The Warriors Didnt Need Kevin Durant To Be This Good

The narrative going into the 2016-17 Warriors season was how unfair it was that one of the best teams of all time added one of the best players of all time to become unstoppable. And after the Warriors posted the best winning percentage in NBA postseason history and their star acquisition won the NBA Finals MVP, the narrative coming out of the season is much the same, only louder. But easy to lose in this narrative is the simple fact that the Warriors probably didn’t need Kevin Durant for the team to be this good — or at least almost this good. While adding Durant has been a success, it didn’t end up breaking basketball any more than the Warriors had broken it already.Counting the regular season and playoffs, the Warriors won 84 percent of their games this year — up from 83 percent last year and 81 percent the year before. Teams have only won 80+ percent of their combined season games 11 times in the 70-year history of the NBA.1The Bucks (1970-71 season) and Celtics (1985-86) have done it once each; the 76ers (1966-67, 1982-83), Lakers (1971-72, 1986-87), and Bulls (1995-96,1996-97) have done it twice each. The Warriors have now done it three years in a row.2The Warriors won 18 of the 22 games — 82 percent — that Durant didn’t play in this season.But the Warriors’ mission isn’t just to win titles, it’s to guarantee them. And Durant is both icing and insurance policy — a guarantee that the Warriors will always have an MVP-caliber, one-man offense available. Though he makes them a little bit better in his own right, his main value comes from making what happened to them in the 2016 playoffs less likely.So what does make them so good? And, more broadly, is greatness a matter of refining all aspects of a discipline, or does it stem from being freakishly good at one thing? The Warriors are the first dynasty in the ball-tracking era,3Tracking cameras have been installed in every NBA stadium since the 2013-14 season. which gives us an opportunity to measure their greatness in ways that we couldn’t for dynasties past.This, in turn, may also help answer the question of just how likely the Warriors are to regress to the mean. If their greatness is a confluence of factors, then there’s a whole lot of things that could go wrong to bring them back to earth. On the other hand, if their greatness is more about one thing, then maybe they can keep crushing the game indefinitely.The most dominant three-year dynasty everThe Warriors are an offensive juggernaut — but they’re more than that as well. We can see how much they’re contributing to their margins elsewhere by comparing their offensive rating (points scored per 100 possessions) to their SRS (margin of victory adjusted for strength of schedule), like so: This uses the SportsVu optical tracking data to judge offensive and defensive shooting versus league averages — it’s pretty similar to offensive and defensive ratings, but with rebounding and fouls taken out so we can concentrate on just shots taken and defended. Over their three-year run, the Warriors have been the best on both ends of the floor when it comes to both making and defending shots. Even so, their offensive prowess is particularly absurd.Another thing we can do to compare their offense and defense is to break them down two-dimensionally: by the quality of the shots taken or allowed (based on each shot’s modeled expectation), and then by how good a team was at scoring or preventing each shot, given that expectation. This relies heavily on my shot-value model, which accounts for shot type, shot location, shot clock, dribbles, time held, home court, defender position, defender distance, defender height and more.4The “more” is that I include one of STATS/SportsVu’s proprietary “shot difficulty” metrics as a variable in my model, though it isn’t weighted very heavily. While they’ve scored about 7 more points per 100 possessions than league average, they’ve also been 10.6 points better than their opponents overall — so about a third of their edge seems to come from something other than offensive efficiency.But it isn’t rare for teams with stronger-than-average offenses to also have stronger-than-average defenses. This is a bit counterintuitive — it seems like a great offensive team would be more likely to be weak on defense, since those are two very different skillsets and trade-offs must be made. And teams do, in fact, have to choose between more offense or more defense, so it’s significant that the relationship isn’t negative at all.The offense can make the defenseTo understand the sometimes complicated relationship between offense and defense, take the case of Dennis Rodman. Despite being known as a great defensive player, Rodman’s teams defended just about as well