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My Take on the 2021 NFL QB Class
While this season has been massively impacted by COVID. I am probably the most hyped for the QB's than I have been in a while. Easily my favorite class since 2018 and easily the best since 2012 which is 1983 of all QB classes. 1983 featured six quarterbacks were taken in the first round—John Elway, Todd Blackledge, Jim Kelly, Tony Eason, Ken O'Brien, and Dan Marino. Three ended up as Hall of Famers. 2012 featured first-round draft picks Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Ryan Tannehill, and Brandon Weeden, as well as third-rounder Russell Wilson. By season's end, three more rookie quarterbacks would start their first games – third-round draft pick Nick Foles, fourth-rounder Kirk Cousins, and sixth-rounder Ryan Lindley. While Luck retired early due to injuries ended what would be a hall of fame career, Russell Wilson looks like a lock for the hall and potentially the greatest QB in NFL history if he continues at this pace. Cousins and Tannehill have solidified themselves as legit starting QBs and Foles is a super bowl MVP. This class features 12 guys to really watch and to me, four really special QBs in Trevor Lawrence, Trey Lance, Justin Fields, and D'Eriq King. Brock Purdy, Iowa State, Jamie Newman, Georgia, Sam Ehlinger, Texas, Kyle Trask, Florida, Shane Buechele, SMU. Kellen Mond, TAMU, K.J. Costello, Mississippi State and Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota. Sunshine (Lawrence) is probably the most talented QB prospect to enter since Elway. Elite arm, arm talent, mobility, size, field vision, and has tremendous Football IQ. He has flaws, he has the Elway/Cutler syndrome where instead of anticipating where the WR is going to be, he sees them open which he can get away with but not always. He gets happy feet at times in a muddy pocket and wants to run. He needs playmakers more than he MAKES playmakers. Lance has the best tape of the four horsemen. Best deep ball. 2nd best anticipation (King), 2nd best athlete (King), best system flexibility, 2nd best decision-maker (King), the closest prospect to Andrew Luck they say and I agree. His tape is amazing but like Luck, has flaws. Lance barely had a muddy pocket, only 14 sacks in 16 games. He was a big part of it with his pocket mobility but it wasn't that damn good. He rarely had to go to 3rd and 4th options but he did so well. 0 INTs but without elements, it's kinda hard to really evaluate is it real or not. Fields has tremendous talent, size, the athletic ability for his size, arm strength, and is a solid decision-maker. What I like the most about Fields is his projectability and how well-coached he is as a prospect for a dual-threat guy. While I don't think he's superior QB wise to Haskins, he's a McNabb like athlete and I think he will translate as a solid starting QB in year 1. I do think translating to the NFL will be harder for him than people think but like Josh Allen, he has just enough athletic ability and size to really make things happen in the NFL and his arm is crazy strong as well. Just pure God-given talent and really well-coached. King is the best QB in this class to ME overall. He reminds me the most of Burrow who was the best QB in the draft to me last year. A system QB who's best in a spread like Kyler Murray. He was PFF's best QB in 2018 in college football and he's on his way to being the best QB in 2020 as well. Like Burrow, he's an older QB, in fact, he's the same age(23) as Burrow and I think that gives him a lot of advantage over TL, JF, and TL who are all 20-21 years old. While he is similar to Burrow, he has elite elusiveness and break tackle ability like a running back. His flaws to me is his size, system flexibility, unlike Burrow, I would like him to have more pocket mobility like Wilson to counteract the lack of size, and he could still work to improve his arm talent like we have seen Wilson do when he joined the Seahawks. When I like a guy, I like him and I gave him a 1st round grade last year if he entered so why not again. Others: Brock Purdy, Iowa State, Jamie Newman, Georgia, Sam Ehlinger, Texas, Kyle Trask, Florida, Shane Buechele, SMU. Kellen Mond, TAMU, K.J. Costello, Mississippi State and Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota. Purdy has a lot of Baker Mayfield in him including being bad in a muddy pocket. I just don't like him as much as Baker because well, Baker's production was insane. I think Purdy realistically is a 2nd round grade. Newman has shades of Daunte Culpepper with his deep ball and his tremendous playmaking ability. He lacks the ability to just simply move the chains so personnel will be key with him. The talent and playmaking ability is exceptional but does he fit the modern NFL if he doesn't land on one of these big-play teams is the question. He has tremendous value in the 2nd or 3rd round. Trask never started a HS game but that's okay because D'eriq King was their QB. Still, Trask got major SEC D1 offers and King did not. Trask had a good first year with the Gators and showed that he's a NFL level QB. I really feel he's in the mold of Kirk Cousins but with more size to boot which will impress scouts. 2nd or 3rd round grade. Sam Ehlinger, Texas, Shane Buechele, SMU, Kellen Mond, TAMU, K.J. Costello, Mississippi State, and Tanner Morgan are all 4th to 5th rounders to me. Ehlinger's best shades are a better throwing Tebow which I disagree with because Tebow was a much better football player than Sam is and Taysom Hill which I think actually makes some sense. As a backup, I like him overall. Buechele is a tremendous system QB in the mold of Case Keenum. Keenum has had a tremendous career as a 2012 undrafted QB. In today's NFL where they are looking for QB's like Buechele as backups over the game managers. I expect Buechele to be taken in the 5th round as the game is changing for backup QBs. Mond has raw but impactful arm strength, productive, and is an athletic QB who some teams love to bet on as a 1st rounder type. Some will say he's as talented as Jordan Love but I will argue that Love is a far better NFL prospect as he can throw into tight windows and while his decision making needs to improve as well as his mechanics, his arm talent is not off the charts as well. Now, he's a better prospect than someone like Kizer because he is productive, I have a tough time with inconsistent Black QB's almost all either have to produce or they are career backups. They don't get the time that white QB's get. I do think he's a 2nd round talent but I gave him a 5th round grade. Morgan is a damn relic to me. The Matt Hasselbeck QB's are on the way out. Matt Ryan is the last of the Mohicans. My big issue with him for his style of QB, I would prefer he would be 6'4-6-6. Being that he's 6'2, he needs to be a lot more mobile than he is and I do think he has a strong NFL future but he's a backup at best to me. 4th to 5th round grade. Overall, I love this QB class. It's deep, has tremendous top-heavy talent, and is worth talking about. I wasn't hyped at all about last year's class and Kyler Murray is a system QB and thankfully went to the right system. This is a class, you have a chance to hit big with a QB. I think teams should consider a QB this year even if you have one already entrenched.
Comparative Review: John Danaher's Pin Escapes and Lachlan Giles' Fundamentals of BJJ Escapes (long)
During quarantine, I watched all 18 hours of Danaher’s Pin Escapes and Giles’ Fundamentals of BJJ Escapes instructionals, and took careful notes on everything, eventually totaling 48 typed, single-spaced pages. These are my thoughts. TL;DR Both are excellent sets, and both are applicable to both gi and no-gi. Danaher’s wins on depth, while Giles’ wins on breadth. I recommend Giles’ set for white belts, due to lower price and greater number of positions dealt with, while Danaher’s is better for those further along who still have trouble getting basic mount and side control escapes to work for them and need extra details. Value Danaher: $197 for 10 hours, 52 minutes, 17 seconds = 3 min 19 sec per $; produced 26 pages of notes = $7.57 per page of notes; information density of 25 minutes per page Giles: $127 for 7 hours, 14 minutes, 12 seconds = 3 min 25 sec per $; produced 22 pages of notes = $5.77 per page of notes; information density of 19 minutes 42 seconds per page Introductory Blather Danaher: 1 hour, 24 minutes. Lots of repetition here, in an “I just said this in voiceover to PowerPoint slides, and now I'm going to say it again while looking into the camera” way. On the other hand, he presents a lot of careful analysis on what constitutes a pin, and based on that, presents a 5-step heuristic for escaping pins, worked examples of which constitute the rest of the Pin Escapes instructional. Giles: 28 minutes. No Danaher-esque theoretical analysis here, but he does include some useful practical advice on how to go about learning the material on the instructional and how to incorporate it into one's game. Much of the content is in the titles of the sections listed on the order page for this product on bjjfanatics.com. Have you ever watched the fundamentals section of the Grapplers Guide? You know the videos that have a clear title, like “Don't chew gum on the mats,” and you click on it, and it's a 7-minute video of Jason Scully talking about why you shouldn't chew gum on the mats, and you watch until the end like the fool you are, and you get to the end, and you think, “Why the heck was this a video? And how could he talk so fast for so long and still say nothing more than the title?” Well, much of this is like that. (Sorry, Jason. You know I love Grapplers Guide and I'm only kidding. Kinda.) (Sorry, Lachlan. You know the only reason I got Grapplers Guide was for your videos, and I'm only kidding. Kinda.) Fundamental Moves Danaher: 39 minutes. Everything in this section is covered more in depth, with better camera angles and better explanation, in Danaher's free instructional, Self-Mastery: BJJ Solo Drills. The content is fantastic, but the only real reason you'd watch this instead of BJJ Solo Drills is because it's shorter and covers only the movements you need for this escape instructional. Pin Escapes covers seven basic body movements (counting sliding shrimps and rising shrimps separately); Solo Drills covers about two dozen movements, depending on how you divide them. Giles: 22 minutes. Covers eleven basic body movements. Of these, the hip escape, reverse hip escape, and gongoa shoulder roll are basically the same as equivalent techniques shown by Danaher. The Bridge and the Bridge and Roll are very similar to what Danaher teaches, but each has a couple of details missing or added from what the other shows. Interestingly, on the Bridge and Roll, Giles teaches to do a side crunch toward the side you're rolling, which is exactly the opposite of what Matt Thornton teaches. I haven't had the opportunity in quarantine to try them both out and decide which one I like best. Mount Escapes Danaher: 2 hours, 8 minutes. As expected, it's long-winded and repetitive. He literally takes 8 minutes and 55 seconds to say “Don't put your hand on his knee unless you keep your elbow from being exposed.” Also, the chapter titles are supremely unhelpful, e.g. “Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 1” through “Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 7.” Here are my subtitles to help distinguish one from the other; more will follow in other sections: Bridging Escape From Mounted Position (Basic Version) Bridging Escape From Mounted Position 2 (Misdirectional Bridging) Bridging Escape From Mounted Position 3 (Dealing with the Grapevine) Bridging Escape From Mounted Position 4 (Dealing with Crossface Hold) Bridging Escape From Mounted Position 5 (Bridging as Setup for Elbow Escape) Elbow Escape From Mounted Position (Basic Version) Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 2 (Serpentine Motion & High Mount) Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 3 (Going Directly For the Knee) Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 4 (Use of Hand and Elbow) Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 5 (Don't Expose Your Back) Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 6 (Leg Shimmying) Elbow Escape From Mounted Position 7 (Dealing with Crossface) Elbow Escape From Mounted Position - Ankle Trap Method (Transitional Escape from Knee Drive to Mount by Turning Away) Elbow Escape From Mounted Position - Ankle Trap Method 2 (Transitional Escape from Knee Drive to Mount by Turning In) Elbow Escape From Mounted Position - Ankle Trap Method 3 (Transitional Escape from Stepover Method) As you can see, Danaher basically only teaches two escapes, and focuses