Vision: A critical element

first_imgThe life of the 41st President of the United States of America (USA), George HW Bush, is being globally analysed following his death on November 30, 2018. Inevitably, it generally takes death for such discussions which often become outlets for platitudes. That aside, there are a number of things about former US President Bush that have been spoken about glowingly long before his death.Despite being a politician with its unfortunate stereotyping, the decency, as embodied by the character traits he exhibited publicly, has always been a high point that was recognised and commended by both colleagues and opponents within the USA and across the globe.That speaks volumes of his influence and contribution with one commentator stating that arguably, Bush may be the most consequential one-term President of the USA. That was seen in the context of his foreign policy, more specifically his invaluable role in ensuring that the cold war between superpowers, the USA and the USSR, ended without a bullet being fired or a bomb being dropped.It is said that Bush understood the consequences for humanity had it been otherwise and demonstrated astute leadership to forge the outcome as recorded in history. East and West Germany were reunited under his watch and he has been credited in some ways for the breaking down of the Berlin wall. He didn’t visit at the time citing it was “Germany’s moment”.That showed humility and not gloating even in time of great achievement for he did not want to be a distraction. That is not something that comes easily for most politicians and can be summed up with various words, including understanding and vision; understanding fully the gravity of the situation and a vision of its possible consequences for the future. In that context, Bush has been credited for his vision for ensuring the cold war ended the way it did.Vision is therefore a critical element, especially for those in leadership positions, if they were to make meaningful impacts on the lives of their subjects. Unfortunately, a lack thereof has proven detrimental for country and people as captured by history in various parts of the world.Currently, here in Guyana, the 2019 Budget is being debated in the National Assembly. Just after its presentation, it was deemed visionless by the Opposition. While some my rush to point out that the Opposition has to oppose, an examination of the budget, especially in the context of the Government’s boast of providing a ‘good life’ for all citizens, does not allow for a dissenting opinion.The plight of many ordinary farmers from whom higher rates for land rental have been demanded by fiscal measures imposed over the last two years, is just one simple example of how the lives of some Guyanese cannot be improved.One report suggests that the hike in rates for some in Black Bush Polder is from $12,000 to $45,000. In previous budgets under this Government, numerous taxes were imposed which broke and continue to break the backs of ordinary Guyanese.From all indications, the budget does not reflect measures for relief and therefore becomes more punitive than mitigating and can be seen as counterproductive to the Government’s own mantra of bringing the ‘good life’ to all. If any one section would not benefit, then the Government would have failed despite the good intentions.This brings into question the comprehensive preparation that is necessary for a national budget with realistic deliverables based upon the available and accessible resources; in other words, vision for positive holistic impact. The Berbice River Bridge has positively impacted the country and the people, so did the Demerara Harbour Bridge. Today, none can imagine life without those facilities and former Presidents Bharrat Jagdeo and Forbes Burnham must be credited with the vision.Similarly, projects like the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), the Marriott Hotel, the Guyana National Stadium, the Ophthalmology Hospital and other regional health facilities, the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and the numerous housing initiatives under Jagdeo and the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), are just a few others that have made a tremendously positive difference to the country, locally and internationally.The current Government has held onto the CJIA expansion, despite cutting its funding when in Opposition, just as it did the Specialty Hospital and the Amaila Falls Hydro Project. The untold benefits of the latter two, had they materialised, can now only be imagined. Its absence, or in actuality, Guyanese deliberately made to be deprived of their benefits, can be seen as lack of vision for forward advancement and an imposition to prevent development.In the end, the people with no access to the much-needed services, will suffer and the Government responsible for the deprivation will always be branded as one that lacks vision and one which places itself above the welfare of the country and citizens. Similarly, with an absence of tangible measures to improve lives and for transformative projects, branding Budget 2019 as visionless may have hit the mark. Some may posit that the authors are not like Bush.last_img read more

