Jobs That Pay, Press Release Philadelphia, PA – Governor Tom Wolf joined Representative Mike O’Brien today to announce a $1.3 million grant to help fund the construction of the new Philadelphia Chinatown Eastern Tower Community Center. This project will create and retain nearly 160 full-time permanent jobs, as well as 500 additional jobs during construction.“This project will be a wonderful addition to this neighborhood, and provide real services and economic benefit to those who live and work here,” Governor Wolf said. “It will also revitalize the area along 10th and Vine streets, providing opportunities for additional businesses to develop and open, creating jobs and more economic activity.”“The creation of a community center serves to unite a community that was cut in half by the Vine Street Expressway,” Rep. O’Brien said. ”Affordable housing is much needed in this historic cultural community.”The mixed-use tower, which will be located at the northwest corner of 10th and Vine streets, will consist of 21,000 square feet of office space, 8,700 square feet of retail space, 17,000 square feet of recreation and event space, and 150 high-rise residential units.The $1.3 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program (RACP) funds will go toward construction of the commercial and community center portion of the $76 million overall project.“This non-profit and public partnership will create Chinatown’s first community center with a Keystone Star 4 early childhood learning center,” said John Chin, executive director of the Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC). “It will also create over 800 jobs for the Pennsylvania economy.”The project will create 500 construction jobs, 480 spin-off jobs during the construction period, 159 full-time created and retained jobs, and 148 additional indirect full-time jobs, according to PCDC.Construction is expected to begin before the end of 2016, with an estimated completion date in the fall of 2017.Like Governor Tom Wolf on Facebook: Facebook.com/GovernorWolf Gov. Wolf Announces $1.3 Million in State Funding for New Chinatown Community Center in Philadelphia SHARE Email Facebook Twitter October 20, 2016
Polskie Górnictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG), the state-run company, said it has obtained the required corporate approvals and notified Gazprom of its intent to terminate the supply deal.The deal for the supply of natural gas to Poland was concluded in September 1996, dubbed the Yamal contract, PGNiG noted in its statement, adding it has notified Gazprom and Gazprom Export it plans to terminate the deal, with effect from December 31, 2022.In accordance with the provisions of the Yamal contract, three years prior to its original termination date, i.e. by December 31, 2019, the parties are required to submit a declaration whether or not they intend to continue their contractual relationship beyond 2022.“In line with the Republic of Poland’s aspiration to achieve security of energy supplies and seeking to deliver the PGNiG Group’s current strategy, over the past four years we have taken a number of important steps to diversify the sources of natural gas supply to Poland. We have concluded long-term LNG supply contracts and have been acquiring natural gas deposits on the Norwegian Continental Shelf, which, combined with the activities of the transmission system operator to expand the gas pipeline system, makes it possible for us to terminate the Yamal Contract on the originally set date,” said Piotr Woźniak, president of the PGNiG management board.To remind, PGNiG noted in its latest report that the importance of LNG in its imports mix has been growing with LNG supplies’ share in total gas imports was about 23 percent, compared with about 18 percent a year earlier.Poland imported 27 percent more LNG in the first nine months of the year, compared to the corresponding period 2018, with 22 cargoes landing at the President Lech Kaczyński terminal in Świnoujście over the period under review.
Batesville, IN—After careful review of the current volume of COVID-19 patients and analysis of the supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), Margaret Mary Health feels it is safe for patients and staff to begin reopening several of the temporarily suspended services. Effective immediately, Margaret Mary Health will resume joint injections at the Outpatient Clinic, screening colonoscopies, screening mammograms, and bone density scans. Beginning Monday, April 27, outpatient elective surgeries will resume. The hospital plans to assess the status weekly to determine future service re-entry dates, including inpatient surgeries.“The temporary suspension of many of our procedures, including the screening colonoscopies and mammograms, was necessary as we prepared for a surge in potential COVID-19 patients, but was also concerning for the potential negative impact it can have on the overall health of our community. Early detection equals better prognosis which is why these preventative screenings are so very important. When patients ignore symptoms, this results in a later diagnosis and often a worse outcome. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of coming in for scheduled screenings and appointments now that we’re able to resume these,” noted Surgeon Jon Geers, MD at Margaret Mary Health.President and CEO of Margaret Mary Health, Tim Putnam added, “I want to thank our community for following the stay-at-home order and social distancing guidelines. Your efforts have helped to flatten the curve to the point where we feel it is safe to begin reopening the services that many in our community need, and unfortunately have had to postpone since early March. We had a challenging period from the end of March through early April with an influx of high-acuity COVID-19 patients. During that time, we acquired necessary equipment, PPE and supplies, and developed a robust surge plan. Should another wave of this virus enter our community, we feel confident we are prepared to handle it. We will monitor patient volumes closely and continue to phase back in services as long as we continue to see a decreasing number of COVID-19 patients in our service area. If that shifts and begins to rise again, we will adjust accordingly.”
