Center60—1810 REB3.0 BLK—0.2 If a player tops all of these benchmarks, he’s a decent prospect. If he falls below in any one category, that’s a red flag. The further below the number he falls, the less of a prospect he is. That’s just the starting point, though — I’m flexible in cases like that of a young player who has improved during the year, or a player who has been better in past seasons. The benchmarks aren’t a strict line, but more of a guideline. I try to look at the whole picture.NP: How did you determine those benchmarks?EW: I determined them based on the success of past college prospects. Historically, most successful draftees have met most or all of these benchmarks. Most successful prospects were more complete players in college. Most busts had a flaw in one of these areas.I’ve been doing it this way since the 2007 draft, so it’s probably time to update the system a little for the changing NBA. I hope to get on that this summer.NP: What was your strongest finding, in terms of numbers that correlate with future success?EW: The strongest finding is that it’s important to show as many different skills as possible — including scoring, rebounding, passing and defense — regardless of position.NP: What was the most surprising finding?EW: To me, it was that scoring frequently is more important than scoring efficiently, especially for wing players.NP: Are there certain player archetypes that tend to have better or worse careers than their draft position would suggest?EW: Wooden Award winners have included a few recent busts, particularly when it went to a junior or senior.NP: So that might not be good news for Buddy Hield.EW: Buddy Hield fits the profile this year. For the record, I do like Hield as a prospect a lot better than other recent winners, such as Doug McDermott or Jimmer Fredette. But he is a little overvalued in the top five, where the mock drafts have him going.NP: Speaking of which, how much should we focus on a player’s age when evaluating him as a prospect? A couple of the top college guards in this year’s class — Hield and Kris Dunn — stand out as particularly old, but does that mean they have less of a ceiling?EW: Yes, it does. A freshman who posted numbers like Hield and Dunn had this year would be a better prospect. But the fact that both improved like they did is a good sign for their futures, because it shows both a work ethic and the intelligence to identify a weakness in their game and do what is necessary to fix it. The age issue really seems to come into play with fifth-year seniors. That’s the thing that makes me uneasy about ranking Gary Payton II so highly.NP: What do you make of Ben Simmons? Were the Sixers right to promise him the No. 1 overall pick?EW: Simmons is a unique player, and for that reason he’s a little difficult to judge. I can’t point to previous players with numbers similar to his, because there were no players like this. I love his combination of offense, rebounding and passing. My concern is that his low number of blocks indicates he’s a poor defender. But I think drafting Simmons is the right move, based on the stats. His upside is higher than any other player.NP: Are there any other players this year that jump out to you as particularly over- or underrated by the mainstream draft media?EW: Based on the mock drafts, Marquese Chriss stands out as insanely overrated. Malachi Richardson and Damian Jones are a couple of others who don’t belong in round one. As far as underrated prospects, Payton and Chinanu Onuaku are players the mocks tend to list in round two who should be first-rounders. And Villanova’s Daniel Ochefu and Louisiana Tech point guard Alex Hamilton are a couple of players who might go undrafted, but deserve a chance. PER 40 MINUTES Small forward503018——5.0 ASB0.6 POSITION2PT%3PT%POINTSAST/REBSTL/BLKOTHERAST:TO Shooting guard503020—1.3 STL7.0 RSB0.8 Ed Weiland is one of my favorite NBA draft analysts on the Web, but he doesn’t work for ESPN or any other major outlet. Instead he writes for the small indie blog Hoops Analyst, posting his position-by-position breakdowns as an outsider in a manner that has drawn comparisons to an early-career Bill James. (You might even remember his 15 minutes of fame as the truck driver who foresaw Jeremy Lin’s potential years before Linsanity.) During the embryonic stages of basketball analytics, his draft analyses were among the first I encountered to draw correlations between