We report on the Lions’ official Maori welcome in Waitangi and pick a potential starting XV for the second game against the Blues Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is gift – that is why we call it the present.So said our guide at the Waitangi Treaty Grounds. And today really was a gift, watching 300 Maori warriors officially welcome the 2017 British & Irish Lions to New Zealand.The Lions would no doubt be happy to consign yesterday’s underwhelming 13-7 win over NZ Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei to history but today’s spectacle an hour north is something the entire touring party will long treasure.Even watching from the sidelines as a member of the media you felt part of something truly special. The traditions and passion involved in Maori ceremonies always engage the audience, but the sheer numbers involved at Waitangi and the sense of occasion raised the bar. The weather delivered too, blue sky and sunshine a stark contrast to the teeming rain of 24 hours earlier. LATEST RUGBY WORLD MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTION DEALS The challenge: Sam Warburton faces the Maori warriors in Waitangi. Photo: Getty Images “We had quite a few Maori welcomes for the 2011 World Cup and Wales toured here last summer, but that was like nothing I’ve experienced before. It was brilliant,” said Lions captain Sam Warburton. “The day and the setting made it even more special. Off the field, that’s one of the best experiences I’ve had through rugby.”The Lions made an impact too, performing their four tour songs – Calon Lan, Highland Cathedral, Jerusalem and The Fields of Athenry – in reply to the Maori welcome. “The choir delivered,” smiled Warburton.SIGN OF RESPECTLions tour manager John Spencer spoke of the privilege of experiencing such a welcome and of showing “respect and friendship” to the Maori people. The crowd at Toll Stadium on Saturday night didn’t show quite the same level of respect to the Lions!Welcome ceremony: Maori warriors face the Lions at Waitangi Treaty Grounds. Photo: Getty Images“This is the worst Lions team ever.” “Why isn’t Susan Boyle playing at full-back?” “You’re worse than the 2005 Lions.”Those are just three examples of things fans shouted from the seats behind the press box as the Lions struggled to see off the Barbarians side. It takes a lot to earn the respect of New Zealanders when it comes to rugby and the Lions have a long way to go to achieve that particular goal set by coach Warren Gatland. ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENTThe issues in terms of jet lag and a lack of preparation time are well documented but their first opponents were a scratch side too, only training together for a week before running out in front of an expectant crowd in Whangarei.Steady: The scrum was a fairly even contest on Saturday night. Photo: Getty ImagesThe tourists will have been disappointed not to have dominated the opener physically, failing to assert themselves at the set-piece or the contact area, and while their intent in attack was clear – playing fast and wide – they lacked accuracy. The All Blacks are known for their ruthless edge so the Lions must become clinical in the coming weeks if they are to have a chance in the Test series.INTO THE BLUESNext up are Tana Umaga’s Blues. The Auckland-based franchise have been inconsistent in Super Rugby this season; they have won half of their 14 games to date, losing six and drawing one, and are the worst performing Kiwi team.Gatland has already talked of the threat the Blues pose physically, so what team should he pick for the game at Eden Park on Wednesday? It will be a completely different starting XV and here’s a potential line-up for game two…Liam Williams; George North, Elliot Daly, Robbie Henshaw, Jack Nowell; Dan Biggar, Conor Murray; Jack McGrath, Ken Owens, Dan Cole, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Peter O’Mahony (capt), Sean O’Brien, CJ Stander.Double time: Will Conor Murray and Dan Biggar team up at half-back? Photo: InphoFirst, with his key leadership figures all playing against the Barbarians, it looks like a choice between Owens and O’Mahony as captain. We’re tipping the Irishman to edge it as Owens focuses on his return from injury.FOR THE LATEST SUBSCRIPTION OFFERS, CLICK HEREThere are familiar combinations up front with the all-Irish back row and English/Saracens engine room, while half-backs Murray and Biggar have been rooming together. In midfield the arcing break and kicking game of Daly, the only replacement not to make it onto the field on Saturday, would complement the power of Henshaw. Williams is one of the best operators under the high ball in the squad – an area where the Lions struggled in the first game – while Nowell and North are danger men out wide.We’ll see how close (or wrong!) we are when Gatland names his team to play the Blues tomorrow, but whoever runs out at Eden Park knows there needs to be a significant improvement in performance.