with or without him. And despite him being unable (or unwilling) to score himself, his teams were significantly more efficient on offense when he was on the court (even after accounting for his offensive rebounding). I suspect this is because having Rodman in the game allowed his teams to devote fewer resources to defending and rebounding, diverting those energies to offense instead. Similarly, having a highly efficient outside offense may allow a team to divert resources to the other end of the floor — not to mention that having your offensive players hang out more in the space between their opponents and their opponent’s basket can make their defensive job easier.So let’s compare the Warriors’ offense and defense a bit more directly: The Warriors are respectable at shooting inside the arc, but have been more than twice as good as the next-best team at shooting 3s in this period. They’re so good at it that there’s an argument that they should be doing it even more often, and that Curry — still the best shooter the game has ever seen — should be doing it way more often.You can throw more defense at them, and teams have done so — as you see in the breakdown chart above, they’re pretty close to average in 3-point shot quality already. But the Warriors are still better at shooting 3s than any other team is at anything — 3s, 2s or defense. And diverting more and more resources toward keeping them from scoring 130+ points per game (as they would if they got off a typical Warriors dynasty-era 3 on every possession), comes at a price. Opponents are working so hard to stop the 3 that they’re almost certainly losing something from their offense or 2-point defense, which likely helps explain why the Warriors get so many open looks inside the arc.Part of being good at lots of things is being really good at a couple of things. Curry’s ridiculous shooting opens up the Warriors’ offense. Not only are his shots incredibly efficient, but he also draws so much of his opponents’ attention that he makes his teammates look amazing — and makes his team immensely better. Looking at NBAWowy, which tracks how teams perform with a given player on the court versus on the bench, the Warriors outscored their opponents by 3.1 points per 100 possessions when Durant was playing and Curry was not; that number jumped to 16.1 points per 100 possessions with Curry on the court and Durant on the sidelines.5And 19.5 points per 100 possessions when they were both playing.While Durant may be the story of the season, the Warriors’ dynasty was built and is still being propped up by Curry’s ability to throw the ball into the hoop from great distances. Provided he keeps being able to do that, expect Golden State to keep the game broken. This shows that the Warriors appear to have a lot of players who are better at defense than they should be. Perhaps being free to focus on defense more than rebounding and offense helps. Perhaps they play bigger than their size in part because they’re typically in better position than you would expect from players on a more conventional offense whose goal is literally to get behind the other team. Perhaps opponents have to play offense with an extra eye on defense, or with more defenders than they would usually play.Also, having people like Stephen Curry and Durant as the offensive centerpieces may allow you to surround them with players who are more defense-oriented. Much like Rodman, someone like Draymond Green’s value may be fully realized precisely because he isn’t required to carry his offense. For a power forward, his responsibilities don’t include that much penetrating and collapsing the Warriors opponents’ defenses. Thus, despite being somewhat undersized for his position, Green has thrived — and indeed, may be one of the most valuable players in the league — in his current role.And Curry’s shooting makes the offenseWhile the link between Golden State’s offense and defense is speculative, the relationship between their 3-point shooting and their other shooting is easier to track.Golden State’s relentless barrage of 3s tends to make people forget that the Warriors are also good at 2-point shooting. The difference is that much more of their value on 2s comes from getting good shots, while more of their value on 3s comes from making the shots they get. Typically there is a relationship between how good a team is compared to expectation for both 3- and 2-point shooting, which is unsurprising since we’d expect good shooters to be good shooters, no matter where they’re shooting from. But the Warriors are not only unusually good at 3-point shooting, they’re also better at 3-point shooting than other shooting by an unusual margin. Comparing the two directly, we can see where the Warriors really butter their bread: read more

