The aggressiveness of San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green was key in the Spurs’ hot start. Usually these two function primarily as finishers. But in Game 3, Leonard and Green attacked mismatches and closeouts, looking to drive the ball to the basket. The NBA’s SportVU Player Tracking Statistics showed that drives (defined as any non-transition touch that starts at least 20 feet from the basket and is dribbled within 10 feet of the basket) by Leonard and Green were more frequent and more effective than usual.Kawhi Leonard’s and Danny Green’s DrivesCombined, Leonard and Green put together 44 points on 17-of-21 shooting, with five assists. This was not so much an explosion of individual excellence, but a reflection of how adaptable the Spurs’ offense is.While Leonard and Green were slashing through the Heat defense, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili were distractions, pulling defensive attention in other directions. According to the SportVU Player Tracking Box Score, Parker and Ginobili touched the ball 82 and 44 times, respectively, essentially the same as their playoff averages coming into the game. But though they had been averaging 19.9 drives per game combined in the playoffs, they had just eight in Game 3. The Heat were focused on bottling up the duo, which usually leads to open outside shots for guys like Leonard and Green. Game 3 of the NBA Finals featured the San Antonio Spurs’ offense at its best. It wasn’t just its 19-point margin of victory over the Miami Heat, 111-92, that impressed, or its 41 points in the first quarter, or that it made 75.8 percent of its shots in the first half; it was the way the players did all this Tuesday night: running their system and taking what the Heat gave them. During the regular season, about a quarter of Leonard’s and Green’s shots were spot-up 3-pointers, according to mySynergySports. But as the Heat pay more attention to chasing those shooters off the 3-point line, the Spurs have attacked open spaces off the dribble. This opportunity doesn’t always present itself because the Spurs’ offense is so good at getting them those open shots. But the beauty of the Spurs’ offense is that when Plan A is stymied, they don’t scramble; they move smoothly on to Plan B or Plan C. Take away Parker’s and Ginobili’s driving lanes, and they kick it out to shooters. Cover up those shooters, and they drive through rotations.This cascade of offensive options usually works inside out (drive and kick out for a 3-pointer), but in Game 3 the Spurs added one more step, working it back inside with these reactive drives by Leonard and Green. During the regular season, about 47 percent of the Spurs’ shots came in the paint. In Game 3, it was 56 percent.The Heat’s offense played at a high level in this game as well, but it was chasing an absurd threshold of efficiency almost from the outset. Miami’s main challenges are figuring out how to raise their own offensive performance and disrupting the Spurs’ offense somewhere in the process. Both look to be difficult.
Just 54 seconds of game time later — after Rodgers pulled the requisite pair of canonizing miracles out of his backside — all the Packers needed to win the game and knock off the second-seeded Cardinals was 2 more yards.As the game went to commercial, I hoped against hope that Mike McCarthy would do the right thing and let that game live or die on Rodgers’s ability rather than try to send the game to overtime, on the road, against a superior opponent.Was I being emotional about what I’d just witnessed? Sure. Even if the Packers ended up winning, it was depriving Rodgers — my sometimes muse — of the opportunity to complete what would have been probably the greatest drive in NFL history. But I also felt the passion of conviction — that this was the right choice — and the desperate hope that the professional NFL decision-maker would have arrived at the same conclusion. With a twinkle in his eye, Richard wished the others luck and let go. It was one of the most satisfying moments of my televiewing life. It filled me with optimism that, yes, human beings are smart and capable creatures. Hatch went on to be the inaugural “Survivor” winner, claiming his $1 million prize (in addition to jail time for failing to pay taxes on it).The opportunity for the Packers to cap off that already legendary drive with a counterintuitive but mathematically sound two-point attempt — whether successful or not — had the potential to be another such reason-affirming moment for me. But alas: The NFL divisional playoff action once again demonstrated that NFL coaches are terrible at basic win-maximizing tactical decisions. In particular, there were two glaring spots where teams failed to go for two despite it being a fairly straightforward decision.In the wake of Green Bay’s loss to Arizona — in which the Packers conceded a relatively routine winning touchdown on the first drive of overtime after spectacularly driving the length of the field (and then some) to tie the game in regulation — debate rages about whether the NFL needs to guarantee that both teams get a possession in OT. Whatever you think of the overtime rules, they are what they are, and under those rules, the Packers abandoned their best chance of winning by kicking the game-tying extra point at the end of regulation instead of going for it.Much more quiet, but no less frustrating, was the call after Kansas City — which never seemed like much of a threat to New England — scored a touchdown with 1:13 left in the game that cut its deficit to 8. No one outside of sports nerd Twitter raised an eyebrow as the Chiefs kicked the extra point to draw within 7, and after they failed to recover their attempted onside kick, it’s likely that no one will ever care. But failing to go for two in this exact situation is one of the clearest and easiest-to-demonstrate mistakes in all of football, and how coaches continue to make this error virtually 100 percent of the time is a melancholy mystery.Look, “advanced” stats can be opaque. In midfield situations, whether to punt or go for it on fourth down, for example, takes some confidence in expected points and expected win models that are statistically somewhat complicated and can sometimes get things a little wrong. Although I think those models are pretty good (or are at least good enough for most of the types of decisions they’re used to analyze), I can see how someone might find them foreign or overly abstracted. And yes, the statsy crowd can be preachy and overconfident. We probably don’t know as much as we think we do, and we often aren’t very good at explaining ourselves to skeptics.1Side note: In my opinion, the term “analytics” is one of the worst things to happen to serious sports analysis, as it created an artificial barrier between traditionally informed methods and data-informed methods. Either way, the goal is to understand the dynamics of a sport to figure out where winning comes from. Some analysts study film, some build statistical models — each method has strengths and weaknesses.But some decisions — like the ones faced by Green Bay and Kansas City — aren’t that complicated. Analyzing them requires no advanced statistical techniques, and solving them requires no more than grade-school-level math and an eye on win maximization.First up: How Green Bay broke my spiritAaron Rodgers got utterly jobbed. To recap — not because you aren’t familiar, but because it’s not possible to relive this too much or too soon — at one point, the Packers’ last drive looked like this: In the first season of “Survivor,” the three final contestants were Richard Hatch, Kelly Wiglesworth and Rudy Boesch. Rudy was everyone’s favorite elderly curmudgeon. There would be one more challenge, and the winner would get an automatic berth in the final and the ability to vote off either of the two remaining opponents. Functionally, this meant they could choose their own opponent in the jury vote, in which eliminated contestants would choose the overall winner. Richard had a long-standing alliance with Rudy and was faced with an interesting strategic conundrum. If he won the final challenge and took Rudy with him, he would likely lose the voting to the lovable old homophobe. But if he betrayed Rudy, all that Rudy love would likely turn into Richard hate, and he would likely lose the jury vote to Kelly.The “Survivor” forums were abuzz with strategic discussions,2Remember, this was all relatively new