After the NBA players and owners reached their agreement, I was asked the following question by a couple of different people in the media: Why did the NBA players’ union not do as well as the players’ union in baseball?
My answer appeared today at Freakonomics. In Why the NBA Players Keep Losing to the Owners, I focus on what I think is a natural split in the NBA players.
Beyond that split, I thought I would also offer a few more thoughts. One issue noted at Freakonomics is that the NBA has many salary restrictions while baseball doesn’t have limits on what a player, team, or all players in the league can earn. It might be useful to again note why the NBA imposes these restrictions.
The owners in the NBA claim that these restrictions are necessary to prevent teams from losing money and to promote competitive balance. However, despite an absence of salary restrictions, baseball – unlike the NBA — doesn’t claim these days that most teams are losing money. Furthermore, competitive balance in baseball is actually better than what we observe in basketball. Roger Noll and Gerald Scully developed a measure of balance that compares the actual standard deviation of winning percentage in a league to an idealized standard deviation which would exist if all teams were essentially equal in playing strength. Since 1983 – when the NBA instituted a cap on team payroll – this ratio has averaged 2.8 in the NBA (it averaged 2.4 in all the years before the payroll cap). In contrast, in both the American League and National League, this ratio has been 1.7 since 1983 (lower values means more balance). If we look at the NBA since the cap on individual salaries was put in place in 1999, we again see an average ratio of 2.8. And in the AL and NL since 1999, we see ratios of 1.9 and 1.7 respectively. In sum, despite significant restrictions on player compensation in the NBA, basketball has never been as balanced as baseball is today.
Salary restrictions – as I have noted before – do not lead to more balance in a sport. But if salary restrictions don’t produce better balance, what’s the purpose of these restrictions? To answer this question we need to note one significant similarity between the two leagues. Both leagues consist of big market teams (i.e. New York, LA, etc…) and small market teams (i.e. Milwaukee, Minneapolis, etc…). In both leagues we see that big market teams make much more revenue than the small market teams. And in both leagues, the root of the labor conflicts we see is how the league is going to address the plight of the small market teams.
As noted in the discussion of baseball’s agreement, small market teams in baseball are aided by significant revenue sharing. Historically, the NBA has not done much revenue sharing. In fact, gate receipts in the NBA have not been shared in the past. Consequently, another mechanism had to be uncovered to help small market teams in basketball. And that mechanism has been substantial salary controls.
In other words, in baseball we see revenue shortfalls of teams in small markets (i.e. the Pirates) somewhat overcome by payments by teams in the big markets (i.e. the Yankees). In basketball, the problems of teams in small markets are resolved by taking money from the players.
And why are the owners able to take money from the players? Hopefully that question was answered today at Freakonomics.
In what can only be described as “absurd,” the Miami Marlins are apparently upping their ante to get baseball’s prized free agent, Albert Pujols. After already nailing down former New York Mets SS Jose Reyes, they have now reportedly added another year to their offer for Pujols.
According to Jon Heyman of SI.com, they have now thrown out a 10-year contract to him.
“Hearing #Marlins boosted offer to pujols to 10 years, matching arod’s in length. they are obvs pushing hard,” Heyman tweets.
We have no idea what the money situation in the contract is like, but we don’t really care either. You’re offering 10 years to a guy who will be 32-years old by the time spring training rolls around? You have to be kidding.
You never know what’s going to happen, but what if this guy starts breaking down around 35 or 36. You’ll be stuck with an overpriced waste of space for a good seven years!
Well, anyway, have fun with that, Miami.