on giving details, options, strategies, and applications of these rather than exploring other escapes. Giles: 1 hour, 10 minutes. Giles is straightforward and concise in his explanations. Unlike Danaher, Giles shows many of his techniques in footage of actual rolls with upper belts, with a voiceover explanation, which I found quite illuminating. Content-wise, Giles covers the two major escapes Danaher covers, but in less detail. For instance, he doesn’t even touch on the “knee-down” variation of the elbow-escape that Danaher prefers. He covers the importance of inside leg position in mostly the same way Danaher does. On the other hand, he spends a significant amount of time discussing the battle for inside arm position, which Danaher seems unconcerned with. Giles also covers escapes from S-mount and includes a high-percentage escape directly to SLX. Giles covers a couple of submission escapes (cross-collar choke, americana, and armbar), whereas Danaher only addresses positional escapes. Side Control Escapes Danaher: 5 hours, 16 minutes. Here’s the meat of the set: five hours of side control escapes. This is what you bought the set for; admit it. You’ve always had trouble escaping side control, and you’re willing to shell out whatever Danaher asks if he can just share the secret to escaping side control. You imagine the look on that 300-lb. Bubba’s face as you slip your scrawny, pencil-necked 130-lb. frame out from under him, laughing deliriously, and scurry up his back. You imagine the admiring looks of that cute purple belt you’ve been trying to impress, as well as the satisfied nod of your coach as you see him thinking Yep, he’ll be ready for the next belt come promotion day. So, does he deliver? You betcha. In spades. Twenty minutes into this section, my mind was blown at how little BJJ I knew. I knew the gross muscle movements, of course, but the difference was all the fine details – all of which I had been blind or oblivious to thus far. I felt like all my escapes so far were the equivalent of peering into the storefront windows of a BJJ gym, watching furious action from a distance, unable to hear or understand the significance of what was happening. Sometimes the audio quality is poor. About 38 and a half minutes into Volume 7, a sound like a wobbly fan is heard in the background. It never prevents you from understanding what Danaher says, but it’s pretty distracting. It makes me think their mats are in a basement, and just off camera is a washing machine, surrounded by piles of dirty laundry and a big orange box of Tide detergent. Unfortunately, although he includes escapes from north/south, knee on belly, and kuzure kesa gatame (sitout with far side underhook), and even reverse kuzure kesa gatame, he does not include any escapes from standard kesa gatame (scarf hold). I consider this a serious oversight, as anyone with a judo background is bound to use the scarf hold. Elbow Escapes from Side Position 1 (Introduction) Elbow Escapes from Side Position 2 (Moving His Head) Elbow Escapes from Side Position 3 (Inserting the Knee) Elbow Escapes from Side Position 4 (Dealing with Crossface) Elbow Escapes from Side Position 5 (Asymetrical Bridging) Elbow Escapes from Side Position 6 (Misc Tricks) Elbow Escapes from Side Position 7 (Dealing with the Hip Block) Knee Escapes from Side Position 1 (Introduction) Knee Escapes from Side Position 2 (Beating the Crossface) Knee Escapes from Side Position 3 (Fighting for the Underhook) Knee Escapes from Side Position 4 (Anchoring on his Leg) Knee Escapes from Side Position 5 (Finishing the Single Leg – Leg Hook) Knee Escapes from Side Position 6 (Finishing the Single Leg – Elbow to the Floor) Knee Escapes from Side Position 7 (Finishing the Single Leg – Moving Under the Sprawl) Knee Escapes from Side Position 8 (Hand Grips) Knee Escapes from Side Position 9 (Opponent’s Knee Position) Knee Escapes from Side Position 10 (Putting Things Together) Giles: 2 hours, 15 minutes. While Giles’ escapes from standard side control are certainly serviceable and effective (the frame and guard recovery and the underhook escape to knees), they didn’t wow me in the details like Danaher’s did. On the other hand, his escapes from related positions – north/south, knee on belly, and kesa gatame variations – are systems that are generally more complete than the ones Danaher presents, covering almost every variation you’ll encounter. Back Control Escapes Danaher: 36 minutes. Thirty-six minutes? That’s it? After spending five hours on side control escapes, you couldn’t even manage a full hour for back escapes? What happened? Did Matthias decide not to put up with the abuse your lapdog Placido was always willing to take? Or did Bernardo Faria set a hard limit of 11 hours to a set? Not even a body triangle escape? Lazy, Danaher. Lazy. And as always, the chapter titles are unhelpful. My subtitles: Sliding Escape (Basic Version) Sliding Escape 2 (Escape from Lapel Choke) Sliding Escape 3 (Escaping to the Opposite Side) Sliding Escape 4 (Preventing Face-Down Rear Mount) Giles: 1 hour, 38 minutes. Here’s a turn-around: Giles spends nearly three times as long as Danaher on back escapes. And it’s far more comprehensive: Giles shows escapes from both the overhook side as well as the underhook side, escaping the shoulders first and escaping the hips first, including how to deal with hooks and the body triangle. Plus, Giles caps it off with some excellent rolling footage. Turtle Escapes Danaher: 48 minutes. Solid escapes for both one arm around the waist and the seatbelt/harness grip. Giles: 35 minutes. Doesn’t cover the one arm around the waist situation, but makes up for it by covering turtle positions where your opponent’s got a hook in, an underhook, or two underhooks, none of which Danaher covers. Front Headlock Escapes Danaher: Doesn’t cover this at all. Not even on his Front Headlocks instructional. Bad Danaher. No cookie for you. Giles: 47 minutes. Very good escapes for both chokes and attempts to take the back from the front headlock position. Thorough with important details highlighted.
Fellow Command & Conquer fans, Today we’ll be launching our second major update for the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection. As I’ve been sharing with you over the past month via our Beta Patch updates, this Patch focuses on the following items:
Balance adjustments to address several key issues
Incorporating community maps as official Quickmatch maps
Dozens of QoL improvements and bug fixes across the board
Upcoming Quickmatch leaderboard reset
Below you will find the full list of Patch Notes for this update. Note: the Quickmatch changes will likely go into effect a few hours after the Patch goes live. But before we get too deep into the detailed list, let me provide context on each of the key items in this patch. LAN Play: As requested by the community over the course of the project, this update includes our official implementation of LAN Play. LAN Play allows players to enjoy Mod content in multiplayer, and should be an evergreen way to enjoy multiplayer far into the future. We did our best to test this feature amongst the Covid situation during development, along with attempting to get feedback from the community via Beta patches. But given the variety of ways people could play over VPN and with Mods, we expect there still to be some quirks in the system. Please continue to provide feedback so we can make any refinements going forward. Balance Adjustments: Over the past several weeks we’ve been collaborating with the community to tackle a few key balance items in the game. To see further context for these adjustments and read the full community discussion, please refer to my previous post here. Community Maps: A few weeks ago we announced the initiative of incorporating community made content into the actual game update so they can be officially utilized in Multiplayer and Quickmatch. We have decided to keep the first batch of Community maps as revealed, but have also made a few adjustments of the previous maps based on community feedback. The full details of these maps can be seen in the patch notes below. Quickmatch Leaderboard Reset: As mentioned in my previous post, we are getting ready to reset the Quickmatch ladder to get a fresh start on all these Quickmatch changes. This reset will likely happen in the next 48 hours if the patch launch here goes smoothly. In addition, one new feature of this patch is the ability to view the Leaderboard results of previous seasons (which should take a snapshot of the final results of this first season). However, on this note I wanted to address a key topic with the leaderboard. We’ve seen reports, evidence, and even people admitting about “boosting” their leaderboard rank with alternate accounts. We feel this breaks the ethics of the Quickmatch landscape and undermines the leaderboard system. Being part of the C&C community should be a positive and fair experience for all players. So here’s the deal, we’re going to give a pass on this previous season, but this behavior will not be acceptable after the leaderboard reset. I respectfully ask everyone to please engage in ethical play behavior going forward, and if you are not sure what that means, I think reading our Positive Play Charter is a good place to start. Mod Compatibility: I’ll then reiterate this message from our previous Patch Notes. Because this patch includes updates to the TiberianDawn.dll and RedAlert.dll files, it’s likely that some previous mods will no longer be compatible with this updated version of the game. Modders will need to update their mods with the latest code and refresh their mods on the Steam Workshop. Once a mod has been updated on the Steam Workshop, players will need to follow a few steps to update and reactivate their mods:
Disable the mod in the Mods Menu
Unsubscribe from the mod in the in-game Workshop Mods menu
Quit and restart the game
Re-subscribe to the mod via the Workshop Mods menu
Activate the mod and restart the game as prompted
The updated mod should then work as intended
Players may experience some issues if they try to activate mods which are not updated to the patch version. Detailed Patch Notes: With those items in mind, please see below for all the updates made in this patch: New Features:
LAN Play has been added to the game, including the ability to play LAN games with Mods enabled and over certain VPN networks. When browsing LAN games, the UI should display which Mods are required to join each game. LAN Play can be accessed directly from the Main Menu.
Added the ability to change the resource regeneration speed in Skirmish and Multiplayer games. This is now a slider in the Rules section of the game lobby (With value “1” being the legacy default)
Added a shortcut “Download” button to the Join Game and Lobby screens to quickly download a selected Custom Map by the host. This should make it much easier to grab Custom Maps and try them out. Along with this change, we are adjusting the lobby list so games with Custom Maps should appear alongside all other hosted games.
Added the following community maps into the official game:
"Elevation" (TD) by AchromicWhite & Lovehandles
“Quarry” (TD) by AchromicWhite & Lovehandles
"Heavy Metal" (TD) by FeRReT666 & Lovehandles
"Electric Avenue" (TD) by FeRReT666 & Lovehandles
"Canyon Pursuit" (TD) by AchromicWhite
"Tournament Arena" (RA) by [UF] freezy
“Tournament Ore Rift” (RA) by [UF] ^^ZxGanon^^
"(WHT) Canyon" (RA) by AchromicWhite & FeRReT666
Quality of Life Improvements:
Balance adjustment - In Tiberian Dawn the APC now has the Repair Facility as a pre-requisite to build, in order to help mitigate the early APC + Engineer rush
Balance adjustment - The GDI Weapons Factory health has been increased by 30%
Balance adjustment - The Naval structures have been removed the the victory condition
Balance adjustment - The Nod Cargo Plane delivery time has been normalized to 5 sec
Added the ability to Quickload with a Hotkey
Quicksaving should now work in Custom Missions and Skirmishes with Custom Maps
The USSR sub-faction price discount should now display properly in tooltips
Improved the Harvester logic so it will more reliably collect Gems in the adjacent cell
Added a flash back to the Nuke explosion in both games
The Stop and Guard hotkeys can now be held down
Made it so the “Insufficient Funds” dialog will no longer play if you’re not building anything
Increased the priority of the “MAD Tank Deploying” voice over so it can be immediately heard
Made a slight adjustment to how the enemy Airstrike targets in Nod Missions. The A10s should now focus on a single-target instead of splitting to multiple targets. This was a tough issue to track down and still looking for player feedback on how it feels in this new patch.
