The Triple Threat: The Warriors' Sharpshooters vs. The Spurs (As of Game 3)
Western Conference Finals Shot Charts
In just three games, the Warriors have virtually destroyed San Antonio's playoff chances. Golden State's three revered shooters, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson, are the usual suspects for most of the team's outside shot attempts.
NBA Playoffs: Each Team's Chances to Reach The NBA Finals (Via FiveThirtyEight)
(Based on player and team performance)
The Outspoken Trump Critics of the NBA: The Coaches
President Donald Trump's campaign and presidency have been full of misstatements, alternative facts and policy changes. From the immigration ban to illegal voting investigations and promises of a wall at the Mexican border, President Trump has triggered responses from celebrities, ad campaigns, and numerous protests.
Players from the National Basketball Association are not exempt from expressing their reactive thoughts toward the new president; whether it's about visiting the White House or a specific policy, NBA athletes are mobilizing against Trumpian politics.
But players haven't been the only ones who've been probed about politics lately. Three NBA coaches have become recurring critics of Trump's presidency: Golden State Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr, Detroit Pistons Head Coach Stan Van Gundy, and, surprisingly, a coach who's built a reputation for terse interviews with NBA reporters: San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich.
Popovich has recently devoted his media time to discussing his thoughts on the new President, once ranting for roughly half of an entire media session, according to ESPN.
Popovich has been unabashedly critical of Trump ever since Jabari Young, a San Antonio Reporter, convinced the normally-abrupt coach that his opinion on politics "carried weight." That led to a five-minute-long response from Popovich that now has over one million Soundcloud plays.
The question that NBA Insiders are asking today is, "does shooting more threes make our league better?" While that question has yet to be answered with data to back it up, I want to ask this question:
Does a team need to shoot more threes in today's NBA to be a winning team?
Let's look at The Houston Rockets in our analysis. The Rockets have been a top 3 team in both taking AND making 3's in 16 of the 35 seasons the three-point shot has been around, which is more than any other team.
Pictured above, from left to right: Kenny "The Jet" Smith (30) and Robert "Big Shot" Horry, 25, part of The Rockets back-to-back championship teams.
The Rockets have only missed the playoffs 11 times in the 35-year span, and in 8 of those 11 times, the team shot less 3's than the previous season.
This chart shows that Houston is not--and has never been--afraid to pull the trigger from behind the arc. This year, they're first in the league in three-pointers made and three-pointers attempted, right on schedule.
In the past 5 years, since the beginning of the James Harden-era, their three-point shooting numbers have rivaled the heralded Golden State Warriors, and their franchise record 933 3PM in 2014-2015 brought them to the Western Conference Finals, which is farther in the playoffs than they've been in a long time.
But the Rockets' tendency to chuck it up doesn't exactly make them a great team; in fact, focusing so heavily on the three-ball might prove to be a double-edged sword. While they shoot and make a ton of three-pointers, their percentages are less than spectacular, and it doesn't always equate to wins.
Since 2013, their three-point percentage has slowly been declining as their shots have been increasing. The teams that made it to The NBA Finals in the past five years shot just a hair better than the Rockets from both inside the arc (2P%) and overall (FG%). Only in the 2014-15 season did the Rockets shoot as good as both NBA Finals teams from two-point range, but even then, their overall percentage of made shots suffered because of their three-point percentage.
Effective field goal percentage, or eFG%, is the field goal percentage that accounts for the fact that three-pointers are worth more than two-pointers. The formula is (FG + 0.5 * 3P) / FGA. For example, this shows that a player who goes 6-10 from the field, with four three-pointers for a total of 16 points is technically just as efficient as a player who goes 8-10 from the field with zero three pointers and scores 16 points.
The Rockets' effective field goal percentages from the past five years are also just below--or at the same level as--The NBA Finals teams from the past five years, meaning that although The Rockets hit more three-pointers than those teams, it was the two-point shots that elevated the other teams past their opponents. While the Rockets tried to outshoot teams from long-range, the eventual champions of the league shot three-pointers with similar efficiency--and less volume--and focused on shots closer to the rim, making them more efficient overall.
The NBA has recently caught up with Houston and has become more focused on the three-ball. But what separates the winners from the losers is not the amount of threes a team takes, but rather the efficiency with which they make shots from everywhere on the floor.
The Rockets, as the SBNation article linked above shows, are not the only NBA team whose answer for misses seems to be "shoot more." The real winning teams, while shooting their fair share of threes, place a bigger emphasis on finishing closer to the rim time and time again.
Bronx District 6 and their elementary and middle schools have significantly overpacked classrooms this year. (Photo courtesy of elhstalon.net)
In The Bronx, Belmont and West Farms Need More Schools
By Fran Kilinski
The New York City Housing and Preservation Department is working to bring Mayor De Blasio's plan for more affordable housing to life by building a 1,665 unit affordable housing project in the West Farms area of The Bronx.
The problem? Bronx Elementary and Intermediate schools are grossly overutilized.
The Eagle Academy for Young Men in The Bronx (Photo Courtesy of NYC.gov)
In Bronx District 6, which West Farms is a part of, District officials are fighting for schools to be built immediately as part of the development plan, but city agencies have yet to agree to this request.
Students at schools that are over capacity are performing worse than their counterparts at schools under capacity, according to a report obtained by New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres.
"Students are stressed because they are not getting the attention they need to comprehend what they are being taught," said a senior at Monroe College who volunteered as a teacher's assistant in The Bronx in 2014.
The NYC School Construction Authority, who is supposed to work in coordinance with the Housing and Preservation Department on the project, has not specified when a school will be built, if at all.
"I think the SCA has lost focus," said Sahre Davis, the Education Chairperson for Bronx District 6.