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Offseason Blueprint: The Detroit Pistons are an NBA basketball team. Hopefully, they can remind fans of that in the next few years.
The playoffs continue to rage on, but there are 26 teams sitting at home with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs, watch the Conference Finals, and wait for next season to start. For their sake, we wanted to look ahead with the next edition of the OFFSEASON BLUEPRINT series. In each, we'll preview some big decisions and make some recommendations for plans of attack along the way. Today, we're looking at the Detroit Pistons. step one: weave a new narrative Some teams are good, some teams are bad -- but almost all of them have a general direction. Are you a young team on the rise? Or a veteran team trying to squeeze out as many wins as possible? Right now, the Detroit Pistons are in a wonky grey area. They're missing an identity. When they tried to make the playoffs, they were fairly mediocre (records of 37-45, 39-43, 41-41). When injuries hit this past season, they plummeted down to 20-46. While that generally suggests a young and rebuilding team, the roster doesn't reflect that yet. Their marquee players are Blake Griffin (age 31) and Derrick Rose (age 31.) They also have a veteran coach in Dwane Casey who's more accustomed to competing than rebuilding. All in all, they feel like a confused, forgotten franchise. Fortunately, there's a new sheriff in town. The team hired a new GM in Troy Weaver, who had been Sam Presti's right-hand man in Oklahoma City. Weaver's been on the verge of a GM job for several years now, and his hire represents something of a coup for this embattled organization. Going forward, the franchise needs to hold the keys over to Weaver and allow him free reign to do whatever he wants. Back in OKC, he had experience with a variety of makeups: with a rebuilding team, with a contending team, with a rebuilding-wait-whoops-we're-accidentally-pretty-darn-good team. It's up to him to look at this roster and this payroll and determine the best path forward from here. step two: hold a garage sale for your old homeowner's property Presumably, Troy Weaver will treat this project as more of a teardown than a remodel. Mainstay center Andre Drummond is already out of the door, and the other veterans may join him on the bus out of Detroit. Unfortunately, that may be easier said than done. It makes a lot of sense to trade star PF Blake Griffin to a veteran team, but his injuries and his contract ($37M + $39M player option) would make that difficult from a logistical perspective. There's a chance that a desperate team may be willing to roll the dice on Griffin. Throughout his career, he's been one of the more misunderstood players in the league. People want to treat him as an athlete-dunker only, but he's actually a skilled ballhandler and passer. In his last healthy season in 2018-19, he averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.4 assists, and even showcased an improved three-point shot (36.2% on 7.0 attempts per game.) If healthy, he'd be a major difference maker to a team like Portland. Still, teams aren't going to give up major assets for Blake Griffin until he proves that he is healthy. From Detroit's perspective, it makes more sense to wait to trade him. They need him to come back, put up some good stats, and then float him in offers. Right now, you'd be trading Griffin for 20 cents on the dollar. In contrast, Derrick Rose's stock may be at a high. He put up good raw numbers this year (18.1 points, 5.6 assists), and he's on a reasonable $7.5M expiring contract. He'd be a positive addition to a playoff team, best served as a Sixth Man scorer. The Pistons and their fans like Rose (and he likes playing here), but it'd be irresponsible for them to not consider trade options. If they get any decent offers, they have to pull the trigger. If the offers are weak -- R2 picks or so -- then the team can keep him around as a veteran leader and placeholder starter. step three: don't let your breakout break out As bad as the Pistons were, they had a few bright spots. Derrick Rose played better than expected. Luke Kennard looks on track to be a rising starter. And, most surprising of all, rando Christian Wood broke out as a legitimate NBA player. As a starter, Wood averaged 21.9 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. Wood is a springy, energetic player who also has an improving range (40% from three as a starter.) You can read a longer deep dive about Christian Wood here, but to sum it up. A) His production looks legitimate, as he's been putting up numbers in virtually every stop as a pro. But B) His breakout may be poorly timed for the Pistons, because he's slated for free agency and about to get more expensive. He's a 24 year old whose best days should be ahead of him. Based purely on his stats and scouting profile, you could talk yourself into a contract closing in on $15M a year for Wood. However, players with his "pedigree" (undrafted, limited sample size) rarely get that type of contract right away. To me, paying him somewhere in the range of 3 years, $36M would be a fair deal on both sides. There's too much uncertainty to justify much more of a commitment. Of course, the Pistons should know better than any of us whether to trust Wood. Prior to this year, he had a mixed reputation in terms of his basketball IQ and work habits. If Coach Casey can sign off on Wood's character, then the team can feel more comfortable with him as a building block. If there are still red flags, perhaps it's better not to get too attached. The Pistons have more cap room than most teams this offseason, so the money shouldn't be a major deterrent to this decision. It should be entirely about Wood as a person and a player. If you believe that he's the real deal, then you keep him around. step four: find your next field general Christian Wood is a solid young player -- Luke Kennard is a solid young player -- but these aren't franchise players. They're secondary scorers and members of a supporting cast. To truly advance to the promised land, the Detroit Pistons are going to need to find transcendent talent, somehow and some way. Unfortunately, the NBA Draft Lottery didn't help. The Pistons slipped down from the # 5 slot to the # 7 pick, making it unlikely that they'll land a future star. On the bright side, the "supply and demand" may be on their side. This draft class happens to be heavy with point guards. There's LaMelo Ball (the # 1 prospect on ESPN), Killian Hayes (the # 1 prospect on The Ringer), and Tyrese Haliburton (one of the safer picks in the class.) If any of them slip down to # 7, the Pistons should strongly consider them. It usually takes a point guard a year or two to find their footing, but they can sit behind Derrick Rose for a year and then get unleashed in 2021. From a personality standpoint, Rose isn't going to mentor and educate like Aristotle, but he's capable of soaking up 25 minutes and allowing the next PG some time to develop. If those top guards are not available (and they are unlikely to be), the Pistons may have to take some chances. One name I'm intrigued by is R.J. Hampton. On face value, that'd be a "reach." Like LaMelo Ball, Hampton was a top high school prospect who went off to play in the Australian league. Unlike Ball, his NBA stock suffered as a result. While Ball put up numbers (17-8-7), Hampton put up weak stats -- 8.8 points, 2.4 assists on 41-30-68 shooting splits. As a result, Ball is now locked into top 3 pick status, and Hampton is seeing his name ranked around the 10-20 range in mock drafts. However, I'd defend Hampton to some degree. We have to consider the context here. LaMelo Ball joined a struggling team called Illawarra. With Ball, the team went 3-9 (and finished 5-23.) When you're playing on a bad team like that, you can be the "star" and jack up as many shots as you want. In contrast, Hampton joined the New Zealand Breakers, a better team that relegated him to 20.6 minutes a night and a more limited role. His raw stats may not do him justice. No doubt, Hampton has a long way to go, especially as a shooter. At the same time, he's a big lead guard (6'4" with a 6'7" wingspan) who flashes a lot of explosive scoring ability when he's getting downhill to the hoop. He's also a smart kid and allegedly a good worker. There's some legitimate "star" potential here, even if it's a narrow bull's eye. Hampton doesn't have the same athleticism as Russell Westbrook (hardly anyone does) but maybe there's a parallel here. After all, Weaver and OKC selected Westbrook after he'd been a little under the radar after playing off the ball at UCLA. To be clear, I'm not urging Detroit to take R.J. Hampton at # 7. I'm not endorsing him as a future star like Westbrook. I don't know enough to do that; I don't sit around and splice up tape of New Zealand basketball. Still, the point is, the Pistons should be looking at upside players in that vein, knowing that they're going to need to hit a home run in the future. step five: keep one hand on the detonator The Detroit Pistons only have $68M committed on the books for next season, which means they could be players in free agency even if they re-sign Christian Wood. If the team decided to go "all in" in a desperate attempt to compete, then you could maybe talk yourself into retaining Blake Griffin, handing out a big contract for Fred VanVleet, and shooting for the playoffs. That may work. But to what end...? The 7th seed? The 8th seed? Is that the end goal here? More realistically, the team should (as discussed) try to get Blake Griffin back and fully healthy in order to showcase him for a trade. After that, they'd then dive into a full rebuild. Presuming that's going to be the ultimate destination, then the Pistons may as well get a jump on that with free agency. With their remaining cap space, they can take on a toxic asset that comes attached with future picks, or take some fliers on young and promising players. Among my favorite gamblers of this offseason may include PG Kris Dunn (CHI), SG Denzel Valentine (CHI), SF Josh Jackson (MEM), and C Harry Giles (SAC.) None of them should draw huge money offers, making them reasonable purchases and lottery tickets. If the Pistons end up blowing it up, then they should play their younger players over the course of the season. That should mean a lot of Sekou Doumbouya (entering Year 2) and even some Thon Maker (entering Year 42). If that means you only win 25-30 games, that's all right. It'll only help your odds for next year's lottery. I've mentioned this before with some potential tankers (CLE, CHA, etc), but next year's draft could be quite strong. The group is headlined by point forward Cade Cunningham (heading to Oklahoma State) and scoring swingman Jalen Green (heading to the G-League), but there are about 4-5 other players who have the potential to join the # 1 pick conversation in time. The Detroit Pistons aren't likely to be bad enough to get a top 3 pick on their own, but the flattened lottery odds make it possible for the 7th or 8th worst team to leapfrog into that territory. Of course, before Weaver and the Pistons officially press the detonator and go into full-blown rebuild/tank mode, they need to have a heart to heart with Coach Casey. He's 63 years old already, and entering the third year of a five-year deal. Is he going to embrace the rebuild? Is he going to be the scapegoat if they rack up losses? They need to get on the same page, out of fairness to Casey and out of fairness to this franchise. A reasonable solution would be to promise Casey that, if he does tank like a good soldier, he'll still be retained for next season. Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither will chrome. previous offseason blueprints ATL, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, IND, GS, LAC, MIL, MIN, NYK, POR, SA, SAC, UTA
I built a new rig and chose this case for its price, looks, and impressive airflow. My last rig was in a Fractal define R4 and wanted to stick with a brand that was easy to build in with a great reputation. I know there's other cases that are similar (Phanteks, CoolerMaster, Lian Li all have good options for mesh cases).
Is it big enough?
One of the great things about the Meshify C is its smaller size. I loved the idea of building a more compact rig until I watched the 3080 announcement and read the various specs for the AIB cards. Some AIB RTX 3080s are really long and might not fit in this case! Here's the limitations for various configurations of the Meshify C:
Max Card Length (mm)
No front fan
Case fan (25mm)
Anyone looking at the RTX 3080 will find that most variants are longer than 285 mm with the FE coming in exactly 285 and the EVGA XC3 variants at 285.37mm.
AIO Size and mounting location
I wanted the largest AIO that would top-mount in the Meshify C, but I goofed. I ended up getting a 280mm rad (Kraken X63), which only fits while front-mounted. 2x140mm fans will fit on top, but not a 280mm radiator with fans because the brackets that hold the to panel onto the front and rear get in the way. 280mm or 360mm radiators must be front-mounted in the Meshify C.
Problem: My case is too small!
Panic mode. Bought all the parts and now there aren't any RTX 3080s that will fit. Stupid stupid! Time to buy a new case...
Solution: Mount Intake fans outside the case
Rather than mount intake fans on the inside of the case, they can actually be mounted on the outside behind the mesh on the front. There's some limitations though:
Only 120mm fans will fit outside the front of the case
Fans that are 25mm thick require modification (cutting) the plastic behind the front mesh
The first point is simply because the fans are offset and the front panel that houses the front IO won't be able to snap onto the rest of the case. This meant I could not mount the stock 140mm fans on the X63 Kraken to the front outside. 120mm fans do fit, but 15mm slim fans are the way to go if you don't want to modify the case.
Configurations for maximum GPU length
Max Card Length (mm)
120mm intake fan mounted outside the case
240 or 360mm radiator with fans mounted outside the case
280mm radiator with 120mm fans mounted outside the case
Since I had a 280mm radiator, I ditched the stock fans, bought some Noctua NF-A12x25s, and cut up the front panel plastic so it would all fit. This gives me plenty of options of buying an ASUS TUF (300mm), to the EVGA XC3s (285 mm), and the FE (285 mm). Here's a few tips that should help anyone else with new RTX 3080 build in Meshify C:
I recommend 15mm thick fans if mounting outside the case. The front mesh just barely fits with the mod, and even then the fans are pressing the front mesh panel.