a player’s statistical traits in college and his success (or lack thereof) in the pros.In this email exchange, which has been lightly edited, I asked Weiland about the numbers he uses to judge draft prospects — and what their implications might be for the players selected in Thursday night’s draft. Power forward58—1810 REB—3.5 SB0.2 Point guard50%30%185 AST1.2 STL6.0 RSB1.4 Key statistical benchmarks for NBA draft prospects Neil Paine: Tell me a little about your background and how you got started in evaluating NBA draft prospects.Ed Weiland: It started with a love of sports and stats. I always liked predicting and projecting young players. That probably came from growing up a Chicago sports fan in the 1970s; it was a dry decade for the local teams, and the draft was the highlight of the year. And when I started seriously playing around with basketball stats as a hobby about 20 years ago, I began to gravitate toward the draft because there wasn’t a lot of statistical draft analysis going on at the time.NP: In general, which key metrics/characteristics are the most important to look at for each position, and why?EW: I have certain statistical benchmarks that a prospect needs to reach for each position. Specifically, the following shooting percentages and per-40-minute numbers, adjusted for pace: ASB = assists + steals + blocks; RSB = rebounds + steals + blocks; SB = steals + blocksSource: Ed Weiland
Alfonso Soriano, who was traded to New York from the Chicago Cubs last month, is proving to be a great acquisition for the Yankees.The outfielder has had 18 RBIs in the last four games, which tied the MLB record for most RBIs in a four-game span. In his recent game against the Boston Red Sox, Soriano hit three hits and drove in four more runs, which added to his RBI total to lead the Yankees over the Red Sox 10-3.“Here we go again,” Soriano said to the media after the game. “I think the motivation [is] going back to the Yankees, trying to help the team win.”Soriano is leading the charge as the Yankees have won the last five out of six games. The recent wins put the Yankees 7½ games back in the division and 5½ back in the AL wild-card race.“You’re looking at a powerful right-handed hitter in the middle of the lineup who caught fire since he came over,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “It’s had an enormous [impact] on their offense.”
Oh, and don’t forgetomg only $17?! We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆 Join the squad. Subscribe See more NBA predictions Leicester City is bigger right?neil:It’s a great Q which was less likely going into the seasonI think Leicester still more unlikelyEPL more ruled by money, less by randomness than NHLBut this was the general consensus going into the year:Wow The Golden Knights Are Going To Be BadPredictions NBA All newsletters It’s my last day at FiveThirtyEight! I’m next starting a daily newsletter, Numlock News. If you’ve been a fan of Beside The Points, please subscribe!Things That Caught My EyeKnights in FiveThe Vegas Golden Knights became just the second-ever expansion team in the post-1960 histories of the NHL, NBA, NFL or MLB to reach the championship in their very first season of existence. The Knights dispatched the Winnipeg Jets after winning four games of their series to the Jets’ one. The 1967-68 St. Louis Blues are the only previous team to pull it off, albeit in a league with 12 teams. [ESPN]Warm WNBA welcomeThe Connecticut Sun beat the brand-new Las Vegas Aces 101-65 on Sunday by the largest ever margin of victory for a WNBA opening day game. Vegas rookie A’ja Wilson, the top pick in the 2018 draft, showed promise with 14 points and 10 rebounds in her debut. [ESPN]We’re getting worse at gambling somehowWith sports gambling poised to make a nation-wide splash following a nod from the Supreme Court, it’s worth asking if we are actually even good at it to begin with. In 1992, casinos kept just 2.81 percent of the wagers they handled on sports. Over the next 15 years, casinos got better at wooing easier marks in, and their haul peaked at 7.89 percent in 2006. In 2017 the house took 5.11 percent of all sports wagers. [FiveThirtyEight]Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?U.S.A. is #1 at #3The United States defeated Canada 4-1 to take the bronze medal at the world ice hockey championship. Sweden took gold and Switzerland took silver. This is the third time the U.S. has won the bronze