back then. “Survivor” strategy has since come a long way. and people saw this conundrum coming weeks before it came to fruition. The solution to Richard’s problem — indeed, his only option if he wanted to win — would be to lose his final challenge intentionally. Then if the third player (ultimately Kelly) won, she would be forced to eliminate Rudy herself. (If Rudy won, none of this was likely to matter, as he seemed likely to win the final vote regardless of who his opponent was.) The “will he or won’t he?” suspense when it came down to the final four was amazing. On the one hand, the logic was sound and it was clearly the right choice, but on the other hand, it’s asking a lot to expect someone to see past the seemingly lower-risk play of winning the challenge and guaranteeing his spot in the final two.After whittling the field down to the final three, the anticipated situation finally came to be. The final challenge was called “hands on an idol” — each contestant had to stand on a small log while keeping one hand on a pole, and the last one to break contact would win. At first it looked like Richard was going to play the game straight-up. Hours passed (or so the show told us). Jeff Probst offered an orange to any contestant who wanted to join him. And then, finally, it happened: Now, don’t get me wrong: That the Packers should have gone for two wasn’t obvious. But just because it wasn’t obvious doesn’t mean the call was difficult. This requires no advanced math and could literally be on a middle school homework assignment.The question is: Which is greater, the chances of (1) Aaron Rodgers converting that 2-point conversion, or the chances that the Packers (2) make the extra point and (3) win in overtime? To make this comparison, we need to know or estimate three numbers.Let’s start by looking at league averages:Two-point conversion success rate: Since 2001,3As far back as the play-by-play data set I’m using goes. teams have converted 47.2 percent of their 2-point tries from the 2-yard line (431 of 913).Extra point success rate: Since the inception of the longer extra point this season, NFL kickers have made 94.3 percent of their attempts from the 15-yard line (1,131 of 1,199).Expected winning percentage in overtime: Since 2001, the away team has won in overtime 45.5 percent of the time (110 of 242 overtimes that produced a winner).With these numbers (which used only division), we can find our chances of winning for each option using — wait for it — multiplication.Go for two: With no time left, this is exactly equal to the estimated 2-point success rate: 47.2 percent.Send to overtime: Chances of making extra point multiplied by chances of winning in overtime. 94.3 percent * 45.5 percent = 42.9 percent.There, we already have a baseline 4.3 percentage point advantage to going for two for a typical road team in the Packers’ position, using nothing but grade-school mathematics.But those are just baselines, right? Everyone from coaches to media to fans will tell you that averages miss the hundreds of situation-specific factors at play. This is a technically true but often misleading rejoinder — and one that’s almost always used only to defend the status quo.But in the spirit of accuracy and transparency, I’ve tried to refine the assumptions that go into that calculation above.Two-point conversion success rate: Adjusting for team strength and refining the data to the most comparable situations boosts our estimate to 48.8 percent.Extra point success rate: Adjusting for league trends and kicker Mason Crosby’s skill raises our estimate to 95.9 percent.Expected winning percentage in overtime: Adjusting for the overtime rules changes and playoff dynamics lowers our estimate to 42.6 percent.If you would like a little more detail about how I arrived at those estimates, here is a longish footnote.4OK, here’s a little nitty-gritty: Two-point conversion success rateFirst off, if you believe in momentum or destiny, the fact that Rodgers obviously had miracle mode switched on suggests that his chances of making that conversion were likely closer to 1,000 percent than to 47 percent. (It’s fun watching old-fashioned football types having to choose between old-fashioned concepts like momentum and old-fashioned strategies like playing for overtime!) But seriously, there are good reasons to think that 47.2 percent is low for Rodgers.For one, teams taking 2-point attempts tend to be slightly worse than average — which stems from the fact that teams take 2-point attempts more often when they are behind.Winning teams (teams who finished the season over .500) account for just 41.4 percent of all regular-season 2-point attempts since 2001 and converted exactly 50 percent of them (189 of 378). For comparison: Losing teams made up 46.2 percent of all attempts, converting 44.1 percent, and .500 teams made up 12.4 percent, converting 49.6 percent of them. Of course, being successful in 2-point attempts may ever-so-slightly improve their chances of being a winning team in the first place, but the numbers hold for winning teams playing other winning teams as well. In those cases, teams have converted 50.5 percent of the time (95 of 188). In the playoffs, teams have converted 53.5 percent (23 of 43) of attempts. Also, in the rarer but more neutral situation of fourth-and-goal from the 2 — which is slightly harder than a 2-point conversion because the average distance is greater than 2 yards, plus teams still must exercise some restraint for fear of losing field position on the turnover — teams are 41 of 79 (51.9 percent). Although Arizona had a better record than Green Bay, the trends suggest that team strength has more of an effect on its 2-point conversion chances than opponent strength. Even in cases where a team with nine to 11 wins makes an attempt against a 12-plus-win team, they have made 48.8 percent.(Of course, this is really a question of offensive and defensive goal-line strength, which is a pretty hard quality to isolate independently. In general, however, the dynamic is similar: Offensive strength tends to be more determinative than defensive strength. My suspicion is that this is because one-down two-yard defense is less similar to overall defense than one-down two-yard offense is to overall offense.)Finally, let’s look at some specifics: With Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, in the regular season and playoffs combined, Green Bay has converted 12 of 23 (52.2 percent) of its 2-point tries. This includes 12 of 21 (57.1 percent) when Rodgers throws and 0 of 2 otherwise. Meanwhile, Arizona’s opponents have converted 3 of 6 attempts (50.0 percent) during Bruce Arians’s reign.All things considered, I think it’s likely that the league average of 47.2 percent is low in this situation, though exactly how low may vary depending on other factors, such as the in-game loss of Randall Cobb. However, one important (though slightly more advanced) point to make here is that a wider skill gap between the Packers and Cardinals will virtually always favor going for two. This is because the gap has a bigger impact on the chances of winning overtime than it does on the conversion attempt. My suspicion is that the Packers’ chance of 2-point conversion success was probably above 50 percent, but to play it safe I’ll go with 48.8 percent (essentially the lowest of our higher indicators). Extra point success rateKickers on the whole did a tiny bit worse on extra points than I expected this year. Since I have considerable faith in my kicking projections, I think it’s possible that this baseline reflects some bad luck and should be a little higher.More importantly, Crosby has been a slightly above-average kicker. In fact, this year he made all 36 of his extra points (though he missed two from the shorter distance last season) and has made 49 of 50 kicks from 33 yards during his career. However, he has missed kicks from similar and sometimes shorter distances: For his career he has made 95.3 percent (81 of 85) kicks from 29 to 33 yards (counting this year’s XPs). The rest of the league has made 93.6 percent over the same period.To be conservative, I’ll use a revised assumption of 95.9 percent — league average for such attempts plus how much better Crosby has been than league average over such distances. Expected winning percentage in overtime: The likelihood of a road team facing a stronger opponent in the playoffs winning in overtime is probably lower than the league average for road teams winning in overtime in general.First, the new overtime rule — giving the kicking team a possession even if it gives up a field goal on its opponent’s first possession — makes overtime results less random. That is, the team with the advantage should be more likely to win. So far, this has been reflected in the results: Since the new overtime system was adopted in 2012, the home team has won 58.2 percent (39 of 67) of the time in the regular season.Second, the playoffs aren’t the regular season. Home field in the playoffs is usually earned, as it was in this case by virtue of Arizona’s superior record. Again, although the number of cases is small, the results are in Iine with what we’d expect: The home team does even better in the playoffs, having won 68.8 percent (11 of 16) before the Arizona game.As for this particular situation, there are other reasons to be skeptical of the Packers’ chances in OT. Although they ran reasonably well against Arizona, they passed poorly — and passing is even more important in overtime. There are a couple of reasons for this: One, if you get the ball first and score a touchdown, you win. Another is that you may find yourself in desperate situations if your opponent gets the ball first and scores a field goal. Note that 101 of Green Bay’s 251 passing yards came on Rodgers’s two Hail Marys on that last drive. And it wasn’t even a great drive otherwise: Under normal circumstances, it would have ended in a punt from out of the Packers’ own end zone. (In other words, the Packers offense wasn’t suddenly rolling like the Seahawks in the second half against Carolina.)So let’s go with a conservative estimate of a 42.6 percent chance of a Packers victory in OT. That actually feels slightly high to me, but it’s apparently what the live markets thought, plus it’s right around how well away teams have done under the new rules (41.8 percent, above).So here’s where we stand under our revised assumptions:Go for two: Equals estimated 2-point success rate: 48.8 percent.Send to overtime: Chances of making extra point multiplied by chances of winning in overtime. 95.9 percent * 42.6 percent = 40.9 percent.Naturally, these educated guess assumptions could be off in various respects, but that 8 percentage point gap is hard to overcome. When people who argue that there’s too much uncertainty to buck the status quo actually list the variables they have in mind (unfortunately, they often don’t), they tend to overestimate the amount that situation-specific variables affect the balance of probabilities. And the variables cited often don’t even cut the way they think they do. For example: In this case, an oft-cited factor is that the Packers’ receiving corps was weakened by injuries, including the loss of Randall Cobb earlier in the game. But, as I discussed in the footnotes, anything that makes the Packers weaker relative to the Cardinals is likely to hurt their chances in overtime more than their chances of converting the 2-point try.Thus, our best (and perhaps slightly conservative) estimate is that the Packers cost themselves about 7.9 percent of a win by kicking rather than going for two, and this whole thing could have been avoided if NFL coaches took the time to sit down and learn some basic percentages.Kansas City fails to butter its toastIn Kansas City, we fast-forward past the long, grueling slog down the field that Andy Reid perpetrated on Chiefs fans. That was painful to watch, but it was a problem of tactics and execution, not arithmetic. Reid went so far as to say that right up until the onside kick, things went exactly as planned. Except the plan went off-rail one play before, when the Chiefs kicked the extra point — an error that is in some ways even more frustrating than the Packers’ because it’s so so simple and has been clear for so long: If you are down 14 and score a touchdown late in the game — where you are very likely to have only one more scoring opportunity, at most — you should go for two.5Note this is a de minimis example. The principle should apply more broadly.This doesn’t require any modeling, it requires just a little thought and a little more grade-school math.In a situation like the Chiefs’ — where there was only 1:13 remaining — it doesn’t matter that their chances of recovering an onside kick and scoring another touchdown are very, very small. We don’t forgo safety checks on airplanes because the odds of a crash are small, and you shouldn’t ignore basic win maximization just because it will only earn you the occasional extra win.The key is to assume you get the second touchdown (and in K.C.’s case, recover the onside kick, but the logic is the same when you have time to kick off and go for a defensive stop) — because if you don’t, it doesn’t matter what you do now, you lose. Once that little leap is taken, this all flows from a little multiplication.If you kick an extra point, you are essentially playing to make two extra points and win in overtime.6You could also kick the extra point now and then go for two after your next touchdown, though if you are planning to go for two at some point, it is far more advantageous to do it now.As above, let’s use league averages. Assume a 94.3 percent chance of making each extra point and a 45.5 percent chance of winning on the road in in overtime.Your chances of winning this way are 94.3 percent * 94.3 percent * 45.5 percent = 40.4 percent.7Slight mismatch due to rounding. 40.4 is based on unrounded calculation. Add in the small chance that you’ll miss the extra point but then make up for it with a successful 2-point attempt, and your overall chances of winning with this strategy are 41.7 percent (of the times that you get the second touchdown).Now, if you go for two and make it (which you should about 47.2 percent of the time), you can win by kicking an extra point (94.3 percent) after your second TD, or (much less frequently) by missing your extra point but still winning in overtime. If you go for two and don’t make it (which will happen 52.8 percent of the time), you can still win by going for two again (47.2 percent) and making it and then winning in overtime.Chances of making 2-point conversion and XP: 44.5 percentChances of making 2-point conversion, missing XP and winning in OT anyway: 1.2 percentChances of missing 2-point conversion, making second attempt and winning in OT anyway: 11.3 percent Combined chances of winning: 57.1 percent (of the times that you get the second touchdown)I won’t bother going into detail trying to find perfect assumptions as I did above, because this calculation isn’t close enough for them to be necessary. Even if you assume a 50 percent chance of winning in overtime and a 100 percent chance of making your extra points, you still only need around a 38.5 percent chance of making each 2-point conversion (which would be absolutely terrible) to make going for it the better play.Despite its obvious correctness, this is pretty much never done in the NFL. The only case of a coach going for two after a touchdown brought the team within 8 points in the fourth quarter since 2001 was Brian Billick with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001. Further back is murkier, though according to Football Perspective, the only time a team trailing by 14 has ever scored a touchdown and a two-point conversion to cut the deficit to six in the modern era was the 1994 Cleveland Browns — coached by none other than Bill Belichick.And finallyAnother year, another year with NFL coaches not doing their jobs and not being taken to task for it. By now, coaches have no excuse for not having mastered basic decisions like these.People say coaches are afraid of media criticism. But they’re professionals, among the handful of elite who are capable of doing what they do. If a coach cares what the media thinks, let him explain his logic.I recall when the current replay system was implemented, there was concern that people wouldn’t be able to understand what it meant that there had to be “indisputable evidence” to overturn the ruling on the field — even though burdens of proof have been an essential part of our judicial system since this country’s founding.It took a little while, but the refs, and then the media, and eventually fans all came around, and now you can go to your local dive bar and hear arguments in the form of, “It looked like a catch to me, but there obviously isn’t indisputable evidence to overturn the call. Sucka.”It’s time to do the same with arithmetic.
Jay-Z, a minority owner of his hometown Brooklyn Nets, has begun the process of selling his stake in the team so that he can become an NBA agent, according to a Yahoo! report.ESPN’s Darren Rovell tweeted that Jay-Z’s .067 percent (1/15th of a percent) stake in the Nets is worth approximately $350,000, and he could sell it tomorrow if he wanted to.Jay-Z would be required to relinquish his stake in the team in order to represent NBA clients as an agent. Rovell reports that the league told him he had to sell after he announced his desire to become an agent.“It would be disappointing [if he left],” Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said to Yahoo! “I’d be disappointed.“He had an enormous amount to do with the rebranding of the team. I wasn’t close to it at all, but from what I’ve seen, it would be hard to overstate his importance in this all. I like his involvement in the team; he’s at the games, and maybe he’s around more than I realize behind the scenes. But he’s an excellent fan, one that wasn’t just around this year, but a lot in the past too, which is very telling to me.”Nets CEO Brett Yormark would not comment.Jay-Z’s Roc Nation recently partnered with Creative Artist Agency (CAA) and landed New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano as his first client.
Check out win and loss projections and playoff odds for all 32 NFL teams. Mariota still had the third-highest AY/A in Week 2 of any of these 17 rookies while recording the fifth-largest number of attempts.While 15 of 17 QBs (unsurprisingly) regressed in Week 2, there are other interesting patterns: Looking at just the 11 Hall-eligible QBs, the six who didn’t make the Hall — the more fluky ones, if you like — were more likely to have larger performance declines and were more likely to have fewer pass attempts in Week 2 than the five who are in Canton. Those who made the Hall either maintained a relatively high (7+) yards per attempt (Kelly, Moon) or increased their attempts (Bob Griese, Fran Tarkenton, Moon).6Roger Staubach didn’t play in Week 2. Moon — who was only sort of a rookie — is the only one who did both. Until Mariota, that is.7I think it’s interesting how the more recent QBs (at least those not named Sanchez) all have very similar vectors, although Mariota’s looms over the others. In other words, Mariota’s Week 2 loss wasn’t really a let-down at all. If anything, it puts him in the upper tier of high-performing debuts, and that tier has an amazing track record.Any QB can have a two-game hot streak. But the (Bayesian) calculus for a rookie is very different than for a veteran, which allows us to read more into such a small sample than usual. When looking at unusually good performances like this, broadly speaking, there are two possible explanations: This player just happens to be the lucky one of dozens or hundreds of competitors. Or the player is really something special. When you have a track record of being average, the odds tend to favor the former. But for a rookie, when anything is still possible, the odds favor the latter.Charts by Reuben Fischer-Baum.Reminder: If you tweet NFL questions to me @skepticalsports, there is a non-zero chance that I’ll answer them in Skeptical Football. The Titans vs. the Colts may seem like a boring 1-1 vs. 0-2 matchup, but for my interests, there may be no more exciting game on the schedule this weekend than Marcus Mariota vs. Andrew Luck in just the third game of Mariota’s career. After Mariota’s Week 1 performance — four touchdowns in his first 13 pass attempts (before getting yanked for the entire fourth quarter like he was a Pro Bowler) in a win over the hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers — Mariota’s cleats are already in the Hall of Fame. So that leaves us to wonder: Will Mariota eventually join them?It might seem kind of early to try to answer that question, what with small sample size and all. But one of my favorite exercises in broader stats is trying to find situations where extremely small samples are sufficient to make broader inferences. For example, I mentioned last year that games as early as Week 2 or 3 in the NFL really can be “must-wins” — even for teams that have an established record. (Indeed, it may be one of the rare situations in which talking heads underestimate the significance of individual games.) Great performances by young athletes in sports are another case where small samples may be signaling something.Let’s take this as an opportunity to jump the gun.1Full disclosure: Mariota attended Saint Louis High School in Hawaii — a rival to a high school I attended. To this day, I am convinced that Punahou rules and Saint Louis drools.So how does Mariota’s break-in game stack up against other Week 1 debuts, and what have similar performances signaled in the past?I’ve written previously about the most important things to watch for when trying to size up the career prospects of rookie QBs: playing time and raw production (rather than passing efficiency). Sure, situations vary and some QBs benefit from sitting on the bench to learn the game for a few years, but on average, the bench-riders are less successful than those who earn their way onto the field immediately and are able to move the ball when they get there.2Note that this doesn’t imply that any given rookie should be thrown into the fire. Much of the effect results from better rookies being thrown into the fire in the first place. However, the effect still holds even after adjusting for draft position. But this isn’t a usual case of rookie-watching.There have been 75 QBs since 1960 who had at least 10 pass attempts in Week 1 of their rookie year. Seven of them are now in the Hall of Fame. (For comparison, there have been 870 quarterbacks drafted in this period, 12 of whom are in the hall.)3There are 13 quarterbacks in the Hall who debuted in this era. The 13th is Warren Moon, who was not drafted. Of those 75, only 17 put up 7.5 adjusted yards per attempt (AY/A)4A stat that adjusts yards per attempt for touchdowns and interceptions. It’s similar to passer rating but more predictive. or better in that first game. Mariota was the 17th: Just three of the 12 eligible QBs drafted No. 1 overall have made it, and just one of the 40 QBs drafted between Nos. 2 and 11 overall has made it.So Week 1 performance is a better predictor of Hall of Fame chances than draft position. But there’s more: Standout Week 1 performances are about as good (or better) of a predictor of Hall of Fame status as entire standout first seasons. For example, as mentioned above, of the 11 eligible QBs with the top Week 1 performances (by AY/A), five have made the Hall. Compare that with the 11 eligible QBs with the top rookie seasons overall (by AY/A, minimum of 250 attempts) — just three have made the Hall.5There have been 76 QBs with at least 250 attempts in their rookie year since 1960 overall, eight of whom are in the Hall.Voila, Mariota is set for immortality, right? Not yet. There are two issues with Mariota’s claim. One is that auspicious debuts have seemingly gotten more common in the recent pass-happy era, so perhaps their significance should be discounted. Two, Mariota had only 16 pass attempts, which is an even smaller sample than usual. Though, to be fair, he practically lapped the field: If he had had 32 attempts and gained 0 yards on the second 16, it still would have been one of the top debuts by AY/A, and he still would have made the chart above, somewhere between Warren Moon and Jim Kelly.Which brings us to his “let-down” loss against Johnny Manziel’s Browns in Week 2. Mariota had just over 8 AY/A in that game — less than half what he produced the week before! So let’s see where that stacks up against the other hot-handed rookies: Six of these quarterbacks are still active, but of the 11 who are eligible for the Hall of Fame, five have made it.In other words, 45 percent of eligible QBs who had debuts anywhere close to Mariota’s turned out to be all-timers. And make no mistake, that rate is fantastic — even for a No. 2 overall draft pick like Mariota. For comparison, here’s how many of the QBs drafted in the first round since 1960 and who retired before 2010 have actually made the Hall:
DETROIT — What if I told you that in today’s stats-obsessed league — where everything, including the arc of a shooter’s jump shot and the length of a player’s stride, can be spliced and measured — perhaps the most efficient scorer in modern NBA history couldn’t get off the bench most nights?That’s the reality for 7-foot-3 Pistons center Boban Marjanovic, who scores with unprecedented efficiency when he is on the court.1Since the 1973-74 season, which predates the ABA-NBA merger. Among players who’ve averaged 30 points per 100 possessions and played in at least 100 regular-season games, no player has been able to match Marjanovic in points per shot attempt, and those who have come closest are either already in the Hall of Fame or likely will be one day. He also currently leads the NBA2Among those who’ve played 10 games or more so far this season. by a wide margin in points per touch, according to data from Second Spectrum. The most efficient players in modern NBA historyLeaders in career points per shot attempt, 1974-2018 Shaquille O’Neal1993-20111.47 Charles Barkley1985-20001.52 James Harden2010-20181.51 Marjanovic, the undrafted 29-year-old Serb, has accomplished this in relative anonymity. While he might be a favorite among basketball die-hards and members of the Reddit community devoted to him, Boban will not be at the NBA All-Star game next month, and no throngs of teenagers are lining up to buy his jersey at the NBA store. And he’s only played in 13 games so far this season, a clear sign that his scoring touch doesn’t mask his other shortcomings, which are on display each time he steps on the court. Because he lacks foot speed on defense and is largely tethered to the paint on that end, opponents — particularly those with sharpshooting stretch bigs — can exploit him with the high pick-and-roll.Both sides of the double-edged sword were on display during the Pistons’ loss in Miami Wednesday night, a game in which Marjanovic got his fifth career start while one-time All-Star Andre Drummond sat out with a rib injury. Marjanovic displayed his usual soft touch around the basket, finishing with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting and nine rebounds in just 22 minutes. That production is in line with his career 1.62 points per shot attempt.Still, even with that sort of offensive firepower, the Heat — who drilled 17 threes, tied for the most Detroit’s allowed all season — were able to chase Boban off the floor whenever they downsized by playing Kelly Olynyk at center. In fact, Olynyk reeled off eight consecutive points to put Miami on an 8-0 run within two minutes of that shift; the run prompted Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy to call time and subsequently limit Marjanovic’s minutes to whenever Olynyk wasn’t playing at the 5.Watch here as Miami finds a way to exploit Marjanovic’s presence, or lack thereof, on these three plays. On the first, Miami’s Tyler Johnson comes off a screen, but Marjanovic doesn’t hedge far enough, which forces Pistons guard Reggie Bullock to defend both Johnson and Olynyk on the same play (though he’s too late to do anything about Olynyk’s open shot). During the second play, Marjanovic contains Johnson after a switch, but Olynyk capitalizes on the miss by grabbing the board over the Detroit wings, who are left to fend for themselves in the paint. On the most glaring of the three plays, Olynyk gets a wide-open look in transition after Marjanovic fails to pick him up as a trailer.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/bobanstruggles.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.That sequence explains how Marjanovic has become one of the bigger chess pieces in basketball the past few seasons — one who can trigger an immediate substitution from one side or the other based on his sheer size and skill set. But his situation as a historically efficient scorer who still doesn’t see consistent playing time also speaks to how the abundance of perimeter shooting in today’s NBA has made life nearly impossible for rim-protecting 7-footers who lack the mobility to come out and defend past the free-throw line.“It’s tough, because you’re dealing with a lot of guys who can really stretch the floor, and you’ve got to be able to defend out to 25 feet,” Van Gundy said of Marjanovic, who just broke the 100-minute mark for the season Wednesday and has yet to play 1,000 career minutes in three seasons. “He’s worked hard at [improving his lateral footwork], so I’m confident in him being able to play against a lot of people. But when you get really far away from the basket, it’s a little tough on him.”A few numbers highlight how much Marjanovic struggles with perimeter-oriented bigs. So far this season, he is defending 14 midrange and 3-point tries per 100 shot attempts, the most in the NBA among the 365 players who’ve contested at least 30 such shots so far, according to Second Spectrum. Exacerbating the issue even more: Players are shooting about 15 effective field-goal percentage points better than expected against him from that range, according to Second Spectrum data, the worst gap of any center in the league to this point.None of this is to suggest that Marjanovic, who signed with the Spurs as a free agent back in 2015, has no skill on defense. Coming into this season, he held opposing players to far less than their usual averages when shooting within six feet of the rim, likely the result of his disruptive 7-foot-8 wingspan and 9-foot-7 standing reach that make him one of the largest players in NBA history. And if he had played enough minutes to qualify for the leaderboard, Marjanovic’s career total rebound percentage (21.9 percent) would put him right behind former Piston Dennis Rodman, who holds the best rate of all time (23.4 percent).But above all else, Marjanovic is a scorer. He’s very good at establishing position near the basket.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/boban.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.And once he catches the ball, either off an entry pass or after a teammate has lofted it to where only he can catch it, he has an array of moves that make him even more difficult to guard.Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/boban2.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Van Gundy said that part of the challenge in playing Marjanovic is timing, adding that he believes Boban matches up fairly well with a number of traditional centers around the league. But if the opposing club starts a traditional big man, then replaces him with a floor-spacer off the bench, that makes it difficult for Van Gundy to find a scenario where he can sub Marjanovic into the action. Doing so would require pulling Drummond, Detroit’s best player, or likely compromising the Pistons’ perimeter defense against a stretch big, as was the case Wednesday with Olynyk.Marjanovic has long known that developing quicker feet on defense is the key to seeing more minutes. “You can’t make someone tall like me, and you can’t make someone quick like [Pistons guard] Ish Smith,3Who, according to Second Spectrum data, is currently the NBA’s fastest player on average.” said Marjanovich, a gym rat who referenced the time he spent working with future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan in an effort to improve defensively. “But you can make small improvements that help, and you can use your mind to study, so you know what play is coming sometimes.”Video Playerhttps://fivethirtyeight.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/bobanslow.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who coached Boban when the center first came into the league and eventually talked him into taking the Pistons’ far richer contract offer in restricted free agency, acknowledged that someone like Marjanovic probably could have had a lot more success in an earlier era of basketball — when slow-footed big men like Rik Smits, Kevin Duckworth and Bill Cartwright were averaging big minutes each night and seldom drifting from the paint. But Popovich said he respects all the work his former pupil has put in, despite the fact that there’s only so much he can do to fix his weaknesses.“You am what you am,” Popovich told me. “It’s our job to figure out who these guys are. People talk about players changing. Some some guys add skill, but they don’t change their DNA and their physical abilities and gifts that they have. Some have more than others. And you deal with that.” Boban Marjanovic2016-20181.62 PlayerYearsPoints per shot attempt Adrian Dantley1977-19911.53 For players with a mininmum of 30 points per 100 possessions in 100 regular-season games.Source: Basketball-Reference
OSU redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett (16) carries the ball while redshirt senior tight end Nick Vannett (81) looks for a defender to block during a game against Michigan on Nov. 28. OSU won, 42-13. Credit: Samantha Hollinshead | Photo EditorA pair of last-second field goals kept both No. 7 Ohio State and No. 8 Notre Dame from reaching their ultimate goals of a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff, but the two storied programs are set to square off in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Day as a consolation.The 1 p.m. showdown at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, comes after each team barely missed a chance for more.The Buckeyes (11-1) were sitting at No. 3 on Nov. 21 before a field goal as time expired by Michigan State was the one and only blow needed to put an end to their playoff chances.Seven days later, the then-No. 6 Fighting Irish (10-2) experienced similar heartbreak, as a go-ahead touchdown with 30 seconds remaining against Stanford was swiftly marred by a sprint down the field by the Cardinal offense, ending with a 45-yard field goal as time ran out.Despite falling short of its ultimate goal, OSU coach Urban Meyer said his team is thrilled to receive the draw it did.“There’s no disappointment,” Meyer said during a Sunday press conference. “You start talking about that level of football, that level of bowl game, the level of opponent you’re going to play, and you just get locked on.”However, Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly said during a coaches teleconference later in the day he would have liked to have seen the playoff be open to eight teams rather than four, which would’ve allowed both OSU and the Fighting Irish to sneak in.“Clearly these eight teams are all very good football teams,” Kelly said. “I don’t know if we’ll be able to hold it at four. But I think we’ve got it right right now. I don’t know that the committee is interested in going to eight right now. But I think if college football continues on the path it is, it’s going to be more and more difficult to keep it at four.”While each of the programs have existed since the late 19th century, the Fiesta Bowl will mark only the sixth time they have squared off with one another.The most recent matchup came on Jan. 2, 2006, also in the Fiesta Bowl. That game saw former OSU quarterback Troy Smith throw for 342 yards en route to a 34-20 victory.Overall, the Buckeyes hold a 3-2 series advantage, winning the past three games after losing in consecutive years in 1936 and 1937.Welcoming the new year in Arizona is nothing unfamiliar to either team. OSU is set to make its seventh appearance in the Fiesta Bowl, more than any other team, while Notre Dame is gearing up for its fifth. The teams are 4-2 and 1-3 in the game, respectively. One very memorable trip for OSU came in January 2003, when a double-overtime victory over Miami (Fla.) delivered the Buckeyes a national championship.How the Irish got thereNotre Dame’s season seemed to take an early turn for the worse when redshirt sophomore quarterback Malik Zaire was lost for the season in the second game with a broken ankle.He was replaced by redshirt freshman DeShone Kizer, a product of Toledo. Despite never leading a huddle in his collegiate career prior, Kizer had a strong year, throwing for 2,600 yards and 19 touchdowns and running for nine more scores.“We knew DeShone’s makeup, the kind of kid he was, the character he had,” Kelly said. “He went in, made a lot of plays, gained confidence. As his confidence grew, we were able to add more to his plate. Really proud of the way he handled himself.”Though the Fighting Irish lost a pair of games by two points to Clemson and Stanford, teams that ended up being ranked No. 1 and No. 6, respectively, Kelly said he is very happy with how the season turned out, especially coming off an 8-5 campaign in 2014 that ended with a trip to the Motor City Bowl.The coach credited some of the sustained success after losing his starting quarterback to borrowing the model OSU set the year before, when it went on to win the national championship despite losing its first- and second-string quarterbacks in Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett to injuries.“Urban had a similar situation last year. We kind of stole a little bit of what they did last year: not making any excuses, just going and playing,” Kelly said. “The kids really responded to that, in particular DeShone did and was able to lead our football team to some big wins.”Staff connectionsThe coaching staff of OSU is deep with Notre Dame connections, starting all the way at the top.Meyer was hired away from Colorado State before the 1996 season to become Notre Dame’s wide receivers coach. He stayed there until before the 2001 season, when he received his first head coaching job at Bowling Green.“That was a dream come true,” Meyer said during the teleconference. “That was my first exposure as a full-time coach to that level of football.”Kelly arrived at Notre Dame in 2010 by way of Cincinnati — the same school that Meyer graduated from in 1986.In addition, Meyer has been active in recruiting his coaches out of Kelly’s program. Of the nine coordinators and position coaches on Meyer’s staff, three were hired away from Kelly.For the first five years of Kelly’s tenure in South Bend, Indiana, his wide receivers coach — and later running backs coach — was Tony Alford. Before this season, Meyer hired Alford away from Kelly as OSU’s running backs coach, ending his six-year stint with the Fighting Irish.OSU offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Ed Warinner also worked under Kelly at Notre Dame in 2010 and 2011 as the Fighting Irish’s offensive line coach. He then took a job at OSU upon Meyer’s arrival in 2012.Following the same path as Warinner was Tim Hinton, who also left his two-year stint under Kelly when Meyer assembled his coaching staff at OSU. Hinton was Notre Dame’s running backs coach, and is now OSU’s tight ends and fullbacks coach.
Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell pulls up for a shot in the second half against Wisconsin at the Schottenstein Center on Jan. 19. OSU won 70-61. Credit: Jacob Myers | Assistant Sports EditorThe No. 15 Ohio State women’s basketball team walked away from its first win in Williams Arena since 2011 after Thursday night’s game, beating the Minnesota Gophers 88-76.The Buckeyes (18-5, 8-1 Big Ten) were lead by junior guard Kelsey Mitchell with 25 points where she also racked up two assists and five rebounds. She was followed by senior forward Shayla Cooper with 18 points. Redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga dominated on both sides of the ball getting her ninth double-double of the season with 13 points and 16 rebounds. Mitchell passed former Minnesota player Lindsay Whalen in the Big Ten all-time scoring list, becoming the Big Ten’s tenth all-time scorer after ending Thursday’s game with 2,287 career points. OSU struggled in the first quarter. Minnesota (11-10, 2-6 Big Ten) came out in a 2-3 zone and swarmed OSU’s shooters, holding the Buckeyes to an 0-for-5 start from beyond the arc. The Gophers also forced six OSU turnovers, and held a one point lead after the first quarter.In the second quarter, the Buckeyes found their rhythm offensively as the Big Ten’s leading scorer found her groove. Mitchell hit three straight shots midway through the quarter to swing the momentum in OSU’s favor. In the third, the Gophers couldn’t stop Cooper, as she hit several open jumpers from the elbow. Additionally, the Buckeyes came out of halftime and got to the line more and knocked down their shots, knocking down 7-of-9 free throws in the third.Two minutes into the last quarter of play, Minnesota junior guard Carlie Wagner hit a wide-open 3-pointer to cut the lead to three and got the crowd into the game. However, Minnesota relinquished momentum when Mavunga grabbed an offensive rebound and hit the put-back shot. Wagner went on to score 34 points, but OSU’s offense kept the score in its favor.OSU scored 26 in the last quarter of play, and finished with 50 percent shooting from the field as a team. The Buckeyes will look to continue their winning streak to five, facing the Nebraska Cornhuskers at the Schottenstein Center on Sunday at noon.
Behind a career night in 3-point shooting by senior Jon Diebler, the No. 2 Ohio State men’s basketball team remained undefeated as it breezed past Florida Gulf Coast University, 83-55, Wednesday night at the Schottenstein Center. After missing his first two shots, Diebler picked apart FGCU’s zone defense, making nine 3-point shots in a row en route to scoring a career-high 29 points. His nine 3-pointers tied Jay Burson’s OSU single-game record set in 1988. “It’s just one of those nights, I guess,” Diebler said. “It just feels like you can throw the ball in the ocean and it’s going to go in.” The Buckeyes jumped out to an 18-3 lead with 11 minutes remaining in the first half and never looked back. Freshman guard Jordan Sibert assisted a one-handed dunk by classmate Lenzelle Smith for the final score of the half, bringing OSU’s lead to 42-16 at intermission. The Eagles didn’t help their cause, committing 16 first-half turnovers against a disciplined OSU defense that didn’t allow a free throw during the game’s first 16 minutes. The Buckeyes also collected 11 offensive rebounds in the first half. After committing three first-half turnovers, the Buckeyes got off to a sloppy start in the second half, doubling their turnover total in the first five minutes. The Eagles took advantage of the Buckeyes’ mistakes, doubling their own point total within the first eight minutes of the second half. “You’re ultimately striving for 40 minutes of great basketball,” said OSU coach Thad Matta. “A lot of times, you need a hard lesson to get that across.” FGCU cut the Buckeyes’ lead to 19 with less than 11 minutes remaining in the game. But Diebler fired back on the next possession with his seventh 3-pointer of the game, stretching OSU’s lead to 57-35 and sparking a second-half scoring streak for the Buckeyes, who led by as many as 33 points. Freshman Jared Sullinger scored 11 points and grabbed three rebounds despite playing just nine minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. Junior William Buford added a season-high 17 points, becoming the 47th Buckeye to score 1,000 points in a career. Diebler and senior David Lighty also have achieved that milestone. “It’s a real honor,” Buford said. “To look in the books before the game and see the people did reach 1,000. They were the greats at Ohio State.” The Buckeyes return to action Saturday when they host South Carolina, their final non-conference opponent from a major conference.
