Last year, James Harden was an offensive dynamo, averaging a hair over 36 points per game and powering the Rockets to the playoff despite losing Chris Paul and Clint Capela for extended periods of time. He was so impressive that I actually wrote about what an incredible performance he was having, right about this time last year. Hard to top that kind of season right? Well… James Harden is currently averaging 38.
With the 2019-2020 fantasy football season coming to a close, I thought it might be fun to put together a brief retrospective, highlighting some particularly interesting trends and performances by players like Lamar Jackson and Christian McCaffrey. I’m not feeling particularly loquacious, so there won’t be a ton of analysis in this post, but I did throw together a few charts that I wanted to share! Quarterback Performance The rise of Lamar Jackson from Flacco fill-in to prospective league MVP has been the talk of the season, and rightfully so.
One of the most exciting elements of this NBA season is that both LA-based teams are championship contenders, with either LeBron James and Anthony Davis or Kawhi Leonard and Paul George rolling into the Staples Center nearly every night. As a non-native Angeleno, it’s been super interesting to get a feel for the city’s fan landscape and rooting interests - for as good as the Clippers have been over the past decade, and despite the fact that they are the favorite to win the 2020 NBA Championship, LA is still very much a Laker town.
It’s been too long since I last wrote here! So much has happened in the world that I’ve been a little distracted - my Nationals winning the World Series, the House launching impeachment proceeding over the Ukraine scandal, California wildfires - it’s a crazy time. One undeniably positive development over the last couple weeks has been the return of the NBA, which is about 10 games into the season today. To celebrate the beginning of the season, and dip my toes back into a little sports data, I wanted to carve out some time to dig into the numbers and see what they might tell us about this first chunk of the season.
While baseball’s overarching trends may be leaning the way of the batter, there’s still space for difference-making pitchers to put their own stamp on the game. This year, we’ve been blessed with a plethora of strong seasons from established aces and a number of less-than expected emergences. Just in the past week, we’ve seen Justin Verlander throw his third career no-hitter, Gerrit Cole follow that up with 14 strikeouts, and Steven Strasburg rack up 14 of his own.
Earlier today I was poking through FiveThirtyEight and read a super interesting article chronicling Elizabeth Warren’s rise in popularity since the first Democratic Presidential Debate. Warren, on the strength of particularly high favorable ratings and relatively low unfavorable ratings, currently leads all Democratic candidates in Net Favorability, with a +53 margin. After reading through the table in the article for all 20 major candidates (which is super useful, to be fair), I got to thinking - I bet there’s a better way to show this data!
Two weekends ago, my Nationals lost a tough series to the New York Mets, largely due to clutch late-game hitting from the Mets and some poor relief pitching by the Nationals. What they did do right, however, was grind out tough at-bats against both Noah Syndergaard and Jacob DeGrom, two of the best starting pitchers in all of baseball. They gave DeGrom a hard time in particular, forcing him to throw 101 pitches over just 5 innings in a game the Nationals ended up winning 7-4.
I’ve spent the weekend, and past day in particular, reflecting on the tragic shootings that have happened over the past week and a half in Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton. My heart goes out to the families and friends who lost loved ones in these horrific acts of violence. For those who are leaving us, robbed of their chance to live, laugh, and love, my heart breaks at the injustice of your situation.
While trawling through HackerNews on a recent afternoon, I stumbled upon an interesting dataset. Published by FirmAI on Kaggle, the data contained information on over five hundred startup founders, with nicely tagged and cleaned data detailing their past work and educational experiences. With the recent rise in “unicorn” startups elevating many of their founders and chief executives to near-mythic levels in the startup/venture capital world, I thought it might be fun to use this data to de-mystify who these founders really are!
With the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 trip to the Moon in the books last week, I thought it might be fun to turn a bit of attention to NASA’s current affairs. If you haven’t heard, the President and Vice President have given the Agency a five year deadline to land a successful manned mission on the Moon - hoping to do so by the end of 2024 - coincident, I’m sure, with the end of a second Trump term in office.