Harvesters should now properly respond to a docking queue and override if a manual docking command is given
Improved the readability of the text on the score screen in Tiberian Dawn
Updated the Radar visuals for when its being jammed by a Radar Jammer or Tesla Tank
Enabled the Hell March and Act on Instinct Achievements to be unlocked via the Main Menu Jukebox
Added a download window when subscribing Mods via the in-game Mods browser
Fixed an issue in Tiberian Dawn where aircraft could force fire into the shroud
Fixed an issue where the Transport Helicopter wouldn’t land if the spot was occupied
Fixed an issue where Custom Missions were not loading if the number of sub-folders were greater than the number of custom missions
Fixed an issue where the AI would sell the Temple of Nod in the final GDI mission and prevent the Ion Cannon ending
Fixed an issue where Civilians and Technicians were not being automatically targeted by player units
Fixed and issue where players could not see allied stealthed units, including Submarines and Stealth Tanks
Fixed an underlying issue which may have been causing units to be uncontrollable at the start of a Quickmatch game
Fixed an issue where the signal flare would stop animating after loading a saved game
Fixed an issue where the Aftermath mission “Brothers in Arms” was near impossible to beat on Hard difficulty due to increased speed of Attack Dogs
Fixed a legacy issue where turreted units would perceive their range differently depending on the unit’s facing, sometimes causing units to unnecessarily move into enemy range
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where several ital Red alert options were missing, such as MaxInfantry, MaxVessel, TechLevel, and IQ
Fixed a legacy exploit where units could get stuck in a building if constructed while a unit was pathing through the tile
Fixed a crash when trying to host a Custom Map game when there were subfolders in the custom map directories
Fixed an issue where the User Maps dialog screen was taking an incredibly long time to load previews
Fixed an issue where Harvesters would pause outside the Refinery before unloading upon receiving a docking command
Fixed an issue where enemy units would become invulnerable in Soviet Mission 12
Fixed an issue where a highlighter was seen when hovering over mission briefing text
Fixed an issue where sometimes infantry controlled by the AI wouldn’t play idle animations
Fixed an issue where replays weren’t generated if the AI won certain games
Fixed an issue where the Save Button was getting disabled upon dismissing the overwrite save confirmation pop-up
Fixed a typo in the description of Tiberian Dawn Bonus Gallery #047
Fixed an issue where Sarajevo East and Sarajevo Center were swapped on the map selection screen
Fixed an issue where Quicksaves were being overwritten between Tiberian Dawn and Red Alert
Fixed an issue where the Introduction video button was getting disabled at times
Fixed an issue where players were getting stuck in an error message when joining a full lobby game from the desktop
Fixed an issue where the Badajoz map was incorrectly listed as a Snow climate
Fixed an issue where the Sonar Pulse was only available for one time when infiltrating a Sub Pen with a Spy
Fixed an issue where the Harvester wouldn’t follow orders after being moved off a repair pad
Fixed an issue where aircraft were not getting destroyed once all player structures were destroyed
Fixed a crash when destroying Ant nests in the ant missions
Fixed an issue where Visceroids were dying immediately after spawning
Fixed an issue where Custom Mission Briefings were empty on the Load Game tab
Fixed an issue where the health bar would reveal hidden Submarines in legacy graphics mode
Fixed an issue where reinforcements wouldn’t arrive in Spec Ops mission M1 if the Commando was in a specific location
Fixed a subtitle typo of Mobius in the GDI Mission 12 briefing
Fixed a subtitle typo in the GDI Mission 8 briefing
Fixed an issue where the tech level was set too low in Funpark Mission 2
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where several scorch marks and craters were shown as large cells
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the default setting for Mission units was set to “Sleep”
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the default New Map creation was set to Cancel
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the bottom tile picker was unavailable
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the toolbox would go behind the Windows Taskbar
Fixed an issue where Mission Briefings were getting scrambled text display
Fixed an issue where the Spec Ops missions had inconsistent tech levels
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where Red Alert custom missions couldn’t use the @@ to force line breaks
Fixed an issue where the Chem Warrior was not available at build level 98
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where players couldn’t resize the bottom tile picker
Fixed an issue where the player name would occasionally show up as an AI player name in the player panel
Fixed a crash when sometimes using the Ion Cannon
Fixed an issue where the Player Panel would appear in single player custom missions
Fixed an issue where the voice over for the Repair Facility wasn’t triggering
Fixed an issue where enemy GDI Airstrikes were not disabled upon destroying the Communications Center in Nod Mission 13
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the internal length limits for team types and triggers were not being enforced
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where checkboxes were being re-ticked upon reloading the map
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor with the underlying Player settings
Fixed an issue where right-click on a wall would cause an exception error
Fixed an issue where the host couldn’t launch a match if all players had set their faction to Random
Fixed an incorrect description in the tooltip of Parabombs
Fixed a typo in AIPlayer1 in Observer mode
Fixed an incorrect description in the mission objective of “Don’t Drink the Water”
Fixed an issue where infantry were blocking the Ore Harvester from spawning
Fixed a crash when sometimes loading the next Nod campaign mission
Fixed an issue where the EVA dialog “Our base is under attack” was not playing for all allied players
Fixed an issue where a camera bookmark was moving one cell to the right
Fixed an issue where the Retry Mission dialog box was not appearing for Funpark Missions
Fixed an issue where the Retry Mission dialog box was not appearing for Custom Missions
Fixed a tile display issue on the Badajoz map
Fixed an issue where structure health bars were not showing in Yellow when they should be
Fixed an issue where the Spy was playing boxing animation frames when killed by Grenadiers
Fixed an issue where units were not getting repaired on the Service Depot in Soviet Mission 10
Fixed an issue where Submarines were not submerging after finishing an attack
Fixed an issue where the Nod briefing text was becoming corrupted after Alt-Tabbing
Fixed an issue where an enemy Medic would health the player infantry on certain missions
Fixed an issue where air units would disappear when flying too close to the top map border
Fixed a crash when sometimes opening the Options Menu
Fixed a crash when sometimes opening the Player Panel
Fixed an issue where the Sell and Repair sound FX were heard by other players
Fixed an issue where certain VFX were not showing up in Multiplayer games
Fixed an issue where the scroll bar in the Mods UI menu would pop back to the top
Fixed an issue where a faction icon wasn’t displayed in the replays tab when choosing Random
Fixed a crash when playing Aftermath mission “Harbor Reclamation”
Fixed a crash when using the Quicksave command in rapid succession
Fixed an issue with saved games from Custom Missions not appearing if they were the only save file present
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where some trigger values were seen as “0” after re-opening a saved map
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the active size of the map was not visible when dragging to resize the map boundaries
Fixed a typo in the final Nod Mission Briefing
Fixed an issue where the Custom map list was being improperly indented
Fixed an issue where infantry were automatically coming out of a Barracks without being purchased
Fixed an issue where the Civilians were not revealing the shroud
Fixed an issue where no music was being heard in GDI Mission 15
Fixed an issue where the incorrect starting units were displaying in the Replays / Observer menu for Quickmatch
Fixed an issue where the timer would disappear when loading a saved game on Allied Mission 10
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where tile P15 was not a complete terrain piece
Fixed an issue where no sound FX was playing when activating / deactivating the Radar Map
Fixed an issue where loading a Skirmish game would enable super weapons even if they had been disabled at game start
Fixed a crash when trying to host a Multiplayer game with a Custom Map
Fixed an issue where the “Primary Building Selected” voice over was not being heard in Tiberian Dawn
Fixed an issue where several Red Alert assets had incorrect spaces in their filenames
Fixed a crash when toggling Sell mode on certain missions
Fixed an issue in the Map Editor where the trigger editor had no buildings listed for the “Built it” event
Fixed an issue where the allied AI team members were not revealing shroud when attacking
Fixed a crash when multiple MiGs attack a target in Soviet Mission 12
Fixed or improved dozens of mismatched terrain tiles in a variety of multiplayer maps across both games
Increased the default resource regeneration rate to value 3 in the new slider
We are then making the following Map Pool adjustments based on community feedback:
Removing “Eye of the Storm” from the pool
Removing “Nowhere to Hide” from the pool
Removing “Tiberium Garden” from the pool
Removing “Four Corners” from the pool
Removing “Red Sands” from the pool
Adjusting “Monkey in the Middle” to be Top Left vs Bottom Right spawns only
Adjusting “One Pass Fits All” to be Top Left vs Bottom Left and Top Right vs. Bottom Right as the only viable spawns
Adding “Elevation” community map to the pool
Adding “Quarry” community map to the pool
Adding “Heavy Metal” community map to the pool (Opposite corner spawns only)
Adding “Electric Avenue” community map to the pool (Opposite location spawns only)
Adding “Canyon Pursuit” community map to the pool
Removing “Things to Come” from the pool
Removing “Shallow Grave” from the pool
Removing “Equal Opportunity” from the pool
Adjusting “Bullseye” to be Top Right vs Bottom Left spawns only
Adding “Path Beyond” to the pool with Top Left vs. Bottom Right spawns only
Adding “Tournament Arena” community map to the pool
Adding “Tournament Ore Rift” community map to the pool
Adding “Canyon (WHT)” community map to the pool
Thanks to everyone who contributed their feedback during our Beta Patch process, and we hope this update improves your experience with the Command & Conquer Remastered Collection. Thanks for your ongoing support, and please continue to provide your feedback here on the subreddit, in social channels, and with our support teams. Cheers, Jim Vessella Jimtern * Hi everyone, we’ve noticed some online stability and performance issues since we launched the patch yesterday. Specifically, the game is freezing during certain matches or suffering from slowdown / lag on large scale maps on large scale maps. Over the past 24 hours the team has worked to identify areas which may have been causing these issues, and we just deployed a server hotfix in an attempt to improve these items. We’re going to monitor the game throughout the weekend and see if this hotfix improves the stability and performance. If we feel good after the weekend, then we’ll plan for the ladder reset early next week. Thanks for your patience and ongoing support, and looking forward to hearing everyone’s experience over the weekend. *Hi everyone, we saw increased stability over the weekend and have officially reset the ladders as of Monday at 11:15 PDT. We're then continuing to investigate the input lag / framerate issue, but may have a lead thanks to some videos from the community. In the meantime, good luck in the new Season! This [announcement] [roadmap] may change as we listen to community feedback and continue developing and evolving our Live Service & Content. We will always strive to keep our community as informed as possible.