In the search for the most primitive life forms on earth, bacteria would certainly make the list. They are tiny, one-celled, and have small genomes. Why, then, did Patrick Forterre and Simonetta Gribaldo of the Pasteur Institute say in PNAS,1 “we should definitely stop thinking of bacteria in terms of simple ‘lower’ organisms”? For the same reason that Science Daily announced about a separate finding, “Lowly bacteria are turning out to be much more complex than previously thought.” Some bacteria do, of course, have one of the most amazing molecular motors on earth: the flagellum. Howard Berg’s team at Harvard recently found out that the clockwise and counter-clockwise rotations of flagella are asymmetrical. Writing in PNAS,1 they said, “We speculate that CCW rotation might be optimized for runs, with higher speeds increasing the ability of cells to sense spatial gradients, whereas CW rotation might be optimized for tumbles, where the object is to change cell trajectories.” Flagellar motors are just one instance of exquisite complexity found in bacteria. More instances are now coming to light. The Science Daily article reported on work at Loyola University that found a new example of “bacterial complexity” called ”protein acetylation” at work, a process once thought characteristic of the more-complex eukaryotes and rare in bacteria. Protein acetylation is a molecular process involved in regulating genes and proteins. “Bacteria have long been considered simple relatives of eukaryotes,” wrote Alan Wolfe for his colleagues at Loyola. “Obviously, this misperception must be modified…. There is a whole process going on that we have been blind to.” Has this discovery been exciting? He said his graduate students are working around the clock, because “We’re riding the front of the wave, and that’s exhilarating.” The headline announced that the discovery of a complex process in bacteria represents “the dawning of a new age in bacteria research.” Forterre and Gribaldo, writing in their PNAS Commentary,2 discussed two other recent findings that promote bacteria into the ballpark of complex organisms: (1) the discovery by Fuerst that they are capable of endocytosis, in which extracellular cargo can enter the cell through wrappings of membrane, and (2) the discovery by Devos that their cell membranes contain proteins “structural analogs of eukaryotic membrane coat (MC) proteins.” Forterre and Gribaldo explain, “In eukaryotes, MC proteins are involved in both vesicle trafficking systems and in the formation of the nuclear pore.” But bacteria have no nucleus, do they? Actually, many bacteria have an intracytoplasmic membrane (ICM), another analog to the eukaryotic nucleus, and their MC proteins apparently form a kind of nuclear pore to allow trafficking of RNAs between the genome and the ribosomes – just like in eukaryotes. “The analogies between the membrane trafficking systems of PVC bacteria and Eukarya, both at the cytological and protein structure levels, are thus strikingly evident,” they exclaimed. “It now seems impossible to ignore these data when discussing the origin of the eukaryotic nucleus.” Far be it from an evolutionary biologist to ignore data. So what is the new picture of the relationship between “simple” prokaryotes and their more-evolved superiors, the eukaryotes? For one thing, Forterre and Gribaldo revealed serious shortcomings with the popular “endosymbiosis” model – the idea that a prokaryote engulfed an archaea and gave rise to a symbiotic relationship that produced a eukaryote. “However, symbiotic hypotheses for the origin of Eukarya remain difficult to understand in terms of known biological mechanisms,” they said. “For example, they imply a specific association between a bacterium and an archaeon for which there are no examples in nature, and assume a very unlikely process where all of the genes of the bacterial host coding for informational proteins would have been replaced by those of the archaeal symbiont.” So much for that idea. Too bad it was the leading plot in many a documentary and popular evolutionary portrayal. Forterre and Gribaldo could only think of two approaches, both evolutionary: “A major objective of future research should now be to determine whether bacterial MC proteins are only structural analogs of eukaryotic ones (a case of convergent evolution) or whether instead they are homologous.” With choices like that, Darwin can’t lose. “This cannot be tested through sequence similarity (even between eukaryotic MC proteins), because these proteins evolve too rapidly at the sequence level,” they said, again assuming evolution. “However, MC proteins have retained their core architecture during evolution….” One wonders how they could know that. The two unique protein domains that make up the MC proteins of prokaryotes “are strikingly similar in PVC bacteria and Eukarya.” For this reason, they favor homology instead of convergence, but more research will be required: “Preliminary results have nevertheless already provided important information, suggesting in fact an ancient origin of these proteins in both PVC bacteria and in Eukarya, because several copies of MC proteins were probably already present in their respective last common ancestors.” It’s apparent that for Forterre and Gribaldo, the assumption of evolution qualifies as information about how eukaryotes evolved from prokaryotes. “If we assume that bacterial and eukaryotic MC proteins have a common origin, how