Are NBA Steals Born of Bad Defense

Although unlikely, it’s delightfully possible that the extra value provided by players who get a lot of steals is mostly just a result of their willingness to try to get them.Finally, if you think that steals come with considerable risk, you still have to account for their predictive value somewhere, and I think your route to a plausible explanation is harder than mine: Perhaps they actually correlate to other (immeasurable) skills so strongly that it overwhelms their individually negative nature? It’s theoretically possible, but it’s not an easy case. My article “The Hidden Value of the NBA Steal” sparked a lot of debate. I’m responding to several comments and questions in four parts. We posted Part 1 on Monday; here is Part 2:My initial article explored how and why steals are underrated as a box score stat. Despite the constant focus on points per game in popular discussion of players, steals are actually a better indicator of value than points. Way better.One of the most common responses to the article was the suggestion that we should consider the amount to which steals are a product of “gambling” on defense. In the comments, reader Kyle Pulek succinctly expressed the concern:I think something that you have to consider is the “risk” of attempting a steal. In a way, steals are valuable but if you try and miss you end up out of position and increasing your opponent’s ability to score on that possession. If you racked up 5 steals a game, it wouldn’t be beneficial if the other 45 possessions that you played you swung and missed and ended up behind the ball.I was a little surprised with the frequency and intensity of this objection, as I didn’t consider it a big issue. Indeed, I raised the same point in Footnote 7 (although I don’t blame anybody for not reading every footnote):Steals come at a cost as well: By gambling on defense, you sometimes give up a better shot if you fail. But, all things considered, they are probably closer to being “free” than points.The reason this didn’t concern me is that the part of the analysis that establishes the value of steals relative to other box score stats is completely oblivious to the costs and benefits of a particular stat; the analysis only cares about the corresponding increase or decrease in the team’s chances of winning.Indirect “with or without you” analyses are meant to avoid the thorny and often intractable causal complexities that lie between a thing and its effect on the bottom line. Of course, this approach has its limitations. For example, we don’t know whether steals predict a player’s impact because steals are more important than other things, or because the type of player who tends to get steals just happens to be better at helping his team win games than a similarly situated player who doesn’t. But we do know that steals predict a player’s impact extremely well, so if we’re concerned with making empirical predictions, they’re something we should pay attention to.This question usually comes from the opposite direction: When discussing the predictive value of steals with statsy-types, one of the most common responses I get is that it’s probably because steals are a defensive stat, and thus one of the only windows into a player’s defensive ability that box score stats provide. One of the more surprising side-findings in my analysis was that steals don’t seem to predict much about defense at all. If there is any contrarian element to my analysis, it is my argument that their value may stem mostly from their irreplaceability instead.Moreover, though some heavy hitters apparently disagree, going for a steal doesn’t immediately strike me as a very bad gamble. A player’s reward is ending his opponent’s possession and getting an even more valuable than normal possession for his team, while his risk is possibly giving up a better shot. Even if some of those shots are layups, the overall difference in expected value of a failed steal attempt from no steal attempt is going to be much smaller than the value of the successful attempt vs. no attempt.The one big thing we don’t know is how many attempts a player needs to get a steal. This “stealing efficiency” may vary considerably from player to player, just as efficiency-focused metrics for other box score stats do. But the observed predictive value of steals suggests that the ratio is not so dire. If anything, I could see it going in the opposite direction: read more

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Denver Broncos select former OSU tight end Jeff Heuerman in NFL draft

Then-junior tight end Jeff Heuerman (86) is brought down during the Big Ten Championship Game against Michigan State Dec. 7, 2013 at Lucas Oil Stadium. OSU lost, 34-24.Credit: Lantern file photoJeff Heuerman became the second former OSU player drafted when the Denver Broncos selected him with the 92nd pick in the third round of the 2015 NFL draft.The tight end enjoyed a breakout 2013 campaign that included a team-best 17.9 yards per reception and four touchdowns. He finished his junior year with 26 receptions for 466 yards.The Naples, Fla., native was unable to replicate that success in his senior year, as he was hampered by foot injuries throughout the season. He finished the year with 17 receptions for 207 yards and two scores but did not record a reception in any of OSU’s three postseason games.Heuerman was named to the second-team All-Big Ten for his senior campaign. The tight end commenced his OSU career with 52 catches for 792 yards and seven scores.Denver lost tight end Julius Thomas in free agency during the offseason. Heuerman will join Owen Daniels and Virgil Green as tight ends for the Broncos.Denver is scheduled to open the 2015-16 season against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 13 at 4:25 p.m. read more