Topics : “The highest points for the City of Buenos Aires could have been the last days of July and the first days of August,” he told Reuters TV. “Now the infection curve has stabilized at a plateau, but a high plateau. In South America, you call it the altiplano, as opposed to the lowlands.”The recent peaking of cases saw the government last week renew restrictions for Buenos Aires that had been relaxed in many parts of the nation.The announcement was greeted by thousands taking part in a street protest on Monday against the measures, which have cause further economic pain in a country already in deep recession. “It seems to me that, as in other countries, we should be trusted to behave like adults and responsibly resume work and moving the country forward,” said Patricia Velvisi, a 52-year-old worker.On Tuesday, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdown had provoked an unprecedented mental health crisis due to stress and drug and alcohol use. Argentina confirmed 6,840 new cases of coronavirus and 172 new deaths on Tuesday, taking it simultaneously over the 300,000 case and 6,000 death threshold as the Latin nation battles a surge of contagions in recent weeks.The country’s health ministry reported a total of 305,966 cases and 6,048 deaths.Dr Luis Camera, a member of the Argentine government’s health advisory group, said while cases, intensive care admissions and hospital bed occupancy rates were not still climbing, they had settled at an unsustainable level.
EDMONTON, Alberta — The NHL is being put on notice: Joe Thornton is getting healthy and he’s starting to give the Sharks a serious-matchup edge in the depth of the lineup.On opening night, Sharks coach Pete DeBoer preached about the importance of finding a dominant third line that can tip the scale similar to the mismatches created by the Pittsburgh Penguins vaunted “HBK” line during their Stanley Cup runs in 2016 and 2017. He’s experimented with a handful of different combinations in search …
Tags:#apps#mobile#news sarah perez The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … The Wholesale Applications Community (WAC) is an allegiance of telecommunications firms and others working together to create a common mobile platform. The goal of the group is to simplify the mobile application process for developers, allowing them to deploy mobile apps across all member networks simultaneously. Or more simply put, it’s an effort to build a global mobile app store.Now the group has just added 10 new members. And more importantly, it says that it will announce details of its commercial launch in a matter of days.WAC, which formed at last year’s Mobile World Congress, was initially composed of 24 mobile operators. At the time, many doubted whether or not this “global app store” approach would arrive in a timely enough fashion to truly compete with the growing juggernaut that is the iTunes Store, not to mention newer competitors like the Android Marketplace, which now hosts approximately 200,000 apps itself.But later in the year, WAC partnered with JIL (the Joint Innovation Lab), an organization with similar goals. When the merger completed, WAC released the WAC 1.0 specification, based on JIL’s specs. Apps using this new standard will be able to launch in all WAC members’ app stores, the group said.Now, in advance of the announcement regarding WAC’s commercial launch plans, the organization has again added members. The 10 new additions bring the total count to 68. Today’s new members include Adobe, Amdocs, Eyeline, HP, IBM, Minigate, Neustar, Panasonic, SAP and SanDisk.“Each company will bring its own unique level of expertise that will support WAC in providing solutions that will accelerate and expand the market for applications and provide greater choice for consumers,” the organization said by way of its press release.Commercial Launch Plans Revealed Next WeekThe bigger news, however, is that WAC will finally announce its commercial launch plans at next week’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In attendance will be several CEOs from its member organizations.As a reminder, some of the notable names on its member list include Accenture, Ericsson, Huawei, Intel, Qualcomm, Samsung, Alcatel-Lucent, Fujitsu, LG Electronics, Aplix, LiMo, Oberthur, Opera, Oracle, ZTE and, of course, dozens of mobile operators.Will WAC being launching at Mobile World Congress perhaps? How many developers will soon embrace WAC 1.0? Will WAC be able to compete with Apple and others? We’ll know more next week -stay tuned. Related Posts Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement
If you were to walk in the back door of your dream client’s account and speak to one of the contacts who cares about what you do, would your competitor have reason to be concerned? Should they fear your very presence inside the building as an existential threat? Or, would they feel confident that there is no way you could create an opportunity to displace them?This might sound like a question about how well your competitor has their client locked up, but it isn’t. It’s a question about whether your approach allows you to create an opportunity by helping the client discover something about themselves and opening up a gap. Your company’s first 8 slides are not going to compel your dream client to change. Nor is it likely that a traditional discovery process is going to do enough to overcome the status quo.The dangerous type of salesperson is strategic, meaning they know how to initiate conversations about strategic outcomes, things that matter, systemic issues that are difficult to resolve. You pose no threat if the best you can do is share features and benefits. There is no danger in a salesperson who provides no more danger than a catalogue that comes in the mail.The dangerous salesperson has the ability to find and engage the people who are necessary to change and bring them into the process. They can enter the organization at the highest level, the lowest level, or anywhere between and wire the building. You are no danger if you can’t move vertically and horizontally within the four walls of your dream client’s company.When it comes to the intangibles, the dangerous type of salesperson has them in spades. They have the ability to develop relationships, to look and sound like a peer, and to create a preference to work with them because of the value they create (which is something different than the value their company or their product creates). Without the intangibles, there are salespeople who can walk into your dream client’s building and leave without anything changing inside their four walls.What makes one dangerous is their ability to create a situation where a competitive displacement is possible—or likely.