can this information be fitted with current theories on the origin of eukaryotes?” Imagination also supplies information: “Three scenarios can be imagined,” they said. The endosymbiosis model, as noted above, is no longer credible. That leaves two “scenarios where modern Eukarya originated from an ancestral protoeukaryotic lineage.” The first imagines PVC bacteria getting their MC proteins by lateral gene transfer. They admit there’s no evidence for that. “In the second one” (the one they favor), “MC proteins would have already been present in the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) and were inherited in Eukarya and PVC bacteria, whereas they were lost in all other bacterial phyla and in Archaea.” How did LUCA get it? They didn’t say. Here’s where their story really gets convoluted, and admittedly “odd” –If the LUCA already harbored MC proteins, it was probably compartmentalized. This idea can appear odd to many biologists who use [sic] to think of the LUCA and all its contemporaries as very primitive entities. However, the formation of vesicles and membrane manipulation may be very ancient features of life… suggesting, by analogy, that even ancient cells with RNA genomes could have had such capacity and therefore already be compartmentalized. If MC proteins were already around at the time of the LUCA, the ancient biosphere might have been more diversified than usually suspected, with various lineages of compartmentalized cells, some of them with nuclei (which could be named synkaryotes) and others without (akaryotes), thriving in various environments. Endocytosis of proteins might well be an ancient trait that was lost in bacteria with rigid cell walls. Although PVC bacteria are bona fide members of the bacterial domain, they might therefore have conserved some ancestral features in terms of cellular structure and function that open up new avenues of thinking about the nature of our cellular ancestors. Further exploration of microbial diversity will most likely bring surprises. Other compartmentalized cells could in fact exist among the vast numbers of still uncultivated archaeal and bacterial lineages.One detects a suggestion that the above paragraph might have a lot of could-be’s and may-be’s in it, perhaps. There’s a lot of complexity to explain. Now, the reader understands the context for that line with which this entry opened: “In any case, the results of Fuerst and Devos and colleagues remind us that we should definitely stop thinking of bacteria in terms of simple ‘lower’ organisms.”1. Yuan, Fahrner, Turner, and Berg, “Asymmetry in the clockwise and counterclockwise rotation of the bacterial flagellar motor,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print July 6, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1007333107.2. Patrick Forterre and Simonetta Gribaldo, “Bacteria with a eukaryotic touch: A glimpse of ancient evolution?”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print July 12, 2010, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1007720107.Readers must be aghast at this entry: astonished at the complexity of bacteria, and utterly appalled at the shameless, incorrigible tenacity of Darwinian faith in their naturalistic tale. “If we assume that bacterial and eukaryotic MC proteins have a common origin….” That sentence reveals the cardinal sin of the Darwin Scientific Method, abbreviated MAD (Multiply Assumptions of Darwin): namely, (1) Assume evolution, (2) Observe a fact, (3) Make up a story to tell how the fact evolved. These blind leaders of the blind are so blind they cannot see that they just called their assumption “information.” They said, “how can this information be fitted with current theories on the origin of eukaryotes?” That’s not information – that’s incantation. It’s conjuring up images in their own heads. It’s also reasoning in a circle. They just said, in short, “Assuming evolution, how would that assumption fit with current theories of assumed evolution?” It’s the can opener joke: “Assume a can opener. How would that assumption fit with theories of how having a can opener would help open the tuna can?” Show us the can opener! Then we’ll all open the can and have lunch, instead of dreaming up “scenarios” where can openers “originate” in some uncanny common ancestor. Assuming on, from amusing leap to leap, they employed the second cardinal sin of the MAD method: imagination. “It’s not hard to imagine…” they said a couple of times. It’s not hard when they get a lot of practice every day. What’s hard is following rigorous science that is observable, testable, and repeatable. Despite their posturing, they just disarmed their idol, Charlie, and squeezed him against the wall. They robbed him of the most popular explanation for the origin of eukaryotes (endosymbiosis), and put all the complexity back into a mythical “last universal common ancestor” (LUCA). So now, they have to assume LUCA with LUCK will produce LUCY, given time and chance. No evidence required. Folks, this is not science. Assuming one’s own imagination without evidence is the seedplot of mythology. Got science? The data show supercomputing in a pinhead processor, complex regulation in software, and fast, accurate image processing. That’s not MAD, that’s MADE – Multiple Affirmations of Design Excellence. Yes, gentlemen, it is “impossible to ignore these data when discussing the origin” of things that are MADE (Romans 1:20).(Visited 80 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
