Thursday, July 6, 2017

BREAKING: Georgia Voters Will Challenge GA-6 Election Result Via Jury Trial

The following is a press release from Coalition for Good Government, issued on July 5th, 2017. The coalition's executive director is Marilyn Marks, who, as executive director of Rocky Mountain Foundation, was a primary force behind the unsuccessful lawsuit last month that sought to force the GA-6 election to be conducted on paper ballots rather than the state's dated touchscreen voting system. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has covered the new lawsuit here.

Coalition for Good Governance and six Georgia voters filed a lawsuit July 3, alleging that numerous failures of the voting system caused an indeterminable outcome in the June 20 Special Election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District. The lawsuit (Curling v. Kemp et al.) seeks to set aside the results of the Special Election because voting system failures created considerable doubt in the reported results. The lawsuit names Secretary of State Brian Kemp, the State Election Board, all county election officials conducting the Special Election, Kennesaw State University’s Center for Election Systems, and its director, Merle King, as defendants. The plaintiffs have requested a jury trial.

The plaintiffs allege that the security of Georgia’s touchscreen voting system was severely compromised, violated Georgia’s election code, and cannot be legally used to conduct elections. As a result, an accurate election result could not be determined for the June 20 election. Georgia’s election code permits voters to initiate a legal challenge (an “election contest”) when irregularities or officials’ misconduct cast doubt on the reported election outcome.

Donna Curling, the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, explained, “Georgia voters have been concerned for years about the major vulnerabilities in the un-auditable system and the very real risk of pervasive failure in an election that cannot be rectified, as we have just experienced.” She adds, “Georgians must demand that officials honor their constitutional rights to fair and legally conducted elections. This lawsuit is our next major step in that process.”

Thursday, June 22, 2017

2017 Atlanta Hawks NBA Draft Depth Chart By Jim Gaylor

For the second year in a row, my dear friend Coach Jim Gaylor keeps the tradition of the Atlanta Hawks NBA Draft Depth Chart going. Last year, Gaylor’s highest-rated available players when the Hawks picked were Skal Labissiere and DeAndre Bembry. Labissiere lasted all the way to the 28th pick but proved to be among the steals of the draft. Gaylor told me he should have been in his top three.

In 2013 I started the Depth Chart tradition and, like Gaylor last year, got one of Atlanta’s picks right. My highest rated available when the Hawks picked were Lucas Nogueira and Gorgui Dieng. The jury is still out on Nogueira while Dieng has long been established as a rotation player. I wasn’t high enough on Dennis Schroder, who was the one pick former Hawks GM Danny Ferry got right.

Then in 2014, I struck gold with Rodney Hood as my 11th-rated prospect while Ferry blew another first round pick on Adreian Payne. In my last year doing the depth chart before handing it off to Coach Gaylor, the pickings were pretty slim. With Ferry out of the picture, Atlanta’s new front office tandem of Mike Budenholzer and Wes Wilcox traded the Hawks’ pick to land Tim Hardaway Jr. This turned out to be a prescient move. My top pick, Sam Dekker, has yet to prove anything at the next level. Kelly Oubre was probably at the top of a lot of boards where Atlanta picked, but Hardaway vastly outplayed him in the playoffs.

So once again, here’s RepATL’s 2017 Atlanta Hawks NBA Draft Depth Chart. Sirs not appearing in this film include Lauri Markkanen and Dennis Smith. Coach Gaylor likes every player on this list better as a prospect than either player. Given Gaylor’s track record of projecting future stars like Kawhi Leonard and CJ McCollum, I’m not inclined to argue.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Instant Reaction to the Ilyasova Trade and Updated On/Off Differentials

By Buddy Grizzard

In January I started a five-part introduction to net differential, a new tool for analyzing the NBA. Net differential is the difference between a player's on-court net rating (offensive points per 100 possessions minus defensive points per 100 possessions) and off-court net rating. I have updated on/off differentials for all 30 NBA teams at the All-Star break here. Differentials for the 2015-16 regular season are here and for the 2016 playoffs here. Click the first cell of each spreadsheet to view the key.

The most surprising revelation from the introductory series was that, while the Raptors are unsurprisingly better with Kyle Lowry on court, the team -- shockingly -- performs significantly better with DeMar DeRozan on the bench. As of the All-Star break Toronto is +8.1 points per 100 possessions with Lowry on court and -5.3 off for a net differential of +13.4. Meanwhile the Raptors are +2.8 with DeRozan on court but +8.7 when he's out of the game. This results in a net differential of -5.9. Only Jakob Poeltl, Pascal Siakam and Cory Joseph perform worse in this stat for Toronto than DeRozan.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Introducing Net Differential Part V: Sacramento Through Washington

In Part I, I introduced net differential as a tool for evaluating the NBA and began evaluating all 30 NBA teams. The first part looked at Atlanta through Cleveland. Part II included evaluations for Dallas through Indiana. Part III evaluated the L.A. teams through Minnesota. Part IV looked at New Orleans through Portland. This final part of the introductory series will break down Sacramento through Washington.

Net differential is the difference between a player's on court net rating and the player's off court net rating. On court net is a lineup-influenced stat while off court net is completely isolated to the individual player. All numbers are current as of Thursday's games. For this installment, I've added a column for 2015-16 net differential so we can begin to compare a player's performance year-over-year. You can view net differential data for 2015-16 (minimum 500 minutes played) here. In the entries below, if a player did not play in the NBA last season or played fewer than 500 minutes, their 2016 Diff column will be blank.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Introducing Net Differential Part IV: New Orleans Through Portland

In Part I, I introduced net differential as a tool for evaluating the NBA and began evaluating all 30 NBA teams. The first part included Atlanta through Cleveland. Part II included evaluations for Dallas through Indiana. Part III broke down the L.A. teams through Minnesota. Part IV will look at New Orleans through Portland.