The players were sharing the same locker room and the lockers of the North Korean players were deliberately placed between those of their South Korean teammates so that they could become close quickly, according to Yonhap news agency.The Koreas fielded a single team to major sports events only twice, both in 1991. One event was the world table tennis championships and the other soccer’s World Youth Championship. But this is the first time they’ve assembled a single team for the Olympics.The Koreas explored how to cooperate in the Olympics after the North’s leader Kim Jong Un abruptly said in his New Year’s address that he was willing to send an Olympic delegation. As part of the rapprochement deals, the Koreas also agreed for their athletes to march together under a single flag during the Feb. 9 opening ceremony. Some experts say North Korea may want to use improved ties with the South as a way to weaken U.S.-led international sanctions.The International Olympic Committee has allowed 22 North Korean athletes, including the 12 hockey players, to compete in Pyeongchang in exceptional entries given to the North, which initially had none for the games. The 10 others will compete in figure skating, short track speed skating, Alpine skiing and cross-country skiing. They will come to South Korea on Feb. 1.The joint hockey team deal has triggered a backlash in South Korea, with a survey showing about 70 percent of respondents opposing the idea because it would deprive South Korean players of playing time. The IOC-brokered agreement requires at least three North Korean players to suit up for each game, meaning that three from South Korea’s original roster cannot play in those games.ADVERTISEMENT View comments North Korean women’s ice hockey players arrive at the South Korea’s national training center, Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018, in Jincheon, South Korea. Twelve North Korean female hockey players have crossed the border into South Korea to form the rivals’ first-ever Olympic team during next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Games. (Song Kyung-Seok/Pool Photo via AP)SEOUL, South Korea — Female hockey players from the rival Koreas were paired up with each other Thursday to form their first-ever Olympic squad during next month’s Pyeongchang Winter Games, as their countries press ahead with rare reconciliation steps following a period of nuclear tensions.A dozen North Korean hockey players wearing white-and-red winter parkas crossed the heavily fortified border into South Korea earlier Thursday, as about 30-40 conservative activists shouted anti-Pyongyang slogans at a nearby border area.ADVERTISEMENT 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting The North Koreans traveled on to a national athletes’ village in southern South Korea, where they were welcomed by their South Korean teammates and Canadian coach Sarah Murray, who presented them flower bouquets in an outdoor welcoming ceremony.“I sincerely welcome your arrival,” Lee Jae-kun, head of the athletes’ village, told the North Koreans after they got off a bus.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutPark Chol Ho, a North Korean coach who arrived with the 12 athletes and two support staff, told reporters that he’s happy to team up with South Koreans. “I’m very pleased with the fact that North and South are united as one to participate in (the Olympics). I expect we’ll see good results if we unite our efforts … though we don’t have much time,” he said.The Korean players later shouted “We are one!” and took a group photo. North and South Korean players plan to practice separately for several days as Murray needs time to learn about the North Koreans. Read Next NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Murray has said that the North Koreans’ hard-hitting style would make them suited to be her fourth line, a group of players who are typically asked to provide strong physical play in short bursts while giving their teammates with greater scoring responsibilities a chance to rest.Murray, who examined the North Koreans first hand during an event in Gangneung last year, has identified five players as memorable, but among them, only forwards Jong Su Hyon and Kim Hyang Mi made the trip for the Olympics.The unified Korean team will open their group action against Switzerland on Feb. 10. It will then face Sweden on Feb. 12 and Japan on Feb. 14. What draws attention is its Japan match, as many in both Koreas still harbor bitter resentment against Japan’s 35-year colonial rule that ended in 1945, three years before two different governments were formally established on the Korean Peninsula.Conservatives in Seoul have held a series of small-scale rallies in recent days. On Monday, activists burned Kim’s photo and a North Korean flag as the head of the North’s popular girl band passed by them during a visit to the capital. North Korea responded Tuesday by warning similar actions could disrupt ongoing reconciliation efforts.South Korean officials hope an Olympic-inspired mood of detente would serve as a stepping stone to the resumption of diplomatic talks that could slow down North Korea’s nuclear advancement. North Korea, however, has insisted it won’t discuss its nuclear program during its ongoing talks with South Korea, and some experts warn that tensions could flare again after the Olympics. Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles01:13US says it will resume talks with North Korea soon00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa D-League: Zark’s-Lyceum destroys AMA by 24 Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH MOST READ Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. 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2000LakersO’Neal10.0Bryant5.0Horry2.5 1987LakersJohnson8.2Abdul-Jabbar2.2Worthy2.0 This makes for a fairly intuitive list. LeBron, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard are the league’s six Alphas. Chris Paul falls just short of the Alpha category; instead, he joins players such as Hayward, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert and Anthony Davis on the Beta list. Gammas include players like Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, John Wall, DeAndre Jordan and Paul Millsap.So then all you need is an Alpha, a Beta and a Gamma and — presto! — you win an NBA championship? Actually, your options are more flexible than that. A team with an Alpha and a Beta — say, this year’s Houston Rockets — could probably skip the Gamma if they had a deep rotation. A team with no Alphas but three Betas — say, Jimmy Butler, Antetokounmpo and Kyle Lowry — would more than likely be good enough to contend for a title. A team with a very strong Alpha could go without a Beta and make up for it with two or more Gammas instead — that’s sort of how the current Cavaliers are constructed.To help teams think through these decisions, let’s invent one more statistic, which I’ll call star points. The formula is simple: A team gets three star points for each Alpha on its roster, two for each Beta, and one for each Gamma. Next year’s Warriors project to have 9 star points, for example: three each for Curry and Durant, two for Draymond Green and one for Klay Thompson.Even having that much talent on your roster doesn’t necessarily guarantee a title. But historically, a team’s chances of winning a title are remote if it has four or fewer star points. It has a fighting chance with five or six star points, depending on how the rest of the roster is constructed. And its probability increases rapidly once it acquires seven or more star points. 725832.0– 216721.2– 1992BullsJordan8.7Grant5.7Pippen5.6 1986CelticsBird7.7McHale5.4Parish2.5 Rudy Gobert3.6Kevin Love2.4 2016CavaliersJames8.9Love3.2Irving2.1 2013HeatJames10.6Wade5.8Bosh1.2 1993BullsJordan9.4Pippen3.6Grant2.7 LeBron James7.0G. Antetokounmpo5.2John Wall3.0 114700.0 To no one’s surprise, the best players on title-winning teams are usually extraordinary talents. Among the 33 NBA champions since 1985, the top-rated player on the team, according to CPM, was one of the three best players in the league that season on 23 occasions. And the team’s best player was among the top 10 in the league on all but three occasions. The exceptions were Bill Laimbeer of the 1988-89 and 1989-90 Pistons (CPM, perhaps dubiously, rates Laimbeer ahead of his teammate, the other Isiah Thomas) and Ben Wallace of the 2003-04 Pistons. Pretty much all the other No. 1 players are current or future Hall of Famers, however, with the possible exception of Manu Ginobili, who may be a borderline case.No matter how brightly he shines, however, a superstar usually can’t deliver a title without a good sidekick or two.6Take LeBron James’s 2012-13 season, for example, when he had a CPM of +10.6 and played almost 38 minutes per game — about as good as an NBA player can be under modern conditions. A team with that version of LeBron, plus a roster full of replacement-level players, would still project to go only 41-41, according to our forecasting method. A team with that version of LeBron plus a roster full of league-average players (as opposed to replacement-level players) would project to go 59-23, which is closer to being a title contender. League-average players don’t just grow on trees, however. On average, the second-best player on these championship teams was the 14th-best player in the league, according to CPM. And although not every champ had a classic “Big Three” like LeBron James’s Miami Heat, the third-best player on the championship team rated as the 37th-best player in the league, on average — still very solid.So let’s get back to the idea of Alpha, Beta and Gamma players, which were meant to correspond to a typical championship team’s best, second-best and third-best players. By looking at the historical data, we can define these classifications as follows:An Alpha has a CPM of +6.0 or higher.A Beta has a CPM of between +3.5 and +6.0.And a Gamma has a CPM of between +2.0 and +3.5.I re-ran CARMELO using CPM instead of its usual blend of statistics, and it projected the following players to be Alphas, Betas and Gammas for the upcoming NBA season: 410321.9– 2008CelticsGarnett7.8Pierce4.5Allen2.8 2005SpursDuncan7.5Ginobili7.1Barry1.9 Kawhi Leonard6.8Anthony Davis4.3Paul George2.9 CONSENSUS PLUS-MINUS 2002LakersO’Neal8.4Bryant4.7Horry1.9 ALPHASBETASGAMMAS 1990PistonsLaimbeer3.8Rodman2.6Thomas1.7 STAR POINTSTEAMSCHAMPIONSCHAMPIONSHIP PROBABILITY Victor Oladipo2.1 1996BullsJordan9.4Pippen5.6Kukoc4.6 1997BullsJordan7.7Pippen5.5Kukoc4.1 2006HeatWade8.0O’Neal5.2Mourning2.4 1994RocketsOlajuwon5.8Horry1.9Thorpe1.6 314342.8– Kevin Durant6.7Karl-Anthony Towns4.1Mike Conley2.9 2011MavericksNowitzki4.9Chandler2.8Kidd1.9 2015WarriorsCurry9.9Green4.4Thompson4.3 1989PistonsLaimbeer3.8Rodman3.1Johnson1.3 DeMarcus Cousins4.1Isaiah Thomas2.8 1991BullsJordan10.9Pippen4.9Grant3.6 Draymond Green3.8Kyrie Irving2.8 1985LakersJohnson5.6Abdul-Jabbar5.3Worthy1.6 CPM reflects a combination of Real Plus-Minus, Box Plus/Minus, Win Shares and player efficiency rating.* Player was acquired midseason. His +/- total reflects performance for entire season, and not just for the acquiring club. 642614.3– Star points: 3 points per Alpha player, 2 points per Beta player, and 1 point per Gamma player. Table includes all teams since the 1984-85 season. 2009LakersBryant6.0Gasol3.6Odom3.0 2004PistonsB. Wallace4.3Billups3.8R. Wallace*1.7 How good were the best players on recent NBA champions?Player ratings based on Consensus Plus-Minus (CPM) Blake Griffin3.7Otto Porter Jr.2.5 8 or more13430.8– 2010LakersBryant4.5Gasol3.7Odom2.2 1995RocketsDrexler*6.1Olajuwon5.7Smith1.0 1998BullsJordan6.0Pippen5.0Kukoc2.5 1999SpursRobinson6.9Duncan5.2Elie2.8 YEARTEAMNO. 1 PLAYER+/-NO. 2 PLAYER+/-NO. 3 PLAYER+/- Hassan Whiteside2.0 Kyle Lowry3.7Paul Millsap2.6 James Harden7.4Jimmy Butler5.5Bradley Beal3.2 Gordon Hayward3.8DeAndre Jordan2.7 Who are the NBA’s championship-caliber players?Projections based on Consensus Plus-Minus for 2017-18 57479.5– Klay Thompson2.1 CPM reflects a combination of Real Plus-Minus, Box Plus/Minus, Win Shares and player efficiency rating CJ McCollum2.1 Russell Westbrook8.2Chris Paul5.9Damian Lillard3.3 Average22.214.171.124 2003SpursDuncan7.5Robinson3.8Ginobili1.1 1988LakersJohnson5.2Scott3.1Worthy1.9 Kemba Walker2.2 021600.0% 2017WarriorsDurant8.3Curry6.7Green3.7 2012HeatJames10.8Wade7.5Bosh1.7 2001LakersO’Neal8.9Bryant4.8Fox0.6 2007SpursGinobili7.2Duncan6.6Parker3.4 PLAYER+/-PLAYER+/-PLAYER+/- Stephen Curry7.0Nikola Jokic4.8DeMar DeRozan3.0 2014SpursGinobili4.8Leonard4.8Mills3.2 How much star power does an NBA team need?Probability of team winning a championship based on star points The Boston Celtics, after whiffing on trades for Jimmy Butler and Paul George, finally got some good news this week when Gordon Hayward announced that he was leaving the Utah Jazz to play for the Celtics. Although Isaiah Thomas would have some beef with this assessment, Hayward’s well-rounded combination of skills will probably make him the best player on the Celtics next year. He’s a good fit with the team’s approach.And yet, projection systems (including our own CARMELO) are somewhat skeptical of the Celtics, not expecting them to improve on last year’s 53-29 performance or to seriously challenge the Cleveland Cavaliers for Eastern Conference supremacy. Hayward is also fairly expensive; he’ll cost the Celtics $128 million over four years (the fourth season, 2020-21, is a player option). So let’s ask a tough question of Boston and general manager Danny Ainge: If Hayward is the best player on your team, could that team plausibly be good enough to win a championship?The answer is probably not. Hayward made the All-Star team last season, but he’s a long way from being a superstar. A handful of modern NBA teams — the 1988-89 and 1989-90 Detroit Pistons, the 2003-04 Pistons, and the 2013-14 San Antonio Spurs — won a title with someone about as good as Hayward as their best player. But this is unusual: It requires a team to be constructed almost perfectly, with above-average players at nearly every position, a deep bench, and a cohesive rotation. It sometimes also requires a fair amount of luck.1The “Bad Boys” Pistons peaked just as the 1980s Celtics and Lakers were declining, but before Michael Jordan’s Bulls really took off, for example.But Hayward can be a building block toward a championship. He’s roughly as good as the second-best player on a typical championship team. That might sound like faint praise, but it’s no small achievement.Let’s develop some terminology to describe degrees of the stardom in the NBA. I’ll introduce three types of players: Alphas, Betas and Gammas.An Alpha is a player who’s as good as the best player on a typical championship-winning team. This is an MVP contender — one of the half-dozen best players in the league.A Beta is as good as the second-best player on a typical NBA champion. As I mentioned, Hayward is a good example of a Beta. Betas are usually All-Stars, perhaps even All-Star starters, and they’re among the best players at their position. But they’re not among the very best players in the league.And a Gamma is good as third-best player on a typical championship team. A Gamma might be an All-Star, but he usually won’t make one of the three All-NBA teams. He probably has one or two weaknesses (defense, shooting, etc.) along with his obvious strengths. But he’s still a very good player and might be the best player on a non-contending team. Thomas, although he’s somewhat difficult to evaluate because of his defense — various statistical systems rate it anywhere from mediocre to execrable2There’s a big difference between mediocre and execrable. If Thomas’s defense is merely somewhat below average, as the NBA’s opponents’ shooting data suggests, then his offense more than makes up for it and he’d probably qualify as a Beta. If it’s terrible, as RPM suggests, then Thomas is barely even an above-average player overall. Classifying Thomas as a Gamma, as CPM does, is something of a compromise between these assessments. — is a reasonably good example of a Gamma.At any given time, only a few dozen players in the league will rated as Alphas, Betas or Gammas. (CARMELO projects that there will be 35 of them in 2017-18, for example.) It’s these players who determine who competes for NBA championships. Doesn’t depth matter also? Well, sure. A well-rounded roster is often the difference between winning a title and losing one. But a team needs its share of star-level talent to compete for a championship in the first place. Otherwise, it’ll usually wind up like last year’s Celtics, a well-constructed team that was overmatched in the playoffs.Below, you’ll find a table listing the top three players on NBA championship teams since 1984-85 — the first year the league used a salary cap — as rated by a statistic called Consensus Plus-Minus. Consensus Plus-Minus, or CPM, is a statistic I use when I don’t want to get into arguments about the value of individual players. It reflects a combination of four popular statistics — Real Plus-Minus,3RPM is available from the 2000-01 season onward. For seasons prior to 2000-01, I use BPM twice in the average. Box Plus/Minus, Win Shares and player efficiency rating — equally weighted and translated to the same scale. It also adjusts for the player’s position, which the other metrics do not,4CPM measures a player’s value relative to the positional average, rather than relative to the league average. Right now, there’s an excess of good centers and point guards but less depth among small forwards and shooting guards. This adjustment helps Hayward, who plays both those positions. and it regresses players’ ratings to replacement level if they fall below a certain threshold of playing time.5If the player plays less than 20 minutes per team game — or 1640 minutes over an 82-game season — his actual CPM is blended with a replacement-level CPM of -2 points per 100 possessions. For predictive purposes, we think CPM is liable to be slightly less accurate than the blend of statistics CARMELO uses (a combination of RPM and BPM), but CPM is still a perfectly reasonable stat and much more in line with the consensus view of NBA players. Like BPM and RPM, CPM is expressed in net points added or subtracted per 100 possessions. So a player with a CPM of +2.5, teamed with four average players, would help his team to outscore his opponents by 2.5 points per 100 possessions, for example. This system isn’t perfect, but it lines up intuitively with how we evaluate teams. After the Warriors and their nine projected star points next season, the Cavaliers and Rockets are the closest thing the league has