6 February 2009French-born tennis star Jo-Wilfried Tsonga left no doubt that African blood runs through his veins when he paid a visit to the sprawling township of Soweto outside Johannesburg on Wednesday.Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, also in Johannesburg for the South African Tennis Open, took time off to get a taste of what it would have felt like living under apartheid.Tsonga, who lies seventh in the ATP world rankings and is in Johannesburg for the South African Tennis Open, held a coaching clinic at the Arthur Ashe Tennis Centre in White City, Jabavu.At the end of the clinic, youngsters from Jabavu and neighbouring areas broke out in song in appreciation for Tsonga’s efforts, and moments later the broad-smiling Muhammad Ali look-alike tennis pro started dancing, even throwing in the odd Ali-shuffle in his routine.African heritageTsonga, whose father was born in Pointe Noire, Congo, has always been proud of his African heritage, and prior to his arrival in Johannesburg had been at pains to make the point that he has long had an emotional attachment to the continent.He was clearly at home among the children, many of whom did not know that he is one of the world’s top tennis players. And it seemed Tsonga’s enjoyment was at its greatest when he was putting the smallest toddlers through their paces with basic drills.“As a kid I never had a chance to go to clinics which were conducted by the world’s top players,” Tsonga said. “It’s really great for them, although I think many of them do not know the players here.‘They’ve got to be able to dream about it’“But I would like them to go home and dream about becoming professional tennis players one day. They’ve got to be able to dream about it, because that could be the start of great things for them.”Tsonga was accompanied by South African Davis Cup players Jeff Coetzee and Wesley Moodie, who worked with the older children on adjacent courts. The clinic was organised by the South African Tennis Association along with the ATP World Tour.Baghdatis at the Apartheid MuseumCypriot Marcos Baghdatis, meanwhile, took time off from the tennis to get a taste of how it felt living in the former apartheid South Africa.Baghdatis, his coach Oliver Sounes and agent Jean-Phillipe Bernard were all labelled either “white” or “non-white” and required to enter Johannesburg’s Apartheid Museum through separate doorways.“It’s weird, you know, knowing that they separated people for everything,” Baghdatis said. “They had different toilets, black people had toilets, white people had other toilets, but it was not only that, it was everything – beaches, houses, taxi queues, entrances, bus stops – and mainly the black people suffered a lot.“I also watched some videos which showed how they were treated, and … it hurt a lot to see that,” said Baghdatis, clearly moved by the experience.Understanding MandelaThe South African Tennis Open eighth seed was taken through a visual and physical explanation of the life of Nelson Mandala, after which he said: “I can understand now why he is a hero to so many people.”Taking the museum’s “walk of freedom”, Baghdatis chose a series of coloured sticks – red for loyalty, white for courage, green for forgiveness – to represent characteristics of Mandela’s life as he saw it.The tour finished with Baghdatis signing the museum’s visitor book – the same book Mandela signed when the museum opened in 2001.“It’s a bit shocking when you’re in there and watching that,” Baghdatis said afterwards. “But it’s also nice to see because it is a small wakeup call – and it does wake you up, you see life a bit differently and people a bit differently.”SAinfo reporter. Sources: South African Tennis Association and ATP World Tour
The Amarnath Shrine Board has asked all pilgrims not to drink alcohol or caffeinated drink and to start physical exercise at least one month prior to the pilgrimage which begins June 29. In an advisory, the Shrine Board said the pilgrimage to the holy cave involves trekking at altitudes as high as 14,000 feet and the pilgrims may develop high altitude sickness. To avoid high altitude sickness, the Board advised the pilgrims to prepare for physical fitness by starting a preparatory morning/evening walk, about 4-5 km per day, at least a month prior to the pilgrimage.Deep breathing “Start deep breathing exercise and yoga, particularly pranayam, for improving oxygen efficiency of the body. Do check with your physician prior to travelling to higher elevations, if you have any existing pre-existing medical conditions. “Do walk slowly while ascending and take time to acclimatise, relax for a short while on steep inclines. Do avoid exerting beyond your normal capacity,” the advisory said. “Don’t ignore the symptoms of high altitude illness with symptoms like loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, dizziness, light headedness and difficulty in sleeping, visual impairment, bladder dysfunction. “Don’t drink alcohol, caffeinated drink, or smoke. Don’t ascend any further if you have altitude illness,” it said.Time logging “Do take compulsory rest at various locations and ensure time logging and take ideal walking time mentioned on the display boards while moving towards next location. “Do follow the prescribed food menu -— available at Shrine Board’s website shriamarnathjishrine.com — when having food in the Yatra area,” the advisory, circulated by the Home Ministry, said.