Net differential is the difference between a player's on court net rating and the player's off court net rating. On court net is a lineup-influenced stat while off court net is completely isolated to the individual player. All numbers are current as of Tuesday's games. For this installment, I've added a column for 2015-16 net differential so we can begin to compare a player's performance year-over-year. You can view net differential data for 2015-16 (minimum 500 minutes played) here. In the entries below, if a player did not play in the NBA last season or played fewer than 500 minutes, their 2016 Diff column will be blank.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Introducing Net Differential Part III: L.A. Through Minnesota

In Part I, I introduced Net Differential as a tool for evaluating the NBA and began evaluating all 30 NBA teams. The first part included Atlanta through Cleveland. Part II included evaluations for Dallas through Indiana. In this part, we'll look at the L.A. teams through Minnesota.

Net differential is the difference between a player's on court net rating and the player's off court net rating. On court net is a lineup-influenced stat while off court net is completely isolated to the individual player. In cases where the player has either a small on court or off court sample, net differential becomes less useful. It is optimal when the player has at least 1000 minutes on and off court. For this reason, net differential is listed only for players with at least 300 minutes on court. All numbers are current as of Thursday's games.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Introducing Net Differential Part II: Evaluating NBA Teams

In Part I, I introduced net differential as a new tool for evaluating the NBA. Net differential is the difference between how an NBA team performs with a player on court and how it performs with that player out of the game. I'm going alphabetically through the entire league. Part I included Atlanta through Cleveland. This post will look at Dallas through Indiana. All numbers are current prior to Friday's games.

Net differential is the difference between a player's on court net rating and the player's off court net rating. On court net is a lineup-influenced stat while off court net is completely isolated to the individual player. In cases where the player has either a small on court or off court sample, net differential becomes less useful. It is optimal when the player has at least 1000 minutes on and off court. For this reason, net differential is listed only for players with at least 300 minutes on court. All numbers are current as of Thursday's games.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Introducing Net Differential Part I: A New Tool for NBA Player Evaluation

By Buddy Grizzard

If you’ve followed my writing, you know I’m one of the most ardent proponents of plus-minus among NBA observers. There’s a very simple reason for this. In the game of basketball, if your team scores more points than the other team, you win. I’m constantly challenged on observations based on plus-minus, but for me the essence is this: Did a player contribute to winning basketball? What follows is an attempt to answer that question in a new way.

When I first joined ESPN TrueHoop Network as a contributor in 2012, stats such as net rating (plus-minus regularized to a per 100 possessions basis instead of the traditional box score, per game basis) were not in common use. On former TrueHoop Hawks blog Hoopinion -- and here on my personal blog RepATL.com -- I compiled plus-minus numbers by hand. When I later became aware of net rating on NBA.com I quickly realized that it gave my observations more force.

For example, in this piece about Larry Drew’s absurd decision to sit Kirk Hinrich in the fourth quarter of Game 3 of the Hawks’ 2012 first round series against the Celtics, I noted that Jannero Pargo was -20 and Willie Green -18 through the series’ first three games while Hinrich was +18. This link shows net rating for those three games. Through Game 3 of the Boston series, the Hawks outscored the Celtics by 3.7 points per 100 possessions with Hinrich on court, but were outscored by 21.7 per 100 with Green on court and 41.7 with Pargo.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Lynching by Laptop: Palast Reveals New Jim Crow System

By Buddy Grizzard

Approximately one in seven African-American voters and one in eight Asian-American voters were purged from the voter rolls in states carried by Donald Trump, according to investigative journalist Greg Palast of Rolling Stone. Palast conducted a press conference Monday at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to share information on Interstate Crosscheck, a voter purge system that is the brainchild of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Trump adviser. When Trump talks about the millions he alleges voted twice, he's stating the rationalization for voter purges via Crosscheck, which may have removed 1.1 million voters -- predominately of color -- from the voter rolls in those states.

"It's probably what you would call intentional and purposeful racial discrimination in voting for Crosscheck to exist," said voting rights activist and attorney Barbara Arnwine at the National Press Club conference. "It is an overly-broad program, it is over-inclusive in violation of the 14th amendment of the constitution, it has clear racially-discriminatory impact and it's avoidable."

Not only is Crosscheck discriminatory but it violates federal law according to Rep. Alcee Hastings of Florida. The former federal judge hand-delivered a Congressional member letter to Attorney General Loretta Lynch requesting an investigation and calling for indictments.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

2016 Atlanta Hawks Season Preview

It's the start of a new NBA season and that means it's time for the annual low expectations for the Atlanta Hawks. During the season premiere of Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley emphatically declared that the Hawks will miss the playoffs this season. Doesn't Barkley do that every year?

ESPN.com currently ranks the Hawks fifth in the Eastern Conference and 13th in the league although NBA.com ranks Atlanta fourth in conference and a surprising eighth in the league. Last season I had outsized expectations for the Hawks with the caveat of a healthy Tiago Splitter. That remains one of the biggest questions facing the Hawks, and Splitter's uncertain health led to the extraordinary step of waiving Jarrett Jack's fully-guaranteed contract for just under $1 million. The Hawks opted to go with only two point guards entering the season so the team could keep both Mike Muscala and Edy Tavares to bolster the front court depth.

My expectations for the Hawks are more modest this season: 50 wins. But that's still higher than most projections. A healthy Splitter last season wouldn't have put the Hawks anywhere near the preceding 60-win season, but just one additional win would have given the Hawks a top three seed and consecutive division championships for the first time in franchise history. Atlanta would have also avoided the Cavaliers in the playoffs unless the teams met in a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals.