Basketball:

The Fundamentals: Blazers reinvent old offensive system with new parts Rob Mahoney, writing for Sports Illustrated, examines the Portland Trail Blazers’ new offensive system. He argues that the highly specialized roster allows Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum to lead the ninth most efficient offense in the NBA. He then examines how this new system has positively effected Lillard and McCollum and their developments as players.

Lebron’s Changing Leadership Style Dave McMenamin examines how Lebron’s evolving leadership style has coincided with the development of the Cavaliers into an elite team. He studies how James’ praising of teammates and coaches has holistically aided the franchise.

Boston Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas’ Not-So-Small Quest To Become An All-Star Chris Forsberg provides historical comparisons for Celtics’ Point Guard Isaiah Thomas. Overall, he argues Thomas could be on pace to become one of the best ever NBA players under six feet tall.

Spurs’ Playing Best Defense Ever Under Popovic Shlomo Sprung examines the Spurs 2015-16 season, more specifically, their historically great defense. Using statistical analysis, Sprung finds that it is the best Spurs defense under the Popovich era.

Optimal Basketball Theory Brian Skinner, writing for Nylon Calculus, runs regressions to discover what is, if it exists, an optimal basketball strategy. He discovers that the best strategy is to score a lot and take a lead early, rather than attempting to solidify a win late. This analysis would seem to lay credence to the Golden State Warriors’ brand of basketball this season.

Meet DeMar DeRozan, The NBA’s Non-Shooting Star Ian Levy analyzes how DeMar DeRozan is having success in the NBA without a three point shot. DeRozan, much like the Spurs’ offense, relies on efficient, high percentage scoring and not three-point shots to generate offense.

Looking to Leap in Toronto Zach Lowe examines the potential conundrum facing the Toronto Raptors. On one hand, the Raptors could advance far enough in the playoffs that they decide they already have their core of the future. If they don’t, however, Raptors could face a necessary potential  rebuild.

Trail Blazers Need To Explore Trading CJ McCollum John Canzano argues that Lillard and McCollum do not fit together. He believes they are a bad offensive pairing due to their similar strengths and weaknesses. In Canzano’s opinion, the Blazers would behoove themselves by trying to obtain a long-term frontcourt player in exchange for McCollum.

The Timberwolves Are Terrible And Here Is Why Neil Greenberg analyzes advanced metrics to explain why the Minnesota Timberwolves are struggling. He narrows it down to two broad factors: the lack of three point shots and the slow development of their rookies. For the first point, the Wolves take a very low number of shots (third lowest in the NBA) and are only league-average accurate on those shots where they are wide-open. Additionally, Wiggins and LaVine have improved, however, not to the levels necessary for the Wolves to become legitimate competitors.

Irving’s Return Makes Cavaliers Eastern Conference Favorites Josh Planos discusses how Kyrie Irving’s return has drastically changed the Cavs’ offense. He argues that, with Kyrie, the Cavs are the favorites to win the East as well as competing for an NBA title.

Random Rebound Observations Seth Partnow examines what makes a rebounder most effective. He looks at the amount of rebounds lost in combination with the rebounds gained to study who are the best rebounders in the association.

Learning Curve Max Resetar discusses how the evolution of the Spurs since the 1996-97 season has changed the NBA. He argues that roster construction, due to the Spurs’ longterm vitality, has patently evolved in the NBA.

Minnesota’s Long, Cold Winter Brian Windhorst examines how Minnesota’s bevy of trades in the 2011 draft set the franchise back. These trades caused the Wolves to miss out on prospects such as Donatas Motiejunas, Nikola Mirotic, Chandler Parsons, and Andre Roberson.

Football:

What Hue Jackson’s Offense Might Look Like in Cleveland Following the Browns’ lauded hire of Hue Jackson, many fans of the team are excited, and national writers believe this could change the cursed team. Nathaniel Cline, writing for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, examines what Jackson’s offense will look like in Cleveland by examining game film from his tenure in Cincinnati.

Can Andy Dalton Succeed Without Hue Jackson? Coley Harvey examines if Andy Dalton’s success was solely due to who is now his former offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson. He argues that, because of Jackson’s excitement and drive, Dalton faces an uphill battle to achieve continued success.

How NFL Players Play Through Pain Matt Bowen discusses the process that NFL players go through to determine health for a game. He argues that, by the end of October, nobody is healthy and everyone is playing through injures. Then Bowen details all of the checks players must go through in order to be determined fit to play.

A History of Patriots and Chiefs Mike Reiss and Adam Teicher examine the history of, and upcoming contest between the Patriots and Chiefs.

Why Russell Wilson Will Outduel Cam Newton KC Joyner argues that, for a variety of factors, Russell Wilson will outplay Newton in the NFC playoffs. He suggests that these factors include long-term trends, Russell Wilson’s superior bad-decision rate, better accuracy, and worse receivers.

This Time The Broncos Have Peyton ESPN analyzes why the Broncos utilizing Peyton Manning will allow them to compete against the Steelers.

Career season helps Cardinals QB Carson Palmer shed negative labels Josh Weinfuss discusses how Palmer’s career changed after he left Cincinnati in 2011. Following Carson Palmer’s failed stint in Oakland, many criticized his decision to not want to play for the Bengals. Moreover, last year Palmer perfectly fit the “often injured” label. Nonetheless, as a veteran, he is having a career year this season and has revitalized his career.

Soccer:

Solid Midfield Additions Outline Newcastle’s Survival Strategy Ben McAleer examines, in the wake of Newcastle United’s 3-3 draw against Manchester United, how the Magpies are seeking to improve their midfield. This season, Newcastle’s weak midfield has put unnecessary pressure on their backline; however, due to this weakness, the signing of two new midfielders could save the Magpies from relegation.

Liverpool Show Jurgen Klopp The Good, Bad, And Ugly Andy Hunter argues that, although Jurgen Klopp is an undoubtedly unbelievable manager, his Liverpool side continue to demonstrate consistent success. This problem goes well beyond coaching, but rather, is also a cause of the types of players Liverpool has hired.

Sports: by Stats:

The New Metric, January 4-10 We update our “new metric.” In it, the gap between the Cavaliers and the Warriors and Spurs has narrowed substantially. Nonetheless, the Warriors still exert dominance on top of our rankings.

Russell Westbrook Over Stephen Curry For Most Valuable Player Jordan Cohen examines how Russell Westbrook’s career season is actually better than Steph Curry’s historically great year.

Top-10 Point Guards in the NBA Following ESPN’s top-10 point guards of all time list, we decided to rank our current top-10 point guards.

Should The Lakers Offer DeMar DeRozan A Max Contract? This article examines what value DeMar DeRozan could bring to the Los Angeles Lakers.

 

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