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Scientist finds medium sized Kuiper belt object less dense than water

center_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. More information: The density of mid-sized Kuiper belt object 2002 UX25 and the formation of the dwarf planets, arXiv:1311.0553 [astro-ph.EP] arxiv.org/abs/1311.0553AbstractThe formation of the largest objects in the Kuiper belt, with measured densities of ~1.5 g cm-3 and higher, from the coagulation of small bodies, with measured densities below 1 g cm-3 is difficult to explain without invoking significant porosity in the smallest objects. If such porosity does occur, measured densities should begin to increase at the size at which significant porosity is no longer supported. Among the asteroids, this transition occurs for diameters larger than ~350 km. In the Kuiper belt, no density measurements have been made between ~350 km and ~850 km, the diameter range where porosities might first begin to drop. Objects in this range could provide key tests of the rock fraction of small Kuiper belt objects. Here we report the orbital characterization, mass, and density determination of the 2002 UX25 system in the Kuiper belt. For this object, with a diameter of ~650 km, we find a density of 0.82+/-0.11 g cm-3, making it the largest solid known object in the solar system with a measured density below that of pure water ice. We argue that the porosity of this object is unlikely to be above ~20%, suggesting a low rock fraction. If the currently measured densities of Kuiper belt objects are a fair representation of the sample as a whole, creating ~1000 km and larger Kuiper belt objects with rock mass fractions of 70% and higher from coagulation of small objects with rock fractions as low as those inferred from 2002 UX25 is difficult. Explore further Observations of the 2002 UX25 system with HST/HRC and Keck LGS-AO/NIRC2. The northward orientation arrow is 0.25 arcseconds long, for scale. In the first column, we show the image of both 2002 UX25 and its satellite. Credit: arXiv:1311.0553 [astro-ph.EP]last_img read more

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In This Issue   Euros As Gold attempt to