Disneyland Preview — Week of August 19

first_imgShare This!Time for another Disneyland preview! I know I discussed this at length last week, but we are now at your very last, no take-backs, opportunity to see the Main Street Electrical Parade.  If you want to see it before it goes dark forever, the time to do so is NOW.  Like, literally, right now. Stop reading, and get yourself to Disneyland Park to stake out a spot, and then open the article again to read the rest of it while you wait. Time’s a-wastin’!OK, you back?  Read on for more about what to expect at Disneyland this week!Special Events and NotesPhoto: Brian PinskyDid you know that the Main Street Electrical Parade had its first showing on June 17, 1972? While it has not been running continuously over the more than 45 years since it first ran, it has run for significant periods of time at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World, and is a familiar part of Disney visits for generations of park-goers on both coasts. After this incredible run, the Main Street Electrical Parade is coming to a close this week, with its final showing on Sunday, August 20 at 10:45 p.m.  It will run twice on each evening this weekend, at 8:45 p.m. and 10:45 p.m. on both days. Make sure you plan accordingly if you’d like to see it before it goes away for good. As an aside, no replacement has been announced as of yet, but we’ll let you know if and when that happens.Also worthy of note is that headliner Space Mountain will go down for its annual refurbishment to add the Ghost Galaxy overlay for the Halloween season.  Its last day of operation will likewise be August 20, and it is scheduled to return on September 16.Two other special promotions continue this week. For those of you that are staying at Disney hotels, Disney’s California Adventure will stay open one hour later to give you more time to ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout on Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Also, the Summer of Heroes continues at Disney’s California Adventure; check out Derek Burgan’s write-up on the event if you’ve not been before to get the most out of it.CrowdsExpect a slightly busier week this week than last — Annual Passholder blockouts are lifted on Monday, August 21 for some folks that have been unable to use their passes all summer, and you can expect that they’re going to want to head back to the parks to, among other things, check out the new Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout attraction. Note that some blockouts are again in effect as of Friday, and the crowds predictably dip back down on that day.Also, with the Main Street Electrical Parade coming to the end of its run on Sunday, don’t be surprised if there are sizable numbers of people at Disneyland Park that evening — even if they don’t end up having a big impact on wait times at attractions (we’re only predicting level 6 crowds that day, which is based upon expected waits).Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.WeatherUnlike Florida, which still sees oppressive heat and humidity this time of year, temperatures in Southern California continue to get more mild as we near the end of the summer. Highs are in the low 80s and upper 70s, and there is no significant chance of rain. There’s frankly nothing here that should move the needle for you one way or the other — as of right now, the weather should be very pleasant regardless of when you go.As always, it’s wise to double check the weather as the day of your visit approaches; check out the most up-to-date forecast here.ShowsThe main attraction this week is the Main Street Electrical Parade, which is showing twice a night through Sunday.  World of Color will be showing twice every night at Disney’s California Adventure, and Fantasmic! will run twice a night at Disneyland Park. At Disneyland, the Remember…Dreams Come True Fireworks Spectacular will take place over Sleeping Beauty Castle once a night, and Mickey’s Soundsational Parade will run once each day. At Disney’s California Adventure, however, the Pixar Play Parade will only run Saturday and Sunday this week. Detailed show schedules, including smaller-scale performances like the daily Flag Retreat Ceremony, can be found here.Admission and HoursGood news for Southern California Select and Southern California Annual Passholders — summer blockouts are finally coming to an end! If you have a Southern California Select Annual Passport, you’ll be able to visit the parks Monday through Thursday, and if you have the Southern California Annual Passport, you can also go on Friday. All other Annual Passports will be honored all days of the week. For those of you buying tickets as day guests, single-day tickets are at Regular cost ($110 adult/$104 child) for Saturday, Sunday, and Friday, and Value ($97/$91) the remainder of the week.Disneyland Park will open at 8:00 a.m. and close at midnight on Saturday, will be open 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Sunday, and will be open 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. the remainder of the week. Disney’s California Adventure will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, and 9:00 a.m to 10:00 p.m. every other day except for Wednesday, when it doesn’t open until 10:00 a.m.As per usual, the parks will open one hour early for eligible guests at Disneyland Park Saturday, Tuesday, and Thursday, and at Disney’s California Adventure Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; resort guests can take advantage of these hours every day of their stay for Extra Magic Hours, while guests eligible for Magic Mornings can use that benefit one day at Disneyland Park only. Full park hours can be found by clicking on each date in the Crowd Calendar.RefurbishmentsYou know the bad news — Main Street Electrical Parade and Space Mountain are both going away as of August 20 (although Space Mountain will only be gone for a bit) — but the good news is that most everything is going to be open for business. Big Thunder Mountain Railroad is returning from its quick tune-up and is already back in service at Disneyland Park as this goes to press. With that said, the Main Street Cinema will be closed from August 21 through September 30, and of particular interest to me, you will be unable to get the Best Corn Dog on Planet Earth from August 21 through September 10, as Little Red Wagon Corn Dogs will be down during that time as well. At Disney’s California Adventure, Character Close-Up  is still being replaced by Frozen’s Anna and Elsa.Looking ahead, as previously mentioned, the Haunted Mansion will temporarily go down from August 28 through September 15, 2017 for the installment of its holiday overlay. Additionally, Soarin’ Around the World and Monsters, Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue! are undergoing brief refurbishments starting on September 5.  Soarin’ will return shortly thereafter on September 8, and Monsters will return on September 23.  Keep those dates in mind if those attractions are an important part of your trip!As always, you can see the full slate of refurbishments by checking here.That should do it for this week’s preview. Check back next week and every week to find out what’s coming down the pike! Got questions? Aware of anything else that prospective guests should know about? Let us know in the comments!last_img read more