to ready-made title contenders, as they’re tied for second at five star points each. They’re followed by the Thunder, Timberwolves and Pelicans at four each; these four-point teams probably need at least one more thing to click (say, George taking the next step in Oklahoma City) to be title-worthy. The Celtics are one of several teams with three star points.This measure can underrate the importance of team depth; the Spurs, who have only three star points, are rated too low, for instance. The Celtics — although they’re losing a few players to make room for Hayward — are also a deep team, with lots of average or slightly-above-average players and lots of draft picks to keep priming the pump. They could probably compete for a title with five star points, therefore, instead of needing six or seven. Adding another Beta-level player might be enough to do the trick.It’s hard to see where that player comes from, however. The Celtics lost some of their financial flexibility in signing Hayward. And while they could develop a star player rather than acquiring one, giving more playing time to young players such as Jaylen Brown and rookie Jayson Tatum could make them less competitive in the short run.If there’s one Celtics move that looks bad in retrospect, it isn’t necessarily trying and failing to acquire Butler or George, it’s trading the No. 1 draft pick for Philadelphia’s No. 3 pick, with which they chose Tatum. While Tatum has a fairly promising projection, he doesn’t have the upside of No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz, whose comparables include players such as Harden, Westbrook and Wall. The trade might have made sense for a team that already had its stars in place and wanted to develop complementary players around them, but the Celtics have plenty of complementary players and are short on stars.At the same time, it would be easy to underestimate the challenge Ainge faced. The Celtics’ 53-29 record last year was deceptive, in that it came against a weak conference and relied on what were arguably career years from several players, including Thomas.7The Celtics also outperformed their 48-34 Pythagorean record by several games. In many respects, they were a rebuilding team dressed up as a competing team. And precisely because the Celtics weren’t just one player away from contending for a title, Ainge needed to acquire a player like Hayward or Butler without compromising the Celtics’ ability to acquire or develop another such player down the road. Even if the Celtics are still a star away from seriously contending for a title — maybe even a superstar away — that’s closer than they were last week.
KOLKATA: Housing and Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) will develop the land situated beside the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre.The decision was taken in the board meeting of HIDCO held on Saturday.The land measuring around 7-acre was used during the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) held in January. A permanent stage will be constructed along with better infrastructure that includes supply of drinking water and food stalls, proper lighting arrangements among others so that the land can be used for exhibition and other similar purposes. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsIt may be recalled that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had inaugurated the country’s biggest convention centre in October, 2017. The Centre has an auditorium that can accommodate 3,200 people. There are banquet halls, exhibition halls, restaurants and a 112-bed accommodation. The Centre is in high demand and meetings organised by different groups are held regularly, the last being the Chinese Education fair.In the meeting, HIDCO has also taken an important decision to construct a suspended bridge connecting the Eco Island with the Eco Park. There was a proposed ridge in the master plan of the park made in 2011-12. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedThe iconic designer suspension bridge will be 135 m long and 3.5 m wide. It will be made of steel. Besides a boat service, the connectivity is now maintained by a two step wooden bridge. But as the number of visitors has increased at the Eco Park, the wooden bridge is used by battery powered vehicles to ferry senior citizens and goods. Recently, senior engineers of state Irrigation and Waterways department had examined the health of the wooden bridge and have recommended re-painting with bitumen the logs that are under water.Tender to select the firm will be floated soon. The bridge will be constructed keeping in mind the character of the Eco Park, the country’s biggest urban park.