Pacers And George Still Have Plenty To Play For

Still, George is expected to miss all of next season. The Pacers went 56-26 last season with George, a total that is only occasionally good enough to translate into a title. The NBA is not a very forgiving sport; any and all weaknesses are exposed over the course of a full season: Losing George would almost almost certainly take them out of title contention for next year.But like the Chicago Bulls — who adapted around a season-ending injury to Derrick Rose last year — the Pacers are a well-coached and well-managed team in a reasonably good salary cap situation. That means they could maintain respectability next season even without George — or rebuild for 2015-16 and beyond with him.We can consider what the Pacers might look like next season assuming that George doesn’t play but they otherwise don’t make changes to their roster. I’ll do that by running a projection based on the technique described here, which evaluates players based on their age and performance over the past three regular seasons. In contrast to the previous article, which used a metric called statistical-plus minus, I used ESPN’s NBA Real Plus Minus, which better accounts for a player’s defense — a key consideration whenever you’re talking about the Pacers. (The projection for Croatian Damjan Rudez, the recent Pacers pick up who has not played in the NBA, assumes that he’ll be halfway between league-average and replacement level.)This method projects the Pacers to a 44-38 record, which last year would have translated into a No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. It assumes the Pacers will stand pat with their current roster, but they may have the opportunity to sign another rotation player by using a disabled player exception to the salary cap.Obviously, there’s a huge amount of uncertainty around this forecast. An unselfish roster like Indiana’s might seem better equipped to adapt to the loss of any one player. But the Pacers already had a lot of trouble generating shots with George in the lineup — it will be even harder without him. And while the Pacers should still be strong on defense, the ferocious effort they put forth on the defensive side of the ball could vary as the team’s spirits do.The Pacers’ other option would be sacrifice the season by dealing Roy Hibbert and David West. That would leave them with only George, point guard George Hill, Rudez and Ian Mahimni signed for the 2015-16 season — a salary commitment of just $30 million total. With cap room and draft picks and good coaching and scouting, there would be the opportunity to build another very good lineup around George, who would be just 25 years old at the start of the 2015-16 season. The injury was an unfair blow to George, but if he can recover, he and the Pacers still have plenty to look forward to. Indiana Pacers star Paul George suffered a horrifying injury on Friday night in a scrimmage with his teammates on the United States national team. The good news is that surgery on George’s right leg was successful, and he’s in admirable spirits. Furthermore, George’s history of staying relatively healthy in the past could portend a quicker and more complete recovery. read more

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What Do Donald Trump And The Kansas City Royals Have In Common

More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed Embed Code If you’re a fan of our podcasts, be sure to subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave a rating/review. That helps spread the word to other listeners. And get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments. Tell us what you think, send us hot takes to discuss and tell us why we’re wrong. Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (May 10, 2016), we break down the Chicago Cubs’ start to the season and ask if they have the potential to become the G.O.A.T. Then, we talk about the WNBA and ask Kate Fagan why so many star players have to travel overseas in the off-season. Finally, “Whiz Kid” Harry Enten makes his Hot Takedown debut to talk to Neil Paine about the fallibility of predictions in sports and politics. Plus, a significant digit on the winning percentage of National League teams in interleague play.FiveThirtyEight’s Rob Arthur says the Cubs’ start to the season is even more dominant than it seems.And Dave Cameron at FanGraphs says this Cubs team looks pretty much perfect.ESPN Stats and Info breaks down whether a 24-6 start portends a championship.You can subscribe to Joe Sheehan’s baseball newsletter, which Chad mentions, here.FiveThirtyEight’s Elo rankings for the best baseball teams of all time.Kate Fagan went to Russia to write about WNBA stars who play overseas in the off-season.And here’s Kate again on why Diana Taurasi’s decision not to play in the 2015 WNBA should have sparked clearer thinking about salaries.Deadspin breaks down the Collective Bargaining Agreement that leads many players to seek riches overseas.The Washington Examiner asks what Donald Trump’s rise has to do with Leicester City.Harry Enten tells us the four things he learned from Donald Trump’s primary victory.Significant Digit: 58.1 percent. That’s the winning percentage of National League teams against their American League counterparts so far this season. The last time the National League finished above .500 for a full season against the American League was in 2003. FiveThirtyEight read more

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Jerry Sandusky Jurors Want Him To Get Life In