Heroes’ welcome for Banyana

first_img“They gave it their all. As a country, we are happy and proud of these heroines,” he said. The South African national women’s football team reached the final of the continental championship for a third time, but were beaten 4-0 by the hosts, Equatorial Guinea, in the title decider. Business came to a standstill as onlookers joined the “welcoming party”. In 2008, they also lost to Equatorial Guinea, who were also hosts at that time, in the final. Looking fatigued after a long flight which saw them stuck at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport en route home for hours, Banyana landed on Tuesday afternoon and then had problems negotiating their way through as a mass of supporters scrambled for their attention. In an interview with radio station SAfm, she said: “They are very determined. They love what they are doing and they are professional footballers. They’re not amateurs; look at the way they play. “We could so easily become number one in South Africa, just by having the right structure in place, and that would be through a professional league.” A professional league?Caf vice-president Natasha Tschiclas, meanwhile, has encouraged Safa to start a professional women’s football league in South Africa. SAinfo reportercenter_img South African Football Association (SAfa) President, Kirsten Nematandani said Banyana Banyana had done the country proud. 14 November 2012 “We have laid a solid foundation and I hope next time we should go all the way. This team is gelling and I am confident we are heading towards a ‘golden era’ for women’s football in the country,” he said. Banyana Banyana returned home from the Confederation of African Football (Caf) African Women’s Championship on Tuesday to a rapturous welcome from hordes of supporters who brought the arrivals hall at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport to a standstill. Captain Amanda Dlamini said the semi-final win against Nigeria might have taken some of the fight out of the team, but “getting so near, yet so far” was not a disgrace. Goal achievedCoach Joseph Mkhonza, who was last week named the South African Coach of the Year at the South African Sports Awards, said while the team had achieved its goal of reaching the final and beating their nemesis Nigeria, they would have loved to go all the way and win the title. Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

March Networks Combines Video and RFID Data to Unlock Business Insights

first_imgMarch Networks®, a global provider of intelligent IP video solutions, is pleased to announce the integration of its powerful March Networks Searchlight™ for Retail software with high-performance fixed Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology from Zebra Technologies. The integrated solution enables organizations to enhance loss prevention capabilities and visually verify events to draw additional business insights.“Every day we speak with corporate leaders who are starting to treat video as a core component of their technology strategy,” said Jeff Corrall, Integrations Business Development Manager, March Networks. “Integrated video can provide an almost unlimited view of the business, capturing everything from point-of-sale (POS) engagement, to banking transactions, to what went out the back door.”By combining data from Zebra RFID-tagged items with high-definition surveillance video, March Networks Searchlight makes it possible for companies to quickly search events by date, time, brand, product type, serial number or Electronic Product Code (EPC). They can then access the associated video with a single click to see exactly when and how an item entered or left a location. Users can conduct searches centrally from any networked location and simultaneously across multiple locations.- Sponsor – For example, an organization can discover in minutes the last time a specific, high-value item was present in a store or warehouse by searching on the product serial number and reviewing the recorded video. Similarly, it can use the same search capability to resolve more systemic – and potentially costly – issues, such as tracking the 10 or 12 items reported missing from inventory at the end of each month. In the future, the tight integration of RFID, POS and video data could enable automated alerts in the Searchlight software. This would allow companies to proactively respond to anomalies such as high-value items being removed from a location without first being captured on an order, or the need to replenish best-selling items on store or warehouse shelves.March Networks will showcase the integrated Searchlight for Retail solution in Booth 1614 at the ASIS International Annual Seminar and Exhibits, September 12-15 in Orlando, FL. For more information, please visit www.marchnetworks.com/ASIS. Stay UpdatedGet critical information for loss prevention professionals, security and retail management delivered right to your inbox.  Sign up nowlast_img read more

California governor places moratorium on executions

first_img(AP) – The 737 inmates on California’s largest-in-the-nation death row are getting a reprieve.Gov. Gavin Newsom plans to sign an executive order Wednesday placing a moratorium on executions.He’s also withdrawing the lethal injection regulations that death penalty opponents already have tied up in court. And he’s shuttering the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison that has never been used since it was modernized following the last execution in 2006.Newsom says the order won’t alter any convictions or allow any condemned inmate a chance at an early release.A prosecutor says Newsom is usurping voters’ will.California voters have supported the death penalty, most recently in 2016 when they narrowly voted to speed up the process. How to do that also has been tied up in litigation.last_img read more