medal in the past six years. [ESPN]Who can’t touch the new ball?This year there are 22 hitters in major league baseball who have seen 30 pitches that were 96 miles per hour or higher and who have failed to generate a single hit off the speedy balls. Several of those players are north of 30 years old, meaning that the necessity to make major adjustments to the new, faster pitching game may be trouble for more experienced players. [ESPN]Ledecky the G.O.A.T.Katie Ledecky set a new record in the 1500m at the IU Natatorium with 15:20.48. She beat the previous record-holder, who is also Katie Ledecky, by a full 5 seconds. At this point the top eight fastest 1500m times are all held by Katie Ledecky. [USA Swimming]Big Number(s)31 horsesCongratulations to Justify, who became the 31st horse to win both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes since 1931. Justify was scheduled to arrive at Churchill Downs on Sunday. If this horse wants to be the 13th horse to win the Triple Crown — gonna level with you I do not think the horse wants that, it’s a horse, and I doubt horses fully understand the enormous apparatus around professional racing to the level that it’s compelled to aspire — but if Justify does seek to become the 13th crown winner, holding off rival Good Magic by only 2 ½ lengths definitely means the Belmont Stakes in three weeks is any horses’ game. [ESPN]Leaks from Slack: micah:
Jim Tressel opened up the Ohio State offense, the Buckeyes overcame an athletic disadvantage and OSU finally ended its BCS Bowl Game hex.In related news, Hell froze over, pigs were spotted airborne and the Chicago Cubs won the World Series.OK, so only one of those sequence of events actually occurred. But considering OSU’s nationwide reputation lately, widespread perception would have told you that the chance of either series of events was slim to none.Tressel pushed all of the right buttons in the Buckeyes’ dismantling of the Ducks. The conservative coach stuck to his guns during the regular season, even after repeated BCS Bowl Game failures.Over the past three postseasons, the Buckeyes came up short against quicker, more aggressive and more athletic opponents.Ohio State, winners of five consecutive Big Ten titles, represents a conference that has fared poorly in recent bowl seasons. That has made the Buckeyes, and Tressel, the primary targets for criticism.Oregon, another athletic adversary that runs a spread offense and represents a conference that has performed well in recent bowl seasons, embodied all of the components that the Bucks haven’t been able to overcome in recent memory.So Tressel changed gears.In a late-season surge, the Buckeyes powered through the tough part of their schedule — Penn State, Iowa and Michigan — with a dominant run game.Against the Ducks, Ohio State came out throwing the football, as quarterback Terrelle Pryor attempted 24 passes in the first half alone.Ohio State’s inability to execute a diverse offensive scheme? No longer.An Oregon offense that had terrorized opponents for 37.7 points per game was held in check. Shifty, elusive quarterback Jeremiah Masoli finished with just 81 yards through the air and 9 yards on the ground. The Ducks’ potent offense managed to gain just 260 yards, a far cry from its average of 425 through the regular season.Oregon’s athletic advantage on offense? Neutralized.The Bucks put the Big Ten on their backs and carried the conference to its first signature postseason victory since Ohio State thwarted Notre Dame four years ago in the Fiesta Bowl. Penn State’s win over LSU earlier in the day helped as well, temporarily quashing the notion that the Big Ten can’t hang with the SEC. Obviously, one Capital One Bowl victory doesn’t nullify that theory (especially when Auburn topped Northwestern just hours earlier), but both Big Ten wins on New Year’s Day boosted the Big Ten back toward respectability.Big, slow Big Ten teams can’t win the big game? No longer a go-to media critique.Carrying the brunt of the Big Ten load, the Buckeyes have felt the most heat over the past 36 months. Tressel’s close-to-the-vest coaching style has produced annual conference crowns, but not the ideal postseason results. The coach finally shook things up when he needed to, and his Buckeyes are reaping the benefits.Incessant roar from Buckeye critics? Silenced.Whether Hell froze over or not, the Buckeyes’ national perception should finally start warming up.