The Strangest, Yet Most Common Criticism of the ST
So that Recent Daisy Ridley interview made me want to dust off an old thesis statement of sorts I’ve been saying since The Last Jedi was released. Not so much what she was saying but the reaction to it. I was going to include this in my post about why I wondered #ReleasetheEdwardsCut was never a thing but it didn’t seem right at the time. So Here Goes Nothing: This is an observation I began to notice about March 2018 or so, when the “””backlash””” for TLJ really began to take form and start getting ugly. A lot of signs went in different directions so it was hard to point to one exact thing. Then, just after Solo’s release Jeremy Jahns uploads that video, the really dumb one where he says TLJ promotes too much Social Justice or some crap like that and tried to justify everything by saying “I like the movie mother!” (because nothing says good movie like a painfully obvious allegory my neighbours ten year old could figure out in addition to watching Jennifer Lawrence have the shit beaten out of her. Also a Baby gets eaten, yeah.) and something he said in to really stuck with me. First he Says Star Wars is a cinematic universe (it isn’t) then says “Did anyone know what RJ was doing!?” And that was it right there, he managed to summarize what I've been observing these last few months but couldn't put into proper words. Star Wars Fans are mad that the ST is too Directo Artistic Driven then Franchise/ Design by Committee/ Business driven. It’s as if Jeremy was saying that he wants more studio control on these things and that directors should just follow orders and shut up. Now obviously he didn’t say those exact words I just typed but he sure as hell seemed to imply it. Now that seems like an oddly specific thing to say people are criticizing them for and I seriously doubt you will hear that exact phrase mentioned anywhere. But Think About it For a Moment.... How many times have you seen variations of these comments: “Rian Johnson should be on a tighter leash” “They should have had a stric plan for the ST from the start” “One person should have written/ directed the whole thing” “They should only do what the fans want” "Take a page from Marvel." Or some comment that eludes to the notion that Disney/ Lucasfilm should have stepped in more and not let the directors do as they were hired to do. What's funny to me is how "They should have had a plan" always translates to "I fucking hated The Last Jedi!!!!" Now that might seem like an odd way to look at it all but this isn't the first time Star Wars has been "criticized" like this. Look at the PT for example. In just about every review I’ve seen, both in print and YouTube, there’s always a moment where the reviewer says something along the lines of “Did no one tell George this was a bad idea?” or “Did no one challenge George on this?” This is RLM’s most common talking point. Or those claiming Lucas surrounded himself with yes-men who would do everything he wanted and that was it. Lucas did pay for the entire PT out of his own pocket mind you. He had an entire VFX company at his disposable to make any crazy thing he imagined. Who’s to tell him what he can and can’t do? Rick McCallum sure as hell wasn't going to. There is a certain "tragedy" for lack of a better word, when comparing Lucas in the 70s/80s to what he became in the 90s/00s. He ultimately became the very thing he rebelled against, the film producing machine where he could call the shots, order people to do as he wanted and no one could tell him otherwise. This is the entire thesis of The People Vs. George Lucas documentary. Very few directors working today occupy the same zeitgeist that Lucas once did. Abrams certainly doesn’t and neither does Johnson or Edwards or even Howard for that matter. How many can say they changed the medium of film with just one movie? I’d imagine anyone who wanted to seriously challenge Lucas would probably be fired on the spot for it. It would be like trying to challenge James Cameron or Steven Spielberg or David Fincher. You’d get about one inch before being kicked out of the door or in Cameron’s case, yelled out till your ears bled while your phone was nail gunned to a wall. You just couldn't do it. The situation the new films have found themselves in pretty much sets up that criticism though. George Lucas is gone, never coming back. He was THE BOSS and nothing was going to change that. Disney now owns Star Wars and will continue to own it until Kingdom Come. It has now crossed the rift from Filmmaker’s creative vision to Valuable franchise used for profit. Another IP to add to Disney's ever growing roster. So now with every new director they have to answer to Lucasfilm, to Disney, to the Mouse but they aren’t treated as servants but as guests. They aren’t ordered around, they aren’t told what they can and can’t do and they have all the resources imaginable at their disposal. A blank canvas and a $200 Million dollar cheque. For better TFA is very much JJ Abrams from start to finish. He loves his mystery boxes and stories about young women trying to find their place in the world and male supporting characters with father issues while ultimately being a pastiche of what he loves . If you seriously think TFA was made to be a remake of ANH (It really isn't) because Disney wanted it that way for a quick buck, welcome to your first JJ Abrams film. For worse, TROS is very JJ Abrams in the most frustrating way possible… but still very much a film made by him. Every decision made in TROS, good or bad(mainly bad), is something that has appeared in all his movies/ tv shows. You see the gear turning in his head with some of the more... questionable choices. Even behind the scenes, when things seem iffy is never feels like “The hand of the Mouse is stepping in.” It always feels like Abrams listening to feedback from his colleagues like Spielberg and DuVernay. Or in TROS's case, bad impulses.... TLJ is pure Rian Johnson from frame one up until the credits roll. TLJ is eerily similar to the Breaking Bad episode The Fly, the first episode he directed. An entirely character focused story that examines who the characters are and what they ultimately want and their greatest fears. And just like TLJ it is still talked about to this day. Frigg, TLJ and Knives Out both have the same ending twist… The Last Jedi’s production however is where things get interesting. TLJ might just have the smoothest and cleanest production of any Star Wars film probably ever. The Story was set and locked before TFA was in theatres. No massive reshoots, no extreme rewrites, no behind the scenes meddling, no studio oversight, no on set drama, no crazy editing changes and finished under budget with months to spare. That doesn’t happen for like 99% of movies made today, blockbuster or not. The PT on the other hand, oh boy.... TPM got off reasonably well. Some bad weather that destroyed sets didn't send them back too much. Some like to point to everyones reaction to the Rough Cut being the ultimate sign that everyone working on TPM knew it was going to be awful. That's the thing though, it's a rough cut, that's the whole point. It doesn't matter how good or bad any movie is at the end of the day, rough cut screenings are brutal.... ATOC and ROTS on the other hand didn't even have a finished script until about a month into shooting. And most importantly Anakin's entire motivation to turn to the dark side was added after the fact during reshoots. Which were done in late 2004 mind you. No Comment. It was funny for a while when I’d glance at STC throughout 2018 to see where the narrative was going and the most common one for a good month was always some variation of “Did Disney mess with TLJ!?” Trying to prove that something must have gone horribly wrong during the making of the movie... except there wasn't. And I’ve seen this play out in real time with in-person conversations, but after realizing that not only is that not the case but they can’t point to any other of the “usual suspects” to say “this is why thing bad” their only option is to say “RJ Shouldn’t have been allowed to do that!!” If anyone is wondering why RJ is getting his own trilogy this is the reason. The dude gets shit done with no issue. Even the death of Carrie Fisher didn’t put a damper on anything(the amount of comments I’ve seen that said “why didn’t they kill of Leia” got comical). It’s what makes watching The Director and the Jedi such a fascinating experience because everyone is looking at everything going “Is this gonna work or no?” With Emphasis on Hamill the most. TFA’s production was kinda messy but manageable. News about TROS's production has been revealed throughout the year and most of it points to it being messy and chaotic. The making of Docs try to hide this by showing us happy faces, people passionate about what they are doing and saying “hey this is awesome!” Then there’s the horrible realization that we live in this shitty era of movies dictated by film franchises that we watch out of obligation and internet culture creating a massive hyperbolic bubble around everything. I remember a time whenever information about any film was released (franchise or not) and if it was revealed that there was some form of behind the scenes drama between director and studio or changes made that the director wasn't part of people got mad. But now whenever we hear that the response is almost always “Hey they probably saved the movie from being a disaster.” A Real Paradigm Shift. It’s just accepted that Franchise Films are the result of produce studio oversight and that’s ultimately a good thing(that’s not to say there aren’t examples where this hasn’t been the case but that’s a discussion for another day). Which Leads Us To... Marvel immediately comes to mind with regards to this. After 23 movies the MCU has gone through 15 directors. Those who left after one or two movies don’t have nice things to say about it and it’s easy to see why. It’s funny seeing some put the MCU on some pedestal for “How Franchises should be,” which I find head-scratching. The MCU might just be the most micro-managed film franchise of all time. The amount of times I’ve read some behind the scenes piece about how scenes were shot literally weeks before release or were in six months plus of reshoots after the fact is staggering or how directors get screwed over and told to take a knee. And that’s not even getting into the nitty gritty of it all like how they don’t allow directors to shoot their own action or characters being shifted roles because it would affect toy sales. They also sure as hell don’t plan everything out. The amount of times the MCU has retconned entire films out of existence or just pretended certain developments didn’t happen could be its own drinking game. Character development in thrown out the window for the sake of appearance. The writers of Endgame can’t seem to keep their answer straight as to where and when Captain America ended up when he wanted to spend his life with Peggy. If anything Marvel is really good at giving the impression that everything is a well maintained car while running on fumes. Compare the Avenger’s Home Base between movies and then tell me with a straight face “Marvel Pays attention to continuity.” As an aside, what exactly do Marvel and Star Wars have in common? Aside from being owned by Disney what do they have in common? Nothing..... The approach, risks taken, sense of awe, the types of stories of told. It's like comparing a nice tasty burger from that one restaurant in town to an all you can eat Buffet. Sure it's all food at the end day but theres a difference. There’s also the matter of the type of directors that Marvel has picked. They largely go for Indie or TV directors with very little experience making films this scale. They also don’t have a huge amount of clout to their name so they can’t make huge demands for what they want. Sure some have more of a style and clout to them but those are the exceptions that proves the rule. For every Ryan Coogler or James Gunn there's The Russo Brothers or Jon Watts. Star Wars on the other hand has actively sought out directors with experience in films this size and those who have their own style that is reflected in the ones they make. To summarize JJ Abrams is Diet-Spielberg while Rian Johnson is Quirky American Auteur. Gareth Edwards could be the next “mostly” poignant blockbuster director while Ron Howard is a seasoned Veteran. Star Wars could have easily have grabbed any number of pencil pusher directors and gave them ultra strict guidelines to follow and nothing else. Have them make movies that are nothing more than giant fan service reels aimed at getting all the fan dollars in the world. And I think that's what so many kind of expected we were getting from the get go and are confused and out right mad that isn't the case. To Quote u/friedAmobo "Disney and Lucasfilm, regardless of what some people may think, are not stupid - they know the best way to make money is to do what the fans want. That would mean Luke being the main character in TFA, the main trio reuniting, and other fan service moments that would make Rogue One blush. The fact that TFA\ ***isn’t*** *about any of that is telling. It means they had an idea for something different, and they made it."* "TLJ is even more condemning for the cash grab argument. Rian Johnson was the sole writer and director of the movie, and as we all know, the movie was very divisive. But how was that a cash grab, then? If Lucasfilm wanted to make tons of money, they could have a powerful Luke train Rey, and then have him beat the First Order on Crait with super Force powers. It’d have made an easy couple hundred million dollars more. The fact that they didn’t do that, but ended up going with a story that had the potential to be divisive is, again, telling." But…. then you have the complete 180 with the anthology films. Rogue One and Solo and reading into their production is mind boggling. For as much as TROS’s production seemed like a nightmare, the production of these two seemed like fighting Nightmare from Metroid: Fusion. No one wants to come clean with what the hell happened with Rogue One. What movie completely reshoots it’s final act with a little over 6 months before release(not saying it doesn’t happen just bare with me here)? Gareth Edwards is probably never going to talk about how he was basically fired from it and replaced with Tony Gilroy. You think it’s anyway surprising that he has nothing to do with this Cassian Disney+ series? Solo had its directors fired midway through production then reshot the entire movie with someone else. That Doesn't Happen…… I remember hearing that during the summer of 2017 and my coworkers and I just laughed our heads off at it. The notion of a Han Solo movie (without Harrison Ford) was such a ridiculous idea at the time and then this happened on top of it. There’s also the uncomfortable truth that no one wants to admit about the Anthology Films. They Aren’t About Anything. Not that they aren’t about “anything” in the literal sense, but more so in the “these films exist to shove Star Wars nostalgia in your face and nothing else.” They are set during the OT era for frigg sake and throw LORE and CANON junk at you to make up for their complete lack of emotional/ dramatic meaning(I say this as someone who enjoys Solo greatly). Because they are side stories you the viewer don’t have to worry about anything of major consequence happening in them that would affect the main narrative (Skywalker Saga in this case). They can do whatever they want and basically a safe bet for an audience. You don't have to worry abut your favourite characters being killed or doing things you don't agree with. It’s like a video game side quest where all you get is a shiny new item by the end of it that’s good for a while until you get something better an hour later. This might not seem like much but I think fans seriously underestimate the power that comes with these being a side story. The Mandalorian fits into this category as well and something that Hello Greedo has praised the show excessively for. Add on the fact that Disney/ Lucasfilm is going to keep making Star Wars content in the form of movies/ Live Action series/ animation until the ice caps melt and we all die. It's not out of the realm of possibility that something you've always "wanted" might one day happen. To quote my very good friend u/SorryNotSpartacus: “They also, very simply, are not the main saga, and I think people underestimate how much of a difference that makes to the fan audience that by and large seems to respond more positively to the anthology films. Most fans are used to reading or watching EU material.” I recall seeing multiple comments early 2018 “RJ should have been given an Anthology film(s) instead.” As if to say “That way he can do what he wants and I don’t have to worry about it,” or something to that affect. But there’s also the sad fact at the end of day that’s all Star Wars fans “Want.” They don’t want a story or anything meaningful but a shrine to their nostalgia, a two hour fan service reel or a big “thank you” for being fans. Fulfill their own expectations and make them feel nothing but superficial joy. Don't let them think or feel anything else in the process. To quote Frank Oz: “All the people who don’t like this ‘Jedi’ thing is just horse crap. It’s about expectations. The movie didn’t fill their expectations. But as Filmmakers, we’re not here to fill people’s expectations.” He’s talking about The Last Jedi if that wasn’t clear. You’d think this would be obvious but so many fans seem to think it’s the other way around that these things exists to validate them as fans and nothing else. Don’t believe me? Go to any Star Wars sub reddit and search “this but un-ironcally,” or just type any number of words followed be “fans.” The results might surprise you… or won’t. Better yet just Search Rogue One and look for the most upvoted post. It's why I take issue with that recent quote from Jon Favreau that's been floating around for the last few weeks. “We alway knew, and this was something I learned from over at Marvel and working with Kevin Feige, is you always want to keep core fans in mind, because they have been the ones that’ve been keeping the torch lit for many, many years, but there are also stories for young people and for new audiences. These are myths, and you always want to have an outstretched hand to people who might not have that background . And so you’re really telling two stories at once. You’re telling the story for the people who are fresh eyes, and you’re telling the story for the people who’ve been there with the property and with the stories and characters for many years, and make sure you’re honouring them as well.” Almost as if he's saying "Just shove enough fan-service onscreen, someone will recognize it and it will make up for our lack of story telling abilities." It's funny how he uses what he learned from Marvel as "collective wisdom" when he got screwed hard when trying to make Iron Man 2 a movie about Tony Stark dealing with his own death. Stop treating these very corporately controlled entities like they are your best friend, they are not and never will be. Even if you think you have, it's not real. You think this wouldn’t have to be said but it needs to: You as a fan do not own Star Wars. Buying all the stickers and Funko Pops doesn’t make you an owner no matter how you stretch it. You do not have a say on how these things go, you do not get to say what can and can’t happen, you are not the writer, you are not the director, you are not the person who wipes the table off after a meeting because same jack-hole split coffee all over it.You are the person who buys a ticket then bitches online about it. Then again there is always the obvious “fans have no fucking idea what the hell they even want anymore.” Not that I’m free from this, I sure as hell don’t know what I want. I could give some vague answer like “More Babu Frik” but even that seems too broad. I saw a really dumb tweet around February 2018 that showed two posters, The Last Jedi and Justice League and the tweeter said "Filmmakers of these franchises should be actively aware what fans want and go out of their way to ensure that." Naturally most of the replies were ridiculing the guy for his flawed logic. The most liked reply came from someone who said the following "This implies that Star Wars fans actually know what the hell they even want." Also Justice League failed because it didn't do what the fans want? Oi Vey....) None of this is to say anything you yourself have criticized any of the ST films isn’t valid to you or someone else. Unless you’re one of those people who thinks “They have a secret political agenda!” in which case please stop. For as much as I talked about the ST being filmmake director driven they are still very much films released by Disney for the sake of profit. It’s just as much an art form as it is a business. Just as much of a product as they are a piece of fiction. For as much as RJ and his cast and crew have talked about the freedom he was given, he's not going to kill off all the characters and have Rey become a film scholar and analyze the works of Zack Snyder. The ST films are not art house epics and never will be. Neither is the PT or OT for that matter. Lucas is a much better businessman than director. He knew damn well the PT was his ticket to make up losing half his fortune after his messy divorce. Keep things going so he can basically retire once ROTS was done. But that’s all I have to say on the matter. This was based entirely on observation and conversations with others. Also there is no JJ-cut of TROS. There is no version of The Rise of Skywalker in which all the past Jedi appear as ghosts and start doing all the kick flips imaginable that was cut because CHINA. It Doesn't Exist.
Should the Golden State Warriors gamble on a draft pick? Or cash in their chips for a proven player instead? A look at potential trade packages
Back in 1978, "The Gambler" Kenny Rogers gave all NBA general managers some sage advice. "You've got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em." Golden State decision makers Bob Myers and Steve Kerr are clearly fans of Rogers, because they acted quickly and decisively this season. As soon as they saw the writing on the wall that a playoff push wouldn't happen this year, they made sure to rack up as many losses as possible. As a result, they'll enter the offseason with a 15-50 record, in the catbird seat with the # 1 slot in the draft heading into the lottery. When a strong team winds up with a high pick like this, there's a natural reaction: this is the Spurs and Tim Duncan all over again!" Realistically speaking, that's not what's going to happen here. After 4 years in college, Tim Duncan came into the NBA as one of the most pro-ready prospects of our lifetime. As a rookie, he averaged 22-12 with 2.5 blocks and earned All-Star status right out of the gate. He even finished 5th in MVP voting (as a rookie!). Golden State shouldn't expect that. More realistically, you're looking at a top pick that could be an "average" player as a rookie, and hopefully work their way to All-Star status in year 3 or 4. The question for Golden State is: can they afford to wait that long? Steph Curry is 32. Klay Thompson is 30 and coming off a serious injury. Draymond Green is 30 and perhaps on a decline already. Given that, the Warriors have a choice to make. Should they utilize this top 5 pick as a way to supplement their playoff roster now, with the expectation that the prospect could develop into their next franchise player down the road? Or should they cash in their draft assets for a "win now" approach? In order to answer that question, let's take a look at more of the specifics.
What kind of package can they offer?
There's no way the Golden State Warriors will trade Steph Curry or Klay Thompson, especially given how well their skill sets should age over time. In theory, they could debate trading Draymond Green (still owed 4 more years) for younger legs, but I imagine he's too important to the franchise from a culture and historical standpoint. Other than that...? All bets are off. As we peek through the Warriors' cupboard for potential assets, here's what we find: THE LOTTERY PICK. Currently slated at # 1, there's only a 14% chance it stays there. That pick could land anywhere from 1-5, with 3 or 4 being the most likely outcome. While this isn't a very strong draft, there's inherent value to a top 5 pick. I would estimate that the top 3 is especially valuable this year, with three potential bluechip prospects emerging from the pack in SG Anthony Edwards (Georgia), C James Wiseman (Memphis), and PG LaMelo Ball (facebook). Minnesota's 2021 R1 pick. This had been included in the D'Angelo Russell deal. The pick is top 3 protected, but could still be a valuable asset. Under Ryan Saunders, the Timberwolves have gone 36-70 overall. With Karl-Anthony Towns and a full season of D'Angelo Russell (not to mention another top 5 pick), the Wolves may get closer to .500 range, but there's also a good chance the pick lands in the top 10 regardless. Andrew Wiggins. Sadly, Young Mr. Wiggins would be used mostly as contract filler at this stage. He's not a bad player, but he happens to be overpaid on his current contract. He'll get $29.5M next season, $31.5M the following year, and $33.5M in the final year. He'll need to take a massive step up in efficiency to be worth that type of money. Eric Paschall. The forward from Villanova had a solid rookie year, averaging 14.6 points and 4.6 rebounds. Realistically, there may not be a huge amount of upside left in the tank for the 23 year old, but the price makes him appealing. He's only due $1.5M next season and $1.8M the following year. Kevon Looney. The 2019-20 campaign was a lost season for Looney due to injury, but he's still a potential asset on his current contract ($4.8M + $5.2M player option.) When last healthy in 2018-19, he averaged about 12-10 per 36 minutes of action. He's one of the few "middle class" contracts on the books, so he's going to be a common throw-in to trades. Damion Lee. Steph Curry's brother-in-law is a personal favorite of mine. He's worked his way up through the G-League and 10-day contracts and proven to be a legitimate rotational player. The Warriors locked him up on a team-friendly contract ($1.7M + $1.9M) that makes him a positive asset as well. Marquese Chriss. Amazingly, mega "bust" Marquese Chriss flashed some improved play for the Warriors last year. Teams will still be wary of trusting him, but his salary ($1.8M) makes him a decent throw-in and flier. Alen Smailagic. The 20-year-old Serbian only played 139 total minutes for the big league club this year, but did pretty well (15.2 PPG in 25.9 minutes) in the G-League. He's a decent flier of a prospect who at the very least can be an extra contract ($1.5M) to throw into a deal. other picks. The Warriors also own the # 48 and # 52 picks in this year's draft, and could throw in future R1 picks of their own as well. If we throw in ALL of these players (hard to do with roster constraints), we're talking about a salary package of about $40M. More likely, you can make anywhere from $30-35M work presuming you include Andrew Wiggins as a major component of the trade. Overall, I'd say the Warriors have three levels of trade packages to offer. THE GOLD PACKAGE: Would be this year's lottery pick + Wiggins (for contract purposes) + a solid young player like Pascall THE SILVER PACKAGE: Minnesota's pick next year + Wiggins (for contract purposes). THE BROWN/TURD PACKAGE: Wiggins + minor picks and assets (but no high picks.) With this package, the Warriors would be looking to acquire other "toxic" assets more than anything else.
Potential deals for the THE GOLD PACKAGE (Wiggins + this year's lottery pick)
Bradley Beal (WAS) ($29M + $34.5M + $37M player option) Look, I don't want to do this any more than you do, but the United States Congress just passed legislation (Provision BB-3) that requires every single trade post to mention Bradley Beal. For this to actually happen, a number of events would have to fall in line. The first is that Beal formally demands a trade, forcing Washington's hand. His recent extension makes that unlikely, but not unprecedented given today's NBA climate. Secondly, the Warriors would have to grab a top 3 pick -- likely # 1 or # 2. If they do that, then they would have a legitimate offer to make the Wizards for Beal: that top pick + Wiggins + maybe Eric Pascall as an additional piece. They could even throw in a future R1 pick to sweeten the pot if need be. You may question whether another shooting guard (emphasis on shooting) would even fit on Golden State, but we shouldn't overthink this one. Shooting is like peanut butter -- it goes with everything. Moreover, Klay Thompson could easily slide out to SF if need be. The defense would take a hit, but the offensive firepower would be devastating enough to make up for it. Myles Turner (IND) ($18M + $18M + $18M) + $10M in trade filler If the Warriors' pick lands in the 4-5 range, they may have to set their sights lower in trade talks, and look towards near All-Stars like Myles Turner instead. The Indiana Pacers went into this season with an unconventional two-big lineup, and it actually worked pretty well overall. That said, they've been playing without Domatas Sabonis in the bubble, and it's given scorers like T.J. Warren more room to operate. Looking ahead, perhaps the team decides they need to break up the big guys in order to maximize their spacing and spark their offense (ranked 18th pre-bubble.) And hey, maybe they decide they don't want to pay Victor Oladipo (a FA next summer) big money and lock into a core that may top out as a 4-5 seed no matter what. Acquiring a young starter like Andrew Wiggins and a top 5 pick would give them some more options and potential upside. From the Warriors' perspective, Myles Turner (or Sabonis) would give them a very good center that can play without the confines of their offense. Turner is also particularly stout on defense, and would pair with Draymond Green for a formidable duo inside. Originally, I had listed Jeremy Lamb ($10M + $10M) as the trade filler to make it work, but his ACL injury complicates that math. Presumably, the Warriors would like some healthy bodies to help a team that would be dangerously thin. They'd likely prefer Doug McDermott ($7.5M), but may have to settle for lesser white dudes like T.J. McConnell ($3.5M) and T.J. Leaf ($4.5M) instead.