Montaric Brown, 4-Star Safety, Commits To Arkansas

first_imgMontaric Brown seen at his visit to Arkansas.Twitter/@yvngsimba3Montaric Brown is on a visit to Arkansas today, and while in Fayetteville, he pulled the trigger on a commitment. 247Sports ranks Brown No. 1 among all recruits in Arkansas, making this a huge recruiting win for the Razorbacks.Brown announced his commitment via Twitter moments ago.pic.twitter.com/6ryO191FO5— August 24th (@yvngsimba3) July 28, 2016Here is the full note he used to announce the decision. First off in [sic] would like to thank everyone who has believed in me throughout this process. I want to thank my family, friends, coaches and teammates for their much needed support. I want to thank the college coahces who have invested their time and given me the opportunity to play for their schools. After much discussion with my family, I would like to further my academic and athletic career and commit to The University of Arkansas. WooPig!!! #UnCommon17Brown’s decision was foreshadowed by fellow Arkansas commit Koilan Jackson, a three-star wide receiver, who tweeted the decision a few minutes before it became official. My Boy @yvngsimba3 finally a HOG now Congrats on the commitment dude! Welcome to the Family— Koilan Jackson™ (@KoilanJack3) July 28, 2016In addition to being the No. 1 recruit in Arkansas, 247Sports ranks Montaric Brown as the nation’s No. 18 safety.Brown chose Arkansas over Alabama, Auburn, Baylor, LSU, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and others.With Brown’s decision, Arkansas now has 18 players in the 2017 class. He is the second safety and fourth defensive back to join Arkansas’ class.Keeping top players in state is vital for any team, especially Arkansas. Unlike other SEC programs, the Razorbacks don’t have a ton of elite players in their backyard, so hanging on to a guy like Brown is essential. Bret Bielema and the Hogs have landed four of the top 20 recruits out of Arkansas.last_img read more

Canada ready to make big splash at MIPJunior in Cannes with captivating

first_imgAdvertisement Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment “Canadian talent is recognized everywhere,” said Carolle Brabant, Executive Director of Telefilm Canada. “And when it comes to productions for children, especially TV series, the Canadian talent creating short-form works are leaders in their field. These series for kids explore a wide variety of engaging topics, speak in a diversity of cinematographic languages, cross cultural boundaries, enable young viewers to better discover the world they live in, stimulate their creative juices, and open pathways for future consumers and creators of content. For all these reasons, exporting and promoting Canadian content is one of our major priorities.”“We are in the midst of a new era in storytelling, with new technologies that render animation productions increasingly compelling to audiences of all ages,” said Valerie Creighton, President and CEO, CMF. “The four, diverse productions we’re featuring at MIPJunior, all CMF-funded, are extraordinary examples of why Canadian animation creators and producers are world renowned. Thanks to their creativity and innovative approaches to the development of content, they bring to life characters and universes that appeal to audiences around the world. By presenting these four projects at MIPJunior, we hope to showcase the strength of the Canadian animation industry, while increasing coproduction and commercial opportunities for our Canadian creators.” Anaana’s Tent, animation and live action13 episodes, 22 minutes eachThis Indigenous series was created in the spirit of such shows as Sesame Street, Mr. Dressup and Dora the Explorer.Speaker: Leslie Pulsifer, animator, Taqqut Productions, a production company whose short films have been screened at festivals in 18 countries, winning 20 international awards.The Art Show, live action42 episodes, 5 minutes eachThis live-action series was produced by the company behind the hit TV series Little Mosque on the Prairie.Speaker: Mary Darling, director, creator and executive producer, WestWind Pictures, a production company whose works are distributed in 180 countries.Beat Bugs, animation52 episodes, 11 minutes eachThis Australia–Canada coproduction, a 3D animated series created by Josh Wakely, won an AACTA (Australia) award for Best Children’s Television Series as well as an Emmy Award. Broadcast on the Seven Network in Australia, the show is also streamed in Canada and other markets on Netflix, which has also commissioned a second season of the series.Speaker: Trevor Bentley, founding partner and chief creative officer of Atomic Cartoons, a subsidiary of the Thunderbird Group (Canada). Australian production companies: 11:11 Creations Pty Ltd., Grace: A Storytelling Company and Beyond Entertainment.Cracké, animation52 episodes, 1 minute eachA 3D animated series with no dialogue, Cracké has built a solid fan base among children and their parents in more than 175 territories. Cracké also comes to life through a mobile video game and an innovative comic book application.Speaker: Denis Doré, president and co-founder, Squeeze.About Telefilm Canada—Inspired by talent. Viewed everywhere.Celebrating 50 years in 2017, Telefilm is dedicated to the cultural, commercial and industrial success of Canada’saudiovisual industry. Through funding and promotion programs, Telefilm supports dynamic companies and creative talent at home and around the world. Telefilm also makes recommendations regarding the certification of audiovisual treaty coproductions to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, and administers the programs of the Canada Media Fund. Launched in 2013, the Talent Fund accepts private donations to principally support emerging talent. Visit telefilm.ca and follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/telefilm_canada and on Facebook at facebook.com/telefilmcanada.About the Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’scable, satellite and IPTV distributors. Please visit cmf-fmc.ca. Facebookcenter_img Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: TORONTO and MONTRÉAL, Oct. 10, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ – Four innovative and engaging Canadian productions for children will be showcased at the upcoming MIPJunior, a major annual international event in Cannes gathering producers, buyers, sellers, broadcasters, and content creators of content for children. Telefilm Canada and the Canada Media Fund (CMF) are working closely to present an exciting program featuring four short TV series, which promise to have wide interest and appeal. Presented under the Canada Big on Shorts banner, the event will be held on October 15, 2017.last_img read more

