The project follows Amazon, which reportedly has been testing a program that sends employees to shoppers’ houses for free “smart home” recommendations.At Steve Frederick’s townhouse in Chicago, Billy Schuler offered advice about speakers that can be adjusted from a smartphone. Schuler, who had previously worked at Best Buy for 14 years, returned to the company to take on the new role.“Customers are more relaxed when they are in their home,” he said. “We can do a walkthrough of the house and see their needs.” He likes to “break the ice” by calling the person and chatting a day or two before the visit.Frederick, who’s spending close to $20,000 on the equipment, describes himself as “old-school” and says he needed a lot of help. He thinks it was worthwhile.“When you are spending that kind of money, you want to have someone come in and explain it,” he said.Schuler declined to give specifics but says he is well compensated. Ummelaila says her pay went up to nearly $12 per hour from $10 when she became a personal shopper.Target credits its strategy of assigning dedicated sales staff in areas such as clothing, consumer electronics, and beauty for helping increase sales, and says having visual merchandisers create vignettes like shoppers would see in specialty stores inspires people to buy. “You are making an outfit and telling a story on each rack,” says Crystal Lawrence, who works at a Target store in Brooklyn, New York. She likes the variety in her new job, and Target says it plans to keep paying higher wages for those specialized roles.But a survey of nearly 300 retail workers — conducted by the Center for Frontline Retail and Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center — found that of those workers whose job responsibilities have changed, more than 40 per cent said they hadn’t received pay increases to reflect that.Wages for hourly retail workers have risen less than 9 per cent since 1990, compared with 18 per cent for overall workers in the private sector. There has been some progress recently; some of the biggest retailers, like Walmart and Target, have made moves to increase pay in the face of low unemployment and competition for workers.“For a long period, these retail jobs were just terrible on average,” said Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute. “Retail stores have been following one strategy: high turnover, low wages. That strategy is no longer viable.”Mandel sees hope in technology, which he says has historically created more and better-paying jobs than it has eliminated.The National Retail Federation trade group points to government data showing that even in large supermarket chains where self-checkout has become standard, the number of employees per store has held steady over the 15 years through 2014. And the demand for grocery cashiers increased in the past few years, says Burning Glass Technologies, a company that analyzes labour market data.McDonald’s says the self-serve kiosks it has been rolling out won’t result in mass layoffs, but will mean that some cashiers shift roles to accommodate changes like offering table service.But a report prepared by Cornerstone Capital Group for the Investor Responsibility Research Center Institute predicts that more than 7.5 million retail jobs are at risk of being eliminated by automation over the next several years.Amazon is testing a grocery store in Seattle without cashiers, using cameras and shelf sensors to keep track of the items that shoppers grab and charge them. Eatsa, an automat-style restaurant in San Francisco, lacks cashiers as well — diners order at kiosks and workers prepare the food behind an opaque wall, with virtually no interaction between them.Labour groups are trying to address some of the new issues. Under a contract reached last May between Bloomingdale’s and the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, Moses and other members who work at the flagship store in Manhattan can also get commissions from some online sales.And a labour group representing 1.3 million grocery and food workers is trying to combat automation by highlighting that workers’ specialized skills — like the care they take in icing a rose on a wedding cake, or arranging flowers, or the ability of human workers to recognize spoiled food — provide a benefit to shoppers.“Separating progress for the consumer, for the worker, for the economy versus the stockholders … those are completely different things,” says Erikka Knuti, a spokeswoman for the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.Others say automation and happy workers are not necessarily incompatible.Walmart’s CEO Doug McMillon foresees fewer sales associates at his stores, but they’ll be better paid and better trained. Walmart has trained 225,000 supervisors and managers on topics like new apps and better customer service. It says managers who go through the academies have better retention rates than those who do not. Workers who report to those managers stay longer. And entry-level workers who complete a new training program are more likely to remain.It’s a shift retailers may have to speed up. Government figures show the rate of retail workers quitting their jobs in 2016 was at its highest since 2007.Alfredo Duran, who started as a sales associate at Gap and worked at six retailers over 15 years, left the industry two years ago. As a manager at clothing chain Mango, he was making $75,000 a year. But once the store closed, he had trouble finding another job in retail because no one wanted to pay him for his experience.“It’s gone down. One person is doing three jobs. And you can’t move up,” said Duran, 38, of Queens, New York.He’s now a concierge at a Manhattan hotel, making half of what he used to earn — but happy he left retail.___AP Video journalists Terry Chea in San Francisco and Teresa Crawford in Chicago contributed to this report.___Follow Anne D’Innocenzio: http://twitter.com/ADInnocenzioThis story is part of Future of Work, an Associated Press series that explores how workplaces across the U.S. and the world are being transformed by technology and global pressures. As more employers move, shrink or revamp their work sites, many employees are struggling to adapt. At the same time, workers with in-demand skills or knowledge are benefiting. Advanced training, education or know-how is becoming a required ticket to the 21st-century workplace.last_img read more

Statistics Canada says the pace of economic growth slowed in first quarter

first_imgThe pace of economic growth in Canada slowed in the first quarter of this year as housing investment pulled back amid new mortgage stress test rules.Statistics Canada says the economy grew at an annualized pace of 1.3 per cent for the first three months of the year. That compared with an annual pace of 1.7 per cent in the final three months of 2017.Economists had expected growth to come in at an annualized rate of 1.8 per cent for the first quarter of 2018, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The weaker-than-expected result came as investment in housing fell 1.9 per cent in the quarter, the largest decline since the first quarter of 2009, due to a drop in ownership transfer costs as the pace of home sales slowed at the start of the year.Growth in the first quarter was also the slowest pace since the economy contracted in the second quarter of 2016 due to forest fires that destroyed parts of Fort McMurray, Alta., and forced the shutdown of several oilsands operations in the region.The latest reading on the economy follows the Bank of Canada’s decision to keep its key interest rate on hold.last_img read more

US service firms grew at slower pace in December

first_imgWASHINGTON — U.S. service firms grew at a slower pace in December, a possible indication that various headwinds from turbulent markets to trade tensions could be having an impact on economic activity.The Institute for Supply Management, which is composed of purchasing managers, says that its service index fell to 57.6 per cent last month, down from a November reading of 60.7 per cent.Any reading above 50 signals growth. So even with the December decline, the index shows that service industries, where most Americans work, has been expanding for 107 consecutive months.The weaker reading on the service economy followed a report last week that the ISM index for manufacturing slowed to the slowest pace in more than two years, with some manufacturers complaining about the impact of President Donald Trump’s trade policies.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Charges laid in Dawson Creek property related crimes

first_imgDAWSON CREEK, B.C. – RCMP received a report of a stolen UTV in the Toms Lake area on Sunday, September 22nd, 2019.According to the RCMP, frontline officers attended, located the stolen UTV, and arrested both occupants. Further investigation by police uncovered evidence connecting suspects to two other stolen vehicles and a stolen trailer which were located nearby.A subsequent investigation has since linked the suspects to several other vehicle thefts and property thefts in the Peace region. Ryan Bumstead, 25-years-old, Chelbi Hiebert, 28-years-old, Hayden Raposo, 28-years-old and Lyric Grey, 21-years-old have all been charged with multiple property and vehicle theft-related offences.All four remain in police custody awaiting a future court date.This investigation encompasses numerous reported thefts and break and enters across the Peace Region from Fort St John to Grande Prairie said S/Sgt Damon Werrell, NCO i/c Dawson Creek Detachment.The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information on this or any other crime is asked to call the Dawson Creek RCMP at 250 784-3700 or Crime Stoppers at 1 800 222-8477last_img read more

Engine of Air Indias Boeing aircraft shuts down at Delhi airport black

first_imgNew Delhi: An engine of an empty Boeing 777 aircraft of Air India shut down at the Delhi airport during a technical inspection on Wednesday night and “black fumes” were seen coming out of it, the airline said. “Yesterday night at Delhi when an engineer was doing a routine technical examination of the empty aircraft (777), auxiliary power unit (APU) auto shutdown took place,” the airline said in a statement on Thursday. The APU is the smallest engine on an aircraft and situated at the tail of it. It provides the necessary power to start the main engines. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal Airport personnel observed black fumes from the APU exhaust and sprayed foam spray on it and part of the fuselage, the national carrier said. After opening the cowlings (cover) of the APU, “there was no traces of any burn or external damage noticed except for the minor oil leaks traces, which was normal”, it said, adding that a detailed inspection was going on. The flight was supposed to depart for San Francisco at 3.30 am on Thursday, an airline official said on the condition of anonymity. According to sources, Air India has four Boeing 747s, 18 Boeing 777 aircraft and 27 Boeing 787s in its fleet and these are primarily used for medium and long-haul international operations.last_img read more

The ACC Is Having A Bowl Season For The Ages

2015SEC119+9.2+1.7+25.6+5.9 Expected wins and point differentials are according to pre-bowl Elo ratings. Conferences classified as “independent” were excluded from the ranking.Source: College Football at Sports-Reference.com Big 1264+7.3+0.9+19.1+2.7 Pac-1263-10.3-0.4+5.8+1.5 CONFERENCEBOWLSWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINS Sun Belt64+5.8+1.7+1.4+1.0 VS. EXPECTEDVS. FBS AVERAGE 2013SEC107+3.1+1.0+19.5+4.6 Big Ten103-4.2-1.5+6.4+0.8 Which conference is winning the 2016-17 bowl season? MWC74+2.9+0.1+2.9+0.1 CUSA74+1.2+0.5-2.1-0.0 Expected wins and point differentials are according to pre-bowl Elo ratingsSource: College Football at Sports-Reference.com 1996SEC55+10.0+2.2+27.0+4.0 Independent22-8.5+0.4-6.1+0.5 2002Big Ten75+8.9+2.6+19.8+3.9 It’s also the second-biggest gap for any conference since 1936, trailing only the SEC’s 5.9 excess wins of a season ago.1If you’re curious, here’s the all-time top 10: 2008SEC86+7.0+2.3+18.1+4.2 VS. EXPECTEDVS. FBS AVERAGE 2006SEC96+9.7+2.1+20.7+4.1 2016ACC118+10.3+3.2+18.5+5.0 If Clemson knocks off the historically dominant Crimson Tide in the CFP championship game — and Elo gives that scenario a 33 percent chance of happening — the ACC would take over the No. 1 slot.2Again — this is, in part, a function of there being so many more bowls nowadays. If we limit ourselves to conferences with at least six bowl entries since 1970 (the year bowls stopped matching Division I-A/FBS teams with non-FBS ones), the 2015 SEC ranks seventh on a per-game basis, and the 2016 ACC 16th. But it’s also worth remembering that as a conference’s bowl contingent grows, the quality of its worst bowl-bound teams also decreases, depressing its per-game rating.Now, there are a few caveats to be had there. Although the ACC has won far more than we’d expect against a very tough slate of opponents, it’s also gotten a little lucky in the process. According to the Pythagorean formula, which generates an expected record based on the points a team scores and allows, the ACC’s bowl record should be more like 7-4 than 8-3, which matters when discussing the razor-thin margins atop all-time leaderboards. Relatedly, its adjusted scoring margin (+18.5) doesn’t even rank No. 1 this season; the Big 12 has a +19.1 mark, albeit in half as many games. By contrast, the SEC was +25.6 in bowls last season.ACC teams were favored by Elo in only four of the conference’s 11 bowls, and although one of those favorites lost (Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl), the rest of the ACC’s bowl teams picked up the slack with five upset victories. (Including Clemson’s 31-0 rout of Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl.3Although Vegas listed Clemson as 1-point favorites, computer power rankings such as Elo and ESPN’s Football Power Index were (wrongly) slightly higher on the Buckeyes.) When the SEC won nine bowls last season, it was only a slight improvement on the 7.3 they were expected to win going into the bowls. The ACC’s eight wins this year are much more out of step with the 4.8 wins Elo would have predicted, a gap that will grow to 5.5 wins if Clemson upsets Alabama.Regardless of how much good fortune has been involved, however, the ACC has been the class of this year’s bowls. And a Clemson victory on Monday night would add more than just one bragging right to the conference’s trophy case. ACC118+10.3+3.2+18.5+5.0 SEC126-0.5-0.3+11.0+2.7 1998Big Ten55+9.7+2.5+25.9+4.2 2014SEC127-0.5+0.0+14.0+4.0 After Oklahoma cruised past Auburn in Monday night’s Sugar Bowl, college football’s 2016-17 bowl season is nearing its finale. The only game left? Next Monday’s national championship game between Alabama and Clemson, a rematch of last year’s title tilt. That game — a 45-40 Alabama victory — concluded a dominant season for the Crimson Tide’s Southeastern Conference, one that punctuated the first nine-win bowl season by a single conference in college history.But in a surprise twist, it’s Clemson and the Atlantic Coast Conference — not Alabama and the SEC — that are winning the bowl battle once we adjust for expectations. And with the Tigers carrying the conference’s banner into the title game, the ACC has a chance to top last year’s SEC for the most impressive bowl season ever.The ACC has gone 8-3 this bowl season, already the second-most wins by a conference in a single bowl season since the AP poll era started in 1936. (Of course, because bowl season has become so bloated in recent years, this year’s ACC teams have also played in the third-most bowls ever, tied with four other conferences since 2013.) But the ACC’s record is still notable because of its difficulty: FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings — which estimate the relative quality of every FBS team — would have expected an average team to go 3-8 against ACC teams’ bowl opponents, losing by an average of 2.7 points per game. Instead, ACC teams have won by 7.6 points per game. That five-win gap between the ACC’s bowl record and what Elo would have expected from an average group of teams is easily the biggest of any conference this season: 2007SEC97+4.3+2.6+15.7+4.9 Most dominant bowl seasons by conference, 1936-2016 MAC60-4.5-2.1-5.7-2.3 YEARCONFERENCEBOWLSWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINSPOINT DIFF./GAMEWINS American72-9.5-2.5-3.0-1.5 read more

The Eastern Conference Battle Just Escalated Quickly

Not everybody has been bought out yet. But there are a few key ones, Tony. Among them: Robin Lopez, who’s thought to be headed to the Warriors. Wesley Matthews, who sounds set on Indiana.natesilver: What if Houston traded Chris Paul for the Lakers’ young guys this summer?Not that crazy if AD goes elsewhere, right?chris.herring: I don’t think the young Lakers shoot well enough to put them around Harden.But that idea is still kind of fascinating. I don’t trust CP3 health-wise beyond this year — especially not with that money he’s making. So they would be smart to get something for him if someone is willing to give them a king’s ransom.natesilver: The 76ers really need a buyout guy. The drop-off from their starting five to their bench is about as steep as you’ll ever see.tchow: Scouring on NBA Twitter right now, and Wayne Ellington (Tar Heel!!) is another name that is being mentioned a lot.chris.herring: Yeah. Ellington def isn’t playing with Phoenix, so he’s another — maybe to the Rockets, even. He waived a no-trade clause to leave Miami, so he’d probably only join a contender.natesilver: Speaking of Philly, the Fultz move actually opens up some cap space, so they could decide to keep Harris and target another max guy if Jimmy Butler leaves.chris.herring: That Harris deal was such a big, interesting move for them.Being able to keep him as insurance depending on what happens with Butler — who isn’t my favorite long-term max option anyway — is huge. Harris is also a lot younger than people realize because Philadelphia is already his fifth team at age 26.tchow: He’s only 26???natesilver: I like it more for the Sixers than a lot of people do, in part because it gives them several different options going forward.chris.herring: Yep.natesilver: Also, if Ben Simmons is your point guard, you need forwards who can make a 3.chris.herring: I was tough on them last year, but can we circle back to the Pistons right quick? Because they are seemingly punting on this season. They gave up Stanley Johnson for Thon Maker, which I don’t mind on its own. Thon could be good. But they dealt away a very decent/good player in Reggie Bullock to the Lakers.neil: And according to our projections, Detroit has a 56 percent chance of making the playoffs!chris.herring: THAT’S WHAT I’M NOT UNDERSTANDINGneil: Same.chris.herring: Like, there’s a possibility they could be trading themselves out of the playoffs.Now, maybe that risk isn’t terrible — especially now, with what happened with the Wizards.neil: Making the playoffs is a pretty low bar, especially in the East. But Detroit has only done it once since 2009.natesilver: Top to bottom, Detroit has to be in one of the worst situations in the league. They’re stuck in that in-between zone, but without very many young assets to pull them out of it.chris.herring: As it stands, they still wouldn’t be in. And I feel like they hurt their chances, if anythingtchow: Yea, I was about to say. Detroit making the playoffs might be surprising, but if you look at the East, who else would be the 7 or 8 seed that seems more probable? 56 percent seems about right to me.neil: The Wizards basically blew everything up. (Although I was a little surprised Bradley Beal wasn’t on the move.)chris.herring: Miami. I trust Erik Spoelstra and that group more than Blake Griffin and the Blakettes.natesilver: If the Pistons decide they want to blow things up, then I wonder if they’d consider moving Blake this summer.chris.herring: I guess they probably want to build around him going forward. But yeah, Blake probably should be moved. He could make several teams really interesting.tchow: Man, I feel so bad for Wizards fans.chris.herring: Yeah. Speaking of the Wizards, I liked the Bulls jumping in on the Otto Porter situation. Some Bulls’ fans didn’t like it. But Chicago has done literally nothing to make itself more appealing to free agents this summer. So they sacrifice that space by getting Porter, who’s young. But they at least have a young vet who is decent on both ends to put around that young core.natesilver: There are so many teams with max cap slots open that some of these “bad” contracts, e.g. Blake or CP3 or maybe Kevin Love, could start to look like assets.All of those guys can still play obviously, but they get very expensive in the back half of their contracts.tchow: Aren’t all those teams waiting for the summer though, Nate?natesilver: Yeah, I think the summer is going to be totally wild. Dallas also cleared a max slot, or close to it.chris.herring: Yeah! The Dallas situation was big. Last week, when we discussed them, we talked about how they didn’t have space. By moving Barnes now, they do. Accelerates the timeline quite a bit, which you obviously want to do now that you have Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis together.chris.herring: LOL neil: I didn’t realize FuckJerry was referring to Jerry Buss.Loltchow: LOLnatesilver: But maybe the Lakers deserve some blame for that. The chemistry around the team is really weird and there are a lot of mixed messages about what their objectives are.chris.herring: Completely. I don’t think it was ever fair to assume they could get the deal done. But I do understand L.A.’s frustration if, as reported, they weren’t even getting counteroffers back from the Pelicans.natesilver: A lot of the better deals of the past few years, like Paul George or Kawhi Leonard or on a smaller scale Mirotic today, are just about teams being opportunistic.Instead of trying to call their shots.chris.herring: Yeah. It would’ve been something had Milwaukee or Toronto been able to land Davis. Probably too big of a gamble for Toronto, and maybe Milwaukee didn’t have enough outside of Giannis.But the gamble for PG paid off; especially considering OKC generally isn’t in play for the biggest free agents because of location.natesilver: It was sorta funny that AD’s list included the Lakers plus three teams that didn’t really have pieces that fit.neil: Yeah, there was another conspiracy theory floating around that that was to provide cover when eventually talks circled “back” to the Lakers.chris.herring: Yeah. It was Lakers or bust this whole time.natesilver: If the Knicks get the No. 1 pick, what are the odds they flip it for Davis? Gotta be at least 50/50, no? It just feels like a very clean transaction.chris.herring: Nate, I think the Knicks would be very well-positioned if they win the lottery. They would have the No. 1 pick (Zion Williamson), two recent lottery guys — in Frank Ntilikina and Kevin Knox — AND the future first-round picks they just got from Dallas.I don’t think too many teams can touch that. Not a whole lot in the way of players who can make a big, immediate impact. But Zion alone is something you can sell to your fans, as well as a boatload of future picks. And now that the Davis saga is being pushed out to the offseason — and with Boston perhaps being put in a weakened situation, given the lack of clarity around Kyrie — the team that wins the lotto could be best position to make NOLA an offer.tchow: Circling back to things that did happen, outside of the AD saga, the story of these trades seems to be about the moves the top Eastern Conference teams made. FWIW, this is how the top of the East looked a week ago, compared to now: neil: I love the East horse race this season! I think the favorite changed hands, like, three times in the last few days. Everyone is making their move now that LeBron is out of the picture.chris.herring: As they should!tchow: The King is gone — the throne is wide-open. It’s like “Game of Thrones” in the Eastern Conference.chris.herring: I really do like the Mirotic trade for Milwaukee. When I tweeted about it, someone said, “Yeah, but how does he help them against Golden State?” Milwaukee hasn’t gotten out of the first round since 2000. They have a real chance to make the finals now, with an elite player, offense and defense and an explosive scheme that allows them to rain threes.tchow: So. Many. Shooters.neil: Right, Ray Allen and Sam Cassell were Bucks the last time they were in a spot like this.chris.herring: Mirotic isn’t perfect. But he really helped AD and the Pelicans down the stretch last year. Can certainly help Milwaukee.tchow: All right, enough about the trade deadline. Who’s ready for the All-Star draft?Check out our latest NBA predictions. chris.herring (Chris Herring, senior sportswriter): While there wasn’t the blockbuster deal that some thought might come at Thursday’s NBA trade deadline, there were plenty of moves — and non-moves — that affected each of the top teams in the East and will factor heavily in the playoff race from here on out.And on the flipside, there are a handful of teams that aren’t in contention that made trades I liked for their future. (And one that did almost nothing, which confuses me.)This is insane, by the way: The way the Pelicans handled this whole scenario is ridiculous.neil: So petty.tchow: The NBA is the pettiest league. But that’s also what makes it the best league.chris.herring: Although the Lakers’ core wouldn’t have had me excited to make a deal, either.neil: No, and I think part of it was New Orleans feeling like planting a flag for the small-market teams of the league. The Lakers can’t just have anyone they want whenever they want.natesilver: If Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram had played, like, 20 percent better this season, everything would be so much easier.neil: That’s definitely true.chris.herring: I think the Pelicans’ social media team just called the Lakers’ offer the equivalent of the Fyre Festival. neil: Hard as it is to believe a LeBron James team misses the playoffs.chris.herring: The Clippers are interesting because even after dealing Harris, they aren’t by any means in a bad spot.natesilver: Yeah, the Clippers have a lot of guys on expiring contracts, so they have incentive to play hard.In the abstract, the Kings are not tanking, but our numbers hate Harrison Barnes, so that trade didn’t help their chances at all.chris.herring: I didn’t like that deal for the Kings.I like that they’re going for it. But I didn’t love trading Justin Jackson.The Bulls’ deal for Otto Porter was better, IMO.neil: But it also felt like the Lakers and AD overplayed their hand a little here. It felt like an orchestrated effort to bully the Pelicans into trading a generational player for less than attractive prospects. And the Pelicans didn’t blink.To hear some tell it, out of spite.chris.herring: There were a handful of things that played out today that I didn’t understand.tchow: Fellow Justin Jackson fan here, checking in.chris.herring: Toronto’s deal for Marc Gasol was interesting. He’s a former defensive player of the year but has slowed down. You deal Jonas Valanciunas, Delon Wright, CJ Miles and a second-rounder for him. I don’t know how much better that makes the Raptors. Maybe Gasol is less of a defensive liability, but Valanciunas could beat up on second-string bigs pretty well. And I like Wright’s versatility at times.What did our projections have on that one? The way the Raps handled deadline was interesting. You kept hearing Lowry’s name floated around, etc.neil: Our projections still like Gasol quite a bit. Mainly for his defense.chris.herring: Also, to Nate and Neil’s question about the Lakers, at this point, I’m more interested in how the youngsters play from now on. Many of them had never been through this, with it being public that they’re all for sale. How they respond, how hard LeBron pushes himself and how much the Lakers push him will say a lot about whether they’re in the playoffs. It may not be totally worth it for LeBron to push himself to the limit, given how old he is and how slim a chance they have of taking out the West’s contenders.natesilver: I think literally every player on the roster other than LeBron was rumored to be going to New Orleans at some point, which can’t have helped with morale.chris.herring: Exactly.neil: Probably no coincidence they lost by 40+ on Tuesday.chris.herring: YUP.natesilver: Plus, the Lakers’ plan B isn’t that bad. Sign Klay Thompson or something this summer, give the young guys more chance to develop, and be opportunistic; there are still several ways you could end up with AD, and if you do, you’re going to have a lot more assets to surround him and LBJ with.chris.herring: Some teams surprised me by not making a deal today. I thought Atlanta — with guys like Kent Bazemore, Jeremy Lin — could have dealt away a vet to get something in return. Utah seemed to want Mike Conley, yet Memphis decided not to trade him just yet.But I love Orlando getting Markelle Fultz. They badly need someone at point guard. So I like the first-round pick as a gamble there.tchow: But our projections HATE Fultz, Chris.chris.herring: Of course. He hasn’t been good yet!neil: I don’t think anybody’s projections know what to do with Fultz.natesilver: Fultz isn’t a guy that projection systems are set up to deal with.neil: Right.chris.herring: One team that continues to confuse me some is Houston. They kind of cheaped out. Moved James Ennis for very little. Picked up Iman Shumpert, but also dealt away Nik Stauskas right after landing him in a trade. All seemingly to stay beneath the luxury tax. Those guys could’ve been useful. Maybe not great, but useful. On a team with a ton of injuries and little depth.It would be interesting to know how James Harden views that sort of thing as he’s doing everything by himself, damn-near.natesilver: Shumpert with good coaching/management could be an interesting fit. But yeah, Daryl Morey is sort of a home run hitter, and this felt like him fouling off a few pitches instead.chris.herring: True. They’ve always been bold, when it comes to certain things, that boldness pays off. They washed their hands of Carmelo Anthony a lot earlier than some would have, but they turned things around shortly after. Now the Lakers are interested in picking Melo up off the waiver wire, apparently.tchow: Speaking of Melo, Chris, in the beginning of the chat, you mentioned something about buyouts, and I keep hearing NBA circles talking about a robust or much coveted buyout market this time around. Who are some of the players that are being circled right now? I have no idea why it’s “robust.”chris.herring: neil (Neil Paine, senior sportswriter): Chris, this has to be up there with the most active deadlines ever.chris.herring: So what stood out to you all as the deadline came and went? The trades themselves are over, but a number of teams seem likely to keep an eye on the waiver wire for big names that could become available via buyout.I have to be honest: I loved Milwaukee’s trade for Nikola Mirotic.neil: Yes, a week ago, the Bucks were third-best in the East in our ratings. Now they are No. 1. (At least, in terms of full-strength rating.)chris.herring: They took four second-rounders and the spare parts they got in deals from the past couple of days to get a stretch big who fits their offense perfectly.Tobias Harris is a more complete player than Mirotic, but the fact that they could get the deal done without giving up much on the personnel side was really impressive.natesilver (Nate Silver, editor in chief): What stood out to me is that the biggest losers of the whole trade deadline period were the Lakers and the Celtics, even though they didn’t make any moves. (Well, the Lakers traded for Mike Muscala, but I’m not sure that counts.)tchow (Tony Chow, video producer): It doesn’t.chris.herring: The Sixers could have benefited from a deal like Milwaukee’s.neil: Yes, the Sixers gave up a ton in that Harris deal.tchow: The thing that stood out to me is it seemed like Toronto, Milwaukee AND Philadelphia all made moves with the assumption that their time is NOW. They all seem to believe they can win, if not the NBA Finals, then at least the East. Now, obviously, all three of them (four if you include Boston) can’t make it out on top, so it’ll be interesting to see who, if any, regrets these moves at the end of the season.natesilver: The Celtics were the biggest losers because all three of the other Eastern contenders made trades that make them much tougher outs. Obviously Philly gave up a lot more to do it than Toronto or Milwaukee did, and I agree that the Mirotic trade is the best of the three.chris.herring: That’s interesting, Nate.natesilver: The opportunity cost of not making a move is pretty high if you’re Boston.Especially if they’re now underdogs to make it out of the second round, which won’t help their case for keeping Kyrie Irving.chris.herring: I actually didn’t feel like Boston was a massive loser here. On the one hand, yeah, they didn’t change the roster. But they also seem to have played a role in Anthony Davis not being moved, which is a win in some ways, no? I guess it depends on whether you’re looking at short-term (which you probably have to, since the Celtics are a contender) vs. long-term/summer.neil: Certainly Davis staying in play for the summer is a win for Boston, although Davis’s agent and his father have said he’s not interested in signing long-term in Boston.natesilver: My thing is like: Kyrie has very openly flirted with the idea of leaving. And both the Knicks and the Clippers, two of the most attractive destinations, have totally cleared their books in way that make them very plausible fits for him.chris.herring: That’s certainly truenatesilver: The Celtics have to fade a lot of risks: AD openly griping about going there, Kyrie not leaving, the Knicks getting the No. 1 (or maybe the No. 2?) pick — in which case their offer for AD could be pretty darn attractive — and maybe none of the Lakers players having a breakout in the playoffs, which would make them more attractive trade assets, too.chris.herring: All completely fair.tchow: Yea, if the Celtics get knocked out in the first round or even the second round of the playoffs this year, I feel like they’re going to really regret not making any moves before this deadline.natesilver: Like, what if the Celtics had traded for Tobias Harris as a rental?chris.herring: Maybe I’m just of the opinion that the Celtics doing nothing AND watching AD get dealt to the Lakers would’ve been worse for them.natesilver: The weird thing about Boston is that they don’t have any obvious weaknesses, so they’re a little hard to improve unless you’re actually getting a star. But still…chris.herring: I don’t know if I would have liked them dealing for Harris, who is kind of a taller Jayson Tatum with less upside, given their difference in age.neil: Are the Lakers even going to MAKE the playoffs?tchow: Maybe? Right now, we project them to be a 9 seed.chris.herring: That’s a good question, Neil.natesilver: We have them as 2-to-1 underdogs, although they’re going to benefit from the Clippers semi-tanking. And maybe our numbers don’t account for motivation, as much.tchow: read more

The Warriors Should Be Worried About The Rockets

Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed FiveThirtyEight This week on Hot Takedown, we’re joined by FiveThirtyEight editor in chief Nate Silver as we look ahead to the second round of the NBA playoffs and the potential Warriors-vs.-Rockets rematch. Some experts are picking Houston to advance, but our model still favors Golden State. Who’s right? As for the other opening rounds, with the exception of the all-knotted-up Nuggets-Spurs series, the higher seeds seem likely to advance — which leads us to ponder some possible restructuring of the NBA’s playoff format.With the NFL draft starting Thursday, the big question on everyone’s mind is whether the Arizona Cardinals will take Kyler Murray with the No. 1 pick. We discuss Murray’s draft position and take a look at the draft value of quarterbacks in a year when there aren’t a lot of great QB prospects available. As for the teams in general, is it better to draft for need or draft for talent?We’re also introducing a new segment called “Get Off My Field.” This week, Nate thinks there are too many home runs and strikeouts in baseball.Here’s what we’re looking at this week:Chris Herring writes about Russell Westbrook’s continued playoff woes.We’re following the playoffs with our NBA predictions.We eagerly await Kirk Goldberry’s new book, “SprawlBall: A Visual Tour of the New Era of the NBA.”Michael Salfino explores the value of different NFL draft positions.We marvel at Giannis Antetokounmpo laughing in the face of the laws of physics. read more