5 Ohio State womens track and field members qualify for NCAA championships

Five members of the Ohio State women’s track and field team qualified for the NCAA championships last weekend at the NCAA East Regional preliminaries in Bloomington, Ind. After winning the Big Ten indoor and outdoor championships for the first time in program history, the Buckeyes entered preliminaries knowing the veterans would have to perform at their best. “Anytime you’re in a field that strong, nothing is taken for granted,” coach Karen Dennis said. Senior sprinter and hurdler Letecia Wright had a successful weekend, taking first place in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 12.97 seconds. Junior Christina Manning also qualified for nationals with a fifth-place finish. “Making it to nationals once again feels like a redeeming meet,” Manning said. “I have a statement to make on the track and I plan on making it early.” Manning and Wright combined with junior Madison McNary and freshman Chesna Sykes to help the 4-by-100-meter relay team reach the NCAA finals. Wright is no stranger to succeeding on a big stage. “It feels really good to make it to outdoor nationals for the fourth year in a row,” she said. “It was a big surprise to me to win East Regionals because there are a lot of great hurdlers, so my goal was to just make it to nationals.” Wright’s strong performance comes as no surprise to Dennis. “I think it sets her up for just being able to be confident and prepared for the National Championships next week,” Dennis said. “She ran exceptionally well. … She recognizes this is her last year, and I think she wants to end the year on a real positive note.” Junior high jumper Ashley Galbraith qualified with a jump of 1.78 meters. Galbraith usually competes in multi-events for the track and field team, but participated only in the high jump at the preliminary meet. Dennis said this helped Galbraith perform at a higher level. “Regionals afforded her an opportunity to compete in the high jump with fresh legs, and she had a real awesome day,” Dennis said. “I’m really glad we were able to get through the region. … We’re going to the National Championships. We have to refocus our energy and our effort, and realize that we’re getting ready to face the top in both regions.” read more

Barros Schelotto has no regrets after losing the final

first_imgManager Guillermo Barros Schelotto, explained why he doesn’t have a single regret after Boca Juniors lost the Libertadores final vs River.Losing the Copa Libertadores final was an extremely sad event for Boca Juniors and manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto, the manager spoke to the press after the match and expressed how much it hurts him to lose this crucial match against River Plate at the Santiago Bernabeu.There is a general feeling that a whole cycle has ended under the twin, he lived a very successful period in which his side won two consecutive league titles in Argentina but River Plate proved that they are the better squad.While Boca was winning recognition on the domestic level, River Plate was getting it on the international stage by winning two Copa Sudamericana, two Copa Libertadores, and several other trophies under manager Marcelo Gallardo.For Barros Schelotto, not being able to win this very important final proves that his time with the Bosteros might be done as he proved to be extremely sad after the result.During a hard moment for all the Boca fans, the manager wanted to send them all a message that could comfort them in some manner.🎙️ Guillermo Barros Schelotto “La verdad fue una final donde cualquiera de los dos podía ganar. Ganó River en un partido muy parejo, donde no hubo diferencias y quizás la diferencia fue el zapatazo de Quintero” pic.twitter.com/JXcB657qUP— CONMEBOL.com (@CONMEBOL) December 9, 2018“We have to congratulate River for becoming the champions, for winning the trophy. This was a final that anybody could’ve won,” said the manager via Diario Ole after the match.“River was the winner of a game in which there were very small differences, which was Quintero’s strike.”“As far as the job, I think I’m done here. On the legal aspect of this, it would be nice if Conmebol takes measures, not in terms of who won the title, this is not about punishing River or Boca.”“It is said that getting stones thrown at you is normal, but throwing rocks to a bus is not normal at all. I wish things can change in the future.”“As far as the result goes, River Plate won fairly and that’s it. I think that the same type of game would’ve happened regardless of the stadium we played, I think we had the ball throughout the first half and River wasn’t able to penetrate our defense.”“We marked them very well and we created chances near River Plate’s area. The match was quite leveled until River’s equalizer, there never really was a squad that was better than the other during the whole match.”River Plate v Boca Juniors - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018Match Preview: River Plate vs Boca Juniors Boro Tanchev – September 1, 2019 It is time for one of the most intense derby games in the world, as River Plate and Boca Juniors go head-to-head tonight at 22:00 (CET).“Sadly, I don’t think we can behave as a society and I don’t think another final like this can be played in Argentina,” he added.LA CAÍDA MÁS DOLOROSAGuillermo Barros Schelotto, de rodillas en el Santiago Bernabéu… #LibertadoresxFOX River Plate 3-1 Boca Juniors (5-3) pic.twitter.com/PzmEA3uIvV— FOX Sports MX (@FOXSportsMX) December 9, 2018Now that Guillermo Barros Schelotto revealed that his intention is to leave the club, there is a greater chance for him to maybe look into a possible job as the Argentina national team when Lionel Scaloni’s spell has come to an end.The twin will now go on vacation for a little while and rethink his career strategy for the next couple of months, he has earned a well-deserved holiday time with his family after this huge heartbreak of losing South America’s most important tournament against his most hated rival in football.Guillermo Barros Schelotto was nearly as successful being a coach as he was during his years as a player for Boca Juniors, but bad fortune was too great for him this time.We will keep you posted about the decision that the manager makes for his next destination, but he needs some space for the time being.The man also left the country of Argentina with a very important lesson, he has given up on all hope that society in the country has, but there is still a chance for them to right many of their wrongs in the future.Boca Juniors was a worthy adversary regardless of what happened out of the pitch.Guillermo Barros Schelotto no quiso hablar de su futuro: “Lo único que tengo es tristeza por no darle la Copa a la gente” https://t.co/KuqnaRLTI4 pic.twitter.com/aK7qdF4LVn— infobae (@infobae) December 10, 2018How would you describe Boca Juniors’ performance in the Copa Libertadores final vs River Plate? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.last_img read more

