Yesterday, I wrote about an athlete named Blake Leeper, who I stumbled across recently. Leeper, who was born without legs below the knee, will be sprinting in next month's Paralympic World Championships in Lyon, France with the aid of the kind of high-tech prosthetic "blades" used by South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius. Despite being born without lower legs, Leeper played basketball and ran cross country throughout high school. Leeper thought his athletic career was over when he gra...
Yeah, I know the draft is already underway. Sue me, I've been busy. Won't go too deep into the weeds on this. Below are the scores each player received in Ye Olde Draft Analyzer (YODA), which is my attempt at developing a system to objectively evaluate NCAA draft prospects. YODA uses box score stats that have been run through a stat formula I've developed to measure a player's overall productivity. It includes adjustments for a prospects age, athletic/physical tools, and his team's streng...
 The IPC Athletics World Championships will be held next month in Lyon, France. Competing for the United States is a sprinter named Blake Leeper, who was born with both legs missing below the knee. He's worn prosthetics since he was nine months old. At birth, the doctor told his mother, Enid that Leeper would never walk."We decided we would treat him as if he did have limbs," Enid said. "No exceptions." Leeper's athletic career was inspired in part by his parents employing some reverse psycholo...
The most important day of the NBA calendar for Wizards fans is upon us -- The NBA Draft Lottery. Tonight, the Wizards will learn just how far back they'll move when the ping pong balls have stopped bouncing. Sitting eighth by virtue of their all-in chase for that elusive ninth "seed," the most likely outcome is the team staying right where they are and ending up with the eighth selection. Here are the chances for each of Washington's possibilities tonight (ordered from greatest likelihood...
So far, I've posted two sets of similarity scores for Wizards players: the Young Guns (Bradley Beal and John Wall), and the Oldsters (Emeka Okafor and Nene). Comparable players for Wall and Beal included a pleasing mix of future All-Stars and All-NBA producers. The comps for Okafor and Nene were solid pros past their primes. Today is the "epic fail" edition -- a look at the team's recent first round picks: Jan Vesely, Kevin Seraphin and Chris Singleton. Is it fair to a...
You won't find me evaluating NFL draft prospects because I assure from the outset: I know nothing. I watch almost zero college football, and the publicly available stats probably mean less in evaluating potential professional football players than they do in any other sport. But, I can still generate draft grades based on what the experts at ESPN say. Over on the ESPN website, their team of football sages evaluate nearly every draftable prospect and assign him a numerical score from 0-100 -- 100...
Since Dan Snyder bought the Redskins 14 years ago, the team has been run like a bizarro fantasy team. Big name free agent? Sign him the moment the clock strikes 12 and the free agency season is open. A Washington free agent? Sign him at a bargain price or let him leave. No big loss -- there's a free agent market full of potential replacements. The results...no so good. Since Snyder took over (including his first season, which was really a team constructed by Charley Casserly and John Kent...
Yesterday, I posted "similarity scores" for the Wizards young guns: John Wall and Bradley Beal. The results left an optimistic afterglow. Their similars were a healthy mix of solid professionals, All-Stars and All-NBA types -- suggesting good things from the team's backcourt duo. Today, I'm pointing the spreadsheet at the oldsters who man the frontcourt: Emeka Okafor and Nene Hilario. I've found the team's strategy of coupling aging big men with youthful guards to be puzzling, but I'...
  At this point in major sports history, there are few "original" players. By that, I mean that players in today's game tend to perform in significant ways like players that preceded them. Careers often follow a familiar trajectory to similar players that came before -- which is one of the big reasons fans and analysts often talk about who a player reminds them of. So far as I know, Bill James (the Godfather of Sports Analytics) was the first to develop "similarity scores," in which he compared...
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