Don't pull the filter from the front! I did this and the poo poo brown Notcua fans were showing through, so I had to put the mesh back. Extra work, don't do it.
If you can, just top mount your radiator and front-mount some good slim fans. This is the best setup since you can fit a card up to 340 mm without modding the case. Or heck, get an air cooler because they are cheaper and better :)
Before posting a case pic on Reddit, make sure you flip your radiator so everyone that watched that GN video doesn't crucify you.
Offseason Blueprint: it’s time for the young/Young Atlanta Hawks to leave the nest and take flight
The playoffs continue to rage on, but there are 26 teams sitting at home with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs, have nightmares about getting blocked by Bam, and wait for next season to start. For their sake, we wanted to look ahead with the next edition of the OFFSEASON BLUEPRINT series. In each, we'll preview some big decisions and make some recommendations for plans of attack along the way. Today, we're looking at the Atlanta Hawks. step one: grow up and play D, because you can’t be forever young Two summers ago, the Atlanta Hawks hired coach Lloyd Pierce on the basis of his defensive reputation. So far, that hasn't translated to the court. Last season, the Hawks ranked 27th in defensive rating. After a year in the system to improve their habits and chemistry, that ranking jumped all the way up to... 27th. What's wrong here? A few factors, of course. The one that gets the most attention and the most blame would be the deficiencies of Trae Young. His lack of length and athleticism will always be a problem, but it shouldn't be this bad. ESPN RPM ranks his defensive impact as a -6.2 per 100 possessions, which ranks 520th out of all 520 qualifiers in the NBA. According to that metric, his defense is even worse than Isaiah Thomas (at age 31.) Isaiah Thomas may be a helpful comparison though, because he does illustrate that one bad defender shouldn't be able to sink a team on his own. In IT's great season in Boston, his individual defense was poor, but the Celtics ranked in the top 5 in defense overall. Clearly, some teams are able to overcome liabilities like that. The Hawks may have to consider hiding Trae Young on defense like he's in the witness protection program. Other lead guards like Allen Iverson defended off the ball often, which is an approach that worked for his team defenses in Philadelphia and Denver. So what else is wrong here? The second major factor would be a matter of youth. Yes, we have a "Young" and a "young" problem here. Inexperienced players tend to be bad defensively, and the Hawks were one of the youngest teams in the league. Their top 5 players in minutes played (Young, De'Andre Hunter, Kevin Huerter, Cam Reddish, John Collins) were all in their age-22 season or younger. There are some college rosters older than that starting five. That aspect should improve in time, especially because some of those young players like Hunter and Reddish project as good defenders. Although it may sound counterintuitive, another issue with the defense is the offense. The Hawks play fast (top 5 in the NBA in pace), and shoot a bunch of threes (top 10 in three point attempts.) The problem is: they don't make a lot of those threes. As a team, the Hawks shot 33.3% from three, dead last in the NBA. These issues naturally affect their defense. The Hawks are playing fast and missing threes, which tends to lead to transition baskets for their opponents before the Hawks can get back and get set. If the Hawks improve their offense, then their defense should improve by proxy. To do that, they may have to slow down their pace to some degree. Modern teams love to run and gun, but if you're not very good, you're only giving your opponents extra possessions to allow their talent to win out. The fourth potential issue is a matter of coaching. As mentioned, Lloyd Pierce had a good reputation as an assistant coming over to Atlanta, but we haven't seen that manifest so far. It's a tough job assignment coaching up a young team, but it's a talented group of players. If we don't see tangible improvement in Year 3, then I would presume it's time to fire Pierce and look for another answer. There are a lot of good coaches on the market right now, so Pierce needs to step up his game to avoid getting replaced. Rebuilding teams can afford to be patient, but they can't afford to give their coaches tenure. step two: use it before you lose it The 2020 free agent market is going to be quieter than an indoor mall during COVID quarantine. Hardly any teams have cap space... except for Atlanta. In fact, the Hawks have the most cap space in the entire NBA, committed to only $58M on the books for next year. This is going to be a bad free agent class, but that's okay. In a sense, the Hawks are like the best looking guy in a dive bar. There may be slim pickings, but at least he gets his pick of the litter. You don't want to throw your money away foolishly, but you don't want it to burn a hole in your pocket either. Eventually that cap space is going to dry up when you extend your young players, so this may be a great opportunity to "use it before you lose it." The first option should be to throw a big offer at restricted free agent Brandon Ingram. Ingram has great length for a wing player, and his scoring prowess would make for a -- wait, what was that? The Pelicans just matched my offer in mid sentence? Okay then, let's move on to our next options. I'd also consider making sizable offers to free agents Bogdan Bogdanovic and/or Jerami Grant. Bogdanovic is a skilled scorer who averaged 18-4-4 per 36 this past season, and has the potential to thrive as a secondary scorer or 6th man. At 27, he also fits the general timeline here. While Bogdanovic may not be the defensive stopper we're looking for, you can never have too many quality wings in today's NBA. Jerami Grant doesn't have the same shooting ability or skill set, but he's an energetic player and an impact defender. He's 26 now, and should retain his value for the next 3 years. Having Grant as a complementary starter or rotation player would help the team on and off the court; from what I understand, he's a hard worker and a team-first player. On the lower end, it wouldn't be a terrible idea to punch some lottery tickets and hope they pay off. Josh Jackson (former Suns bust) still has potential at age 23. Chicago SG/SF Denzel Valentine has an intriguing skill set. And fellow Bull Kris Dunn is one of the premier defenders at his position. Dunn would make for a great yin/yang backup to Trae Young. step three: have some faith in John the Baptist One of the reasons that the Atlanta Hawks' cap size will dwindle in the future is the potential extension for PF John Collins. A year or two ago, the team may have thought long and hard about whether or not to commit huge money to Collins. There were some indications that he was a "good stats / bad team" kind of player. He was a tweener who struggled on defense, and didn't stretch the floor reliably on offense. These days, it's harder to hate on Collins. The raw stats are as good as always (20-10 this year), but he's also playing a more desirable brand of basketball as well. He's worked to improve his range and shotmaking. His three-point shooting went up to 35% in year two, and swelled to 40% in year three. His FT% has also gone up each year, from 72% to 76% to 80%. You appreciate when a young player improves his game, as it indicates a lot more potential still in the tank (as he turns 23 next week.) Defense is becoming less of a concern for Collins as well. The trend towards smallball allows him to play about 50% of his minutes at center. In turn, that allows Coach Pierce some flexibility. Depending on the matchup, he can go with the traditional bigs like Clint Capela or Dewayne Dedmon, or he can play a smaller, more dynamic 5 in Collins. Collins will never be Kevin Garnett, but if he's at least average on defense, then he's a net positive player. Going forward, there's no immediate rush or urgency to extend Collins this offseason. The team will have matching rights next summer, so they can wait and see Collins "prove it" over a full regular season before committing to him. Still, if he's willing to sign a reasonable extension this offseason, the Hawks may be able to avoid the headache. Atlanta's a good situation for a young scorer like Collins, so the hope is that he'd be amenable to a reasonable deal that locks him up as part of this core. step four: remember you're playing the long game, not Tetris The Atlanta Hawks will have the # 6 pick in the draft, giving them the chance to add another young prospect to the team. We had been concerned about too much youth on this roster, but it's not worth giving up that pick for a veteran because we're not in "win now" mode yet. The team may as well keep collecting youngsters like they're pokemon. With that top pick, they should keep that mindset, and not fall victim to the desire to find the right "fit" (hence the Tetris analogy.) Best available player. That's a good philosophy when you're drafting in the top 10 regardless, but it applies to this team more than most. The team needs to get a lot better, but there are no glaring issues in terms of positions or rotations. Trae Young will have PG on lockdown. Kevin Huerter will have a role as a wing. Better still, Cam Reddish and De'Andre Hunter are the types of BIG wings that can fit across several positions. The frontcourt should be fine as well between John Collins and Clint Capela. Given that, almost any position would be fine for the Hawks to select. At PG, the top prospects (according to ESPN) are LaMelo Ball (N.Z.) and Tyrese Haliburton (Iowa State). Both players would be fine picks for the team, because both have the size and length to guard 1s or 2s and can play alongside Trae Young in that regard. Offensively, LaMelo and Trae may fight for the ball, but both have dynamic scoring potential that would make a tag-team dangerous. Haliburton would be an even easier fit, as he's had experience playing off the ball. At SG/SF, the top prospect is Anthony Edwards (Georgia), who is likely to be off the board. I'm also a fan of Devin Vassell (Florida State), who projects as a good 3+D player that could soak up minutes at SG and SF for this team. He's one of the safer prospects in the class to me. I also like Deni Avdija (Israel), a ball moving forward with the size to play either SF or PF. The hardest debate may be whether to select a big man that falls to them, be it James Wiseman (Memphis) or Onyeka Okongwu (USC). After acquiring Clint Capela (and potentially ponying up for a John Collins extension), the team may not want to invest much more into the position. Still, I'd hold firm to my "best player available" idea. Wiseman and Okongwu have major potential as defenders, which has been a problem area as discussed. It could be worth bringing them in and seeing how they develop. If they turn out to be the real deal, then it's perfectly fine to trade Capela or even Collins after the fact. I'd have a harder time justifying the selection of two other top prospects: Killian Hayes (France) feels like too much of a pure point guard to me, and Obi Toppin feels like too much of a duplication to John Collins. Still, we've discussed 7 prospects that I've already given the "greenlight" to draft, which means at least 2 of those should be available when the Hawks are on the clock. step five: give the kids some big brothers We've harped a lot on the youth of this team already. Usually, that's seen as a positive. Rebuilding teams are supposed to be young, right? Sure. But there's some danger there of going overboard. If you're too young, and too inexperienced, then it's hard for the young pups to learn from those around them. It's hard to hold them accountable if there's no one else around to play their minutes. We can't have the blind leading the blind here. Oftentimes, teams try to solve this issue by adding older veteran mentors to the locker room. The Hawks found the MOST veteran of them all by adding Vince Carter (age 43.) In theory, that's exactly what we're talking about. Wise old sages like Carter can help the kids grow up and learn to be professionals. Still, I'm not sure that's enough. As respected as an old vet like Vince Carter may be, there's only so much influence he can have on a team if he's not playing. There's only so much influence he can have on a kid's habits if they're not in the same peer group. It's unlikely that 20-21 year olds are hanging out with guys in their mid to late 30s. They're in different stages in life, and probably have different interests and lifestyles. Given that, I believe there should be more of a priority placed on "big brother" teammates in addition to older mentors. What do I mean by big brothers? I mean veterans who have good work ethic and character, but aren't over the hill. Young vets (ages 25-27 or so) who can still contribute on the court, and can still act as friends and peers to the kids. True role models. Consider this: who influenced your behavior more in high school: Your teachers? Or your friends? We need friends / big brothers that will spend more time with our kids, and teach them through osmosis if not outright lectures. Consciously or not, the Memphis Grizzlies showed the value of this principle with their current season. They surrounded their rookies and sophomores with "big brother" vets like Tyus Jones (age 24) and Kyle Anderson (age 26.) Those guys happen to be high-IQ players and high-character teammates, but they're still young and good enough to play 20+ minutes a night. When you're checking all those boxes, you can influence the young players on your roster more effectively than the salty old dog who's basically an assistant coach. It's hard for me to give recommendations for "big brothers" because I don't know these players behind the scenes outside of public reputation, but the idea would be to add smart, hard-working veterans in that 25-27 age range. We want vets who play unselfishly on offense, and play hard and disciplined on defense. Even if they're not great, they can help instill good habits with the team, on and off the court. previous offseason blueprints CHA, CHI, CLE, IND, GS, MIL, MIN, NYK, POR, SA, SAC, UTA
A week has gone since the last report and we're 4 days into the Mini expansion meta. What sort of things have happened so far ? Read on and get a general idea of it. As always i'll be using a mix of Shadowverse-wins.com, Gamewith, tournament results and my own experiences to put together this report. Forestcraft In the great woods of Forestcraft we find Arisa deeply distressed at the news of Terrorformers nerf, it's razor sharp talons now less razor sharp.. though still awfully sharp. Still, the news has her distraught and despairing, meanwhile the other leaders thinks she's just being awfully dramatic. For Forestcraft Control roach has taken the lead following Terrorformers nerf and the mini expansion, followed by Evolve Forest and finally Terrorformer forest. Amataz forest for now seems to have gone avol. Overall the class seems to have benefitted from the new cards , but seeing as they don't particularly open up for new playstyles, ultimately not much changes for the class. Control Roach A control combo deck built around the Roach. The addition of Life Banquet has given the deck more room and options in terms of survival but also win conditions generally strengthening the deck, this combined with the deck to Terrorformer has allowed it to step ahead. That said the deck still has a high skill requirement and it does have its weaknesses in the current meta, but in a skilled players hands the deck is quite good. Evolve Forest A control deck built around Evolves. The addition of Aerin and Life Banquet similarly here provides a boon to the deck in strengthening its survival plan and possibly giving it another win condition if it comes down to it. Additionally the Archangel of Evocation very much helps the deck survive against combo decks. Overall solid but requiring some skill to make the most of, the deck performs solidly in the meta but does have its challenges as it does lack more potent AoE though does make up for it with big wards and potent removal. Terrorformer Forest A midrange deck ? With Terrorformer in it. The nerf to Terrorformer has posed a bit of an issue for the deck forcing it more into a Midrange strategy that relies on the accelerate synergies with Terrorformer being there to exploit openings at this point as it can't be seen as a reliable finisher anymore. Still decent but rare at this point as other forest decks have overtaken it in popularity. Swordcraft In the great halls of the Eternal Castle Swordcraft we find the leaders assembled to discuss Bunny and Baron from the Fate's Trigger Worldline and how they actually fit into the class. Albert is quick to point out they've already got one Glutton in Pecorine before getting suckerpunched by Melissa for being rude, Erika though is more wondering about the lack of Swords and their usage of guns. Pecorine thinks it's a problem for another day and runs off to scarf down a diners worth of waffles before anyone else can stop her. For Swordcraft Evolve Sword remains at the lead followed by Rally Sword. Overall Swordcraft has strongly benefitted from Alyaska and while Ilmisuna does see some usage she is a lot less consistently used than Alyaska. Evolve Sword A midrange deck built around Evolving and evolve synergies. The addition of Alyaska has greatly helped the deck and the response in a lot of cases has been Evolve Sword decks getting more aggressive with Diamond Paladin almost universally being cut, additionally Lady of the Lance is becoming a much more commonly run card again as commanders synergies become more consistent. A strong deck that does perform better with a veteran hand behind it, but one that can give a lot of decks a hard time. Rally Sword A tempo deck built around the rally mechanic and going wide. Similarly here Alyaska is proving to be a big boon in that he provides more punch later in the game giving the deck more lategame tempo options plus disrupts removal heavy decks. Some decks have started to pull a bit up and cut quickblader though others keep him. Additionally Panther Scout is starting to make a stronger return as well. That said there is no universal build of Rally Sword at the moment and you can easily find a good dozen variations. A solid deck that can perform better with an experienced hand but can run down a lot of less experienced players. Runecraft In the great Mystical academies of Runecraft the civil war is once more blazing openly as Daria and Isabelle with the assistance of Runie are pushing back against Erasmus and Karyl. Great arcs of Magical lightning scorch entire districts and student dormitories are left ablaze as Karyl unleashes her anger. In other words, another day at the Mysterian Community College. For Runecraft Spellboost Rune has overtaken Earth rite rune followed by Arcane Item Shop Rune. Overall the addition of Runie has been a huge help for Runecraft bringing back one of its core archetypes back with a boom and a bang. Spellboost Rune A midrange deck built around Spellboost Synergies. Revived by the addition of Runie the deck has made several other additions, most commonly is Magical Augmentation but also Clash of Heroes is a common addition giving the deck more cheap removal options that also serve as spellboost. A strong deck that does require some skill to pilot succesfully but can give a lot of players a hard time with a good hand. Earth Rite Rune A midrange deck built around Earth Rites. Overall not much has changed, while some have tried out the new gold follower for the most part the strategy remains largely the same the meta shift is giving the deck a slightly harder time as there are more cards out there that can disrupt its strategy in a variety of ways causing it some issues, still it remains a good deck that can run down players, but it's not quite as smooth running as before. Arcane Item Shop Rune A combo deck built around the Arcane Item Shop. It has seen a further drop in popularity in part due to more decks that can threaten it but also because it's losing out to Moby Deck Dragon as the new cheap deck since that one is easier to play than Arcane Item shop. Still it does see some plays and in an experienced players hand it should not be taken lightly. But its glory days are behind it at this point. Dragoncraft In the great Caverns of Dragoncraft where ancient beasts slumber we find Filene and Forte a bit confused about the sudden arrival of great big flying whales and trying to locate Rowen to ask him about it results in no luck. Plus there's this guy running around with a harpoon now trying to kill the whales, it's starting to get a bit messy down there in the caves. For Dragoncraft Discard Dragon remains at the top followed by Moby Deck Dragon and finally Natura Dragon. The addition of the Eternal Whale has helped Dragon out a bit as it serves as a nice alternate win condition in a lot of decks and of course as the main win condition in a deck built around it. Discard Dragon A midrange deck built around Discard Dragons. Overall the deck remains strong yet challenging to play with most decks including a copy of Eternal Whale as an alternate win condition, and a few are including Filene but nothing consistent at this point. Overall strong but there are more decks out there that can challenge it now after the mini expansion posing a few more issues for it. But nothing to seriously threaten it at the moment. Moby Deck Dragon A midrange? Deck built around Eternal Whale. A newcomer to the meta after the mini expansion that is very popular at lower ranks but less so at higher ranks, partly due to its overall low cost but also not a particularly challenging deck that plays really big followers making for an easy deck to get into it. It does have its weaknesses though, seen by the fact that barely anyone plays it at higher ranks and at the Shadowverse Pro League no one brought it at all. Transform effects pose a problem along with decks that can overwhelm it with enough pressure or burn damage. So a good-ish deck but with noted weaknesses that holds it back. Natura Dragon A midrange deck built around Natura Synergies. Natura Dragon has also adopted a single copy of Eternal Whale as an alternate win condition and Filene seems to have been a staple inclusion. Beyond that the deck remains overall decent in the meta though it will require some work to fully function. Shadowcraft In the great catacomb of Shadowcraft where secrets lie forever buried. We find everyone excited about the return of Nephtys.. though a bit uncertain as what to do with her currently. Also Mordecai is a bit curious if Atomy may soon make his glorious return as he thinks that would be a lot of fun.. though Luna and the rest don't quite share in that sentiment. For Shadowcraft Reanimate Shadow seems to remain the number one deck followed by Hades, that said Reanimate is starting to include Hades more commonly and the decks aren't always that different by now. Overall the new cards seem to have made a minimal impact with Forced resurrection seeing some usage here and there but nephtys has so far not made much of a dent on the meta. Reanimate Shadow A midrange deck built around Burial Rites and Reanimate. With the nerf to Sacristian and no easy new inclusions, the deck has taken a bit of a hit though still remains potent, but with more threats to it and fewer stronger control tools it does have a rougher time. That said some are experimenting with forced resurrection and Jiangshi for control options there though whether or not they are succesful is another matter. Increasingly more decks are also starting to include Hades as an alternate win condition but also Board control against some of the decks in the meta. Solid, but facing increasing troubles for now. Hades Shadow A combo deck built around Hades. Not much has changed here except with Reanimate encroaching on its turf it is losing out a bit more on the meta currently, we'll have to see if it can reinvent itself or merely become a sub division of Reanimate Shadow at this rate. A decent deck that does require some skill to pilot properly. Bloodcraft In the most decadent and bloodstained house of Bloodcraft we find Urias a bit surprised when Baal finally arrives, turns out his sessions of Diablo 2 had not prepared him for this.. or the looks Mono would proceed to give him. He just pretends everything is normal and welcomes her aboard while trying to ignore Vania's crying over not getting a new remake. For bloodcraft Baal Blood has quickly jumped to the fore followed by Control Blood and then Wrath Blood. The addition of Baal has given the class some new vigour and the other cards have provided assistance for the rest of the class as well. Baal Blood A aggro/tempo deck built around Baal and Ravening Corruption that looks to overwhelm the enemy with followers while using Baal to draw into more cards and fueling Ravening Corruptions pings and occasionally even clear the enemy board. A solid deck that does meat resistance in some matchups but with a skilled player can run down a lot of slower decks. Control Blood A control deck for Bloodcraft. The addition of Archangel of Evocation has given the deck extra tools vs Combo decks, that said the shift in the meta has overall been less kind to it giving the deck and overall less smooth ride. That combined with the deck still requiring a lot of skill to pilot succesfully has seen a drop in popularity compared to before the mini expansion. Wrath Blood A midrange deck built around Wrath. The addition of Nightscreech has given the deck more fuel and allowed for it to turn up the tempo a bit and pressure the enemy more, additionally some decks are experimenting with baal to further sustain an aggressive strategy, though how succesful that is we'll have to see. A solid deck in the right hands, it does face issues with decks with a lot of healing but can still run down unwary decks and less experienced players with some ease. Havencraft In the great Cathedral of Havencraft where prayers sing out and all manner of gods can be found. We find Eris faced with Garuda and De la Fille who are quite curious to hear how on earth Satan finds his way into Haven. They get Haven is a more focused on worshipping than actual gods... But come on.. Satan.. Really ? Eris just shrugs and said she was offered a good package deal and refuses to say anything more. Garuda just wonders what on earth they're going to tell the Seraph. For Havencraft Amulet Haven seems to be getting ahead of Elana Haven: overall Ra has made a splash in most decks with Temple of Heresy perhaps serving in built around decks or maybe splashed into Amulet haven decks. It's a bit hard to tell at the moment. Amulet Haven A midrange deck built around Amulet synergies. The inclusion of Ra seems to have given the deck an extra nudge as it gains more reach and another way to close out matches. Additionally some decks seem to include Temple of Heresy as an extra win condition, though that said a bit tough to get a clear idea on the deck at the moment. Decent but likely going to require some work. Elana Haven A midrange deck built around Elana and healing Synergies. Also including Ra as more reach and an extra win condition. Not much else seems to have changed with the deck and its performance remains largely the same for now, that said it seems to have dropped in popularity in favour of amulet decks, especially ones running Temple of Heresy, at least for now. A decent deck but one that does require some skill to succesfully pilot. Portalcraft In the Vertex Colony, high in Orbit over some Unknown World.. Spinaria is back !... sort of, she's not with a friend! Isn't that nice ? A bit confusing, but better than nothing though Yuwan is a bit more concerned about nexus who's suddenly become a lot more assertive. For Portalcraft Artifact Portal seems to be for the time being the only deck the class hass. Which is a bit worrying, that said it has been strongly helped by Lucille and to a lesser degree Lazuli. Artifact Portal A midrange deck built around Artifact Synergies. The addition of Lucille and to a lesser degree Lazuli to the deck has greatly strengthened it as it give the deck more range and options, more easily allowing it to power up its artifact synergies since the new Spinaria token is also an artifact, additionally Lazuli makes Vertex colony a much more consistent finisher as well resulting in a notably stronger deck than before. Still a deck that requires a good deal of skill to pilot succesfully, but much better now. So there you have it. The mini expansion along with the nerfs have actually shaken up the meta with several new decks and none of the metas strongest decks getting stronger along with weaker decks suddenly finding themselvers much stronger. A notable shift and it will be interesting to see what sort of things happen over the coming weeks as more things are tried out and tested, i'd certainly not expect it to be already solved. So until next week, have fun playing Shadowverse and trying out all sorts of things !
Has anyone successfully joined the ShawPasspoint network as a Shaw Mobile customer? The support site says to manually connect but I’ve never been able to successfully do it. ShawMobileHotspot I’ve connected automatically, but not ShawPasspoint. It requires me to enter a username and password every time and there is no option to “scroll up and select AKA for the EAP method. “ A screen with log in and username pops up when I try to access the network. I’m on iOS 14.