Jurors of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation case say they want the convicted former Penn State assistant coach to be sent to prison for life.They told  The Associated Press they have not had second thoughts about their June verdict, and several plan to attend the sentencing.“There isn’t a sentence that I believe is harsh enough for what he has done and how it has affected the university,” said Joan Andrews, a juror who has worked for Penn State for 41 years and held football season tickets since 1969. “I don’t think there’s been one individual in this entire campus that has not been affected by this.”Four jurors said they plan to be in the courtroom when Sandusky, 68, learns the penalty for sexually abusing boys he met through a charity for at-risk children. Sandusky’s own attorney expects his client to be handed a long sentence from Judge John Cleland after conviction on 45 counts.Although a list of jurors has not been released by Cleland, the AP was able to contact five of them. They said they recently received a letter from the court informing them about the sentencing and offering to have a court official meet them outside the courthouse.A court system spokesman said the jurors are guaranteed a seat but won’t necessarily be sitting together.Only one of the five, retired Penn State soil sciences professor Daniel D. Fritton, said he would not attend.“I’d just like to stay out of the limelight, for one thing,” Fritton said. “I figure I could read in the paper what happens.”Gayle Barnes, a homemaker and former school district employee, said she thinks a lot about the victims, particularly the eight who testified against Sandusky and provided what she considers the critical evidence of guilt. She said he deserves life in prison.“I do still feel good, what we as jurors did,” Barnes said. “I didn’t go there saying off the bat he’s guilty. I needed to listen to every single thing that was said.”Barnes said she has been in touch with a fifth juror and an alternate juror who also plan to attend the sentencing.High school science teacher Joshua Harper, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Penn State, said that he takes pride in having served on the jury, and that the guilty verdict was not a close call. He wants Sandusky “put away for the rest of his life, really.”“This is what prisons are for, you know,” Harper said. “I mean, I don’t think you let a guy loose like that.”He also felt the victim testimony was pivotal.“It was such a consistent pattern of behavior,” Harper said. “It was just so solid. The defense was just so thin. There was no evidence that these kids were lying. Even the minor inconsistencies that the defense tried to bring up — and did bring up — that made it more convincing.” read more

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Indianapolis Colts Beat New York Giants in Preseason Duel

Image by AP Photo/Bill KostrounThe Indianapolis Colts have redeemed themselves after they were demolished 44-20 to the Buffalo Bills last week. Sunday night, the Colts improved the 1-1 in the preseason by putting away the suddenly banged-up New York Giants 20-12.Victor Cruz and David Baas, two major players on the Giants roster, were both hurt during the opening drive of the game.“[Cruz] jammed his heel and was sore,” coach Tom Coughlin said after game. “He runs to make a living and he’s obviously got an issue with the heel. Hopefully it is not going to be a long thing.”Giants’ wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, spoke to Cruz about his injury.“He said he felt fine,” Nicks said of Cruz. “I don’t really know … the details of what the injury was, but he said he was fine.”On the other hand, Colts quarterback Andrew Luck did a great job against the Giants. He threw for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Luck threw a 28-yard touchdown to Reggie Wayne and an 18-yard TD to T.Y. Hilton, leading the Colts to 17 points. Adam Vinatieri also helped with a 52-yard field goal in their 20-12 win. read more

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Kevin Durants SeasonEnding Injury Means OKCs Championship Hopes End