No basketball player had ever won four Big Ten Player of the Year awards before Jantel Lavender. The 6-foot-4 Cleveland native ended what might be the most productive career the Ohio State women’s basketball program ever has seen. Before she received her diploma on March 20, she was busy rewriting both school and conference record books. Lavender holds OSU records in points (2,818), rebounds (1,422), field goals made (1,142), field goals attempted (2,156), consecutive games started (135), single-season points (769 in 2009–10), single-season rebounds (374 in 2008–09) and was the first player to score 2,000 career points (in her junior season). In her final game in scarlet and gray on Saturday, Lavender’s 19-point performance capped a career in which she never registered fewer than 10 points in a game. She holds the NCAA record for most double-digit scoring performances in history, with 136. “I’ve been fortunate enough to coach six All-American centers,” coach Jim Foster said. “The numbers Jantel put up in her career speak for themselves — (she was a) model of consistency, day in and day out.” Aside from holding records, Lavender was the backbone of a team that excelled in a halfcourt offense because of its ability to play from the inside out. Her effectiveness in the post opened up the floor for OSU’s outside shooters. Tennessee coach Pat Summitt recruited Lavender out of Cleveland Central Catholic High School, and even made an unusual lineup change to compensate for her skills on the block when the two teams squared off on Saturday. Kelley Cain, a player who had only made 17 starts on the season for the Lady Volunteers, was called on because Summitt needed her 6-foot-6 frame to slow down the NCAA’s best player. Cain scored 16 points, but only collected two rebounds to Lavender’s 10. Lavender went to Knoxville, Tenn., on an official recruiting visit in high school, but said it wasn’t the right fit, despite it being one of the most prestigious programs in college basketball. “She’s truly one of the best post players that we’ve faced,” Summitt said. “She’s got great skill set. She obviously is very tough-minded, and has done a great job for this Ohio State team and obviously been an impact player throughout her career.” Lavender’s all-time mark for double-digit scoring performances is nothing new. Even in high school, she never had a game in which she scored fewer than 10 points. Foster, a veteran coach of 33 years who’s seen many great players, was in no way surprised at the type of career Lavender put together. “I thought she would come in and be able to do the things that (former center Jessica) Davenport had done. It’s a great run,” Foster said. “I think probably just the way the league was and what our need was, you have to be a little surprised that she was Player of the Year as a freshman, but I don’t think anything she’s done in the three years since then would surprise you, relative to the Player of the Year deal.” Lavender was not outwardly emotional about the end of her career after Saturday’s loss. She said she was unsure whether she would ever take time to reflect on her four years at OSU. “I haven’t really thought about it yet,” Lavender said, “but I don’t know.” Foster chimed in, “Maybe at dinner.”
Cleveland Browns defensive back Buster Skrine, right, trips up Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Jermaine Gresham at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, on Sunday, September 29, 2013. The Browns won, 17-6. Credit: Courtesy of MCTThe Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) head to Buffalo to face the Bills Sunday hoping to carry over momentum gained last week in a victory over the Patriots. They will face a Buffalo team that features the league’s third best rushing attack but has lost its starting quarterback, E.J. Manuel to a knee injury.The Bengals’ defense rose to new heights in a 13-6 victory against the New England Patriots. Despite being without defensive end Michael Johnson and cornerback Leon Hall, Cincinnati stifled New England’s pass attack, sacking quarterback Tom Brady four times and breaking his streak of 52 straight games with a touchdown pass. This week’s task are expected to be much easier.Just when it seemed the Bills (2-3) had finally resolved their problems at quarterback, they were dealt a major setback. Manuel had been having an impressive rookie season his first four games before the injury. After losing in the final seconds in week one to the Patriots, the Bills had gone 2-1, including a win over the Panthers in which Manuel threw a touchdown pass with five seconds left.Last week, the Bills were tied with the Browns, 17-17, when Manuel went down in the third quarter. They would go on to lose to Cleveland 37-24. Backup Jeff Tuel struggled in relief against the Browns, prompting the team to announce that Thad Lewis will make only the second start of his career against the Bengals.It can be presumed that the plan for the Bills is to limit Lewis’ exposure against Cincinnati’s defensive line. The fourth year quarterback will primarily be asked to hand off to running backs Fred Jackson (309 yards rushing, four touchdowns) and C.J. Spiller (296 yards rushing, one touchdown).With only twelve points in their last two games, Cincinnati’s offense is struggling behind inconsistent quarterback, Andy Dalton.Cincinnati, meanwhile, will try to get their first win of the year on the road where they play significantly worse than they do at home. Two weeks ago in Cleveland, Cincinnati allowed inexperienced Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer to look comfortable in the pocket, a far cry from the pressure applied on Brady last Sunday. The defense has only caused one turnover in two road games compared with eight turnovers in three games at home. But a win against a Patriots team that had been 4-0 may have provided the defense with the confidence needed to maintain focus away from Cincinnati and to overwhelm Lewis and the Bills.
Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston (14) shoots over a defender during a game against Michigan State Jan. 26 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU, 82-68.Credit: Kaily Cunningham / Multimedia editorThe Ohio State women’s basketball team (14-12, 4-6) dropped their second straight game by double digits Thursday, falling to No. 25 Purdue, 74-58.Consistency on the offensive end continued to plague the Buckeyes, as they shot just 34.5 percent from the field and turned the ball over 16 times.The Buckeyes also lacked balance on the offensive end as only two players scored in double digits for OSU. Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston scored a game-high 26 points on 9-19 shooting, while junior guard Raven Ferguson scored 13 points on 3-15 shooting.OSU had five different players score in double figures in the first matchup between the two teams on Jan. 2, an 89-78 Buckeye victory.Purdue was without their leading scorer in redshirt-senior guard KK Houser, who tore her ACL Feb. 2 in a game against Michigan State. The Boilermakers did not seem to be phased as they had five players score in double figures.Purdue senior guard Courtney Moses led the way for the Boilermakers, scoring 18 points on 6-12 shooting while also hitting two of her three attempts from behind the arc.The Buckeyes, who normally get solid play from their bench, only received points from Ferguson as senior center Ashley Adams was held to just one shot attempt in 25 minutes of play.OSU was outrebounded 43-37 and did not tally a single fast break point on the night.The Buckeyes trailed by nine at the break, but could only manage to get within seven of the Boilermakers in the second half, trailing by as much as 19 before Ferguson hit a 3-pointer with 24 seconds remaining to close out the game.OSU are set return home on Sunday at 2 p.m. to take on the No. 9 Penn State Nittany Lions who gave the Buckeyes their worst loss on the season, a 66-42 drubbing in University Park, Pa. on Jan. 16.
Ohio State received the first commitment in its 2019 recruiting class when five-star offensive tackle Doug Nester announced his pledge to play for the Buckeyes Saturday evening on Twitter.The 6-foot-5.5, 295-pound lineman is the top-ranked player from West Virginia in the history of 247Sports composite rankings. He is the No. 36 overall player in the nation and the third-best offensive tackle in his class.The Huntington, West Virginia, native would be the first player from his home state to sign with Ohio State since tight end R.J. Coleman from Clarksburg, West Virginia, in 2002.Nester is the second five-star prospect to commit to a Big Ten program. He might end up blocking the first – defensive end prospect Stephen Herron Jr. – as he committed to Michigan July 29.
Ohio State junior guard C.J. Jackson (3) points to the crowd after making a three pointer in the second half of the game against Maryland on Jan. 11 in the Schottenstein Center. Dakich made three of four three point attempts in the first half aiding Ohio State to a 91-69 win. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorNo. 22 Ohio State (16-4, 7-0 Big Ten) staved off a late comeback attempt by Northwestern (11-9, 2-5 Big Ten) on the road to win 71-65 Wednesday.The Wildcats trailed the Buckeyes by as much as 15 points with 13 minutes left in the game, but a 10-2 run by Northwestern drew the game to within three with 43.2 seconds left. But junior guard C.J. Jackson made three free throws to push Ohio State’s lead to six and ice the game.The Buckeyes outrebounded the Wildcats 38-25. Ohio State shot 47 percent from the field compared to 45 percent by Northwestern. A key difference between the two teams came in free-throw shooting, with Ohio State making 13-of-17 and Northwestern struggling at the line, going just 5-of-10.Ohio State sophomore center Micah Potter led the team in points with 13. He was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field with a 3 and two made free throws. Redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop scored just 10 points, his second-lowest total of the season.Northwestern redshirt junior forward Vic Law led all players with 14 points, but struggled from the 3, making just 25 percent. Northwestern got off to a fast start, grabbing the 12-6 lead with 14:14 left in the first half. But from that point on, Ohio State went on a 22-5 run to take the 28-17 lead. Freshman center Kaleb Wesson scored six points during the run. During the first half, Northwestern had production from just four players. Senior forward Gavin Skelly had nine points, senior guard Scottie Lindsey had eight points, Law had seven points and freshman guard Anthony Gaines made a free throw. The rest of the team shot a combined 0-for-5 from the field.
Ohio State revealed its jerseys for the game on Nov. 3 against Nebraska. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State Football (Twitter)No. 11 Ohio State will be switching from its traditional scarlet and grey for its matchup against Nebraska on Nov. 3.The Buckeyes will be wearing all-black uniforms, for a blackout game against the Cornhuskers, with the time set for a 12 p.m. start. XI.III.XVIII #GoBucks #WinTheMoment pic.twitter.com/ntgp4wEVx6— Ohio State Football (@OhioStateFB) October 26, 2018The jerseys are similar to the ones that the team wore against Penn State in 2015, and feature red numbers, as well as more cleats from Los Angeles Lakers small forward LeBron James.