How influential is a quarterback’s upbringing to his success at the NFL level? Jason Whitlock discusses the influence Pam an
- How influential is a quarterback’s upbringing to his success at the NFL level? Jason Whitlock discusses the influence Pam and Bob Tebow had on their son Tim, and how his mental and emotional makeup (combined with his physical talents) “raise the real possibility that Tebow is the athletic-freak quarterback an NFL franchise should embrace with a revolutionary offensive approach.” [Fox Sports]
- Brian Griese admits he had a hard time dealing with his critics in Denver, a product of his introverted nature related to the loss of his mother at the age of 12. He runs Judi’s House in her honor. [NBC9 Denver]
- Broncos players are taking their playoff push very seriously. [Denver Post]
- Von Miller had a hard time watching from the sidelines Sunday. [MaxDenver]
- A deployed soldier is asking for your vote to watch the Broncos this weekend. [First and Orange]
- Britton Colquitt has a sense of humor. [First and Orange]
We mentioned a couple weeks ago that despite all the Tebowmania going on in Denver right now, there was a very important person who isn’t/wasn’t sold on Tim Tebow. And it’s Tebow’s boss, John Elway.
But maybe now, after they climbed to a 7-5 record to sit atop the AFC West, he’s changing his tune.
“We saw him read out the two passes, the long passes — the touchdown to Demaryius [Thomas] in the end zone, and the long gain in the fourth quarter. He did a great job against Cover 2,” Elway said on 102.3 FM. “Offensively, especially in the second half, we came out and did some play action, which really helped us, and receivers did a heck of a job getting open, and Tim did a good job of getting them the ball.”
So…is he your QB of the future?
“I know that everyone wants to know, but our future is right now. When you look at where we are, the future is the Chicago Bears,” Elway said. “We’ve got three out of four at home, and we’re coming off five out of six wins, so we’re excited to come home.
“I think the city, the fans are excited about where we are right now and the future is now, and the key thing is for us to keep focused on each game coming up, and try to win this division, try to get in the playoffs and see what happens.”
He’s taking the right approach. While Tebow keeps on winning somehow, his lame duck passes are still troublesome. We’ll see what happens at the end of the year.
A would-be mugger on Chicago’s Southwest Side picked the wrong person to victimize — a mixed-martial artist — and ended up with two black eyes and a gunshot wound to the ankle, the police say.
Police say 24-year-old Anthony Miranda walked up to a parked car near 55th and Kenneth around 11:30 p.m. Friday and asked the driver for a lighter. When the driver said he didn’t have one, Miranda pulled a handgun on the driver and demanded money. Miranda was given the moeny, but he then ordered the driver out of the car.
And that’s where he made a huge mistake. Unbeknownst to Miranda, his victim, whose name was not released by authorities, is a Mixed Martial Artists.
The fighter was able to get control of the gun, and in the scuffle, Miranda accidentally shot himself in the ankle.
When police got to the scene, they found the unnamed fighter holding Miranda down with a face full of cuts and two black eyes.
Miranda, a convicted felon, was charged with armed robbery and aggravated discharge of a firearm and rdered held on $350,000 bail. Records show he has several convictions, including one for a residential burglary.
Let the speculation begin on who this mystery fighter is.
Statistically, it was Tim Tebow‘s finest career game. Answering the call of his critics, the run-first QB completed 66.7% of his passes, throwing two touchdowns on 15 attempts. He threw for a season-high 202 yards and had no interceptions. His passer rating: a mile-high 149.3.
But even that wasn’t enough to beat the Minnesota Vikings. Not by himself.
Cornerback Andre Goodman and kicker Matt Prater were there to take over the fourth quarter hero’s role.
Prater kicked two field goals in the last two minutes of regulation — a game-tying 46-yard field goal and a game-winning 23-yarder set up by an Andre Goodman interception. The Denver Broncos forced three turnovers and came back to win 35-32 against the Minnesota Vikings as time expired.
Not that Tebow wasn’t clutch in the second half. On the contrary, Tebow was his usual innovative, playmaking, spectacular self in the third and fourth quarters, escaping pressure and making plays. The difference today was his willingness to trust his air game rather than his ground game when the play broke down.
Tebow had a handful of help from others as well. Demaryius Thomas had his breakout game, getting wide open for two touchdowns and nearly hauling in another in the fourth quarter. Willis McGahee went nuts in the second half, busting loose for 111 rushing yards, his sixth 100+ yard rushing game of the season (tying the NFL lead in the category). Brian Dawkins continues to provide visual inference that the fountain of youth must exist, and Mario Haggan played superbly in place of the injured Von Miller, intercepting a first quarter Christian Ponder pass that he returned for a touchdown.