Since then Dr McCourt has drawn up plans for five-day strikes in protest at the terms – despite previously describing the contract as “safe” and “fair”. The doctors challenging her are members of Justice for Health, a campaign group which is waiting to hear the judgement of a High Court case which accused the Health Secretary of acted beyond his powers in forcing the contract’s imposition.Dr White said he and Dr Masood were seeking the leadership of the key committee, because they were concerned that the union was failing to properly communicate with its members and with the public. It comes amid deep divisions within the medical profession about the planned strikes, which senior doctors have urged the union to call off.Dr McCourt was only elected as chair of the BMA’s JDC in July.That followed the resignation of then chairman Dr Johann Malawana, when a poll of junior doctor rejected the contract he had backed. Dr Ben White (far left) and Dr Nadia Masood (far right) will challenge Dr Ellen McCourt to leadership of the BMA’s junior doctors committeeCredit:Alexander Christie The junior doctor leading strike action is to be challenged over her position, as medics descend into war over whether to embark on week-long walkouts.A meeting today will see an attempt to depose Dr Ellen McCourt as chairman of the British Medical Association’s junior doctors committee (JDC) amid furious rows about plans for weeks of strikes.The medic – who has only been in post since July – will be challenged for the leadership of the committee by two junior doctors who believe the union has failed to communicate with its members, while leading them into the most extreme action in NHS history.The all-day meeting will decide whether to proceed with repeated five-day walkouts, which are due to start on October 5th. Senior medics and the head of the NHS have raised fears that lives will be lost if up to 50,000 doctors abandon their posts for a week a month, in the run up to Christmas. Last week, a meeting of the union’s council urged the committee to think again and to consider former of protest against their new contract which are less likely to put patients at risk.Now the JDC will meet to discuss whether to go ahead, or scale back or cancel action.Until now, strikes have been limited to two days.A number of doctors are calling for strikes to be restricted to such timescales, amid growing concern about the safety of strike action, as the NHS heads into winter, and fears of a public backlash.The union abandoned the first five-day strike – due earlier this month – following warnings that it was too dangerous, after receiving thousands of letters from thousands of doctors. Saturday’s all day meeting will hold elections, at which Dr Ben White and Dr Nadia Masood – two junior doctors who are leading a legal challenge against the contract – will jointly challenge Dr Ellen McCourt for leadership of the committee. Junior doctors are due to embark on three five-day strikes starting on October 5Credit:Christopher Pledger A number of doctors have raised concerns that the BMA launched plans for five-day strikes, on the basis of a ballot almost a year ago, despite the fact opposition to the contract has fallen significantly, after a series of concessions were made.Over the last week, the union has begun polling thousands of members to see if they would really take part in week long action, ahead of Saturday’s crunch meeting.Dr White said he was opposed to the contract, but concerned that the BMA was failing to communicate properly with junior doctors, so it could represent their views.“I think it is really important that we can engage and convince the membership so that we can get a successful resolution to this matter,” he said.“Myself and Nadia want to get a feeling of unity among doctors and that is the best way to get a resolution,” he said. “The one thing we would want to change, to improve, is communication with members.”Dr White said he wanted to see the BMA consider actions other than five-day strikes, but that decisions should be based on the will of the union’s members.The meeting will examine the results of surveys and meetings of junior doctors across the country.“We need to take a decision very quickly, looking at the results of the survey and all the views of the members of the JDC,” he said. “The survey is the biggest single source of data.”The junior doctor – who resigned from his post on live TV earlier this year, in protest to the new contract – refused to say if he would back week-long strikes but said: “I do have in mind some different things.”Both Dr White and Dr Masood were recently elected as regional JDC members and would remain so, supporting Dr McCourt, if they were not elected to replace her, he said.A spokeswoman for the BMA said the meeting was private and would not disclose any matters due for discussion. 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Andy Murray in action at WimbledonCredit:Getty The fines highlight the pressure players are competing under at what is regarded as the world’s greatest tennis tournament, with Grand Slam officials quick to crack down on any offence deemed to be against the rules and the spirit of the game. It came after the Australian admitted in a post-match Press conference that he had faked an injury during his straight-sets loss to the German Mischa Zverev in the first round, and that he was “bored” with Wimbledon.And Daniil Medvedev was handed three individual fines totalling $14,500 (£11,200) – the third highest amount since records began in 1991 – for unsportsmanlike conduct, when he threw coins at the umpire’s chair on Wednesday. This year’s Wimbledon has seem some of the worst behaviour by players in recent years, figures for fines imposed so far during the championships have shown.Tournament officials have handed out the second highest recorded financial penalty in Wimbledon’s history, imposing a $15,000 (£11,500) fine on Bernard Tomic for “unsportsmanlike conduct”. The money raised from fines goes towards the Grand Slam Development Fund, which pays for tennis scholarships in developing countries. It was this system which produced Jelena Ostapenko, the unseeded Latvian player who went on to win the French Open this year. Bernard Tomic of Australia in action on TuesdayCredit:David Ramos/Getty #Medvedev should be stripped of his prize money and banned from #Wimbledon for life disgusting behaviour— Jan Sez (@BaffledBookworm) July 5, 2017 The Wimbledon champion said he hopes authorities intervene to stop the practise which has split opinion among players and commentators at the championships.The row began on Tuesday after Roger Federer questioned rules which meant that players who started matches but then withdrew were still entitled to collect £35,000. Two successive matches on Centre Court were cut short when the opponents of Federer and Novak Djokovic withdrew.Tomic’s fine exceeds that handed out to Heather Watson in 2016 when she was fined $12,000 (£9,000 at the time) for smashing her racquet against the court during her first-round loss to Annika Beck. The Australian player’s behaviour also led to him being dropped by one of his two principal sponsors, the racquet manufacturer Head.In a statement, Head said: “We were extremely disappointed with the statements made at Wimbledon by one of our sponsored athletes, Bernard Tomic.“His opinions in no way reflect our own attitude for tennis, our passion, professionalism and respect for the game.”But Tomic said he would appeal against the fine, saying: “I was being honest. People are saying the fine is for calling for the doctor, but it’s not. I don’t think the fine is fair.”A contrite Medvedev apologised for his behaviour following his match, saying: “I was disappointed with the result. In the heat of the moment, I did a bad thing. I apologize for this.” Players are under greater scrutiny because the prize money has gone upTim Henman The Russian was fined $4,000 as a warning for insulting the Portuguese umpire, Mariana Alvez; $3,000 for again insulting the umpire and $7,500 for tossing the coins at her chair. In just the first three days of this year’s championships a total of $33,500 (£25,900) in fines has been handed out for unsportsmanlike conduct.That compares to the total $93,500 (£70,700) handed out during the whole of last year’s tournament and the $62,500 (£40,000) levied against players in 2015. Tim Henman, the former British number one and four times Wimbledon semi finalist, said: “Players are under greater scrutiny because the prize money has gone up.”He added: “I think one thing for sure the club have done a good job is really protecting the court. You smash your racquet on a grass court there’ll be some unhappy groundsmen and you’ll get some pretty big fines.”The money will be docked from the players’ prize money, with Tomic losing a third of the £35,000 he earned for his first round appearance.It comes as Andy Murray weighed into the row over players withdrawing from their first round games at Wimbledon and still picking up prize money by calling for changes to be made. The highest recorded single fine in Wimbledon history remains that given to Fabio Fognini, who plays Murray on Friday.He was fined $20,000 (£11,600 at the time) in 2014 for unsportsmanlike conduct, after he angrily threw his racket on to the grass, and a further £7,500 for shouting at the umpire and unsportsmanlike conduct.Tomic’s post-match confession that he summoned a doctor and trainer to court 14 as a strategy, when there was nothing wrong with him, on top of his comments about being bored with the championships, is understood to have infuriated officials. He denied he had meant the coin tossing gesture to suggest he thought the umpire was corrupt, adding: “I don’t know why I did it. I was frustrated to lose the match. Maybe there were some bad calls. It can happen in sports.”.Tennis fans have voiced their anger at the behaviour of some players, particularly Medvedev’s coin throwing. Jan Sez wrote on Twitter: Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.