Before the season, Oklahoma City was a prime candidate to challenge for the NBA champion, what with reigning league MVP Kevin Durant and this year’s MVP candidate Russell Westbrook. But prospects in sports can change at the snap of a foot.In this case, that’s exactly what happened to the Thunders’ title aspirations. Durant, who has been in and out of the lineup much of the season, will be out until the start of next season, meaning that’s about the time OKC can start dreaming of a championship again.Durant, it was announced Friday, will have bone graft surgery on his ailing right foot and will miss the remainder of the season, Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti announced. No, he was not crying when he did so. Not on the outside, at least.The procedure, to be done next week, will sideline the 6-foot-11 scoring juggernaut for up to six months.“With the focus of this process being aimed entirely on Kevin’s long-term health and stability, it was the consensus of the specialists team, in addition to a collective decision by Kevin, his representation and the Thunder, that to address the setback of the fracture site, a bone graft procedure would be the most proactive and recommended approach,” Presti said in a statement. “The bone graft is the standard procedure for the five to eight percent of Jones fracture surgeries that do not initially have success or experience setbacks sometime within the recovery period.”Historically, the Jones fracture has never limited or altered a player’s ability to return to play. The bone graft is the next step in resolving the injury for the rare cases that don’t experience a full recovery with an inserted screw (92 to 95 percent of initial Jones fracture surgeries are successful).“While everyone is disappointed that Kevin falls into that group, we are encouraged that the bone graft procedure has historically demonstrated long-term health and stability,” Presti said.Durant underwent surgery Feb. 23 to attempt to alleviate soreness and discomfort in his right foot that was being caused by a screw inserted in October during a procedure to repair the Jones fracture. After the second procedure, Durant was re-evaluated after a week, then re-evaluated again after another week, at which point coach Scott Brooks updated the player’s timetable to a “week or two.”Durant had intensified his on-court workouts before being removed from basketball activities last week, even returning to participate in parts of practice, including some 3-on-3. But the soreness persisted. He played in only 27 games this season, averaging 25.4 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists.Westbrook, who has been amazing in Durant’s absence and has had his own health concerns, would need Durant to make a serious run at the title. Without the duo, OKC’s shots are all but gone. read more

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Seahawks Michael Bennett Continues to Sit for Anthem in

Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett, center, is joined by teammates Thomas Rawls, left, and Justin Britt, right, as he sits during the singing of the national anthem. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)SEATTLE (AP) — Michael Bennett was the first Seattle Seahawks player announced during pregame introductions before the home opener against San Francisco, receiving one of the loudest ovations.It was the second show of support for Seattle’s outspoken defensive end on Sunday.Outside of CenturyLink Field, a group of protesters supporting Bennett gathered prior to the game. The group expressed its support for Bennett after he says he was subjected to racial profiling and excessive force when Las Vegas police detained him last month.Protesters also showed support for quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who is still without a job after his anthem protests a year ago. It was a small protest with about 50 people participating.Among those participating in the pregame rally was Bennett’s younger brother, Reshaud.Demonstrators show support for Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett as they march outside CenturyLink Field before an NFL football game between the Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)“It means everything. It’s always good to have your family support you and also a lot of people in the city to supporting me. I think it was just a really good thing,” Bennett said after Seattle’s 12-9 victory.When the anthem began Sunday, Bennett took what’s become his usual seat on the bench. Seattle center Justin Britt and running back Thomas Rawls stood next to Bennett each with a hand on his shoulder during the anthem. Teammates Cliff Avril and Frank Clark also sat with Bennett for the final few bars of the anthem. read more

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Mike Vick to Coach on Atlantas New Spring Football

Former Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick stands on the sidelines before an NFL football game between the Falcons and the New Orleans Saints in Atlanta. .(AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)ATLANTA (AP) — Michael Vick’s second try for a football championship in Atlanta will come as a coach.Atlanta was announced on Wednesday as the choice to join Orlando as franchises in the new Alliance of American Football that will begin play next February.The Atlanta Alliance has hired former NFL coach Brad Childress as its head coach. Vick, the former Falcons quarterback, will serve as Childress’ offensive coordinator.“I want to bring a championship to the city of Atlanta,” Vick said. “It’s always been a dream of mine, and now I have another shot.”Atlanta is the second city to get a franchise in the league that was created by Pro Football Hall of Fame member Bill Polian and longtime TV and film producer Charlie Ebersol. The Alliance has a television deal with CBS and plans to open its first season the week after the Super Bowl.Vick, 37, was the top overall pick in the 2001 NFL draft by Atlanta and was a three-time Pro Bowl selection during his time with the Falcons (2001-06). His stay ended in disgrace.Vick served 18 months in prison following his guilty plea for a dogfighting operation in his native Virginia. He returned to play five seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, followed by short stints with the New York Jets and Pittsburgh Steelers.In 2017, he was welcomed back to the Falcons family by owner Arthur Blank in a retirement ceremony for Vick and receiver Roddy White.Vick took the Falcons to the NFC championship game in 2004 but never reached the Super Bowl.“When I accepted the job and thought about what it would take to bring this city a championship, I knew that I needed to bring Michael Vick back to Atlanta,” Childress said. “His connection with the city is undeniable, and his 13 years of NFL experience will make him a tremendous asset to our team. I saw firsthand his innate ability to bring out the best in those around him and I’m confident that together, we’re going to build something special for the city of Atlanta.”Vick said he has “a love and passion for teaching the game of football.”“I’ve learned so much over the course of my career, playing for and being mentored by some of the best coaches in all of football,” he said. “I’m committed to paying it forward, helping players grow and putting some of my ideas into action on the football field. To do this in Atlanta just makes it that much sweeter.”Another veteran coach, Steve Spurrier, is in charge of the Orlando team.“There is a tremendous amount of players and coaches who deserve a chance to compete at a professional level, but only a limited and finite amount of roster spots and positions in the sport today,” Childress said. “The Alliance of American Football offers an exciting opportunity for players and coaches to launch or continue their career at the professional level during the spring, and I’m particularly impressed with its strong focus on the relationship between players, fans and the game.”The team will play at Georgia State Stadium, the former Turner Field that was home to baseball’s Atlanta Braves. read more

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Ohio States Season Was A Crazy Outlier

The legend of Urban Meyer grows.In coaching the Ohio State Buckeyes to the first ever College Football Playoff Championship on Monday, Meyer not only made college football history, he made statistical history — a history Meyer is uniquely familiar with.After Monday’s 42-20 win over Oregon, Ohio State finished with the second-highest season-ending Elo rating ever (31.7). Only the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers had a higher rating (33.4). A little background, in case you’re not familiar: The Elo rating system was originally used for chess, but at FiveThirtyEight we use it to produce weekly NFL ratings, among other things. As my boss Nate Silver has explained, Elo ratings are a simple and transparent approach to numerically rate a team.What makes this Ohio State team stands out is not just its dominance, but its improvement. Here is the season-ending Elo rating for the 3,758 college football team seasons back to 1982 plotted against their change in start-to-finish Elo rating.Ohio State is an outlier in both respects. In addition to the No. 2 season-ending Elo rating, the Buckeyes had the 31st most dramatic start-to-finish rating improvement.The team nearest to Ohio State in both dominance and improvement is the 2008 Florida Gators, coached by none other than Urban Meyer. read more

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Ohio State improves to 101 despite midgame injury to Sullinger

Ohio State men’s basketball improved to 10-1 with a Saturday win against South Carolina, but not before sophomore forward Jared Sullinger sustained another injury. Sullinger logged just six minutes for the No. 2 Buckeyes against the unranked Gamecocks before he left the game with an injury to his left foot. Sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas picked up the slack in Sullinger’s absence, scoring a career-high 30 points in 40 minutes of work to help see OSU to a 74-66 road win. OSU athletics spokesman Dan Wallenberg confirmed to The Lantern after the game that Sullinger sustained a bone bruise in his left foot. From his Twitter account, @Jared_Sully0, Sullinger tweeted at around 3:30 p.m.: “Just a freak accident. Great win for us tho. Our first road win. #FYI I will be fine ppl…. Back at it tomorrow.” Sullinger missed two games after suffering back spasms during OSU’s Nov. 29 win against Duke. The Gamecocks took a 33-29 lead into half, but Buckeyes coach Thad Matta and his players erased the deficit and eventually clinched the win, the 200th for Matta in eight seasons as head coach at OSU. Matta collected his 300th career win Dec. 3 when the Buckeyes defeated Texas-Pan American, 64-35. The Buckeyes will play the first of two remaining non-conference games Tuesday against Lamar University. Opening tip is scheduled for 8:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center. read more

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Volleyball recruit Judkins chooses Buckeyes

The Ohio State men’s volleyball team finished the 2012 season with a 21-9 record and a third-straight 20-win season, but the work for next season has already begun. OSU coach Pete Hanson welcomed Kaukauna, Wis., native Alex Judkins to the 2013 roster Wednesday. Judkins, a 6-foot-6-inch outside hitter, led Kaukauna High School to the state championship in November. After losing the two-time All-American opposite, Shawn Sangrey, Hanson knew he needed to add to the Buckeyes’ roster to fill the void. “He will immediately add depth and size to our group of outside hitters,” Hanson said according to a press release. He is a two-time First-Team All-State and All-Conference honoree and was named the Post-Crescent Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons. “We are very glad that Alex has chosen to join our program,” Hanson said in the release. “Based on his athletic ability and skill set, we believe he will have a very successful career here at Ohio State.” Judkins finished his high school career with 969 kills, 412 of which were from his senior year. “Alex will have the opportunity to compete for a spot right away,” Hanson said. read more

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