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Euros & A$’s & Gold attempt to rally. *  Sweden, U.K. and ECB meet this week. *  Asians like loonies! *  Update on CFC  And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Fed Heads Shuffle Around Their Take On QE.  Good day. And a Marvelous Monday to you! Another weekend filled with rain. I was sitting outside, under cover, yesterday, and it was downright chilly! It was the last day of June for heaven’s sake! I know out west their getting baked, but here, no one from my family would sit outside with me because it was “too cold”. UGH!  Oh well, It’s July 1st, and keeping with Pfennig Tradition, this is how I begin each July. There I was on a July morning, I was looking for love. With the strength of a new day dawning and the beautiful sun.  (special credit if you know who did this great rock song, and no checking on Google!) Well. It appears to be a quiet day in the currencies this morning. The euro and Aussie dollar (A$) are both up 1/2-cent , Gold is higher by $8, and the yen is weaker, as it heads back to 100..  There are a ton of data prints before we get to Friday’s Jobs Jamboree, which will be fielded by just a handful of junior traders, as most boys and girls will have taken the opportunity to make the 4th of July a 4-day holiday weekend, and head to the Hamptons. OK. So, there I was on Friday morning, our little Christine had brought us in breakfast sandwiches, and I was sipping my coffee and reading news stories, when a story came across the screen that caught my eye.   But first, I had just mentioned to the desk that the euro was having a “good day” so far, and it was about to re-touch 1.31, when the rug was pulled from under the single unit.   So, it was falling like a rock from a cliff, and this story came across talking about how the Eurozone’s record Current Account Surplus and slowing inflation was giving the euro the kind of strength that has made the yen a safe haven in times of financial economic turmoil.   It made it all very strange, because I’m reading this story about why the euro is strong, and on the screens it’s dropping like a rock! I do want to point out that the euro, while weaker than it was before the FOMC announcement two weeks ago, still is ahead of where most forecasters had circled the euro a few months ago.  Most forecasters had the euro trading at 1.28 at the end of the quarter.  Instead the euro posted its biggest quarterly gain since 12/08. not too shabby for a currency that was supposed to collapsed or not even around, according to a TON of analysts and researchers a couple of years ago. Yes, I could begin listing these fellows right here, but. what good would that do? Other than to imagine them with egg on their collective faces! OK. now that’s tempting. But I think I’ll pass. Later on Friday morning, I saw what had caused the damage to the euro, but didn’t explain why Gold bounced from $1,188 to $1,215 while the euro dropped. A Fed Head, Jeremy Stein, made a speech and delivered his thoughts on why he believes the Fed will begin tapering Quantitative Easing (QE) in Sept. just two short months away.  He believes that the cumulative amount of progress in the economy since last September was giving the Fed a feeling that they needed to begin to provide concrete guidance to the markets.. And that it’s not a matter tracking data up to September either. so I guess we can ditch our “data journals”. No, he said that the current data when the FOMC meets in September will dictate if tapering can begin, and then each month going forward would provide guidance as to how much tapering each month can be done. You know, with each Fed Head, comes a different idea on what we can expect, or look at. last week it was Dudley saying that the unemployment rate was the key. and so on.  So, that’s their plan folks. The Fed Heads are going to all go in different directions, in an attempt to confuse us, so that when they do get around to whatever it is they decide to do, they can explain it by saying, “we told you on “x” date that we were going to do, blah, blah, blah”  I’m going to continue to keep my data journal going though, it’s a good exercise in keeping track of this stuff, because, as you know, a lot of data is printed long after the water passed under the bridge, and even though they are lagging indicators, they at least confirm what I see in the economy. I told you all that I was going to be meeting with our fave local professor of economics on Friday, and it was quite an entertaining meeting. I did get a couple of my points across, but the professor was steadfast that the Gov’t is doing the right thing, and that things aren’t as black as I paint them every day. One thought I’ve been carrying around was confirmed as right, by the professor, but. was quickly dismissed as anything “significant” when considered against the “size of the economy”. And that was simply that I thought that the Gov’t was subsidizing GDP in a covert way. My thought was simply that with spending or consumption a large part of GDP, one way to boost GDP would be to get spending up. Ahhh, let’s see, we currently have 47 million people on food stamps, and when they get the money in their account what do they do with it? No, I’m not talking about “the fringe stuff” , I’m just talking about spending it.  And, any questions now why the Gov’t is still “recruiting” individuals to sign up for food stamps? OK. Time to go on to other things! The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will meet tonight, and the consensus forecast is for the RBA to keep rates unchanged at this meeting. But, I’m not “buying the consensus forecast”. The RBA has been a thorn in my side for months now, and I’m pretty sure they will want to remain a thorn in my side by implementing another rate cut!  But, this morning the traders are buying the consensus forecast and marking up the A$ by 1/2-cent. The euro is getting its boost this morning from better than the average bear manufacturing index prints from Spain and Italy. As the day goes on, the euro will also have to deal with May unemployment data from the Eurozone, and the June Inflation reports. So, this could be a volatile day for the single unit. So. remember last week when I wrote about the price of Gold getting close to its production costs and when if it slipped below its production costs that it could cause mining companies to shut down, and thus causing a supply problem. Well, there I was Saturday, reading stuff between the wedding of a neighbor’s daughter, and the reception, and saw this story on Gold from CNBC.com. “Gold fell to its lowest level since 2010 on Friday to under $1,200, which is what it costs many miners to produce an ounce of Gold.” There are reports of quite a few gold mines closing in Australia, with some companies actually going bust and a significant amount of job cuts by big miners.” For those of you new to class, Australia is the second leading Gold Producing nation in the world, so what happens to Aussie miners is not good for the supply. And the price of Gold did briefly slip below $1,200 on Friday, but then was like a rubber band shot back above that $1,200 level, and hasn’t looked back since. We have a few Central Bank meetings this week. I already told you about the RBA meeting tonight. On Wednesday Sweden’s Riksbank will meet, and as we’ve discussed the past couple of weeks, the economic data in Sweden is strong enough to make the Riksbank pass on a rate cut at this meeting. Then on Thursday when here in the U.S. we will be flying our flags, heating up the charcoal, and shooting off fireworks, the Bank of England (BOE) and the European Central Bank (ECB) will meet. The only thing going on in the BOE meeting is that it will be the first one under the leadership of Mark Carney, former Bank of Canada Gov.  