LeBrons Odds of Catching Jordan

On Thursday, after LeBron James and the Miami Heat won their second consecutive N.B.A. championship, I noted on Twitter that James was on the same pace as the Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan. Both James and Jordan won their first championship at 27 and their second at 28, I wrote. Jordan went on to win four more N.B.A. titles, for a total of six.Mike Segar/Reuters LeBron James and Michael Jordan were about the same age when they won a second championship.My statement depended on a technicality, I later discovered: Jordan’s biological age was 28 when he won his first championship, in 1991, and 29 when he won his second, in 1992. However, basketball statisticians generally define a player’s age differently: by how old he was as of Feb. 1 of an N.B.A. season, the rough midpoint of the basketball calendar. Jordan’s birthday is Feb. 17.Those semantics aside, it is worth considering just how likely James might be to match or exceed Jordan’s six titles. (From this point on, we’ll use basketball statisticians’ definition of age.)Players like Jordan and James are so rare that it can be risky to compare them with anyone. Still, one reasonably useful benchmark is to evaluate players who, like James and Jordan, had won at least one Most Valuable Player award and at least one N.B.A. title as of their age-28 season, meaning that they had achieved the pinnacle of both individual and team success.By my count, there were 13 such players before James. On average, they won about two additional championships (more precisely, an average of 1.9) after their age-28 season. So a reasonable over-under line for James might be two more N.B.A. titles, or four total.It is tough to say exactly what James’s odds of catching Jordan might be, because the average conceals a wide range of outcomes among the individual players. Four of the players on the list — Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, Bob Pettit and Dave Cowens — never won another championship after their age-28 season. But four others — Jordan, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — won at least four more titles.James needs four more championships to catch Jordan, so one estimate of his odds might be 4 chances out of 13, or about 30 percent. But some of the favorable precedents, like Russell, came in an era when teams had far more ability to retain their players. Among the players on the list who played their age-28 season during the salary-cap era (since 1984-85), only Jordan won four or more titles.Jeff Haynes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Jordan after his fifth title with the Bulls.It seems safe to say that you would not want to bet on James at even money. There are just too many things that can go wrong with a player’s career as he ages: injury or illness, early retirement, bad teammates or bad luck.Even this year’s Heat began the season with only about a 30 percent chance of winning the title, according to the Las Vegas odds. That percentage roughly matches the historical likelihood of an N.B.A. team’s repeating as champion, which is 33 percent.So James’s chances of winning a third title next season in Miami are probably about 1 in 3. After that, his chances begin to decline. For one thing, it is less certain that James will be surrounded by strong teammates. (James has the right to opt out of his contract after next season, and even if he stays in Miami, teammates like Dwyane Wade are already seeing their skills atrophy.)More important, players in team sports typically peak in skill in their mid- to late 20s, meaning that James’s game may begin to wane. The N.B.A. is a superstar’s league, and if James goes from being M.V.P.-caliber to mere All-Star within a few years, it will considerably hurt his odds of winning more titles.I have estimated a player’s chances of winning an N.B.A. title based on his win shares, a statistic calculated by Basketball-Reference.com that measures overall value to a team. Since the introduction of the salary cap in 1984-85, excluding the two regular seasons (1998-99 and 2011-12) that were shortened by labor disputes, the best player in the league in a given season has averaged about 18 win shares, which is a reasonably good match for James’s performance over the last several years. The model estimates that such a player has about a 20 percent or 25 percent chance of winning the championship in today’s N.B.A. environment.What about the fifth-best player in the league — someone equivalent to the worst player on the All-N.B.A. team? That player has averaged about 13 win shares, which translates to only about a 10 percent chance of winning the championship.The 10th-best player in the N.B.A. at a given time has only about a 7 percent chance of winning a title, according to the model. And the 25th-best player — someone who might be the last reserve added to one of the conference All-Star teams — has about a 5 percent chance.That is not much better than an N.B.A. player chosen at random, who has a 3.3 percent chance of becoming a champion by virtue of being on one of the 30 teams. A borderline All-Star in the N.B.A., in other words, is much closer to being a role player than a superstar, at least when it comes to his odds of winning a championship.James, of course, will have considerable freedom to pick his employer. If he puts winning titles above all other considerations, he could sign on for any role with the team he perceived as having the best chance to win the championship in a given season.Few players in N.B.A. history have been willing to take things to quite that extreme. Instead, superstars expect teams to build around them — even if they are past their prime, and even if it means something as inglorious as Jordan’s late years spent with the Washington Wizards.One can forgive Jordan, who did not have anything left to prove. But to match him, James will need to win two or three more titles over the next several seasons while he still plays at an M.V.P. level, which will require good health and some good luck. Then he may need to chase the last couple of titles by being willing to play the right role