One of the Kings” biggest needs is more ballhandlers and dribble penetration. We need more ballhandlers so we can run more, so we don’t need to rely on Swipa alone to push the pace. This comment on my recent thread on Bogie playmaking helps give insight into why this could help in the halfcourt too. . Having a backup PG who can push the pace helps Bogie in halfcourt. Visualise this. Our backup C(idk Bagley?) gets the defensive rebound and gives it off to our backup guard who immediately starts pushing the pace whilst 2-4 run, fill lanes in transition. If we can’t get a quick transition bucket we immediately flow into a pindown for Bogie coming from the wing, to create an easy advantage on offense. Problem with CoJo and Yogi on O is teams could cheat off them when they were above the break without fear because neither are great shooters nor do they punish teams off closeouts. Luckily this draft has a few guys who could address this issue at backup PG WHILST also being versatile enough to play minutes at SG/SF. Hayes is strong and has good size though short term he’d be poor because he’s so bad at C&S. Maledon has great physical tools(lateral quickness, 6’9” wingspan) and overall solid game, he’d be a great pick. Like Maledon Haliburton has the measurements despite being a bit skinny, is a good shooter and really instinctive player; we could use more of them on this team. Maxey is another great option; pretty good fighting over screen, good lateral quickness, should be able to guard 1s, 2s and maybe smaller 3s in a pinch. All of these guys are more switchable than Yogi/CoJo whilst being better shooters(except Hayes but there’s promise for him as a shooter), better athletes. Maledon and Maxey are realistic options at 12 too. I like Vassell as an option, I like Ant and Deni. Okoro is fine. But if we can’t get a solution at SF(probably our most pressing need) I think it’s smarter to get a versatile combo guard who can flex some minutes at SG and SF down the road, rather than draft someone like Bey(sorry my boy u/TheBigDingus, hopefully I’m wrong if we draft him), Toppin, Williams(though I’m not totally against this pick as an upside bet) who are simply too slow for SF(Deni exception only because of his insane basketball IQ and his ability to run fast break). Also, we should be excited for pick 35/43. Some good options shape up to be available with Mannion and Tre Jones(similar rationale to the above guys), Alexander, Nnaji, Isaiah Joe(this would be my number one outcome in the second round), Bolmaro.
We encourage users to check the integrity of the binaries and verify that they were signed by binaryFate's GPG key. A guide that walks you through this process can be found here for Windows and here for Linux and Mac OS X.
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Note that, once the DNS records are upgraded, you should be able to utilize the automatic updater in the GUI that was recently added. A pop-up will appear with the new binary. In case you want to update manually, you ought to perform the following steps:
Extract the new binaries (the .zip file (Windows) or the tar.bz2 file (Mac OS X and Linux) you just downloaded) to a new directory / folder of your liking.
Open monero-wallet-gui. It should automatically load your "old" wallet.
If, for some reason, the GUI doesn't automatically load your old wallet, you can open it as follows:  On the second page of the wizard (first page is language selection) choose Open a wallet from file  Now select your initial / original wallet. Note that, by default, the wallet files are located in Documents\Monero\ (Windows), Users//Monero/ (Mac OS X), or home//Monero/ (Linux). Lastly, note that a blockchain resync is not needed, i.e., it will simply pick up where it left off.
Fix bug that inhibited Ledger Monero users from properly sending transactions containing multiple inputs.
Minor security relevant fixes
Various bug fixes
Simple mode: node selction algorithm improved
UX: display estimated transaction fee
UX: add update dialog with download and verify functionality
UX: implement autosave feature
UI: redesign advanced options on transfer page
UI: improve daemon sync progress bar
UI: new language sidebar
UI: new processing splash design
UI: redesign settings page
Trezor: support new passphrase entry mechanism
Wizard: add support for seed offset
Major Bulletproofs verification performance optimizations
In the wizard, you can either select Simple mode or Simple mode (bootstrap) to utilize this functionality. Note that the GUI developers / contributors recommend to use Simple mode (bootstrap) as this mode will eventually use your own (local) node, thereby contributing to the strength and decentralization of the network. Lastly, if you manually want to set a remote node, you ought to use Advanced mode. A guide can be found here: https://www.getmonero.org/resources/user-guides/remote_node_gui.html
Top 10 Nikola Naysayer's Baseless Arguments. Try harder, folks.
EDIT: There are now 19 items on this list. Last updated on Sep 15, 2020. If you’re coming from subs that are heavily anti-Nikola such as wallstreetbets and RealNikola, I hope folks there haven’t closed your mind to the point you can’t see facts when they’re presented to you. The following is meant to address baseless claims so that we can move onto legitimate concerns and questions about Nikola Corporation. Now be prepared for some serious due diligence (DD). This will take awhile... Before you read the items below, I suggest first watching the following videos: - Real Engineering Video (Sep 5, 2020—a great summary of Nikola’s business model) - Tesla Joy Video (Aug 24, 2020) - Tesla Daily Video (Jun 2, 2020) - TESLA Charts Podcast (Jul 19, 2020) - Autoline Network Video (Jun 11, 2020) - This Week In Startups Video (Jul 31, 2020) 1) They ripped off Tesla's name! FACT CHECK: What does this even mean? So...don't invest or at least take a look at a company given their name? Are you telling me that the inventor Nikola Tesla licensed his name to Elon Musk? That would be a no. Did Tesla Inc. trademark Nikola? Also a hard no. The only thing this tells me is that two clean energy companies honored a great inventor...a father of modern energy. I made this baseless claim #1 on this list since there are way too many people who just can't get over the name and refuses to took deeper, or if they do look deeper, they're already blinded by hate/disgust and can't look at the company objectively. Fun Fact: See who truly honors the great Nikola Tesla (click on the following names). Is it Tesla’s Elon Musk or Nikola founder Trevor Milton? 2) They're diluting their shares with the merger! FACT CHECK: Nikola Motor Co. and VectoIQ are conducting a reverse merger, which will come to a shareholder vote on June 2, 2020. If you don't know what a reverse merger is, click here. VTIQ's 29.6M shares will be combined with the 320.7M private shares of existing Nikola Motor Co. Another 52.5M shares will come from VectoIQ's PIPE (see #16 below as well for those who are worried PIPE investors are about to sell their shares). VTIQ will convert to $NKLA 1:1 meaning whatever price per share VTIQ is at pre-merger will be the same price it will be post-merger. Furthermore, existing Nikola private shareholders (not VTIQ shareholders) will be under a lock up period for 6 months where they are barred from selling their shares. I wouldn't be concerned with dilution until the lock up is lifted, but even then, Nikola World 2020 would have revealed major progress with the company that I'm sure most investors will want to hold tight for the long. Trevor Milton on dilution. Read the SEC filed S-4 to learn more about the merger. Post-Merger Edit: No signs of dilution. NKLA continues to trade above its IPO price despite all the PIPE, warrants, and employee stock options entering the market. The only remaining shares left are the 2M (max) that the Diesel Brother can earn for Badger sales. 3) They sued Tesla...a bunch of amateurs! FACT CHECK: Here's a video of an unbiased deep dive onto the patent lawsuit, which btw, Nikola is winning and winning at the highest patent court in the country. If another company infringed on Tesla’s patents, would that be okay? 4) Trevor Milton is a fraud! He will dump his shares once the 6-month lock up is over! I don't like his face and I find him annoying and inconsistent. FACT CHECK: Part of the agreement on the merger was for Trevor Milton to lose some shares to own up to 40% of the company. The agreement also elevated him to Executive Chairman from CEO so he wouldn’t have to run the day-to-day operations of the company and instead focus on leading the board of directors and the strategic direction of the company. All in all, institutional investors wanted to limit Trevor’s control over the company. The CEO of Nikola is Mark Russell who has no social media presence and rarely seen, as it should be for the guy running the show. When Mark does speak, it's clear that he's the more calculated and reserved executive of the company. Comparatively, Trevor is a visionary. Those who follow him closely know he tends to speak in the future. As the Chairman of the company, he is fulfilling his job in pointing the Corporation's strategic direction. Edit 1: A modification has been made to Trevor Milton’s lock-up clause. Edit 2: Trevor Milton dumped 6 Million of his own shares! See...he doesn't even want the stock! Fact Check: On Aug 26, 2020, Trevor announced that he would GIVE 6 million of his shares to the first 50 employees of Nikola. He then later announced that he would give the other 350 of his employees a total of 1 million of his own shares. Nikola haters love to spin the truth. They're so blinded by hate and disgust for Trevor and Nikola that anything he does is processed negatively. 5) Trevor Milton started two companies that went bankrupt! He’s even a college dropout! FACT CHECK: Now we're getting into the SPIN ZONE! Get the full dose of truth in this Forbes article. You’ll find that Trevor actually started two businesses that he sold for millions of dollars. For whatever reason, some people assume great entrepreneurs have been 100% successful in their endeavors. They couldn’t be more further from the truth. To those who tease Trevor for being a college dropout, see this list of successful business leaders who also dropped out of college. 6) Hydrogen tech is unproven! Nikola is just vaporware! FACT CHECK: It seems you are ill-informed of the industry. Here's hydrogen fuel cell tech use in South Korea, in California, in Germany, and in the United Kingdom, to name a few...oh, and there's Nikola's H2 fueling station at their Phoenix, Arizona HQ. Do these videos of the Nikola Two look like vaporware to you?