Potential deals for the THE SILVER PACKAGE (Wiggins + MIN 2021 pick)
Blake Griffin (DET) ($37M + $39M player option) Blake Griffin has been in the NBA for 10+ years now, but he's still one of the more misunderstood players in the league. He still has the rep as an athlete/dunker, despite the fact that he's a highly skilled ball-handler and passer as well. When last healthy in 2018-19, he averaged 24-7-5 and helped push the Pistons into the playoffs. Griffin's (offensive) potential on this Warriors team would be terrifying. From Detroit's perspective, this would represent a reset and rebuild. They'd hand the reins of the PF spot from Griffin (31 years old) to Christian Wood (24) and go with a younger approach. Andrew Wiggins may never be the All-Star we hoped, but he still fits that timeline at 25 years old, and has proven to be more durable than Griffin (who isn't?). With this "silver package," the Pistons would also get that Minnesota draft pick to help their rebuild. There's some uncertainty to that pick, so they may prefer some type of pick swap this season instead. For example, let's say Golden State lands at # 2, and Detroit comes in at # 4. The two teams may negotiate some deal that would allow the Pistons to jump up to 2 and grab their preferred prospect. Aaron Gordon (ORL) ($18M + $16M) + Terrence Ross ($13.5M + $12.5M + $11.5M) After six seasons in the league, it may be time to give up on the idea that Aaron Gordon will develop into a go-to scorer. Instead, he may be best served as a 3rd or 4th starter who's going to be a movable piece on defense and an energy scorer on offense. That doesn't sound like what the doctor ordered in Orlando (with Jon Isaac already there), but it could fit well in Golden State. Gordon and Draymond Green would be a "small" PF-C combination, but it's a mighty switchable tandem. Terrence Ross would be included for salary and depth, although Orlando may try to push for Al-Farouq Aminu instead. Why would Orlando be interested in Andrew Wiggins? They wouldn't, necessarily, but this package would also offer them that extra Minnesota draft pick. Moreover, it would help clear some logjam in their frontcourt. Aside from Jon Isaac, they also have Nikola Vucevic, Mo Bamba, and this past year's rookie Chuma Okeke. Personally, I'm excited to see what Okeke can offer when healthy next year.
Potential deals for the THE BROWN/TURD PACKAGE (Wiggins + minor picks and assets)
Kevin Love (CLE) ($31M + $31M + $29M) Can we possibly go full circle here? Andrew Wiggins started his career by being traded for Kevin Love, so it'd be fitting for the two to swap places once again. From the Cavs' perspective, this move would be all about a rebuild. Kevin Love (31 years old, turning 32 in September) never felt like a great fit for their very young team. While Wiggins isn't an ideal building block, he's younger and easier to slide into a lineup at the wing. They'd also be getting off a contract that's naturally risky given Love's age and injury history. The Warriors had resisted adding Kevin Love before (for Klay Thompson), but his "fit" would be interesting right now. Offensively, his ability to rebound and stretch the court would make their lineup even more potent. Defensively, your hope is that Draymond Green could cover for any potential weakness he may have. Love is also a good team-first player who shouldn't have any problem fitting in and chasing another ring. Al Horford (PHI) ($27.5M + $27M + $26.5M) Another skilled big man in his 30s, Al Horford could be an option if the Warriors want to make a quick push to win now at the expense of their future. Horford is past his prime, but he's still a heady player who would fit into the offensive system and culture well. That said, Horford carries sizable risk to him given the length of his contract. He recently turned 34, so he'll be paid $20M+ into his age 35-36 seasons. It's almost guaranteed to be an albatross contract by the end, but perhaps the Warriors can talk themselves into it if they believe their window is only 1-2 more years anyway. For the Sixers, Andrew Wiggins isn't ideal either (as a mediocre shooter), but he'd at least offer them more depth at the wing. Paying a big man like Al Horford to go along with Joel Embiid never made a ton of sense in the first place. LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) ($24M) The San Antonio Spurs haven't embraced a full-on rebuild yet, but they're verging on that territory. That'd be especially easy at center, where Jakob Poeltl is more than ready to man 25-30 minutes. Given that, LaMarcus Aldridge would be an easy piece to push aside. Would the Spurs want a player like Andrew Wiggins back in return? Probably not. Still, they may have the faith that their player development system can get Wiggins to tap into his full potential. From the Warriors' perspective, this would be another push to "win now." Despite being 35 years old, Aldridge can still be an offensive weapon, as illustrated by his 18.9 points per game this season. In some ways, he could be a bootleg version of what Kevin Durant gave the Warriors -- bailing out their offense in half-court possessions when needed. Defensively, he should be able to play alongside Draymond Green as well. While LaMarcus Aldridge may not sound like a needle mover at this stage, this is a good time to remind the reader that these latter packages don't include those valuable draft picks. Julius Randle (NY) ($19M + $20M) + SG Wayne Ellington ($8M) You're not going to find more polarizing players than Julius Randle. The raw stats suggest he's a star (he neared 20-10 again with averages of 19.5 and 9.7 this season.) The advanced stats suggest he's a net negative. Still, you'd like his chances of success playing with this Golden State offense. Randle is an underrated ball-mover himself, so he may fit in well with their lineup. For his part, Wayne Ellington would be a contract filler and a potential depth play. Would the Knicks want Andrew Wiggins? Eh. He's probably a little better than Julius Randle, but he's about the same age (both 25) and would be on a more expensive, longer-term deal. Their decision here may come down to the draft. If they have a chance to take another big (be it James Wiseman or Onyeka Okongwu) they may want to jettison Julius Randle sooner than later to clear room. Kyle Anderson (MEM) ($9.5M + $10M) + Gorgui Dieng ($17M) This would certainly be the lowest profile trade option, and it would essentially be the Warriors' way of admitting that they never wanted Andrew Wiggins in the first place. I like the idea of "Slo-Mo" Kyle Anderson on the Warriors given his basketball IQ, while Gorgui Dieng may be good enough to give them 20 minutes a night. Still, the only reason the Warriors would make a trade like this would be if they viewed Wiggins as a toxic/negative asset. From the Grizzlies' perspective, this deal would represent some risk as well. This is a young and talented team that doesn't necessarily need more help on the wing. They have a full plate already with Dillon Brooks, Justice Winslow, Grayson Allen, Josh Jackson, etc. Still, it's never easy for a market like Memphis to draw in "big names," so perhaps they view Wiggins as that type of star material.
Serious: Is it over for you? If so, why aren't you doing hard drugs?
If there's no way for you to ascend, or if you feel it's not worth the struggle, you should 100% be speedballing meth and heroin. I am not encouraging anyone to give up, but to consider an alternate approach to life. This goes double for brocels on the verge of roping. Like actually what else do you have to lose? These are your options:
Have 60 more years of being a miserable little brainwashed drone slaving away for your overlords and contributing to soyciety so stacey's children can live happily
Have ~30 more years of blissful euphoria and ascend with cheap filthy prostitutes and even beckies/staceys who took a wrong turn in life lmao
Sure your brain and body will slowly deteriorate and you will most likely die before 60 (not all junkies do). But if you do this right, you will never feel sad ever again. I know the media portrays addicts as lifeless zombies and ex-addicts will tell you that addiction is a nightmare, but it's really not that simple. There are only two reasons an addict will ever be miserable: - they want to get high but can't get drugs - they want to get clean but can't stop using Having no desire to get clean as well as a steady supply with regular tolerance breaks and alternate drug rotations eliminates both of those problems. Since happiness is just a result of chemicals in your brain, as an incel (or even an average male for that matter), you will ALWAYS have an imbalance. SO YOU MIGHT AS WELL CHEAT AND ENJOY YOURSELF BEFORE YOUR MEANINGLESS LIFE COMES TO AN END. https://preview.redd.it/bujmzcjfhyo51.png?width=400&format=png&auto=webp&s=a100b33887e1de4835ab20ed095ecf79bc5e5597 Basically: meth + dirty prostitute > sober + prime stacey meth + masturbating for 12 hours > sober + prime stacey meth > (sober + prime stacey)*6 Scientific proof lmao: https://preview.redd.it/4c3m4mljjyo51.png?width=560&format=png&auto=webp&s=97f0dcaab0de73177a959909e313ae6b418647f9 And contrary to what low IQ normies (who's entire knowledge of drugs comes from watching tv shows) will tell you, you don't even need a lot of money. With a full-time minimum wage job, you can afford: - shitty apartment - enough food to keep your weight from dropping - wi-fi and laptop/games/other entertainment copes - weekly escorts - enough drugs to keep you elevated for the rest of your life The reason why drugs seem expensive is because addicts let their tolerance to the point they need (literally) 50 times the regular dose of something to feel its effects. This can easily be bypassed in 2020. We are living in a chemical golden age. There are hundreds if not thousands of drugs at your disposal assuming you live in a major city in the US, Canada, UK, or Ireland. And if not, fucking move somewhere cheap with lots of drugs and easy prescriptions. By alternating every few days or weeks and avoiding cross-tolerance you can continue to take regular to small doses of a variety of substances for decades. It will take a few months of tinkering, but you will be able to find a routine that works for you. If you're new to this, you won't even need more than one or two drugs for the first couple years. Entering this world also comes with other perks. You'll get regular escort sex, make new friends (no addict will give a shit about your fucking orbital rims), have adventures, be a nuisance to the world that fucked you over, and most importantly, your chances of getting laid (w/ non-prostitutes) will improve dramatically. You'll be surprised how much a hot girl's standards will drop when you have what she wants the most. All PSL logic flies out the window. The effect chad has on a girl's brain is nothing compared to that good shit (see graphs above). Don't be a fucking high-inhib pussy that rots all day in your room. Rotting and inceldom are already damaging your brain SO WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU CHOOSING TO BE MISERABLE WHEN YOU CAN BE EXPERIENCING HIGHS NORMIES WILL NEVER EVEN DREAM OF??
Between 21st March and 1st of August this year I was furloughed from work and kept myself sane by playing, and writing a blog about, one game from my vast unplayed backlog every single day. I named this blog ‘Gaming the Pandemic’. After 130 days, on the eve of returning to work, I compiled a top ten of everything I’d played, across all the different systems I played them on. But yesterday, a user asked if I had a top ten of games from Gaming the Pandemic specifically on the Switch… At that point I did not. But I do now. Below I have ranked and written a mini review for each of the 13 games I either played on, or are available for, the Nintendo Switch over that 130 days. Enjoy.
