LeBron Is Still Getting Better

LeBron James might remain the best player in the NBA. He might remain the most valuable. He might even remain a player around whom a team can build a perennial Finals contender. But the question right now is, “Can LeBron remain this good for the rest of the season?” Because this LeBron is very close to as good as we’ve ever seen, in ways we’ve never seen before.Just so everyone’s clear at the top: James is not the sun-eater he was in 2012-13, with the third and greatest of his Miami Heat teams. He may not be quite as incontestable as he was at the end of his first tenure in Cleveland, when he won back-to-back MVPs and dragged meager rosters on long and doomed and occasionally brilliant playoff runs.But James is posting career highs in true shooting percentage (66.4), 3-point percentage (41.6), assist percentage (42.9) and block percentage (2.6). His free throw percentage (77.3) is the second-highest of his career. He’s shooting 80.7 percent within 3 feet of the basket and going to the rim about as often as he ever has. He has created more shots for teammates than anyone but Russell Westbrook, according to data from Second Spectrum, and he’s done it while playing 37 minutes per night — a heavy load for a player in his 15th season (who has also logged more than 200 playoff games).The easy answer to the obvious question — How? — is that his jumper is falling. According to data from Second Spectrum, James is shooting an effective field goal percentage of 58.8 on step-back shots and 63 on pull-up jumpers — his two most common shot types after brute-force drives. Those dwarf his normal rate of makes on those shots over the last three seasons.The large and sensible parts of the brain say this is unsustainable. That it’s fun to watch James play-act past glories while understanding that the underlying foundations have shifted, moved on — that James’s MVP-level start is a mirage of risky habits and clustered luck. The smaller, more rascally regions wonder: What if this is how LeBron goes late-Jordan?James is one of the most amorphous stars I’ve ever watched from season to season. In various offseasons over the past decade, he’s picked up a post game, lost and recovered his 3-point stroke, added sneaky perimeter dribble feints and pivots, and refined the drive-and-kick game to its most basic and brutally effective elements. Who’s to say he hasn’t gone out and added the step-back midrange game that Michael made art and Kobe made genre fiction?I mean, just look at this:I’ve been watching LeBron for a lot of years, and I don’t remember him looking so fluid on those shots, so smooth through the hips and shoulders. That shot has always been available to him, it’s just always looked more calculated than natural — a computer making an arcane chess move more than a master moving in on the hunt. Now, it looks more graceful, a little tighter in the footwork. They aren’t suddenly perfect shots — there’s still the occasional (and occasionally more than occasional) wild launch from 35 feet or with a foot on or just inside the line, but they look better in aggregate. Maybe it’s easier to see it like that because it’s going in; that’s one danger of applying the eye test.But it also makes sense given how well James has shot both from distance and point-blank. There’s simply more room to maneuver in the midrange if defenses must treat him as a 40-percent 3-point shooter and an 80-percent finisher at the rim — while also playing the lanes because he’s passing more than ever. That’s going to remain true for as long as James is canning 3s like this and remains unstoppable at the rim. The jumper can come and go, but it has been relatively steady since it went missing in 2015-16. The drives are more reliable.The Cavs score 125 points per 100 possessions when James drives and finishes himself, passes to a teammate for a shot or is fouled (or he makes a turnover), and 118 points per 100 possessions on scoring chances that come from multiple passes after a James drive, according to Second Spectrum. Both rank first among players with at least 100 drives this season, and both are unlikely to change as long as James remains unstoppable, crashing into defenders and creating space where the defender had previously been standing.One caveat: This isn’t the indomitable James. The onslaught is not exactly unrelenting. The pitch is not fevered. James is finding more success driving to the rim, but he’s also drawing fouls at a career-worst rate — his .294 rate of free throws per field goal attempt is down considerably from his career average .418 — and his turnovers are a hair under his career worst (from last season). These may be clues that James’s underlying skills have tailed off and his results will soon follow. Or they may be evidence that LeBron isn’t actually trying yet.His defensive numbers confirm that he hasn’t returned to his peak. The Cleveland defense has been nearly 11 points better per 100 possessions when he sits, and ESPN’s defensive Real Plus-Minus has him in the negatives, below James Harden and Kyle Lowry. RPM is famously skewed toward defensive-minded big men, but James has historically performed much better in the stat. So, no, James isn’t the clamp-down bear trap he was in his Heat years. But he’s in the top 40 for shots defended (a good sign he’s not getting blown out of plays) and opponents are shooting just a 46.6 effective field goal percentage against him (a very good number). While he’s giving up “good” shots (expected value 52.8 eFG percentage, adjusting for who’s shooting, which is one of the worst figures in the league), he’s depressing value on those shots by 6.2 eFG percentage points, sandwiching him between standout defenders like Kevin Durant and Paul Millsap once he’s actually engaged in the play.We expect more from James because we’ve seen more from him. We’ve seen him slip from the best player in history to merely the best at this moment, and so his deficiencies call out in a way other players’ do not. Maybe he’s playing catch-up defense these days, or not drawing fouls the way he used to, or not willing Jae Crowder into making his wide-damn-open 3s. But 15 seasons into his career, he’s still getting better, and so far this season, the pieces he’s added have more than made up for the ones that have fallen away.Check out our latest NBA predictions. read more