The ECB will probably not even mention the modest recovery going on in the Eurozone, for it’s just too soon to get all lathered up about. So, the Central Banks in Europe will most likely keep their rate cut powder dry this week, besides, the markets will be very thin, come Wednesday. Shoot Rudy, there weren’t many cars on the road when I came to work today, so maybe this is going to be a volume thin holiday week! I haven’t talked about Canada yet today, so this seems to be a good place for me to highlight that Canada’s April GDP printed with another rise, this time being a small .1%, and although it was smaller than the previous month’s gains, it did keep the momentum in the economy going, as this marked the 4th consecutive month of GDP gains.  The Canadian dollar / loonie is basically flat today, with the Canadians on holiday today, as they celebrate their “Canada Day”. OK. Remember all the hoopla I tried to place on the fact that the A$ and loonie were now going to be accounted for separately in the IMF’s accounting of Central Bank reserves?  Well, it appears to be have been warranted! The IMF’s data showed that both the A$ and loonie accounted for 1.6% of global reserves. Which in real numbers is 98.6 Billion worth of A$’s (in dollar terms) with a good spread around the world. The loonie’s reserves are lower in Europe, but more than make up for that lower % in Europe with a huge increase in Asia. Now. Knowing this data, gives me a thought about the loonie. I always associate Asian people as knowledgeable investors, knowing that precious metals are a store of wealth, and not just a commodity, saving and the list goes on. If the Asians see something in the loonie as something they should own, well. I guess that speaks for itself, eh? Here in the U.S. this week, we’ll see quite a bit of data for a holiday shortened week, starting today with the June ISM Manufacturing Index. Remember that May’s Index showed that manufacturing had slipped to the contraction side of ledger (49). The forecasts are for the June index to climb back above 50, but not by much. The regional reports haven’t been very strong, as a whole, with some regions stronger and others weaker. Which tells you about the economy in the U.S. very uneven.  All the data in the U.S. this week will just be the opening act for Friday’s Jobs Jamboree.  I see the calls for June job creation to be around 165,000, with the unemployment rate remaining at 7.6%, but don’t forget what I explained to you about last Friday, regarding how the unemployment rate could begin to slip at a quicker pace, due to the lower labor participation rate. Shoot Rudy, like I always say about Gov’t data. If they don’t like the results they just change the way they account for them. Speaking of the U.S. I saw where the DOW ended June on a down note, but still posted the best half year since 1999! The year-to-date increase in the DOW was up 13.78% in the first 6 months of this year.  I wonder what the news from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on the soaring health insurance costs will do to the DOW as we go forward.  According to a report in the WSJ, “healthy consumers could see insurance rated double or even triple when they look for individual coverage und the federal health law later this year, while premiums paid by sicker people are set to become more affordable.”   OK. a few years ago, I told you all this would come to fruition, and I had one reader blast me saying that it was untrue, and wanted me to issue a correction. Hmmm, I wonder who should issue the correction now? And while we’re on the subject of Gov’t mingling. Remember the Cash for Clunkers program? Well, it turns out that many cash-for-clunkers (CFC) buyers have higher repo, and late payment rates. I know, this is not amazing to us that saw the CFC for what it was. 1in 5 CFC participants said they regret buying a new vehicle, and admit they didn’t think past the new car smell.  They also bought into the idea that the economy was improving and would make their purchase look like a good idea. I guess not! Alrighty then. Let’s talk about something else! Oh, I guess it’s time to head to the Big Finish! Let’s go! For What It’s Worth. You know for the past few years, I’ve given you quotes and snippets of articles from Silver Analyst, Ted Butler (no relation that I know of, and each time he says stuff that people should really be listening to. Today is no different. I took this from Ed Steer’s letter, and it’s Ted Butler talking about Silver. Being around the markets for as long as I have, I have resisted the temptation to flat-out state that silver prices can’t possibly go lower than any certain level; although it is just as true that I have thought the bottom has been put in on many recent occasions. Right now we are caught between unreasonably low prices that must adjust to the upside at some point…and an historic deliberate manipulation to the downside of unprecedented proportion that must end. Accordingly, I feel it is way too late to even think about selling…and the only reasonable thoughts should be of where to buy at the lowest possible price.” Chuck again. Did you see my Sunday Pfennig & Pfriends article about Silver? I thank those that sent me notes telling me it was good article. I really don’t like writing for the Sunday issues, I don’t want Pfennig Readers to get too much of Chuck that grow tired of hearing from me. One thing I learned from my days of performing on stage with my guitar. “leave them wanting”. To recap. The currencies are mixed today, with the A$ and euro both up ½-cent, while the yen heads south again toward 100. Gold is up $8 this morning, after experiencing a rubber band shot higher on Friday, after the slip below $1,200. Gold’s price is very near its cost to produce it, and miners in Australia are feeling the pinch, just as Chuck predicted they would a week ago. And Chuck gives us the update on two Gov’t mingling projects. Currencies today 7/1/13. American Style: A$ .9205, kiwi .7780, C$ .9510, euro 1.3045, sterling 1.5220, Swiss $1.0575, . European Style: rand 9.9120, krone 6.0590, SEK 6.6685, forint 225.25, zloty 3.32, koruna 19.9215, RUB 32.88, yen 99.60, sing 1.2676, HKD 7.7555, INR 59.52, China 6.1805, pesos 12.92, BRL 2.2310, Dollar Index 83.10, Oil $97.03, 10-year 2.52%, Silver $19.51, Platinum $1,355.99, Palladium $ 677.33, and Gold. $1,238.77 That’s it for today. Sad new out west, eh? 19 firefighters died fighting the Arizona wildfires. My beloved Cardinals are not playing so well these days, and need to shake out of this funk they are in.  They play this week in Anaheim, which means I won’t see or hear the games, as they start so darn late!  We had a nice family dinner celebration for Alex’s 18th birthday on Friday. Then he had some of his friends come over. I guess as Alice Cooper said, he’s 18, and he likes it! Alex will be traveling later this month with the St. Louis Junior Olympics Water Polo Team to California for games, it will be his first trip without a parent. Thanks to Lisa for our meeting on Friday, and my trip to the Center for Advanced Medicine was fine, a much better experience than when I used to go there a couple of years ago for my other eye.  And with that. Let’s go out on this July morning, with a beautiful sun (not here of course! UGH!) and make it a Marvelous Monday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

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