The Sensational Six
I've been playing games for roughly 35 years, and in that time there have been very few that have affected me the way Ape Out did. I was ebullient when I wrote about it at the time and I completely stand by that scrappy, excitable review. With it's jazz motif and Saul Bass stylings, this was always going to be a game for which the audio/visual design appealed to me - but with it's almost rhythm-action approach to vengeful violence, and glorious creativity in every section of every level, Ape Out is, for me, not just the best game I played during ‘Gaming the Pandemic’, but one of the best I've ever played, full stop.
Human Resource Machine
A puzzle game so ‘pure’ I can see how it could be a bit of a brick wall to some. To others, of a certain logic-gate leaning (like myself), this is a mesmerising code-em-up of ludicrous depth and challenge. The drip feed of new elements is perfectly judged and the art style is a joy too.
Owlboy completely won me over with the audio/visual presentation, and it’s diverse, varied, and entertaining gameplay rounded out the package. I've learnt since playing this that some didn't enjoy the slow pace and simplistic gameplay. For me the pace was perfectly judged, suiting the world and the characters perfectly and allowing the story to seep into the game organically. The simplicity of the gameplay was, for me, more than mitigated by the variety; with changes and new approaches revealed almost every level from start to finish. It's clever, it's fun, it packs an emotional punch, the lore and world-building is phenomenal, and it's one of the very best looking video games I've ever played.
Red Faction Guerrilla Re-mars-tered
I'm not really a fan of the current overwhelming trend in gaming, and particularly on Switch, for remasters, re-releases, and reboots. However, by virtue of no-one attacking this genre in quite the same way since its original release a decade ago, Red Faction Guerrilla is the video game equivalent of a Panda Bear; an evolutionary dead end - but one so extraordinary that you can almost see why it’s ‘everything goes boom’ mandate has never since been mimicked… or bettered. Quite simply one of the best open world games ever created.
A good way into Gaming the Pandemic I did a 24 hour game marathon for charity, and playing SpeedRunners with my mate Dave got me through those difficult early morning hours. An absolute chaotic joy of a game in which you race through a 2D, Saul Bass inspired, superhero world, doing your best to run, shoot, or trip your opponent(s) off the back of the screen. I’m looking forward to checking out the ‘Story mode’ at some point, but as competitive multiplayer goes, this is one of the best I've played for a very long time.
Trine 4 - The Nightmare Prince
Another game for which I can only comment from a multiplayer perspective, but that perspective is a very fine one indeed. Trine 4 is a beautifully designed game with idiosyncratic style and devious puzzles that make the missteps of part 3 a distant memory. It is, apparently, entirely single player friendly, but having a buddy to collaborate on solutions, or just muck around on ropes with, is brilliant fun. ---
The Fairly Good Four
Puyo Puyo Tetris
Only just falling outside the top 6, this puzzle mash-up has infectious style and familiar gameplay. Everyone knows Tetris, but the Puyo Puyo end of things is what allows for a madcap story mode that brings a nice structure to single player. There’s a litany of multiplayer options too, but in the end this just wasn't memorable or innovative enough to land top honours.
Shantae and the Seven Sirens
Another game that I played a lot of during my 24 hour game marathon, and at that time I was very excited for another entry in a personal favourite series. Unfortunately the game’s gestation on Apple arcade becomes all too obvious with some weak later game simplicities. There are issues with pacing, too, to the extent that when the game starts to feel like it’s rushing you towards the conclusion, as jarring as it is, you’re actually grateful for it.
Team Sonic Racing
This is a game that I really don’t feel I played enough to form a properly rounded opinion of. I struggled with the difficulty balance in particular, with the normal mode feeling too easy and the next level up feeling very tough indeed. The core of the game is pretty solid though, and even if it’s unlikely to ever hit the extreme heights of Sonic and All-Stars Racing Transformed, there’s enough here that it could still be a quality kart racer in it’s own right.
A great looking future racer that’s let down by a lack of flexibility. Xenon Racer can be a lot of fun, but the requirements for success seem too rigid, and the upgrade system too convoluted, to ever feel like driving skill is a part of the equation. There's some menu screen text that suggests "Playing all modes unlocks vehicles and customisation", but I'm not really interested in time trials or online, so the idea of trudging through them to be competitive in the mode I am interested in, does not fill me with joy. ---
The Forgettable Three
I bounced hard off this infamous 3D platformer, mostly due to the infuriatingly long winded and painfully un-funny dialogue that prevented me ever getting properly stuck in to actually playing the game. It’s at times like this that I roll out an old mantra: It’s not my job as the player to endure a bad game in case it gets better. With less than one whole level played, I doubt I’ll ever return to this beautiful, vibrant, colourful pit of despair.
The original Bit Trip Runner was a low-fi masterpiece of rhythm platforming. The sequel, Bit Trip Presents: Runner 2 - Future Legend of the Rhythm Alien, updated the visuals but largely retained the hyper-tight gameplay. Runner 3 throws all that good work out of the window and replaces it with try-hard humour, gaudy unity visuals, and a game-breaking abundance of cheap deaths. I paid 99p for this and it feels like I was robbed.
This was the first of a few games played over the course of Gaming the Pandemic that I clashed with thanks to what those of limited IQ might call: being an ‘SJW’, or what most other people would call: just being a half-decent human being. Without knowing how the story plays out I hesitate to throw trigger-words like 'misogynistic' around, but neither version of C/K-atherine is particularly sympathetic. One is a cold, marriage-obsessed control freak, and the other an emotionless temptress. In this game-world women are to be either feared or lusted after - and I'm not really cool with that. The core gameplay was pretty basic too, and the controls were borderline broken. Basically, this is dated mess, and it's recent arrival on Switch a decade after the original release will only highlight that.
Well balanced / slightly overpowered Operator with breaching capabilities?
I'm looking for some good operators with the ability to breach through walls, windows & hatches, that also have a good Assault Rifle / Carbine or SMG. I already have Buck, but I'm not really liking his AR, although I can get used to it, I'd like to know some other options. (I have Jackal, Fuze, IQ, Twitch, Glaz, Blackbeard, Ash, Thermite, Buck, Blitz, Sledge, Thatcher, Montagne, Jager, Smoke, Valkyrie, Frost, Doc, Bandit, Maestro, Rook, Kapkan, Tachanka, Caveira, Echo, Lesion, Mute, Pulse, and Castle.)
MAME 0.223 has finally arrived, and what a release it is – there’s definitely something for everyone! Starting with some of the more esoteric additions, Linus Åkesson’s AVR-based hardware chiptune project and Power Ninja Action Challenge demos are now supported. These demos use minimal hardware to generate sound and/or video, relying on precise CPU timings to work. With this release, every hand-held LCD game from Nintendo’s Game & Watch and related lines is supported in MAME, with Donkey Kong Hockey bringing up the rear. Also of note is the Bassmate Computer fishing aid, made by Nintendo and marketed by Telko and other companies, which is clearly based on the dual-screen Game & Watch design. The steady stream of TV games hasn’t stopped, with a number of French releases from Conny/VideoJet among this month’s batch. For the first time ever, games running on the Barcrest MPU4 video system are emulated well enough to be playable. Titles that are now working include several games based on the popular British TV game show The Crystal Maze, Adders and Ladders, The Mating Game, and Prize Tetris. In a clear win for MAME’s modular architecture, the breakthrough came through the discovery of a significant flaw in our Motorola MC6840 Programmable Timer Module emulation that was causing issues for the Fairlight CMI IIx synthesiser. In the same manner, the Busicom 141-PF desk calculator is now working, thanks to improvements made to Intel 4004 CPU emulation that came out of emulating the INTELLEC 4 development system and the prototype 4004-based controller board for Flicker pinball. The Busicom 141-PF is historically significant, being the first application of Intel’s first microprocessor. Fans of classic vector arcade games are in for a treat this month. Former project coordinator Aaron Giles has contributed netlist-based sound emulation for thirteen Cinematronics vector games: Space War, Barrier, Star Hawk, Speed Freak, Star Castle, War of the Worlds, Sundance, Tail Gunner, Rip Off, Armor Attack, Warrior, Solar Quest and Boxing Bugs. This resolves long-standing issues with the previous simulation based on playing recorded samples. Colin Howell has also refined the sound emulation for Midway’s 280-ZZZAP and Gun Fight. V.Smile joystick inputs are now working for all dumped cartridges, and with fixes for ROM bank selection the V.Smile Motion software is also usable. The accelerometer-based V.Smile Motion controller is not emulated, but the software can all be used with the standard V.Smile joystick controller. Another pair of systems with inputs that now work is the original Macintosh (128K/512K/512Ke) and Macintosh Plus. These systems’ keyboards are now fully emulated, including the separate numeric keypad available for the original Macintosh, the Macintosh Plus keyboard with integrated numeric keypad, and a few European ISO layout keyboards for the original Macintosh. There are still some emulation issues, but you can play Beyond Dark Castle with MAME’s Macintosh Plus emulation again. In other home computer emulation news, MAME’s SAM Coupé driver now supports a number of peripherals that connect to the rear expansion port, a software list containing IRIX hard disk installations for SGI MIPS workstations has been added, and tape loading now works for the Specialist system (a DIY computer designed in the USSR). Of course, there’s far more to enjoy, and you can read all about it in the whatsnew.txt file, or get the source and 64-bit Windows binary packages from the download page. (For brevity, promoted V.Smile software list entries and new Barcrest MPU4 clones made up from existing dumps have been omitted here.)