Air Station Advocates Remain Skeptical about Lake Ontario Wind Farm

first_imgSupporters of Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station remain concerned about the potential for a proposed wind farm located 25 miles from the western New York base to interfere with flight training despite the reassurances of a former DOD official working for the developer.David Belote, who had been the first director of the Pentagon’s Siting Clearinghouse, told base supporters that defense officials believe the project on the shores of Lake Ontario would not interfere with military testing or training activities in the area. That conclusion followed an informal analysis by the clearinghouse.“They showed us some stuff that indicated they’re doing their due diligence. I don’t think they had anything definitive,” said John Cooper Sr., president of the Niagara Military Affairs Council.Belote said the project would not affect the installation’s C-130 operations or drone operations slated to come to the air reserve station soon.Installation advocates remain skeptical, however, reported the Lockport Union-Sun & Journal. DOD will not conduct a formal review of the project until Charlottesville, Va.-based Apex Clean Energy reveals the exact height and location of the turbines. Somerset Supervisor Dan Engert worries the DOD review doesn’t consider the same factors the department takes into account when it prepares its BRAC recommendations.“Neither an informal or the required formal review would ever answer the most pressing question facing Niagara County and our region, which is whether Lighthouse Wind would impact the Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station encroachment score in future BRAC proceedings,” said Engert, who recently met with Belote.“The stakes are awfully high,” he said. Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img read more

Anatomy Of A Viral Hit Acoustic Cover Song

first_img Facebook NETWORK ERRORCannot Contact ServerRELOAD YOUR SCREEN OR TRY SELECTING A DIFFERENT VIDEO Oct 16, 2018 – 11:41 am Donna Missal Covers “Iris”: GRAMMY ReImagined News In Mendes’ case, he spent his early teenage years covering everyone from Adele and Rhianna to Leonard Cohen and Lynyrd Skynyrd on his way to pop stardom. Cara covered the likes of Amy Winehouse, Justin Bieber, Maroon 5, and more. For these two budding pop stars, covers were the ticket to success. But cover songs are all around us (consider the popularity of modern singing competition shows). And as an emerging artist, covers can be a tool to get your talents in front of a new audience. So what makes a cover work and what doesn’t? Perhaps a revisit of Mike Masse’s 2010 viral cover of Toto’s “Africa” can shed some light.It’s tempting to look at the video’s 11+ million views and point to the success of the source material – after all, you read it right here that “Africa” is allegedly considered by science as the “best” song ever (a case we would bet is far from closed). But as SonicBids’ blog points out, the crux of why this YouTube cover took off like a rocket is talent. Masse’s voice not only evokes visions of Toto singer-at-the-time Joseph Williams, he sings the song with a combination of skillful accuracy and authentic passion listeners are looking–or rather listening–for today.What about the look? Masse’s video is a single shot of he and a bandmate playing at a pizza parlor. In fact, many viral YouTube cover videos rely on their low visual production quality to highlight the musical performance. [However, for the best of both worlds, check out the cover versions of GRAMMY ReImagined]. NETWORK ERRORCannot Contact ServerRELOAD YOUR SCREEN OR TRY SELECTING A DIFFERENT VIDEO Sep 28, 2018 – 2:18 pm Shawn Mendes On Connecting With His Fans & More Email A closer look at how viral videos reveal key takeaways for artists looking to mix their taste and talent with YouTube to find a new audienceGRAMMYs Oct 26, 2018 – 3:17 pm Posting a cover on YouTube is a well-worn path for independent artists seeking to traverse the internet jungle and land the attention of an audience. From Shawn Mendes to Alessia Cara, many artists of many genres have taken this tack to success, but many, many more have tried and missed the mark.center_img Twitter Anatomy Of A Viral Hit Acoustic Cover Song How Acoustic Covers Can Become Viral Hits anatomy-viral-hit-acoustic-cover-song In the case of many viral hits, choosing the right cover is where the magic happens. A familiar tune can bridge the gap between the eager fan and an unfamiliar artist, but a quick search of any of today’s biggest songs can also turn up a sea of competition. But popularity doesn’t necessarily mean a song should be avoided. A request for Weezer to cover “Africa” recently caught enough web attention to convince the band to tackle the classic, so clearly all of the song’s fans worldwide still hadn’t–or couldn’t–get enough.SonicBids’ analysis goes on to note that Masse’s consistency in posting new material on YouTube contributed to the success of their “Africa” cover, but also reiterates the importance of the talent of the collaborators you choose, calling out spot-on harmony vocals from bassist Jeff Hall as the viral video’s x-factor. “Don’t work with musicians unless they meet your standards,” the blog advises, wisely.Despite the strategy, for many artists, there is a joy of covering songs that is a reward in itself. Sometimes it’s easier for songwriters to get lost in a composition they didn’t create, the same way it’s easier to get lost in a house you didn’t build. The trick is knowing what will take off next and, more importantly, having the talent and consistency to capitalize on the opportunity. Happy covering!GRAMMY ReImagined Is Back With More Covers Read morelast_img read more

Hasina govt wants improved gen elections

first_imgSheikh Hasina.File photoNoting that the voting right is the people’s basic right, prime minister Sheikh Hasinaon Monday said her government wants the national election to be improved further in the country.”The voting right is the basic right of people. We want them [people] to exercise it properly. We want the national election to be improved further in our country,” she said asking members of Bangladesh Ansar and VDP to be careful so that people can exercise their constitutional rights.The prime minister was addressing the 38th national rally of Bangladesh Ansar and Village Defence Party (VDP) at Ansar-VDP Academy in Shafipur, Gazipur.”Your (Ansar and VDP) every member will have to be always ready for the arrangement of upcoming election in a fair and peaceful manner,” she said.Mentioning that Ansar and VDP men are the members of a disciplined force, Sheikh Hasina asked them to maintain peace and discipline at any cost as it is their sacred duty.She directed the Ansar and VDP members to sincerely perform their duty following the chain of command.Hasina said the Ansar and VDP members have been contributing to the country’s socio-economic development working at the grassroots level.She thanked all members of the Ansar and VDP for playing a strong role in preventing arson attacks on railway and buses by BNP-Jamaat men.Stating that Bangladesh is now a global role model for its development, Hasina said her government took Bangladesh to the highway of development governing the country from 2009 to till now.In this connection, she referred to Digital Bangladesh campaign, construction of Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant, launching Bangabandhu Satellite in March next, construction of Padma Bridge, and increasing the national budget to Tk 4 trillion from only Tk 610 billion in 2009.Hasina assured that no one will remain homeless and hungry in the country and everybody will get healthcare services and education facilities.Turning to the Rohingya issue, she said Bangladesh’s image has been brightened in the international arena for giving shelter to over 1 million Rohingyas as they fled their home in Rakhine amid persecutions by Myanmar military.Reiterating that there will be no place for militancy and terrorism on Bangladesh, the prime minister urged all, including guardians, teachers, Imams (Muslim clerics) and leaders of other religions, to remain alert so that the youths cannot be engaged in terrorism, militancy and drug addiction.On the occasion, an attractive parade of different contingents of Ansar-VDP was arranged with parade commander deputy director Amzad Hossain.Earlier on her arrival at the parade ground, Sheikh Hasina was received by home affairs minister Asaduzzaman Khan and Ansar and VDP director general Major General Sheikh Pasha Habib Uddin.The prime minister also handed over medals to total 127 members of Ansar and VDP for their outstanding performance in service.Of them, Bangladesh Ansar Medals were given to six members, while the president’s Ansar Medals to 20, the president’s VDP Medals to nine, Bangladesh Ansar Services Medals to 12, the president’s Ansar Services Medals to 33, Bangladesh VDP Services medals to 10, the president’s VDP Services Medals to 37 members.last_img read more

PUC To Houston And Dallas Electricity Customers Start Shopping For Better Rate

first_img X We just reported this week how a consumer group’s latest analysis shows people in Houston and Dallas have, for years, been paying more for electricity than people in Austin and San Antonio.Electricity in Austin and San Antonio is sold by the cities themselves which own their respective utility companies.Houston and Dallas are deregulated markets where people have to choose from dozens of electricity marketing companies offering a myriad of rate plans.Since Texas developed the deregulated market over a decade ago, customers in those areas have collectively paid $24 billion more for electricity, according to the Texas Coalition for Affordable Power.A day after that group released its latest report on the difference in prices, the members of the Public Utility Commission of Texas shot back, saying the de-regulated market is working.“Notwithstanding the so called reports that are put out by certain groups,” said Public Utility commissioner Ken Anderson.  “Anybody who’s paying an average of the high and low prices isn’t shopping.”Anderson said people in the deregulated markets can get good rates if they take the time to pick the right plan.But finding those great deals can be difficult because the commission’s own Power to Choose website can be deceptive allowing some marketers to offer what look like low cost rate plans that aren’t. That’s according to consumers and to PUC chairman Donna Nelson.“I really want you all to be looking at these one and a half cent offers because I think they’re deceptive on the face,” said Nelson to staff members, who are working on an over-haul of the website to make the offers more honest.  Listen To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /01:21 Sharelast_img read more

DC Public Library Rewards Summer Readers With Prizes

first_imgThis summer, parents looking for ways to get their kids to read can look to the DC Public Library. Thanks to partners like the Washington Nationals and Chipotle, children and teens will earn prizes for reading this summer.Starting this month and running through August, the DC Public Library will give readers a free kids meal or burrito from Chipotle halfway through the Summer Reading program. In addition, school-aged children and teens who finish the program will earn two tickets to a Washington Nationals game.“Students in the District deserve a summer enrichment experience that helps them return to school in the fall ready to tackle the next grade,” said Richard Reyes-Gavilan, executive director of the DC Public Library. “Thanks to the support of sponsors like the Washington Nationals and Chipotle, DC Public Library’s Summer Reading program will ensure that kids are reading and learning all year long.”The Library is offering over 100 programs tailored to early readers, children, and teens. Activities include science, technology, engineering, art and math themed programs; book clubs; story times and special performances. In July, Washington Nationals players will also visit some neighborhood libraries.The library’s summer reading program helps counter summer learning loss.  Research shows that children and teens can lose close to two months of what they’ve learned in the previous school year when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer.  This means that even with student progress during the school year, the District’s improvements in education can slow down unless more children and teens read over the summer.The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in N.W. D.C.To learn more about the Library’s summer reading program, visit your local library or online at dclibrary.org/summerreading.last_img read more