Video 8 Trevor Milton showing the Nikola Two Powertrain
To learn more about hydrogen, read this peer-reviewed study on the 20 Hydrogen Myths. Furthermore, if you go through the Hydrogen FCEV Technology and Hydrogen Technology post flairs in this sub, you’ll find other companies vouching for FCEV tech as well to include Shell, Hyundai, BMW, Bosch, Ballard, Jaguar Land Rover, Daimler, Toyota, and Hyzon...I’m sure I’m missing others. What are all these companies missing that you see? Is it because Elon Musk said hydrogen is "fool cell"? They all must be trying to fool us I guess. 7) My shares will be $10 post-merger! FACT CHECK: VTIQ will convert to NKLA 1:1 meaning whatever price per share VTIQ is at merger, will be the same price it will be post-merger. Post-Merger Edit: We did not see NKLA start at $10. In fact, on Jun 4, 2020 listing day, NKLA opened at $37.55. 8) They took PPP money meant for small businesses. How dare they do that?! FACT CHECK: Before Nikola received close to $1B from the VectoIQ merger, the company was strapped in cash and had over 300 employees and their families to care for during COVID-19. They eventually paid tax payers back as you'll hear in this clip where Trevor sets the record straight with CNBC. 9) I don't understand warrants, so this company is a fraud! FACT CHECK: If you don't understand warrants (NKLAW), either get smart or just buy NKLA common shares. See this reference and my thoughts on NKLAW. 10) They're asking me if I want to redeem my VTIQ shares for $10.36 when I bought it at $25. This is 100% a scam! FACT CHECK: VTIQ shareholders received messages on whether to opt into redeeming their shares by May 29, 2020. If they did, they would only receive $10.38. No one in their right mind would want to do that if the price of VTIQ is currently way over that price. Not only does this hurt you, it also hurts Nikola Corp as you would be taking cash from the merger. Read this Article. Bottom line, if you receive a message asking if you want to redeem your VTIQ shares, don’t do it. This is an option that they made available, but VectoIQ and Nikola Corp. highly suggests against redeeming your VTIQ shares. 11) Their revenue projections are fake! Anyone can preorder with $0 money down! FACT CHECK: This article explains why preorders are $0.00. Also, read this Tweet from Trevor Milton. Moreover, go to pg. 14 on this SEC filing. Notice how the vast majority of the preorders are from legitimate institutional fleets. See this Tweet as well. Note that Nikola has stopped taking orders for their FCEV semis since Fall 2019. They’re only taking orders for BEV semis, Badgers, NZTs, and WAVs. The $10B 14,602 preorder semis where for those FCEVs. Trolls can’t add to that number and are just wasting their time especially since Nikola runs scripts to filter out their submissions. 12) No one wanted to invest in Nikola! That's why they went public...to take your money instead! Nikola is SCAM! FACT CHECK: Go to Pg. 10 on the prospectus. You'll find over $500M in funding from several companies prior to the merger with VectoIQ. Post-merger, Nikola’s institutional investors include Bosch (German), Hanwha (S. Korean; 6.13% ownership), CNH Industrial/Iveco (Italian; 7.11% ownership), Nel Hydrogen (Norwegian), Fidelity Management and Research Company, Inclusive Capital Spring Fund (~5.6% ownership), Black Rock, and P. Schoenfeld Asset Management LP. To doubters, what do you see that these companies fail to see? These companies fully vetted Nikola before investing in them. Nikola even received a $1.7M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy. Prior to the merger, VectoIQ’s CEO Steve Girsky, who is known for getting General Motors out of bankruptcy as their former Vice Chairman, did a top-down vetting of Nikola, Trevor Milton, the leadership team, their strategy and vision, etc. Steve is now a member of Nikola’s board of directors along with leaders from Bosch, Hanwha, Iveco, Ace Disposal, and Caterpillar's Thompson Machinery (Source). EDIT: Along with partnering with Nikola on producing the Badger, General Motors also invested ~$2B in Nikola on top of saving Nikola $4B in capex. GM undoubtedly did their homework on Nikola and on Trevor prior to this investment, which grants them ~11% stake in the company. Furthermore, Nikola went public via a SPAC reverse merger to save time and capital going through the traditional IPO route. They wanted to go public to be completely transparent and demonstrate to investors that they aren't another WeWork company doomed for failure. The reserve merger brings about $1B in capital to kickstart their major projects (hydrogen infrastructure and factory construction). Although their stock went through a tough road during their first couple of months since listing on the NASDAQ, Nikola continues to survive and trade above their IPO price. Three months after listing, Nikola even secured a binding contract for 2,500 Nikola Refuse trucks from Republic Services worth at least a $1B and may be increased to 5K trucks ($2B max order) (Source). For those who think Nikola is riding on the backs of retail investors, see pg. 34 of this prospectus. Retail investors own about 10% of NKLA. Now the real questions: Should retail investors invest in a pre-revenue company? I invested in NKLA/VTIQ for the same reason why venture capitalists (VCs) invest in pre-revenue/pre-IPO companies. The big difference is that Nikola decided to go public via a reverse mergeSPAC, which allowed retail investors to participate, thus democratizing investment in a pre-revenue company, which until recently only the very rich VCs can. Does Nikola deserve their pre-revenue valuation? Valuation is based on investor sentiment and Nikola cannot control their stock price. Literally the last share buyer does. I came in when NKLA was still VTIQ and my valuation was based on the 14.6K FCEV pre-orders worth ~$10B to include binding contracts with Ab inBev and U.S. Xpress. We then witnessed what happened when the Nikola Refuse order with Republic Services became a binding contract. Investors decided that they were willing to come in now before the order gets fulfilled as they believe the stock price will be much higher later when the order materializes. Lastly, senior leadership at Nikola will take no more than $1 per year in salary and will be compensated instead with stock bonuses if they meet benchmarks. This shows good stewardship of investors’ money, not add to the company's CapEx, and letting their performance dictate their compensation. 13) They’re outsourcing everything! Definitely not vertically integrated like Tesla! FACT CHECK:Outsourcing is a misleading term. Technically, you can't outsource to a company that invests in you and/or has partnered with you. The more appropriate term is joint venture. For example, Nikola and Iveco has a 50/50 JV factory in Germany (Nikola Iveco Europe GmbH). Iveco's parent company CNH Industrial also invested $250M to Nikola in cash, goods and services. Bosch is providing the fuel cell and powertrain for the semis. They too invested heavily in Nikola. Outsourcing would imply that Nikola is the customer of a contract company and Nikola is paying them...not at all the case. Together, these companies that have invested heavily in Nikola enable vertical integration. Fun Fact: Just as how Nikola is using another OEM to manufacture the Badger, Tesla also used another OEM to build one of their vehicles. It was their very first vehicle...the Roadster. The OEM was Lotus, but notice I said “used another OEM to build” the Roadster. I didn’t say “manufacture”. The point here is that Testa didn’t do everything themselves as Nikola haters dog the company for. 14) The cost to create hydrogen is $13/kg. That's way more than what diesel costs. No company will switch! FACT CHECK: Nikola has dropped the cost of producing hydrogen to below $4/kg . Their hydrogen will also be made onsite, thus removing distribution requirements. Furthermore, Nikola will take advantage of both renewable energy (wind and solar) as well as cheap excess power from the grid...hours where energy companies are actually releasing energy (wasted electricity) due to grid overload during low-usage hours. They also won't be getting power within municipalities, but rather through PPA (Power Purchase Agreements) on main federal transmission lines saving them a ton of money (Source). 15) Trevor Milton sold millions of NKLA shares to buy his $32.5M ranch when Nikola has made ZERO revenue!! FACT CHECK: First, see #4 above. Beyond these shares Trevor had to sell as part of the merger, he cannot sell the rest of his shares as they’re locked up for 6 months post-merger with VectoIQ. Furthermore, Trevor bought the ranch a year before the merger and before VectoIQ and Steve Girsky approached Nikola. Lastly, Trevor made bank from selling dHybrid to Worthington Industries. The seed money from Worthington to start Nikola was separate from Worthington's purchase of dHybrid. 16) PIPE investors are going to sell their shares! The disparity between NKLA and NKLAW will tank the stock! SELL NOW!! FACT CHECK: Please see this piece that I wrote, which addressed this fear mongering by naysayers. Post-Warrants Edit: NKLA continues to trade above its IPO price. The downward pressures from the warrants are now gone and none of the PIPE investors have signaled dumping their stocks. 17) The Badger is just a GM EV rebadging of the Silverado. 100% GM technology with a Nikola badge! I can't believe Nikola gave GM 11% stake of their company for this! FACT CHECK: The Badger will utilize GM's powertrain (Ultium battery tech and Hydrotec fuel cell stack technology), but the rest of the truck is Nikola's IP/design. Furthermore, the two existing prototype Badgers were completely made by Nikola without GM's help and will be revealed during Nikola World 2020. GM will then engineer their tech with Nikola's tech/design, test, validate, and manufacture the pickup truck. See this Tweet from Trevor: >Nikola to share hardware like ASILD Inverters, batteries and other validated parts. Nikola will always own; the brand, cab, chassis modifications, infotainment, controls, OTA, sales, service and warranty & customer interaction. GM to help us build it to last and cut cost. This interview explains a lot more about the partnership between Nikola and GM. I also encourage you to read the 8-K filing. It’s not that long of a read and shows what’s part of this deal beyond just the Badger, which justifies the 11% stake. The partnership with GM on the Badger is also only good for 6 years. After that, Nikola would be free to manufacture the Badger themselves once they have a factory and the capital to do so by then. Their next-gen battery would surely be ready by then as well. 18) Nikola's Director of Hydrogen Production/Infrastructure is Trevor Milton's brother who was just your average joe construction worker, You've got to be kidding me! FACT CHECK: Trevor's brother Travis Milton is Nikola’s Director of Hydrogen Production/Infrastructure; however he doesn’t have to know much about hydrogen technology to do what he does as Nikola hydrogen supplier is Nel Hydrogen. I assume his role is to find industry experts, such as Nel, and oversee Nikola’s contracts with them. Furthermore, there’s actually other hydrogen-related executives in the company (see pg. 16 of this prospectus presentation filed with the SEC). You have Dale Prows as Head of Hydrogen Supply Chain and Livio Gambone as Head of Hydrogen Storage. Also, check out these recent hires. They added Pablo Koziner, who came from and was an executive at Caterpillar, to be the Nikola Energy President overseeing stations and energy. 19) Nikola faked the Nikola One video...LMAO! They even admitted to it! FACT CHECK: Yes, the Nikola One in this 2018 video did not drive in its own propulsion, hence the title "Nikola One Electric Semi Truck in Motion". The allegation is that Nikola fooled its investors. The truth of the matter is that Nikola's investors at the time were private investors as Nikola was still a pre-IPO company (Nikola Motor Company), to include Bosch and Nel. In Nikola's own words, "Nikola investors who invested during this period, in which the Company was privately held, knew the technical capability of the Nikola One at the time of their investment." Furthermore, Nikola's strategic partners have come out in support of the company after shorter Hindenburg Research's desperate hit-job article to support their short position after the GM partnership announcement that sent NKLA up ~50%. Moreover, NKLA investors find this hit-piece irrelevant as what matters now is what Nikola already has (working prototypes as seen on #6 above, strategic partners as listed on #12 above, 800 binding orders for FCEV Nikola semis from Ab inBEv and 2,500-5,000 binding orders for the Nikola Refuse by Republic Services) and what's to come (strategic partnership announcement on building out fueling stations, Badger reservation numbers, Nikola World 2020, and potentially more major binding contracts). — Now that we’ve gotten the baseless arguments out of the way (and I’ll continue to add to them when necessary), I encourage you to go through NikolaCorporation and read through the DD that have already been and continue to be shared. Filter topics by post flairs to find info you’re interested in. Cheers, KaiserCyber