with the right club.,On Thursday, after LeBron James and the Miami Heat won their second consecutive N.B.A. championship, I noted on Twitter that James was on the same pace as the Chicago Bulls great Michael Jordan. Both James and Jordan won their first championship at 27 and their second at 28, I wrote. Jordan went on to win four more N.B.A. titles, for a total of six.Mike Segar/Reuters LeBron James and Michael Jordan were about the same age when they won a second championship.My statement depended on a technicality, I later discovered: Jordan’s biological age was 28 when he won his first championship, in 1991, and 29 when he won his second, in 1992. However, basketball statisticians generally define a player’s age differently: by how old he was as of Feb. 1 of an N.B.A. season, the rough midpoint of the basketball calendar. Jordan’s birthday is Feb. 17.Those semantics aside, it is worth considering just how likely James might be to match or exceed Jordan’s six titles. (From this point on, we’ll use basketball statisticians’ definition of age.)Players like Jordan and James are so rare that it can be risky to compare them with anyone. Still, one reasonably useful benchmark is to evaluate players who, like James and Jordan, had won at least one Most Valuable Player award and at least one N.B.A. title as of their age-28 season, meaning that they had achieved the pinnacle of both individual and team success.By my count, there were 13 such players before James. On average, they won about two additional championships (more precisely, an average of 1.9) after their age-28 season. So a reasonable over-under line for James might be two more N.B.A. titles, or four total.It is tough to say exactly what James’s odds of catching Jordan might be, because the average conceals a wide range of outcomes among the individual players. Four of the players on the list — Magic Johnson, Moses Malone, Bob Pettit and Dave Cowens — never won another championship after their age-28 season. But four others — Jordan, Bill Russell, Bob Cousy and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — won at least four more titles.James needs four more championships to catch Jordan, so one estimate of his odds might be 4 chances out of 13, or about 30 percent. But some of the favorable precedents, like Russell, came in an era when teams had far more ability to retain their players. Among the players on the list who played their age-28 season during the salary-cap era (since 1984-85), only Jordan won four or more titles.Jeff Haynes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Jordan after his fifth title with the Bulls.It seems safe to say that you would not want to bet on James at even money. There are just too many things that can go wrong with a player’s career as he ages: injury or illness, early retirement, bad teammates or bad luck.Even this year’s Heat began the season with only about a 30 percent chance of winning the title, according to the Las Vegas odds. That percentage roughly matches the historical likelihood of an N.B.A. team’s repeating as champion, which is 33 percent.So James’s chances of winning a third title next season in Miami are probably about 1 in 3. After that, his chances begin to decline. For one thing, it is less certain that James will be surrounded by strong teammates. (James has the right to opt out of his contract after next season, and even if he stays in Miami, teammates like Dwyane Wade are already seeing their skills atrophy.)More important, players in team sports typically peak in skill in their mid- to late 20s, meaning that James’s game may begin to wane. The N.B.A. is a superstar’s league, and if James goes from being M.V.P.-caliber to mere All-Star within a few years, it will considerably hurt his odds of winning more titles.I have estimated a player’s chances of winning an N.B.A. title based on his win shares, a statistic calculated by Basketball-Reference.com that measures overall value to a team. Since the introduction of the salary cap in 1984-85, excluding the two regular seasons (1998-99 and 2011-12) that were shortened by labor disputes, the best player in the league in a given season has averaged about 18 win shares, which is a reasonably good match for James’s performance over the last several years. The model estimates that such a player has about a 20 percent or 25 percent chance of winning the championship in today’s N.B.A. environment.What about the fifth-best player in the league — someone equivalent to the worst player on the All-N.B.A. team? That player has averaged about 13 win shares, which translates to only about a 10 percent chance of winning the championship.The 10th-best player in the N.B.A. at a given time has only about a 7 percent chance of winning a title, according to the model. And the 25th-best player — someone who might be the last reserve added to one of the conference All-Star teams — has about a 5 percent chance.That is not much better than an N.B.A. player chosen at random, who has a 3.3 percent chance of becoming a champion by virtue of being on one of the 30 teams. A borderline All-Star in the N.B.A., in other words, is much closer to being a role player than a superstar, at least when it comes to his odds of winning a championship.James, of course, will have considerable freedom to pick his employer. If he puts winning titles above all other considerations, he could sign on for any role with the team he perceived as having the best chance to win the championship in a given season.Few players in N.B.A. history have been willing to take things to quite that extreme. Instead, superstars expect teams to build around them — even if they are past their prime, and even if it means something as inglorious as Jordan’s late years spent with the Washington Wizards.One can forgive Jordan, who did not have anything left to prove. But to match him, James will need to win two or three more titles over the next several seasons while he still plays at an M.V.P. level, which will require good health and some good luck. Then he may need to chase the last couple of titles by being willing to play the right role with the right club. read more