Mauricio Pochettino sets for a special night at the Nou Camp

first_imgTottenham Hotspur will face Barcelona in the sixth and final match of UEFA Champions League Group B on Tuesday evening.Tottenham will need to match Inter’s result against PSV to progress to the knockout stages and club’s manager Mauricio Pochettino feels it’s a special chance that can go for the next stage of the CL.“When I was at Espanyol, we always felt the derbies (against Barcelona) a lot, that rivalry,” said Mauricio via club’s website.“This is special because it’s special for Tottenham and it’s special for us to have the chance to go to the next stage of the Champions League – and that’s with all the respect to Barcelona.Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“We are focused on trying to prepare for the game in the best way. After the victory against Leicester I think it’s important in a decisive game to have confidence and a belief we can win.“Of course, in front of us, we are going to have one of the best teams in the world and it’s going to be tough, but the most important thing is to be focused and concentrate on trying to play in our best way and trying to win.“Without belief in football, it is too difficult to win. I think it’s so important to arrive at that moment with the belief and the faith that we can perform in the best way.“After that, we will see what happens in the game because you need some luck and some good things to happen for you but we are confident that we can do a good job.”last_img read more

Smalling says United head to Turin full of confidence

first_imgManchester United defender Chris Smalling insists the team head to Turin for their UEFA Champions League tie against Juventus full of confidence.The England defender says United’s last-gasp win over Bournemouth on Saturday has given the side confidence ahead of their Champions League trip to Turin.Marcus Rashford scored a late goal to secure victory for Jose Mourinho’s team after Anthony Martial had cancelled out Callum Wilson’s early opener.The victory means the Red Devils have won both Premier League matches since their home defeat to Juventus last month, and moves them to 7th on the league table.With a game against rivals Manchester City coming up in the league on Sunday, a crucial few days lie ahead for United.harry maguire, manchester UnitedMaguire says United need to build on today’s win George Patchias – September 14, 2019 Harry Maguire wants his United teammates to build on the victory over Leicester City.During the summer, Harry Maguire was referred to as the ultimate…When asked what two positive results could do for the team’s season, Smalling said, as quoted by Goal:“I think that it would galvanise us. We know we’re going into a very tough week now but we can come out with some good results and it can be seen as a good month.”“It is an especially tough month now and potentially after the international break when we have a lot of home games it’s all about making sure we get results and move up that table despite the tough games.”“We can take the second half to Turin and I think we will be more on the front foot and you will see a better performance in the first half. We need to take the second-half performance that we had against them at home and we need to do that from the off and we’ll give them a good game and get chances.”last_img read more