With the win, the 7-5 Broncos enter a first-place tie with the Oakland Raiders in the AFC West.
Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, team sack-leader and league defensive rookie of the year frontrunner, is inactive for today’s game at the Minnesota Vikings. Miller practiced Friday and was listed as questionable, but ultimately his thumb injury will keep him out.
CB Asher Allen, RB Adrian Peterson, CB Chris Cook, S Andrew Sendejo, OL Brandon Fusco, OL DeMarcus Love, and DE D’Aundre Reed are inactive for the Vikings.
Other Broncos inactives are OT Tony Hills, FB Quinn Johnson, LB Mike Mohamed, FS Rahim Moore, OG Manny Ramirez, and TE Julius Thomas
The Dr Pepper Arena in the North Dallas suburb of Frisco played host to a night of MMA action as Fight Game brought together some
The Dr Pepper Arena in the North Dallas suburb of Frisco played host to a night of MMA action as Fight Game brought together some of North Texas’ most talented fighters under one roof to give fight fans their MMA fix.
In the evening’s main event Sean Spencer, fighting out of Guy Mezger Combat Sports, gave his hometown fans in Frisco reason to cheer as he gutted out a three round unanimous decision over Derrick Krantz of Marshall, TX. Spencer had his hands full throughout the fight as Krantz never gave up an inch in the battle and made Spencer work for everything. Fortunately for the fans of Spencer their fighter was more than up to the challenge and behind some terrific boxing and excellent takedown defense was able to bloody and batter the face of Krantz who may very well be the poster child for toughness. In the end Spencer was awarded the fight by scores of 30-27 on all three cards to improve his record to 7-1; Krantz falls to 10-5 in defeat.
In the evening’s co-main event Mohler Jiu-Jitsu’s Jason Sampson saw unblemished record disappear as New Mexico’s Josh Montoya effectively spoiled Sampson’s homecoming. The fight was as close as war as one will ever see as Sampson came out the gates roaring behind some vastly improved boxing and his awe-inspiring takedowns. Sampson’s relentless pressure in the opening rounds seemed to indicate that the fight would not last the scheduled rounds but Montoya would rally back in a fiercely contested second round. With this fight being a rematch of their bout in August, a fight in which Sampson emerged victorious via an armbar, Montoya apparently did his homework and worked hard to seal up his takedown defense. This paid dividends Friday night as Montoya was able to evade some of the takedown attempts Sampson threw at him. With Montoya able to stuff some of Sampson’s takedown attempts the fight became more of a stand up affair than many would have anticipated. Whereas Sampson appeared to be loading up everything on his shots, Montoya looked to simply score using quick flurries to neutralize Sampson’s advances. The third round was pivotal as both fighters attempted to leave it all on the line. While Sampson kept pressing forward Montoya would counter with quick hands and some hard body shots that looked as if they hurt Sampson. However, Sampson would end the fight strong trying in vain to end the fight with a rear naked choke.
Make no mistake, the fight was close and a strong case could be made for either fighters but in the end the scorecards read 29-28, 29-28, and 28-29 in favor on Montoya. With the win Montoya improves his record to 10-7; Sampson tastes defeat for the first time falling to 8-1 with the loss.
Bubba McDaniel was able to nullify the charges of Eric Schambari to gut out a unanimous. While the fight may not have been the most action packed bout one will ever see you have to appreciate the relentless submission attempts that were in abundance during the fight. Surprisingly, it was McDaniel who nearly ended the fight on multiple occasions with triangles and some tight guillotines. All of this despite McDaniel claiming to not hold a belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and Schambari reported to be a BJJ black belt. In the end the fight boiled down to a war of attrition and ultimately it was McDaniel who emerged victorious. With the victory McDaniel improves to 19-6 while Schambari falls to 13-4 in defeat.
Arlington’s Douglas Frey, Mohler Jiu-Jitsu, made it a short night against Houston’s Tim Snyder, fighting out of 4oz Fight Team. After some cautious moments in the opening seconds, Frey deftly shot in a secured a takedown. With the takedown secured, Frey moved in for the kill and after securing an airtight guillotine Snyder was left with no other option other than to tap at the 2:59 mark in the opening round. With the win Frey improve his record to 10-7; Snyder drops to 12-9-1 in defeat.
Saekson Janjira-trained Charles Byrd looked impressive in his vicious domination of Robert Agee, Gladiator Academy, earning a pretty one-sided unanimous decision. Bryd wasted little time in establishing his Muay Thai pedigree opening up the fight with crisp inside le kicks that were then punctuated by an overhand right. This combo seemed to befuddle Agee who soon found his left eye bloodied and his legs unsteady after eating a big right hand from Byrd in the opening round. Credit has to be given to Agee for surviving the early onslaught of Byrd but the second and third rounds didn’t fair any better for him. Byrd was simply too tenacious to be stopped and even in the round that Agee nearly submitted Byrd with a rear naked choke, the third, he found himself penalized a point for holding the cage. None the less, the night belonged to Byrd and his big right hand. With the win Byrd improves his record to 4-2; Agee falls to 2-2 in defeat.
In what turned out to be a spirited battle, George Pacurariu, Octagon MMA, improved his record to 4-1 with a unanimous decision victory over Austin’s Michael Lytle, fighting out of Austin Extreme Sparring. The action was furious early on as both fighters winged punches at one another. After trading a number of bombs in the opening round, the fight went to the ground where each fighter had their moments with some short punches on the inside but is looked as if Pacurariu was the more comfortable combatant in this realm. The fight came down to the third round and it was there that Pacurariu took control of a fading Lytle to grind out the round and win the decision. All three judges scored the bout 29-28 in favor of Pacurariu and with the loss Lytle falls to 1-2.
Sean Holden, fighting out of Guy Mezger Combat Sports, made his professional debut a successful one coasting to a unanimous decision victory over Wes Linsley, fighting out of Wylie Boxing Club. Holden controlled the tempo and utilized a smothering ground game to keep Linsley, who is a noted amateur boxer, from using his perceived advantages on the feet. While Linsley did enough to prevent Holden from ending the fight early it was clear that this fight belonged to the Guy Mezger trained prospect. In the end all three judges scored the bout 30-27 in favor of Holden who sees his record go to 1-0; Linsley falls to 0-2 in defeat.
The night started off with bang as Neal Ewing, fighting out of Octagon MMA, improved his record to 2-0 with a second round rear naked choke of Jabari Shakur, fighting out of Phalanx MMA. Ewing used his superior wrestling acumen to control the pace of the fight and was able to secure a number of takedowns in the opening round. However, credit has to be given to Shakur who, despite making his pro debut Friday night, was game throughout the contest and was able to weather much of Ewing’s storm. Still, Ewing proved to be the better man this night as he deftly slipped in a rear naked choke at the 1:52 mark of the second round.
I’m not a big fan of the Hawks, but mostly because they’re almost certain to be Eastern Conference playoff rivals for the Bulls this year and probably for some time to come. So, while it may appear that I don’t have their best interest in mind, I still think they should amnesty the hell out of Joe Johnson. Al Horford and Josh Smith both ended last season in the Top 25 on the Player Rater, so I’m okay with giving them their money, but we all knew that Johnson was not going to earn out on what the Hawks gave him.