Welcome one and Welcome all to another Shadowverse Rotation Meta Report with me.. Imperial Dane ! We are but 4 days away from the release of the mini expansion which also sees the Lishenna Gacha leader added and the start of the Fate's Trigger Story arc as well.. plus who knows what sort of Balance changes and possible Collaborations. But that is not the subject of this report. Rather let us look at what has happened during the previous week. As always using a mix of gamewith, shadowverse-wins.com and my own experiences along with tournament results. Forestcraft In the great Forests of Forestcraft where Ancient oaks stand tall and all manner of creatures flitter about. We find Selwyn standing alone, wondering when he might finally get a remake.. and if possible, finally get a card that sees some serious usage for once rather than just being niche! Sure he may not be a cute girl, but that's no excuse for him to do so little! For Forestcraft Terrorformer remains the nr 1 as always followed by Roach Forest, Evolve Forest and Amataz Forest. Overall Not much has changed for Forest, it remains in a stable position now due to its combo nature though the coming of the Archangel of Evocation could cause problems. Terrorformer Forest A combo deck with midrnage capability built around Terrorformer and Accelerate Synergies. The deck remains the most played Forest deck, potent when it pulls correctly, that said if it doesn' it typically does struggle quite a bit. Additionally the deck is rather skill intensive so is not a particularly recommendable deck for newer players. Roach Forest A combo deck built around Roach. Not much has overall changed though perhaps the new card revealed could perhaps allow it to switch back to a control form as it could receive a secondary win condition from the spell and technically not lose anything as it just replaces Harvest Season, hard to say. Overall a decent combo deck but one that requires a lot of skill to pilot succesfully. Evolve Forest A control deck built around Evolving. A more fringe deck that sees some play and can do alright in the right hands but for the most part is overshadowed by its combo brethren, additionally the loss of Zeus at the end of September also poses a potential headache. Decent but tricky to get full effort out of and is somewhat reliant on more aggressive decks to exist. Amataz Forest An Aggro/combo deck built around Amataz and Fairies. Mostly a fringe deck at the moment as it lacks something to really push through with, that said with a good hand it can go far. That said not a deck i can particularly strongly recommend at the moment. Swordcraft In the great halls of the Eternal Castle Swordcraft. We find the assembled leaders watching a demonstration by Alyaska of the new Exterminus machines, obliterating multiple targets with ease, though when pressed for the cost of these things he gets a bit cagey.. additionally as to why these things aren't Machina and Commanders is also something where he merely responds that he can't provide Legal advice... whatever that means. For Swordcraft Evolve Sword is the top deck followed by Rally Sword. Not seen much Hybrid sword at all. Overall Sword continues to struggle post Regal Wildcat Nerfs and we'll have to see if the two new cards provide a boost along with any potential balance changes. Unnerfing Regal Wildcat would go a long way for Sword. Evolve Sword A midrange deck built around Evolve Synergies. Still by far the most played Sword deck mostly though even then it's tournament presence is quite minimal. A solid deck in the right hands but does have its overall troubles in the meta as it can at times struggle to close out matches fast enough. Alyaska could allow for a more aggressive build perhaps or maybe Archangel of Evocation leads to a control build, who knows ? Rally Sword A tempo deck built around the rally mechanic and going wide. The deck continues to see some play but it does have its struggles in general with Earth Rite rune in particular being a problem. That said against less experienced opponents it is quite strong. Also works nicely against Burial Rite shadow. Will the new cards make a difference ? Perhaps, will depend on the wider meta but could maybe give Rally Sword more options to help push through with. Runecraft In the great mystical academies of Runecraft we find Erasmus in his Throne room, not particularly amused at the arrival of the Archangel of Evocation who seems to be harboring a particular grudge for Karyl for unknown reasons and he wonders if his time at the top may finally be at an end.. or if it may just be time to ditch karyl. For Runecraft Earth Rite Rune continues to be the Apex of the class followed by Arcane Item Shop and the fringe Spellboost Rune. Overall the class remains in a strong position though Runie and the Archangel could perhaps result in some shifts within the class and to the classes overall strength. Earth Rite Rune A midrange deck built around Earth Rites and burning out the enemy. Still by far one of the strongest decks and also a very straightforward deck to play. It has overall few natural weaknesses at the moment making it quite popular. That said the mini expansion could shift things up by making it harder for it to achieve its burn strategy which could lead to a slump. Though that is merely speculation and hardly a prediction at the moment. Still a strong deck but could see itself wane a bit post mini expansion. Arcane Item Shop Rune A combo deck built around Arcane Item Shop. The deck continues to see some play though certainly not as popular as it was. Still it is by far one of the cheapest decks in the meta. A decent deck that does require a very skilled hand to pilot, the addition of Archangel of Evocation to the meta could cause a big problem for the deck as it really disrupts its gameplan and i could see a bit of a drop because of that. Spellboost Rune A midrange deck built around Spellboosting. A fringe deck at the moment but perhaps the addition of Runie plus perhaps another card along with Meta changes could see it boosted a bit in terms of strength and popularity. For now though that is hard to say though and i'd be careful to jump right into it, but it is something to keep an eye out for. Dragoncraft In the great Caverns of Dragoncraft where Ancient beasts slumbe amongst vast treasures. There is great excitement and joy as Filene makes her triumphant return to Rotation, with a hot new look too go along with it. For Dragoncraft Discard Dragon remains the top deck followed by Natura Dragon and at the fringes, Big Dragon. Overall Dragon continues to remain in a good position in the meta. How the mini expansion could impact this we'll have to wait and see. Discard Dragon A midrange deck built around discarding cards. One of the strongest decks in the meta but also quite skill intensive as a lot of things have to be considered every turn meaning that while it performs well at tournaments it does not see a great deal of ladder play. So while strong it can be trickier to recommend. Natura Dragon A Midrange deck built around Natura and NaM. A solid deck that has made a slight return since the start of the expansion, it continues to do alright, especially with an experienced hand piloting it. How the mini expansion will impact it is harder to say. Big Dragon A combo deck built around titanic showdown. A fringe deck that sees some play here and there but nothing serious. A deck mostly for the fun of it than anything else and i don't think the mini expansion will have any impact on that. Not a particularly recommendable deck. Shadowcraft In the great catacomb of Shadowcraft where ancient cities lie buried forevermore. We find the leaders betting on whether or not it's Nephtys or Eachtar who will see a remake. Meanwhile Mordecai and Cerberus are annoyed they can't bet on themselves. In the end they bet on Nephtys as she treats them nicely at least. For Shadowcraft Burial Rite Shadow continues to rule the Necropolis followed by a bit of Hades Shadow. Shadow continues to be one of the strongest classes in the meta due to being quite tough to get rid of. Could the mini expansion impact this in any way ? Who knows, we'll have to wait and see if anything happens there. Burial Rite Shadow A midrange deck built around Burial Rites and Reanimation. The continued success of the Necromancy variant with Gremory and Shuten Doji has largely left the Aisha variant at the fringe of the meta now (though still sees some play) as it has more resiliency and more options in terms of gameplan. A strong deck that does perform better with an experienced player but can be handled by less experienced ones reasonably well too. Hades Shadow A combo deck built around Hades. The deck has been shifted to the fringes of the meta by Burial Rite Shadow by now. As while it is nice, it just lacks the raw strength of Burial Rite Shadow, additionally some also run Hades which further infringes upon Hades Shadows turf. So a nice deck, but more something for the enthusiasts as this point. Bloodcraft In the decadent manor of Bloodcraft where blood flows as freely as the wine. We find Vania and Medusa arguging over who is more likely to get a remake with Vania sure it's her turn this time around and Medusa countering that she is waaay cuter and is totally get another one before Vania. It almost breaks into a fight but Mono is quick to interfere and calm them down and point out that if they cause any trouble.. Urias is coming after them. For Bloodcraft Control Blood Remains the most played followed by Wrath. Blood remains somewhere in the middle as it does lack something extra in the meta at the moment. Perhaps the mini expansion could provide just the tools for that. Control Blood A control deck built around a mix of Vengeance and Avarice and Evolve. A strong deck but one that does require a lot of skill to succesfully pilot in the current meta which does keep it somewhat in check. So a bit tough to recommend, additionally Azazel does rotate out at the end of September. Wrath Blood A midrange deck built around Wrath. The deck continues to see some play the fringes of the meta but generally not a lot. It struggles against a lot of the top decks, though perhaps the mini expansion could provide an extra helping hand. So while decent it will require some effort to make work currently. Havencraft In the great Cathedral of Havencraft where Prayers ring eternally. We find Elana a bit worried about her leader card after having seen Lishennas and hopes she won't have to wear something like that as it would be rather unbecoming of Clergy like her. For Havencraft Elana Haven remains the top deck followed by Elana Haven. The class overall struggles as it has no real way to challenge any of the top decks seriously at the moment. We'll have to see if the mini expansion can change things up there. Elana Haven A midrange deck built around Healing. The deck is a solid deck but does lack something explosive to really challenge some of the top decks currently, this along with a higher skill requirement does keep its numbers very much in check. A tougher deck to recommend as core components will rotate out at the end of September. Amulet Haven A midrange deck built around Amulets. A decent deck that sees some fringe play but due to a lack of consistency and more gameplans with the amulets is rather held back in terms of overall powerlevel. A deck that will require some effort to work on ladder properly. Portalcraft In the Vertex Colony high in orbit over some unknown world. The excitement is palatable in the air. Lishenna is soon coming to join the other leaders. While the others are over the moon, Yuwan is a bit worried that the new dress she is having might cause a demand for the others to get one like that.. which is going to be a pain to deal with for him, but he figures he'll deal with that when that time comes. For Portalcraft Artifact Portal and Float Portal continue to be the two decks of choice. Overall though the class is very much held afloat by Artifact Portal currently and the mini expansion is not showing any signs of changing that for now. Artifact Portal A midrange deck built around Artifacts. Overall a very solid deck that does require a good deal of skill to pilot, but in the right hands can do reasonably well against most decks in the current meta and so is popular for that reason. That said the high skill cap does hold it back in popularity on the ladder a bit. Float Portal A control deck built around floating Playpoints. The deck is a fringe deck at the moment that sees some play here and there but overall lacks bigger impact and tools to really do well along with more decks to prey on which is probably the biggest issue it has at the moment. So while decent it is a tougher deck to recommend. So there you have it. Overall no real changes to the meta this week as things are mostly quiet before the mini expansion and any potential balance changes. Hopefully it stirs things up a bit and result in a few new decks as that would be nice. Otherwise we'll have to look forward to the Fate's Trigger expansion and hope that one really shakes things up and throws them around. So until next week. Have fun playing Shadowverse!
Hey, we have some new color options so we have an opportunity to make our servers and plugins easier to use for more players! Please take a moment to see how you can help. Two things I want to touch on here are:
Color as a communicative element for important information
How to check contrast to make sure text is legible.
First, it's important not to use color as the sole communicator for meaning. My server has a problem with this currently, let me demonstrate for you how this can be a big problem. Angel's Reach has many ranks, here's a few of them as they appear in chat: https://i.imgur.com/tuG7aIQ.png As you can see, Member and Moderator both share [M] as a "tag" which isn't a problem so long as the entire name of the rank is displayed, however when applied to usernames only the tag is displayed. Now imagine this from the perspective of a colorblind individual. https://i.imgur.com/Z3HuHzM.png Suddenly it's not so clear who is staff and who is a regular member. For this reason it would be more accessible to change [M] Member to [P] Player. That way it's clear what the rank is even if no color is visible. Next, pay close attention to the contrast between text and the background it's on. I like to use books for in-game text, that makes things a bit more difficult for me, as many font colors are difficult to read against white paper. You also can't account for custom resource packs the player uses, but you can try to make things accessible as possible given default colors are used. Accessibility Insights for Windows is a tool Microsoft uses in accessibility testing their software and can be used to determine the exact contrast between two colors. It's available here:https://accessibilityinsights.io/en/downloads Once installing Accessibility Insights, first open the book or other element in Minecraft you want to test. Then open up Accessibility Insights and click the contrast tab to open the Color Contrast Analyzer. https://i.imgur.com/8JuSl8Q.png Next, drag the Accessiblity Insights window out of the way of what you want to test, then use the eye droppers to select the text you want players to read and the background color. https://i.imgur.com/uM1dBOW.png The ratio on the right side should be higher than 3.0, if not you might want to use the manual color picker to find a similar color and use Minecraft's new hex color codes to try a new color for your text. That's all I have for now, but if ya'll have any other great ideas for how to make our servers and plugins more accessible for players with all different abilities, please post them!
What do the core dev Tezos really think of Avalanche? Especially now that Avalanche testnet has proven itself with 5K TPS w/1000 nodes and sub 1 second finality?
What about murbard? I know you stated there's lower hanging fruit, but I don't recall your comments on the Avalanche protocol before. Considering you follow core and consensus protocols pretty closely and know Emin personally, you must have an opinion. Care to comment? :-)
Why did Igloo/Ed Tate stop work on it 1 year ago?
Are there any plans to upgrade Tezos to an Avalanche scaling solution? If so, what's the progress/time-line on this?
Avalanche is a DAG w/UTXO structure. Tezos is dPoS with "Account Model" (a la ETH), so no UTXO. Even if Tezos wanted to upgrade its layer 1 to implement the Avalanche protocol, it sounds to me like this would be a massive software development under taking, right? I mean, we'd be stripping out core parts of Tezos, like switching a Diesel engine on a car for a lithium battery Tesla engine, while the car is being driven. On top of that it'd have to be done in OCaml, which is not at all trivial. Is this really feasable within a reasonable amount of time, like how long are we talking about if we really wanted to do this?
What are the latest thoughts on how to scale Tezos at Layer 1? I know Tezos is working on Plasma at Layer 2 and TenderBake, but as Emin puts it, that's an old classical consensus model and suffers from various trade offs, as does the Nakamoto (Bitcoin's) consensus algo. The Avalanche team published this simple consensus protocol comparison matrix. Emin claims Avalanche is the best of both worlds. Ethereum meanwhile is working in 6 different scaling directions at once, but NONE of them have all to the advantages of the Avalanche Protocol see: ETH scaling matrix comparison, but clearly scaling matters and it's arguably the most complex thing to implement on blockchains while retaining high decentralization. So what are the Tezos' scaling plans in the works or being seriously considered for implementation?
Thanks in advance! EDIT: Thanks for the gold, it's not necessary, but thank you.