The Sacramento Kings Are Turning Their Games Into Track Meets

You could be forgiven if you didn’t think much of the Sacramento Kings’ chances coming into this season. The club, which was coming off a 27-victory campaign last year, hasn’t posted a 35-win season in more than a decade and is one of the NBA’s youngest teams. Sacramento also had a relatively quiet offseason aside from adding No. 2 overall pick Marvin Bagley.But the calendar has flipped to the new year, and Sacramento still has more wins than it does losses. This is the first time that’s been the case for Sacramento since 2005. Having a record above .500 this late — even after dropping two very winnable games in a row — is cause for celebration given how dysfunctional this franchise has been the past 10 to 15 years.Yet it’s the way the Kings have gotten out to such a respectable start that makes them so interesting. Sacramento basically turns its games into track meets and runs its opponents to death, gradually wearing them down enough to take over during the most important moments of play.At a blistering 105 possessions per 48 minutes, the Kings play at the league’s second-fastest tempo. In fourth quarters, when teams often slow the pace considerably to get the ball to their best players for 1-on-1s, Sacramento is still averaging an NBA-high 104 possessions per 48 minutes.Here’s the key, though: The Kings, who own the league’s second-worst defensive rating in first halves, undergo a “Thriller”-style transformation in the fourth quarter, when they rank sixth in the league defensively. And maintaining the sprinter’s tempo plays a part in that.The Kings force their winded opponents into a league-leading 16.9 fourth-quarter turnovers per 100 possessions. By contrast, Sacramento often looks most under control when the game is on the line and has by far the NBA’s fewest giveaways per 100 plays in close-game scenarios. That ability to play fast consistently is part of the reason the Kings have won an impressive two-thirds of their games in clutch scenarios, when the score is within 5 points with five minutes to play or less.It’s hard to know whether any of these developments were intentional. Kings coach Dave Joerger came into the season saying he wanted his young team to push the pace in the hopes of creating easier looks on offense — a fairly obvious perspective with so many players on the roster still finding their way. If there were any doubt that Sacramento is committed to the youth movement or the idea of playing faster, consider this: Plodding 37-year-old Zach Randolph, who led the team in scoring last year and is healthy, hasn’t logged a single minute for Joerger and the Kings this season.In any case, Sacramento has shown that it doesn’t care much what the circumstances are — and that it’s going to run no matter what. You scored on us? That’s fine, but you better hustle back on D. The Kings average the fastest possessions in the NBA after surrendering a basket, according to stat-tracking site Inpredictable. Watching their games on television can be a challenge because the camera crews often pan to the player who’s just scored, unprepared for how quickly the Kings are going to take a shot of their own in transition, so a viewer will miss chunks of Sacramento’s fastest scores. It happens a lot: The Kings have scored 41 times within four seconds of an opponent’s make, nearly double the next closest team, per Second Spectrum data.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/ACTION.mp400:0000:0002:23Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Speedster De’Aaron Fox is the V8 engine that drives this fast-paced attack, and his jumper is vastly improved from his rookie year, when he was a below-average shooter outside of 15 feet. The lefty makes smart decisions consistently and, like a pitcher with good off-speed stuff, has learned how to leverage his quickness by mixing speeds to keep defenders guessing about what he’ll do next.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/FoxSpeedShift.mp400:0000:0002:23Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.By finding a relative comfort in playing at an unusual tempo, the Kings have gone against the grain. Yet they have also borrowed a tactic from the Grit-and-Grind Grizzlies, who played at the pace of molasses but felt that style better equipped them to compete once opponents moved to iso-only offense in the closing stages of games. For the Kings, a fast game is just their natural environment, almost like fish underwater. Sacramento used their pace to secure huge back-to-back, come-from-behind victories last month, beating both Memphis and New Orleans after trailing each team by 19 points.1During that same six-day span, the Kings trimmed a 27-point deficit to just 3 against the Clippers on the road before eventually losing.