Point Guard: Jeff Teague, Kirk Hinrich
Shooting Guard: Kirk Hinrich, Joe Johnson
Small Forward: Joe Johnson, Marvin Williams, Pape Sy
Power Forward: Josh Smith, Al Horford, Magnum Rolle
Center: Al Horford, Zaza Pachulia, Keith Benson
Everyone knows Jeff Teague needs to take over the PG position for Kirk Hinrich. Too bad for the Hawks, the only thing keeping Hinrich on the bench instead of playing Shooting Guard is his injured shoulder. Because of the contracts the Hawks have on the books for Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, Al Horford, Marvin Williams, and Hinrich himself, they’re up to their beaks in salary, and there’s not much money left for the Hawks to spend on someone to replace Hinrich, let alone serve as any sort of upgrade. Perhaps that’s a little harsh for someone who was once a Top 50 fantasy player, but Hinrich’s best days are clearly behind him. They still need to sign a couple more guys to fill out the roster, but with what they have they’re not going to be any better than what you see above there on the Depth Chart. Hinrich is good enough for now, but good enough to win? Probably not. That said, do we care? No. We’re talking fantasy basketball here.
Back to Teague: he only played 13 minutes per game last season, but he did play 71 games, and that’s obviously enough to see him through this year’s shortened season. In the playoffs last year though, when he exploded against the Bulls, he played almost 40 minutes a game, shooting 51% from the field for close to 20 points to go with 4 assists and almost a steal a game. With Hinrich out until January, I would fully expect Teague to put up close to 20 with 4-5 assists and a steal.
Joe Johnson will probably start the season at SG until Hinrich gets back. Without much else in the way of Guards for a while, he’ll probably be playing 35-40 minutes per game and his numbers should match at least what he was doing last year. His points might be down again from the 18 he has last year (which was down from the 21 he’d been putting up the 3 years prior) due to Teague’s increased role on the team.
With Johnson starting at Guard, Marvin Williams will once again have the keys to the starting role at Small Forward. That means he’ll be just good enough to make you want to draft him again this year (you know you think about it every year).
Then there’s Josh Smith at the other Forward position. Anyone think he’s going to stop doing what he’s been doing his whole career? Nope. The only thing that’s going to slow him down is if the CBA included a provision for adjustable basketball hoops. 15 points, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 1+ steals, 1.5-2 blocks. That’s Top 25 right there. If he can get his FG% back to 50 and maintain his FT% (or maybe the longer off-season gave him an opportunity to work on his free throws shooting), he might end up as a first round caliber player. There’s a lot of good first round choices ahead of him this year, though, so make a realistic pick when it comes to Smith. While I’m generally risk averse, even if I wasn’t I wouldn’t count on Josh Smith’s upside potential over the solid potential of any first rounders this year.
Last year, I thought Horford was going to put up 20 and 10. Given what he actually put up, I’d say we’re looking at another 15 and 9 season this time around. Close to 1 steal and maybe more than 1 block. Over 50% from the field and close to 80% from the line.
Fantasy Draft Recommendations (Updated 12/3)
Al Horford – 2nd Round
Josh Smith – 3rd Round
Joe Johnson – 5th Round
Jeff Teague – I would put him as high as the 8th round. Right now, he’s going in the 13th round according to Yahoo’s ADP chart. I’m not sure whether than means everyone out there knows more or less than I do about the Hawks, but if you can snag him in the last round, you’ll have the steal of the draft.
Marvin Williams – Draftable in larger than standard size leagues
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The Broncos and Vikings may be without some of their star players on Sunday when they play each other in Minnesota. The Broncos may be without rookie linebacker Von Miller, who did not practice on Thursday with a thumb injury.
The Vikings may not have running back Adrian Peterson, who did not practice on Thursday with an ankle injury. Peterson expects to be a game-time decision, while the status of Miller is ”in the medical people’s hands,” according to Broncos Coach John Fox.
Also on the Broncos Thursday injury report were tight end Daniel Fells (hand, full participation), safety David Bruton (Achilles, full), running back Willis McGahee (illness, limited) and receiver Eddie Royal (toe, limited). The Viking’s Jared Allen missed practice for a second straight day, but the team says it was for non-injury-related reasons.
Also of note, although not injury-related, the Vikings waived quarterback Donovan McNabb on Thursday, per his request. Rookie Christian Ponder has started the last five games at quarterback for Minnesota.
The Broncos would greatly benefit if Miller is able to go and Peterson is not. More to come on Friday when the official injury report comes out.