Yahoo Mail is more secure than Third Party apps connecting to it. HA HA
My yahoo mail just got the email below about Yahoo Mail web and IOS apps being more secure and a change to how third party apps must connect to Yahoo Mail. I think its funny that Yahoo has had 2 data breaches at least in the last 10 years and their apps are so secure now. Hmm.... ******************* We love that you love using your Yahoo Mail. And we want to make sure you always have the best experience. That’s why we’re reaching out today. We’ve noticed that you’re using non-Yahoo applications (such as third-party email, calendar, or contact applications) that may use a less secure sign-in method. To protect you and your data, Yahoo will no longer support the current sign-in functionality in your application starting on October 20, 2020. This means that you will need to take one of the steps below to continue using Yahoo Mail without interruption. But don’t worry, you have options. Find an option that works best for you below: Option 1: We recommend that you access your email using our free Yahoo Mail app for iOS and Android or simply go to mail.yahoo.com to access Yahoo Mail on the web. Option 2: Keep your current, non-Yahoo app, BUT follow a few steps to get it to sync with our secure sign-in method. The steps vary across different email applications, but in most cases, you will have to remove your Yahoo account from the app and then add it back again to update the sign-in security. Use the links below to follow the specific steps for your current application:
Option 3: You can generate a one-time, unique password that will allow you to sign in to your account using your non-Yahoo email application. Once created, this password will continue to allow your app to securely sync your Yahoo email unless you sign out (or are signed out) from your app. You can find instructions on how to do this here. If you want more details on these changes, please visit our help page. If you’ve already taken action, we’d like to think you haven’t read this far, but if you have . . . we sure appreciate the diligence! Thanks for rocking that Yahoo Mail address! Yours in your inbox,The Yahoo Team
#Some terms# per 75 = per 75 possessions, i.e. points per 75 possessions = measure of a player's scoring rate, an alternative to PPG. Each team plays at a different pace (and the league as a whole plays slightly faster or slower each season), so adjusting for pace like this allows us to compare players' scoring more fairly than PPG will. (Question: Why 75 possessions? - Answer: The average high-usage modern NBA player simply uses roughly 75 possessions/game, so "per 75" stats are perhaps easier to intuitively understand for most people than "per 100" stats, which are available on Basketball Reference.) TS% = true shooting percentage, i.e. a player's scoring efficiency, basically FG%, but accounting for 3-pointers and free-throws rTS% = relative TS%, i.e. how efficient a player's scoring is compared to league average scoring efficiency, which is 56.4 TS% in 2019-20 according to Basketball Reference ORTG and DRTG are a team's offensive and defensive rating, respectively, with numbers taken from Basketball Reference. rORTG/rDRTG = relative ORTG or DRTG, i.e. how good a team's offense is compared to league average offensive and defensive rating, which are 110.4 in 2019-20 according to Basketball Reference
According to Basketball Reference's Hall-of-Fame (HoF) tracker, after this year, at age 27, his 8th season in the NBA, Lakers superstar big Anthony Davis has a 91.27% chance of entering the Hall of Fame. Just as a comparison, here's how BBRef's HoF tracker stacks up AD against other active likely Hall-of-Famers (left out the Warriors trio, and any players above >98% probability):
2 x All-NBA
2 x NBA Champ, 4 x All-NBA
3 x Blocks Champ, 3 x All-NBA, 3 x All-Defensive
1 x NBA Champ, 1 x All-NBA
4 x All-NBA
1 x Steals Champ, 5 x All-NBA, 4 x All-Defensive
1 x NBA Champ, 2 x All-NBA
1 x Steals Champ, 2 x NBA Champ, 3 x All-NBA, 5 x All-Defensive, 2 x DPOY, 2 x Finals MVP
3 x All-NBA, 2 x All-Defensive, 1 x MVP
#3: That Bron-Brow thing
Borrowing this quote from my "unicorns" post featuring Anthony Davis a while back,
Vertical spacer: AD is arguably the GOAT lob-finisher (75 FG% from 0-3 feet). Davis's catch-radius is one of the best in NBA history. Just throw it up in the general direction of the rim and he'll make it work somehow with his touch and athleticism. His addition to the Lakers is a major reason why LeBron's leading the league in assists (2.8 of LeBron's 10.6 assists/game go to AD).
The Lakers' chemistry this season has been fabulous, with the team exceeding all expectations and leading the West. At the head of the team, the LeBron-AD connection, in particular, has been even better that people probably imagined coming into the season--- of all 2-man assist-combos in the league this year,James to Davis ranks 1st by a vast margin, with 172 assists between the two leading the league, far ahead of Lillard-Whiteside with 130 and Lou-Trez with 127. LeBron hits AD in a variety of ways: in the pick-and-roll, with lobs and snappy interior dishes; pick-and-pop or drive-and-kick, with AD positioned in the midrange or out on the 3-point line; simply dumping it to AD in the post and letting him go to work; hitting AD quickly and accurately in transition as part of a new-age "Showtime" ; in semi-transition, or off made-field goals, LeBron lets AD leak out early in the shot clock to establish good post position quickly, and then hits him with a long-range outlet pass so that AD can ISO against an unprepared defense. The Lakers often get 1-2 buckets per game in this fashion alone.
#4: Mitchell Robinson, making history
(By Popular Demand!) The Knicks' young shot-eraser averaged 10 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 blocks on historic, league-leading, 74.2 FG% (alongside also-league-leading 74.2 eFG% and 72.6 TS%). It's the first figure we're concerned about here, as Robinson has potentially beaten Wilt Chamberlain's single-season FG% record of 72.7 FG%, set in 1972-73. The biggest hurdle standing in the way of Mitchell's record being officially ratified by the NBA is, unfortunately, COVID-19.
The nba.com website provides a glossary of statistical minimums to qualify as a league-leader in any particular category. Under the assumption of an 82-game season, a player would need to make 300 field goals to qualify as the league leader in FG%. Through 66 games, Mitch made 253 field goals. In the absence of a shortened season, Mitch would be 47 made baskets short of qualifying as the league leader. What muddies the question even further is that most teams will end the 2019-20 season playing an uneven number of games. NBA teams played anywhere from 64-67 games at the time of the shutdown. The league needs to determine the number of games that will become the baseline for qualifying as a league leader in any statistical category. Will the league go with the higher threshold (72-75 games) or will the league consider that nearly a 1/3 of the league played a shorter schedule (64-67 games)? Through 64 games – the fewest number of games played by an NBA team – a qualifying player would need to play in 45 games and make a minimum of 235 field goals to qualify as a league leader in FG%. Mitch would qualify based on a 64-game schedule. Additionally, Mitch would breakeven and qualify even if the NBA increased the qualifying games from 64 to 69. However, if the NBA determines eligibility based on a 72-game schedule, a qualifying player would need to make 264 field goals to become the league leader in FG%, leaving Mitch 11 field goals short or breaking Wilt’s record.
Soooo, yeah. C'mon Adam Silver, do your thing. Let the Knicks fans have this.
It often takes NBA players multiple years to rewrite flawed shot mechanics, and improvement likely won't be linear. LeBron, for example, took a solid 6-7 seasons to develop a reliable jumper, and his free throw shooting remains inconsistent to this day. Sometimes, though, very rarely, players can show unprecedented jumps in shooting improvement (both free-throw and 3-point shooting) over the course of 1 or 2 seasons. A good example of this is Pascal Siakam:
Within 2 seasons, Spicy P has gone from a terrible 3-point shooter who barely took any 3s, to a consistent on-ball and off-ball threat from 3 this season, pulling up this season from deep with impunity. Similarly, he went from a horrendous free-throw shooter in 2018 to shooting above-average from the line on a significantly higher number of attempts. This is wonderful improvement from Pascal, in both free-throw and 3-point shooting, which is something we've rarely seen - FT% generally remains pretty stable over a player's career. Now, while this is very cool, how is it relevant to Ingram? Well, what Ingram has done in 2019-20 is reproduce what Siakam did over the course of two seasons, within a single season, to an even higher degree:
Within one season, Ingram:
Almost quadrupled his 3-point volume, and went from a below-average to elite 3-point threat in terms of 3P%, jumping 3 percentage points from 33% to 39%, all while --- hold my drink here--- taking much much harder threes: pull-up 3s, 3s off PnR and PnP, 3s around screens, stepbacks, deep threes, contested 3s, 3s off handoffs.
(Perhaps even more incredibly) Completely reworked his jumper to the point that his FT% improved by almost 20 percentage points. Twenty. Like, what?! And this isn't a fluke or low-sample-size improvement, either - he's taking almost 6 free throws a game!
These are staggering improvements. Now, some Lakers fans are certain to chime in at this point that Ingram, in fact, shot 39% from 3 in his sophomore season, in 2017-18! However, that season, he only shot 68% from the line, which, combined with his very low 3P volume (only 1.8 3PA), suggests that this season was more of a fluke. This is supported by the fact that his FT% and 3PA remained pretty unchanged in the following season (2018-19). No, what Ingram's accomplished this season is pretty much completely unheard-of. Simply watching him shoot this season is a different experience altogether: "His motion is faster and more efficient now, he's no longer releasing this near the top of his jump, and so he doesn't pause the ball back at his right ear. The whole thing's just smoother now." The credit for this unlikely improvement should go to Brandon andNew Orleans's awesome assistant coach slash shot-doctor Fred Vinson, who worked very closely with both Ingram and Lonzo Ball this offseason, and allowed both of them to experience massive single-season shooting improvements.
#6: Luka Dončić, the rightful 2019-20 Most Improved Player?
For some reason, it's seemingly become almost taboo amongst voters to include sophomore players in MIP voting discussions. Perhaps this is due to rookies being supposed to struggle, especially on defense, as part of "hitting the rookie wall", hence leading to their improvements in their sophomore years being almost expected, and nothing to write home about. There's some validity to this idea, of course. A recent notable example is Sacramento Kings lottery pick DeAaron Fox, who struggled in his rookie year before exploding in his sophomore season (last year) as a top young point guard in the West. However, those assumptions simply don't make sense for Dončić. For one thing, Luka was the runaway Rookie of the Year. He averaged 21.2/7.8/6.0 as the number one option on a decent Mavericks side, and was even a fringe-mention in All-Star discussions. He was incredibly clutch, too. If there were any 'rookie struggles', Luka basically sidestepped them all. Furthermore, and more importantly, Dončić has just had perhaps the greatest sophomore season in NBA history. In the span of one season , Luka's gone from a sub-All Star to an undisputed top 5-10 player. With all due respect to Brandon Ingram, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Pascal Siakam, Devonte' Graham, or any other MIP candidate who is out there, Luka's improvement this season across the board trumps them all. Compared to his rookie year, he's scoring much more often, more efficiently, facilitating more, facilitating more efficiently, rebounding more, leading a much more efficient offense, and just has a much higher impact on the court overall:
2019-20 Luka Dončić
2018-19 Luka Dončić
Summary: PTS/AST/REB, FG%/3P%/FT%
29/9/9, on 46/32/75 shooting, 53 eFG%
21/8/6, on 43/33/71 shooting, 50 eFG%
Scoring rate (Points scored/75 possessions)
31.3 PTS/75 (3rd)
58.4 TS% (+2.0 rTS%), 53.1 eFG%
54.5 TS% (-1.5 rTS%), 49.7 eFG%
Assists/75, Assist %
9.5 AST/75 (4th), 45.3 AST% (2nd)
6.8 AST/75 (19th), 31.6 AST% (17th)
Turnover %, AST/TO ratio
14.6 TO%, 2.07 AST/TO
15.0 TO%, 1.76 AST/TO
Passer Rating (Backpicks)
9.3 RPG, 15 TRB%
7.8 RPG, 13 TRB%
Team ORTG + How much it improves when he's on the court
Ultimately, I came back to what I felt after the first quarter of the season: As impressive and valid as all the other brands of improvement are, and as difficult as all of those leaps are to make, there’s nothing more impressive or difficult than becoming a top-five player in the league. While I wound up leaving Doncic just outside my top five in MVP balloting, it was by the slimmest of margins; he’s fucking unreal, in a way that even the heady early days of “Halleluka” hype didn’t quite project. This season, Doncic became just the fifth player ever to average 28 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists per game, joining Oscar Robertson, James Harden, Michael Jordan, and Russell Westbrook. He led not only this season’s no. 1 offense, butstatistically the no. 1 NBA offenseever, and did it while combining usage and scoring efficiency to a degree matched only by Harden and Giannis. ...as John Hollinger noted at The Athletic, Doncic has also worked diligently to improve his left hand, opening up angles that defenses used to be able to close off to attack, probe, pass, and shoot. Now, the whole floor is unlocked, and opponents have to fear Doncic picking them apart from all over the court. No player in the league made a bigger or more significant leap this season than Doncic. He returned Dallas to playoff contention, teaming with Kristaps Porzingis, sideline genius Rick Carlisle, and a deep roster of complementary role players to create an offensive juggernaut—one that promises to get even scarier as Doncic continues to work on his jumper. If Luka and the Mavericks offense are already this good while he shoots 31.8 percent from 3, what fresh hell can they unleash if he follows in Harden’s footsteps and gets up to 35 or 36, or even higher?
This isn't really bad fortune, but it's too incredible to not mention here: The Warriors shock James Harden, Rockets on Christmas Day, 12-point Warriors win, Dec 25 2019. "No Steph Curry? No problem. A Warriors team led by Draymond Green, D'Angelo Russell, Damion Lee and Glenn Robinson III defeated the Houston Rockets on Christmas Day, 116-104." Yes, the 15-win, worst-record-in-the-league Warriors. Oh dear.