“I think in the first quarter, we didn’t realize how fast they play,” Cavs center Tristan Thompson said after his team failed to keep up with Sacramento. “In the second quarter, we figured it out, got it to a tie game. But in the third quarter, they ramped it back up on us, and we weren’t able to recover.”For the time being, there are a number of other things the Kings are doing well to help keep them above .500. Buddy Hield, however old he might be, is efficiently averaging 20 points per game on much higher volume than before. Stretch big Nemanja Bjelica gives them the spacing they’ve needed for years. Bogdan Bogdanovic has been solid since his return from injury, hitting a game-winner to beat the Lakers last week and helping stabilize a bench that lacks depth.There are also cracks in the facade — and some of those may stem from trying to outlast opponents at a breakneck pace the entire game. Sacramento had a 9-point lead on the Blazers in the final three minutes Tuesday night but couldn’t hold the lead and lost in overtime. And the Kings held a 7-point edge in Los Angeles with just over four minutes to play Sunday but then lost to the Lakers (who were playing without LeBron James). And earlier last month, when Sacramento blew a 10-point lead in the last four minutes against Golden State, Fox looked tired, committing turnovers and leaving his jumpers short. Some of this is regression to the mean. But it also makes sense that clubs would be better equipped to run with the Kings for entire games with the season in full swing, as players are in better shape.Other factors also suggest an uphill climb for the Kings. While the team uses pace to its advantage, Sacramento is merely average on offense, and it’s below average on defense across a full game. Sacramento has a winning record, but its net rating, usually more of a truth-teller, ranks in the bottom third of the league. The team isn’t good at protecting the rim — Willie Cauley-Stein, who came out of Kentucky as a dominant defensive prospect, has been arguably the NBA’s worst center in that regard — and its opponents shoot 70 percent from inside of 3 feet. The team hasn’t fared well when it plays its other bigs alongside Bagley, who’s been out with injury the past three weeks. And because of how weak the bench would be without Bogdanovic there, Joerger doesn’t play Fox, Hield and Bogdanovic — the team’s best three-man lineup — together as much as he might like to.FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO projection model doesn’t think much of Sacramento, giving the Kings just a 5 percent playoff probability — far closer to the bottom-feeding Bulls, Knicks and Suns than to teams like the Wolves or the Magic — despite their admirable start.The rest of this week will be a test for the Kings, who host the West’s first-place Nuggets and second-place Warriors on Thursday and Saturday, respectively. But the schedule isn’t reason to count them out: Sacramento has kept its head above water despite playing the NBA’s fifth-toughest slate to this point.Any way you slice it, the Kings have been fun, and they’ve found success in an unusual way. Fans should enjoy the ride, whether it lasts for just a few more days, or it’s a full-fledged run into the postseason.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Lampard desperately dreams to manage Chelsea

first_imgFormer Blues midfielder, Frank Lampard says he is desperate to manage Chelsea club, however, he maintains he is enjoying his current media career.Having given his best as a former Chelsea player where he spent 13 years at Stamford Bridge, winning three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, the Champions League, the Europa League and two League Cups, Lampard admits he dreams of managing former club Chelsea according to Goal.“I have thought about coaching and I have been working at Chelsea with the academy all year, around my media stuff,”Jose Mourinho is sold on Lampard succeeding at Chelsea Tomás Pavel Ibarra Meda – September 14, 2019 Jose Mourinho wanted to give his two cents on Frank Lampard’s odds as the new Chelsea FC manager, he thinks he will succeed.There really…“Chelsea, of course, is like a dream job that will be there one day. But that is not always the route that it takes, so it might take me to go somewhere else before I can ever do that. We will see, but I certainly have ambitions to do it.“How could I not take it if Chelsea offered me the job? Chelsea are my club and I feel like I have a lot to offer. But that’s obviously for other people to decide, for important people, if and when I am ready to do that.”The 39-year-old was always seen as one of the most trusted lieutenants in the club’s dressing room, along with ex-Blues defender John Terry.last_img read more