Twenty kilometres up from Darjeeling, towards Peshak and little further on to Namring, tall weeds are choking the tea bushes. The tea gardens wear an unkempt look, victims of the Gorkha agitation for a separate homeland.The 70-day shutdown in Darjeeling has severely affected the region’s highly sought after Second Flush tea. Worse, the continuing trouble has raised concerns about a much longer-term impact on the tea industry here. “The second flush tea has not reached us, but anticipating the crisis we stocked up for six months,” said Dolly Roy, of Dolly’s Tea, the iconic boutique tea store of Kolkata. “But the retailers, especially the smaller ones, are in serious trouble,” she points out. Lower volumeDarjeeling tea fetches much higher rates in global markets, but its volume is small compared to overall production in the country. India produces about 1.2 billion kilogram of tea annually, while Darjeeling, being part of the annual produce, produces 8.5 million kilogram. While Assam or Dooars in North Bengal or Nilgiri mountains in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka produce much higher volumes, Darjeeling’s unique selling point is its quality. “It is not the volume but the flavour– best explained by the French word ‘terroir’ [the micro environment in which it grows, soil, climate, etc] that is used in connection with wine that has made the Darjeeling tea a globally recognised brand,” says Binod Mohan, Chairman of Darjeeling Tea Association.The “queen” of that flavour is the Second Flush which is harvested towards the end of May until the middle of July. The shutdown from middle of June has prevented the full harvesting of the Second Flush which is 25% of the annual production. The ongoing shutdown has also affected the Monsoon [30-35% of the produce], which is harvested till September as well as the Autumnal crop, which harvested in October [15% of the produce], says a veteran planter in Darjeeling.The fear is that the losses already suffered are likely to be compounded in the near future. There will be weeds that need clearing once the gardens open up. Following this, we have to give a cut to the [tea] leaf uniformly, bring it down to a level so the workers can reach the top of plant to do the plucking and wait for a month. Meanwhile, the hill will slip into autumn when the growing conditions are not good. So we have lost the most financially productive Second Flush, the Monsoon crop and nearly the entire Autumn, assuming that the gardens would open in September,” the planter said. The planter and his friends in the business are now looking forward to Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s meeting with the leaders of Gorkha homeland movement in Kolkata on Tuesday, August 29.Kaushik Basu, the Secretary General of DTA, feels it would take couple of years for the business to “normalise.” “We are assuming that in 2018, the production would be affected by 50% as the entire garden needs to be pruned and even in 2019 there could be a 25% impact of the shutdown on the production,” Mr Basu said. Meanwhile, most workers have left the hills seeking work elsewhere as daily wage earner. “In place of one worker we now need three as the new growth needs to be cleared,” said Sandeep Mukherjee, the principal advisor to DTA.Seventy five per cent of Darjeeling tea is sold to private buyers and the remainder auctioned, which together fetch about Rs. 500 crore. “This won’t happen this year when we are witnessing such a long shut down. We did lose 40 days in 1986, but that was not in the harvesting season. The cumulative losses has touched ₹400 crore mark, as per our initial estimates,” adds Mr Basu.Worker’s woes“Those who finally bear the brunt of the shutdown are tea plantation workers and those who reside in the forest villages,” says Roshan Rai, who works in an NGO (DLR Prerna) and has worked on issues of fair trade in tea plantations. The DTA estimates that there are about one lakh garden workers in 87 plantations of Darjeeling, both permanent and temporary, each being paid ₹132 for a day’s work. According to Mr. Rai they are “hit the most” every time the hill is shut indefinitely.“I do not think that there was ever a discussion on compensation package for the workers for the wages lost in previous struggles. The plantation owners have always maintained that their business is not profitable enough,” Mr Rai says.Interestingly, the workers who are part of the movement or agitation are not complaining. “We have no problems,” replies Shanti Rana, a worker in Gielle tea garden, about 30 kilometer east of Darjeeling. Asked if the prolonged strike in Darjeeling and Kalimpong has affected daily wage workers, she says: “We would rather eat once a day than give up the demands and we need a permanent solution to the issue.” As a local leader of the GJM, Ms. Rana is clear where her sympathies lie. But planters too favour a solution of a lasting nature, rather than be subject to sudden changes in their fortunes that threaten the future of the tea industry.
TagsTransfersLoan MarketAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Chelsea reconsidering Ike Ugbo’s loan with Roda JCby Paul Vegas24 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea are reconsidering Ike Ugbo’s loan at Roda JC.Sky Sports says Chelsea have launched an investigation after learning Ugbo has not been paid while on loan at Dutch side Roda JC.Ugbo has made a strong impression in the Netherlands, scoring four goals in seven games, but the club has significant debts and currently sit 17th in the Dutch second division.It is understood the 21-year-old is on a much higher salary than his current team-mates in Holland, and he has not been paid his September wages.Some reports have suggested the money set aside to pay Ugbo was instead used to pay the rest of the squad.
Today, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation announced that multiple Grammy award-winning superstar Mariah Carey will be performing at the 91st annual National Christmas Tree Lighting.Emmy Award-winning actress Jane Lynch will host the ceremony, which also includes holiday performances by The Avett Brothers, Grammy award-winning violinist Joshua Bell, acclaimed soprano and musical ambassador Renée Fleming, multicultural operatic trio Forte, Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin, singer/songwriter Janelle Monáe, Latin music superstar Prince Royce, jazz legend Arturo Sandoval, the multiplatinum, Grammy-winning band Train, and Nolan Williams, Jr. and Voices of Inspiration.The 2013 National Christmas Tree Lighting will take place Friday, December 6 on the Ellipse at President’s Park in Washington, D.C. The ceremony will kick off the holiday season in our nation’s capital and can be viewed online LIVE at www.thenationaltree.org beginning at 4:30 p.m. ET with the exclusive National Christmas Tree Lighting pre-show. The event can also be seen on public television throughout December. Broadcast times can be found by checking local listings or visiting www.thenationaltree.org.Presented by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks, and produced by Bounce AEG, the National Christmas Tree Lighting is the first event in a four-week holiday celebration in President’s Park. This year’s ceremony marks the 91st annual National Christmas Tree Lighting, an American holiday tradition started by President Calvin Coolidge in 1923.For the sixth consecutive year, UL is the premier sponsor of the National Christmas Tree Lighting. As an independent safety science company, UL’s mission is to promote safe working and living environments for all people. More information can be found at www.UL.com. Other event supporters include GE Lighting, Amtrak, Guest Services Inc., Hargrove, Hilton Garden Inn – Washington DC Downtown, Hudler Carolina Tree Farms, Loews Madison Hotel Washington D.C., Mesh Int’l, Nicolas Holiday, Uber, United and Willard InterContinental Washington D.C.
That’s pretty good company. But the crucial thing to remember is that these players aren’t just valuable — they’re scarce. The vast majority are core contributors on playoff teams. Replacing them, or Thompson, with the kind of player who’s readily available — say, Kyle O’Quinn? — simply wouldn’t work. So while it’s funny to crack jokes about the Cavs dropping a 5-year, $82 million contract on a guy who “only” crashes the boards and defends, the difference between having a guy with those skills and not is the difference between competing for a title and not.3-and-D: J.R. Smith/Iman ShumpertThere was a time not long ago when Smith and Shumpert were about as likely to occupy the same slot in a taxonomy as a slender-horned gazelle and, say, a Ford F-150. Smith was a remorseless gunner who could also run the offense with surprising proficiency from time to time. Shumpert was known as a defender with a broken jump shot and a more broken handle. But this season, things are all turned around.Smith is being used as the Cavaliers’ primary defender for opponents’ best perimeter players. So far in the playoffs, this has spurred Smith to new defensive heights. Shumpert, meanwhile, seems to have learned to shoot. He shot 36 percent from three during the regular season, but he has been good for 47.1 percent from distance during the playoffs.Neither Smith nor Shumpert are among the very best 3-and-D guys in the league, even on their very best days. Patrick Beverley, Andre Iguodala and Danny Green would all come off the board ahead of them. But while the Cavs’ role players are weakest at 3-and-D, there are two major mitigating factors:First, true 3-and-D players are surprisingly rare, considering the league has been actively seeking them out for more than a decade. So having anyone who can competently fill the role is something of a win. Second, LeBron is one of the best 3-and-D players on the planet.So these two are playing the part for now, even if it’s imperfect casting. But if things turn south, the Cavs can always turn to LeBron to take on more of the load.Bench Shooters: Kyle Korver/Channing FryeFurther down the bench, Korver (the hired gun) and Frye (a stretch 4 out of central casting) fill the role of instant shooting off the bench, and they’re both extremely good at it. Korver shot 48.5 percent from three once he was traded to the Cavs, though he’s fallen off to a more mortal 40.8 in the playoffs. Kyle Korver and Channing Frye come firing off the bench Talent tends to win out in the NBA. But talent also needs to fit a role. Take Draymond Green, for instance. How many players in the league can fulfill the defensive and playmaking role that Green does from night to night? LeBron James and … Chris Paul riding Rudy Gobert’s shoulders? Paul Millsap with a jetpack and a crowbar? Point is, Green is one of the best players in the league, but other, similarly talented players couldn’t begin to fill his shoes, and Green’s Golden State Warriors wouldn’t be nearly the same team without him.The Cleveland Cavaliers certainly have talent beyond James. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving would each be the best player on many NBA teams. But more important than the number of all-star appearances they could run up is the way their skillsets work in concert — more specifically, the way that each player fits into the model of how best to play on a team with LeBron James.Cleveland is a team of specialists — each player fits a role that doesn’t maximize his talents so much as the team’s collective ability. That’s a theme among many NBA teams, but what’s unique about Cleveland is that even players as talented as Love and Irving are refashioned into role players.Star Microwave: Kyrie IrvingThis obviously raises some flags. How on earth does Irving qualify as a role player, particularly after his 42-point performance on Tuesday (that’s the most points that any teammate of James’s has had in the postseason)? It was a standout game that reminded us all of what we’ve known for years: Kyrie Irving is ice cold.But Irving isn’t the first legitimate NBA star to become the de facto second option to LeBron. Dwyane Wade was at the tail end of his prime by the time James arrived in Miami, but he was still undeniably a better all-around player than Irving ever has been. Wade at his best operated as the centerpiece of an offense nearly as well as LeBron does and was one of the top perimeter defenders in the league — claims that can’t be made about Irving.1Wade’s averaging more than a block per game over the first 10 years of his career is one of the more outrageous quirks of recent league history. He also didn’t fit nearly as well with LeBron as Irving does.The obvious difference is the shooting. Kyrie is a career 38 percent 3-point shooter, and he shot 40 percent during this past regular season. Wade is 29 percent from three for his career. Irving can keep defenders on him — and thereby away from James — much better than Wade ever could, even with the off-ball motion that the Heat eventually built in to alleviate spacing issues. Irving’s effective field goal percentage on spot-up jumpers was 68.5 this season, second in the league, behind Kemba Walker, among players who took at least two spot-ups per game. He shot 47.9 percent on spot-up 3s.Like Wade, Irving can be self-sufficient. LeBron may run the rest of the offense, but when he needs a break or when the offense stagnates, as it did in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday, Irving can step in and generate offense all by himself — and often all for himself. Go ahead and count how many of the plays in that highlight reel above include Cavs other than Irving. (Not many.) He has one of the best handles in the league, can get to the rim at will and is a good finisher once he gets there. And if the defense sags off too far to anticipate the drive, Irving can pull up from three.Another component to Irving’s fit with James is his tendency to operate on the right side of the floor. James operates almost exclusively from the left side of the court and has a history of forcing teammates who prefer that space to find somewhere else to set up shop.It shouldn’t be a surprise that a player who can shoot threes, use a bunch of possessions and pass is rare in the league. As a rough measure, I defined that as a 37-percent 3-point shooter who had at least a usage rate of 25 and an assist percentage of 20 in at least 20 minutes per game. Of the 11 players who fit that description this season, Irving ranked fifth in win shares, behind four guys who are asked to do more for their teams than he is. Irving’s workload isn’t exactly light, but compared with his peers here, having him in the role the Cavs do looks like high luxury. PLAYERTEAMOFF. REBOUND %BLOCKS %DEF. BPMWIN SHARES Jason TerryMIL11611218.470.442.7 Tristan Thompson is indispensable Stretch 4/Elite Rebounder: Kevin LoveIn Miami, Chris Bosh turned himself into the ideal counterpart to James — an excellent, mobile defender, a reliable spot-up jump shooter to spread the floor, and a very good rebounder. The role minimized Bosh’s other abilities, but it served the Heat’s biggest needs. And more importantly, it allowed the team to fill the other frontcourt spots with more limited players, such as Udonis Haslem, Chris Andersen and Joel Anthony. Bosh wasn’t scoring 20-plus a night, but he was providing the kind of anchoring presence that Green now provides to the Warriors.That’s hard to reproduce, even with a Big 3. In Cleveland, the defensive rebounding and shooting falls to Kevin Love; the defensive anchorage, rim protection and offensive rebounding fall elsewhere. This has worked out well for the Cavs, but only because Love has a set of set of skills no other NBA player shares.That’s not to say things have come easy. Many of the things Love did best in Minnesota have proven to be extraneous in Cleveland. His elbow touches have all but vanished from 2013-14 — his last season in Minnesota — to this season, and his post-ups have fallen off over the same time and are far less effective than they used to be, falling from 91.7 points per 100 plays to 86.5. And without Ricky Rubio finding him for quick hits off of the pick-and-roll — or even the freedom to slip a screen or run to space — Love has become an afterthought on high screens. In short, Love is a completely different player.Even now, with Love in the middle of a breakout playoff run, he’s much more of a system player than ever. He’s taking more than half of his shots from three (and making 47.9 percent). More of his threes came from the corner this season than in any other season, and that share has gone up in the playoffs.Take a look at Love’s shot charts from 2013-14 (the season before he teamed up with James) and 2016-17, via StatMuse: Juan HernangomezDEN11711213.650.440.7 Kemba Walker22.214.171.124+8.1 Dwight HowardATL15.03.6+2.8+8.3 Includes all players for whom 3-pointers are at least 30 percent of their shots, who make at least 35 percent of their 3-point attempts and whose defensive rebound rate is at least 25 percent, during any regular season.Source: basketball-reference.com For players who played at least 20 minutes per game with at least a usage rate of 25 percent, a 20 percent assist percentage, and a 3-point percentage of at least 37, in the 2016-17 regular season.Source: basketball-reference.com 2016-17Kevin LoveCLE44.937.329.3+6.4 Dion Waiters26.323.839.5+1.6 Jeremy Lin26.635.537.2+2.1 Patty MillsSAS11410721.957.241.3 Stephen Curry30.1%31.1%41.1%+12.6 C.J. MilesIND11511123.463.241.3 Joe InglesUTA11210524.061.944.1 2014-15Kevin LoveCLE41.236.726.3+8.7 2015-16Kevin LoveCLE44.936.028.4+8.5 Mike Conley26.334.540.8+10.0 OK, so there are obvious differences between Love and Murphy, who was a useful but limited role player for a succession of middling teams. But the takeaway from this list shouldn’t (only) be that Love has been reduced to Troy Murphy comps. The real finding is that it’s hugely unusual for a big man to be able to rebound at an elite level and shoot (and make) a ton of threes. Love isn’t just the best at what he does — he’s the only one who does it.Defender/Offensive Rebounder: Tristan ThompsonThompson takes over where Love leaves off. His role is probably the most traditional: He crashes the offensive boards and protects the rim. When he’s pulled further out, he can pick up ballhandlers in pick-and-roll coverage, and doesn’t look totally lost when he has to defend in space. And on offense, he runs the floor, can fill a lane in transition, and can catch and finish at the rim. He’s the image of a modern, live-bodied NBA big.If we define what Thompson does as offensive rebounding, rim protection and general defensive presence,2Among players with a minimum of a 10 percent offensive rebound rate, a block percentage of 2, and a defensive plus/minus of at least 1. Thompson comes in just behind some of the best big men in the league: PLAYERUSAGE RATEASSIST %3-POINT %WIN SHARES Kyrie Irving’s unique profile Kyle KorverATL/CLE11611126.269.7%45.1% Steven AdamsOKC13.02.6+1.2+6.4 Clint CapelaHOU12.54.2+1.0+6.0 2013-14Kevin LoveMIN35.5%37.6%29.5%+14.3 For non-starting players who took 3-pointers for more than half their shots, played less than 30 minutes per game and qualified for minutes per game leaderboard, in the 2016-17 regular season.Source: Basketball-reference.com Hassan WhitesideMIA12.85.0+1.5+9.5 SEASONPLAYERTEAM3-POINT RATE3-POINT %DEF. RB %WIN SHARES Jerryd Bayless27.729.440.0-0.1 Tristan ThompsonCLE14.02.9+1.5+7.3 Marcin GortatWAS10.62.1+1.2+6.8 Isaiah Thomas34.032.637.9+12.6 Includes players with a minimum of a 10 percent offensive rebound rate, a block percentage of at least 2 percent, and a defensive box plus/minus of at least 1 for the 2016-17 regular season.Source: Basketball-reference.com PLAYERTEAMOFF.DEF.MINUTES PER GAME3-POINT RATE3-POINT % Goran Dragic27.129.040.5+7.5 DeAndre JordanLAC13.34.3+3.0+11.8 Rudy GobertUTA13.6%6.4%+4.5+14.3 Korver is 36 years old and can’t escape the limitations of his age, but on the Cavs, he, Frye, Richard Jefferson and even James Jones can get run that they couldn’t on other teams because so much of the Cleveland offense is based on surrounding LeBron with three or four shooters and letting him go to work.Check out our latest NBA predictions. Andre DrummondDET15.13.1+2.9+6.7 2008-09Troy MurphyIND46.745.032.0+8.5 Kyrie Irving30.829.740.1+8.9 Damian Lillard31.528.737.0+10.3 Nikola JokicDEN11.62.1+2.2+9.7 Love and Murphy are long-lost soulmates Channing FryeCLE11510918.964.440.9 2009-10Troy MurphyIND41.038.428.5+7.8 You can see that Love has had to make drastic adjustments, dropping huge pieces of his game to fit into the Cavs system.Stripped of that excess, the Cavaliers’ Kevin Love turns out to be … Troy Murphy.Don’t look at me like that! It says so right here. These are the only players in league history to take 3-pointers on 30 percent of their shots, shoot at least 35 percent from three (league average), and have a defensive rebound rate of at least 25 percent (meaning that they collected 25 percent of available defensive rebounds while on the floor): Jordan Crawford25.522.738.9+0.9 RATING