In the Sixers' 6th-ranked defensive scheme (-2.2 rDRTG), Josh Richardson marks the speediest guards, while Horford and Embiid share the responsibility of walling off the rim and guarding opponent bigs. Simmons, meanwhile, is in charge of just about everyone else. Krishna Narsu's Defensive Versatility Index ranks players by time spent guarding all 5 positions. Among players who've guarded at least 1500 possessions, Simmons ranks 6th in the league, notably guarding each of the guard and forward positions at least 18% of the time. He guards everyone from Bradley Beal and James Harden, to Aaron Gordon and Pascal Siakam. Simmons moves his feet with the fluidity of a guard but also has the bulk and length of a big (6-10 and 240 pounds with a 7ft wingspan), able to shadow slippery jitterbugs around screens and have the footwork and IQ to deny Luka and Harden their stepbacks, but also able to bang with behemoths in the post. Of course, no discussion of Simmons's defense would be complete without mentioning his hustle. Ben ranks 1st in steals/game (2.1), 3rd in deflections/game (4.0), and 2 in loose balls recovered/game (1.7). Though he hasn't offered too much in the way of rim protection this year (0.6 blks/G), Simmons is tremendously disruptive off the ball, constantly poking players' dribbles away from behind, reading passes before they happen, harassing ball-handlers, denying handoffs, ambushing passing lanes, and battling for rebounds (7.8 rebs/game, him and Embiid have helped the 6ers to the 2nd-best DRB% in the league). Joel Embiid is still the most impactful defender on the team - the Sixers' defensive rating is 6.7 points better when he's on the court - but with him missing 21 games this season, it's been up to veteran defensive big Horford, and crucially, Simmons, to plug in the gaps, play multiple positions, and help maintain a passable team defense in JoJo's absence. *Bonus:
In this golden age of 3-point shooting, the historically-revered but objectively less efficient midrange shot (~ 40 FG% on average) has been largely eschewed from the league as a viable shot for the average NBA player. For high scoring players, though, it remains a key component of the offensive arsenals of many stars - the ability to make these shots when defenses give them up in clutch situations or in the playoffs has been often discussed among fans and analysts. . This season, the 5 most efficient midrange scorers (minimum 100 midrange shots attempted) have been: 5. Damian Lillard's sharpshooting Portland running-mate CJ McCollum (49.3 FG%), 4. "50-40-90 club" inductee Malcolm Brogdon (50.6 FG%), 3. Cleveland's veteran star power-forward Kevin Love (52.0 FG%), 2. Milwaukee Bucks All-Star Khris Middleton (52.3 FG%), who's had an excellent season co-starring alongside likely-MVP Giannis leading Milwaukee to a historing winning pace, and is a literal hair away from "50-40-90 club" induction himself this year (49.9/41.8/90.8 splits), 1. and finally, last but certainly not least, with an incredible bounce-back season in Oklahoma at age 34, Chris Paul, who shot a scorching 53.9 FG% from his favourite zone on the court. . The 5 least efficient midrange shooters are a fun and varied bunch as well (these dudes should really be taking fewer of these particular shots): 5. brand-new Golden State Warriors employee Andrew Wiggins (33.8 FG%), 4. Chicago's promising young rookie guard Coby White (33.6 FG%), 3. the defending champion Raptors' newly minted All-Star Pascal Siakam (32.1 FG%), 2. a fellow All-Star who's perhaps finally found his perfect home in Miami and has had an excellent season overall, Jimmy Butler (31.0 FG%), 1. and finally, last and most certainly least, shooting a putrid 25.4 FG% from the midrange: full-time rapper, part-time Slam Dunk Contest runner-up, the Orlando Magic's do-everything-except-shooting-quite-well Power Forward... Aaron Gordon. . Now, efficiency is all nice and dandy, but you might be wondering at this point - who's actually taking the most midrange shots in the league? Most of these names will likely be some familiar to fans as well-seasoned practitioners of the midrange - the 5 most prolific midrange shot-takers in the league in 2020: 5.CJ McCollum (280 attempts, 49.3 FG%), who we've mentioned previously, 4. defending Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard (282 attempts, 44.0 FG%), who led the nation of Canada to their maiden title last year with the midrange fadeaway as a trusty and now iconic weapon in his arsenal (cries in Sixers), 3. the newest entry in the top three (he was 15th last season), Phoenix's 1st-time All-Star Devin Booker (288 attempts, 44.4 FG%), who's had an excellent offensive campaign (25.7 points and 6.5 assists per 75 on awesome +5.3 efficiency) leading the oft-maligned Suns to a league average offense, 2. the guy who replaced Kawhi Leonard on the Spurs, fellow midrange enthusiast DeMar DeRozan (331 attempts, 44.7 FG%), whose game is now synonymous (to a slightly unhealthy degree) with his love for the midrange, 1. and finally, DeMar's fellow San Antonio running-mate and stretch big LaMarcus Aldridge (352 attempts, 44.9 FG%). Fun-fact: these two finished 1st and 2nd in last year's list as well.
#11: Yo speaking of DeMar... what's he been up to recently?
We've always known him as Toronto's beloved All-Star guard who shares Ben Simmons's aversion to the 3-point shot, but since the fateful 2018 Kawhi Leonard trade that sent him to San Antonio, DeMar DeRozan has faded from the spotlight somewhat as the Spurs now face an annual struggle to make the playoffs in a brutal Western Conference. So, how's he been faring in his second year donning the black and silver?
The first thing you probably notice about 2020 DeMar DeRozan is that this is easily the most efficient version of him we've ever seen - he's averaged 23.3 points and 5.9 assists per 75 on 53% shooting from the field and 60 TS%, 3.3 points higher than league-average efficiency (i.e. +3.3 rTS%). His previous most efficient volume-scoring output was in 2015-16, where he scored 25.3 points per 75 on +0.9 efficiency (55 TS%). DeMar's shooting percentage at the rim has been incredible for his position - 70.7 FG% in the restricted area, which is similar at-rim efficiency to someone like LeBron James (69 FG%) or Anthony Davis (73 FG%) - on far fewer attempts, of course, but still highly impressive.
The second thing you might is that this season has been a tale of two DeMars. Including and prior to 12-22-2019, a 25-point loss to the Clippers, DeRozan averaged 20.7 points and 4.7 assists on 56 TS% (-0.4 rTS%). Since that date, over 33 games, he's averaged 23.4 points and 6.3 assists on blistering hot efficiency, 55/27/87 splits, or 63 TS% (+6.3 rTS%). As a result, DeMar DeRozan now holds the record for the longest streak of 20+ points and >50 FG% by guards in NBA history. Cool stuff!
This wasn't a random change, though. Coach Pop made two key changes after that horrific Clippers loss. First, he moved DeMar to Power Forward, to reduce Rudy Gay's playing time and veer away from having LaMarcus Aldridge and non-shooting center Jakob Poeltl share the court, to try and improve spacing. Second, he moved LMA to the 3-point line and implored LMA to shart shooting 3s. The effect was near-instantaneous - all of a sudden, with LMA bombing away from 3 (4.2 3PA, 42 3P% in 23 games since 12/23/19), DeRozan has had more driving lanes to work with, abusing more mismatches and drawing more fouls (5.8->7.3 FTA/G), having more midrange real-estate to find clearer looks and also finishing more cleanly at the rim (49.9->55.0 FG%), and attracting more defensive attention as a result to facilitate the Spurs offense (4.7->6.3).
The third thing you might realize is that DeMar is still a very poor defender. The Spurs are a whopping 5.9 points better on defense with DeMar off the court, and most available defensive metrics available all paint DeMar as a bottom 10th-15th percentile defender - D-PIPM (17th-worst), D-RAPM (449th), D-RAPTOR (226th out of 250), D-RPM (469th). He consistently ranks near the bottom of the league in hustle stats, is terrible at fighting over screens, is a non-factor in transition defense (he has a penchant for complaining for missed calls), is inconsistent in closing out to shooters, strikes out when gambling for steals, has questionable decision-making and often finds himself a step or two behind opponent plays, stuck in no-mans-land, making him a poor team defender. He's not terrible at man defense, and the move to power forward actually helped his defense somewhat, as opponent PFs only have a 15.1 PER (around league average) when facing DeRozan, whereas opponent SFs have an excellent 19.7 PER with DeMar as the primary defender. Not all of San Antonio's defensive woes can be attributed to DeMar. The team is in a constant state of defensive flux - a dearth of shooting forces Popovich to often play proven floor-spacer but absolute defensive sieve Bryn Forbes, while inconsistent shooting and offensive production limit the Spurs' best all-round defender, Dejounte Murray's, court time, and a lack of spacing also stops excellent rim protector Jakob Poeltl from earning consistent minutes as lineups pairing him and LMA have been awful on offense.
The fourth and final thing, perhaps, is that the situation in San Antonio is very tenuous for both DeMar and the team alike. The Spurs are currently stuck between eras, trying to churn out winning seasons and maintain their streak of 22 consecutive playoff appearances by playing veterans like DeMar, LMA, and Gay large minutes while simultaneously trying to develop younger promising players like Murray, White, Lonnie Walker, Lyles, and Poeltl. This has yielded mixed results this season because of a lack of spacing and inconsistent defense. Meanwhile, DeMar is on the wrong side of 30 and has a possible contract extension looming ($150M, 4 years, if I'm not mistaken). Some say he'll leave, some say a potential cap-drop resulting from COVID-19 could convince him to opt-in. Either way, this season is a turning point for the team and for DeMar.
#12: The Memphis Grizzlies' Funky Big Trio
Three of Memphis's four best players might be bigs, with Jonas Valančiūnas (28 y/o), Jaren Jackson Jr. (20 y/o), and Brandon Clarke (23 y/o) hoping to continue the Grizzlies' tradition of producing elite bigs like ZBo and Marc Gasol. What makes these 3 so fun is in how different they all are, and yet so effective in their roles. Valančiūnas (15/11/2 on +6.7 rTS%) is an old-school low-post monster, slow and methodical with his back to the basket, an elite rebounder, and brutally effective against teams with undersized bigs. To loosely quote Zach Lowe, I really enjoy watching Grizzlies unleash JV every 2 or 3 games to mash teams with below average rim protection. He is solid in his defensive role in the Grizzlies drop coverage and can move his feet decently, but is vulnerable against strong pick-and-pop and pick-and-roll teams (e.g. Blazers, Wolves, Mavs). Jaren Jackson Jr (17/5/1.5 on +2.6 rTS%), meanwhile, is easily the 2nd most important offensive piece on the team, mainly due to his elite floor-spacing - he's frighteningly adept at his role, hitting 40% of his 6 to 7 3 point attempts per game, making these off-the-dribble, pick-and-pop, as stepbacks, traditional catch-and-shoot, inverted PnR, or even the odd hail mary yeet the moment he crosses half-court, the whole package. He also remains adept at the rim, scoring 70 FG% from 0-3 feet. He has yet to fulfil his defensive potential, however, held back by fouling concerns. Brandon Clarke (12/6/1.5 on +10.6 rTS%) is perhaps the best value-for-money pick in the draft, selected as no. 21 but all but guaranteed to make an All-Rookie team. His skillset has transferred shockingly well to the NBA, as a crazy-efficient scorer, athletic rebounder, and being able to defend just about every position on the court. Clarke is money at the rim (74.4 FG% in the restricted area) with dunks, alley-oops, finger-rolls, and tip-ins; he has a gorgeous floater which he unleashes further away in the paint (elite 56.8 FG% in the non-restricted area of the paint); and he's capable of knocking down the odd open above-the-break 3 (43.3 FG%) on very low volume (30 3PA). Both he and Jaren have highly varied and scale-able skillsets that mesh with a variety of teammates and lineup types. The Grizzlies' future is bright.
#13: Marcus Smart vs Terry Rozier, as 3 point shooters
These two players, former teammates during their fairytale run to the conference finals in 2018, are now very different players on very different teams - Scary Terry has had himself a decent season at Charlotte as a primary scoresecondary playmaker (18/4/4 on 55 TS%), while Smart is a defensively-elite "stretch-6" in Boston as a key contributor on both ends and part-time PG. However, what I'm interested in today is the ways these two players contrast in terms of 3-point shooting. This season, Rozier has hit an elite 41% of his 6.7 3PA while Smart has connected on a decent 35% of his 6.9 3PA. To be more precise, Terry Rozier is one of the league's best catch-and-shoot players, hitting an incredible 45.7% of his catch-and-shoot 3s, with a more pedestrian 34% on his pullup 3s. On the other hand, Marcus Smart is one of the league's best pull-up shooters, hitting an elite 40.4% of his pull-up 3s, but a horrendous 31.4% on catch-and-shoot 3s. A fun contrast!
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