MAME Testers Bugs Fixed
02603: [Sound] (cinemat.cpp) tailg: Phasor sample plays incorrectly. (Aaron Giles)
Toy Story 3 (Lexibook) [Sean Riddle, Kamaal Brown, David Haywood]
unknown 'TE06' [TeamEurope, Roberto Fresca]
Unknown Compumatic ProSPDP based darts machine [jordigahan, ClawGrip]
VideoJet Kiu Games [Sean Riddle, David Haywood]
Virtual TV Ping Pong [TeamEurope, David Haywood]
Yataimura Kingyosukui (4-player, China, Ver 1.000) [Darksoft]
New clones marked as NOT_WORKING
Funhouse (L-2) [PinMAME]
Funhouse (L-2, prototype PA-1 System 11 sound) [PinMAME]
Laser Ball (L-2, PROM sound) [PinMAME]
Last Action Hero (1.04 France) [PinMAME]
Last Action Hero (1.07) [José Renato Castro Milanez, Sergio Munemori]
Magic Card - Wien (Sicherheitsversion 1.2) [TeamEurope, Roberto Fresca]
Nove Diamante (bootleg) [Ioannis Bampoulas]
New working software list additions
fmtowns_cd: Akiko - Premium Version, Cal III - Kanketsu-hen, Chiemi & Naomi, Curse, Eikan wa Kimi ni 2 - Koukou Yakyuu Zenkoku Taikai, FM Towns Application Catalog CD-ROM - Original Soft-hen, G5 (HMA-206), Gambler - Queen's Cup, Gokuraku Mandala, Hyper Fetishism, Illust Hyakka - Yamashita Hideki no Ikiiki Cut-shuu, Iris-tei Serenade, Jouhou Club - Card Processor Ver. 1.1, Mahjong Musashi, Manami no Doko made Iku no? 2 - Return of the Kuro Pack, The Manhole (1990-08-01), Marionette Mind, Mirage 2 - Torry, Neat & Roan Fairladies in MagicLand, Noushuku Angel 120%, Shamhat - The Holy Circlet (FM Towns Marty version), Tenshin Ranma, Two Shot Diary, Viper-V12 RS, Viper-V8 Turbo RS, YES! HG - Erotic Voice Version [redump.org, r09]
Rayman IV (Rayman - Sunshine of Trip) (unlicensed) (protection hacked) [RibShark]
Crash Advance IV (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Digimon - Ruby and Sapphire (unlicensed) (protection hacked), The Lord of the Rings IV - The Fellowship of the Ring (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Pokemon - Sapphire Version (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Rayman IV (Rayman - Puteshestviye Solnechnogo Sveta) (unlicensed) (Russian) (protection hacked), Sonic 3 - Fighter Sonic (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Super Mario DX (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2 (unlicensed) (protection hacked), Ultraman - Confrontation Between Justice And Evil (Ul'traman - Konfrontatsiya mezhdu spravedlivost'yu i zlom) (unlicensed) (Russian) (protection hacked), X-Man - Armour of Might (X-men) (unlicensed) (Russian) (protection hacked) [taizou]
Bloodwych (Quest & Glory Compilation) (Euro), Bloodwych (USA), Budokan - The Martial Spirit (5.25"), The Colonel's Bequest (3.5"), The Colonel's Bequest (5.25"), Dragon's Lair (5.25"), F29 Retaliator, Lakers vs Celtics and the NBA Playoffs (3.5"), Leisure Suit Larry Goes Looking for Love (in Several Wrong Places) (5.25"), Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards, Mario Andretti's Racing Challenge, Speedball 2 - Brutal Deluxe (Euro, 3.5"), TV Sports Basketball (3.5", USA, EGA/TANDY version), TV Sports Basketball (3.5", USA, VGA version), TV Sports Basketball (5.25", UK, EGA/TANDY version), TV Sports Basketball (5.25", UK, VGA version), Xenon 2: Megablast [ArcadeShadow]
SCO XENIX System V Development System version 2.1.3 [archive.org, Davide Cavalca]
IBM Personal Computer Interactive Executive (PC/IX) 1.00 [WinWorld, Davide Cavalca]
ibm5170: B-17 Flying Fortress (5.25"), Corridor 7: Alien Invasion (demo), Maniac Mansion: Day of the Tentacle (France), Out of this World (USA, 3.5" DD), Out of this World (USA, 5.25" HD), Sam & Max Hit the Road (Germany) [ArcadeShadow]
pc98_cd: F15 Strike Eagle III, if 2 - Invitations from Fantastic Stories, Manami no Doko made Iku no? 2 - Return of the Kuro Pack, Phobos, Pro Student G (ALS-0010), YES! HG - Erotic Voice Version, Yuurou - Transient Sands [redump.org, r09]
Desktop Special Edition 1.0, European Language Module 1.1, European Language Module 1.3.1, Hot Mix 5, Hot Mix 7, IndiZone 1.0, IRIX 5.2 for Indy R4600PC and Challenge SX, IRIX Patch 18.104.22.168, ONC3/NFS for IRIX 6.2 Version 1, ONC3/NFS for IRIX 6.2 with Indigo2 IMPACT 10000 Version 1, Support Advantage 10/94, Support Advantage 6/95, SupportFolio 2/97, SupportFolio 4/97 [darkstar]
Disney/Pixar Wall-E (China) [tenyuhuang, Ryan Holtz]
Les Bisounours - Le monde merveilleux des Bisounours (France), Nickelodeon Bob L'éponge - Une journée dans la vie d'une éponge (France) [DisizDream]
Disney/Pixar Cars 2 (France), Disney/Pixar Toy Story 3 (France), DreamWorks Kung Fu Panda - La mission de Po (France), Football Challenge (France), Martin Le Dauphin (France), Nickelodeon Dora L'Exploratrice - Les adventures de Dora Apprentie Mécano (France), Sporti'Folies (France) [DisizDream, Ryan Holtz]
Action Mania (USA), Disney/Pixar Toy Story 3 (USA), Marvel Spider-Man & Friends - Secret Missions (USA), Soccer Challenge (USA) [Sean Riddle, TeamEurope, Ryan Holtz]
mobigo_cart: Disney Jake and the Neverland Pirates (USA, alt), Disney Princess (USA, alt), Disney/Pixar Brave (USA), Dreamworks Shrek - Forever After (US), NAND User Cartridge (unknown data, set 1), NAND User Cartridge (unknown data, set 2), Sesame Street - Elmo and Abby - Nature Explorers (USA) [TeamEurope]
novag_ssensor4: Quartz Chess Clock [Berger]
pc98_cd: DOR Special Edition '93, DOR Special Edition '93 (alt), Kanji Land 3-nen, Kyrandia II - The Hand of Fate, Lemon Cocktail Collection, Lip 3 - Lipstick Adventure 3, Mirage 2 - Torry, Neat & Roan Fairladies in MagicLand [redump.org, r09]
pi_storyreader_cart: Disney Blanca Nieves y los siete enanos (Spain), Disney El Rey León (Spain), Walt Disney Peter Pan (Spain) [TeamEurope, ClawGrip]
Basketball (EU) [ClawGrip, TeamEurope]
Basketball (US) [Sean Riddle, David Haywood]
vsmileb_cart: Teletubbies (France) [DisizDream]
Merged pull requests
6825: docs: Improved analog joystick mapping documentation, and added health warnings. [Firehawke]
6837: debugger: Added loadr and saver commands for loading or saving data to/from a memory region. [bombzj]
6838: fmtowns_cd.xml: Added 28 new entries, and replaced 22 entries with improved dumps. [redump.org, r09]
6844: gigatron: Hooked up CPU output callback, fixed program counter wrapping, and added CPU input callback. [Sterophonick]
I have the TSSC / pulse panel with adt and the sensors listed below. Like others I’m ready to leave ADT and their ridiculous fees. I’d like to reuse these wireless sensors. It seems like a common recommended combo here is the Qolsys IQ panel with surety/alarm.com. However i noticed the panel is rather pricy at $336. Sensors currently: 1x shock / open/close sensor (i think Honeywell) 3x open/close door sensors (Honeywell) 2 glass break sensors (unsure of brand) 1) Is there another option ppl recommend? I assume the Ring system would not work with my existing sensors? 2) Can you tell me if these sensors would work with the IQ panel? 3) Would my current key fobs also work? If not are there key fobs available for the IQ? It’s my favorite part of the ADT system (arming and disarming without having to be at the panel) 4) with the IQ can I add sensors like watefreeze? 5) we have a cat and 2 small dogs, all of which jump on the furniture. Because of that we never use motion detection. What other way would you protect a ground level basement? Open/close sensor on a window seems insufficient if it’s broken but not opened. Motion can’t be used because of pets. Glass break sufficient? Thank you!
We encourage users to check the integrity of the binaries and verify that they were signed by binaryFate's GPG key. A guide that walks you through this process can be found here for Windows and here for Linux and Mac OS X.
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Note that, once the DNS records are upgraded, you should be able to utilize the automatic updater in the GUI that was recently added. A pop-up will appear with the new binary. In case you want to update manually, you ought to perform the following steps:
Extract the new binaries (the .zip file (Windows) or the tar.bz2 file (Mac OS X and Linux) you just downloaded) to a new directory / folder of your liking.
Open monero-wallet-gui. It should automatically load your "old" wallet.
If, for some reason, the GUI doesn't automatically load your old wallet, you can open it as follows:  On the second page of the wizard (first page is language selection) choose Open a wallet from file  Now select your initial / original wallet. Note that, by default, the wallet files are located in Documents\Monero\ (Windows), Users//Monero/ (Mac OS X), or home//Monero/ (Linux). Lastly, note that a blockchain resync is not needed, i.e., it will simply pick up where it left off.
Fix bug that inhibited Ledger Monero users from properly sending transactions containing multiple inputs.
Minor security relevant fixes
Various bug fixes
Simple mode: node selction algorithm improved
UX: display estimated transaction fee
UX: add update dialog with download and verify functionality
UX: implement autosave feature
UI: redesign advanced options on transfer page
UI: improve daemon sync progress bar
UI: new language sidebar
UI: new processing splash design
UI: redesign settings page
Trezor: support new passphrase entry mechanism
Wizard: add support for seed offset
Major Bulletproofs verification performance optimizations
In the wizard, you can either select Simple mode or Simple mode (bootstrap) to utilize this functionality. Note that the GUI developers / contributors recommend to use Simple mode (bootstrap) as this mode will eventually use your own (local) node, thereby contributing to the strength and decentralization of the network. Lastly, if you manually want to set a remote node, you ought to use Advanced mode. A guide can be found here: https://www.getmonero.org/resources/user-guides/remote_node_gui.html
I really like how each of the elite bigs in the league have their own strengths and weaknesses. No two unicorns are the same!
This post consists of me rambling about Embiid, Jokic, KAT, AD, Giannis, and Porzingis. (Be warned, it's pretty long.)
Giannis, AD, and KP have primarily played PF this season, but they're still bigs.
(EDIT: Added Bam and Siakam.)
By the way, why mention Porzingis, you might be thinking, since he hasn't been as good as the other players on the list this season? Well, I thought it would only be appropriate to include KP, as he was the OG "Unicorn" as crowned by KD in 2016, as a 7-footer who can shoot and defend at a high level:
"He can shoot, he can make the right plays, he can defend, he's a 7-footer that can shoot all the way out to the 3-point line," Durant said, according to ESPN's Royce Young. "That's rare. And block shots -- that's like a unicorn in this league."
For the purposes of this post, a "unicorn" is a tall player with All-NBA potential who spends a decent amount of time defending bigs and possesses a strong offensive skillset (hence someone like Rudy Gobert is omitted, as he's a defensive monster but has a more limited offensive skillset).
Embiid is a borderline case with his more old-school, post-oriented offensive skillset, but he's at least a decent and willing shooter from midrange and 3, separating himself from the bigs of yore, and besides, he also makes for a nice contrast with some of the others on the list. Before we begin... This post steals/references numerous ideas from the excellent Thinking Basketball YouTube channel, run by Ben Taylor. I highly recommend you also watch these highly informative, well-made, and entertaining player breakdowns (note, some of these were made in 2019, so some statistics they reference might not reflect these players' 2020 production):
Some terms I'll be using: per 75 = per 75 possessions, i.e. points per 75 possessions = measure of a player's scoring rate. Each season and each team has a different pace, so adjusting for pace like this allows us to compare players' scoring more fairly than PPG. (Why 75 possessions? There isn't any grand reasoning- the average *(edit) high-usage modern NBA player simply uses roughly 75 possessions/game, so "per 75" stats are perhaps easier to intuitively understand for most people than "per 100" stats, which are available on Basketball Reference.) TS% = true shooting percentage, i.e. a player's scoring efficiency, basically FG% but accounting for 3-pointers and free-throws rTS% = relative true shooting percentage, i.e. how efficient a player's scoring is compared to league average scoring efficiency, which is 56.4 TS% in 2019-20 according to Basketball Reference ORTG and DRTG are a team's offensive and defensive rating, respectively, with numbers taken from Basketball Reference. rORTG = relative offensive rating, i.e. how good a team's offense is compared to league average offensive rating, which is 110.4 in 2019-20 according to Basketball Reference. PnR = Pick and roll, DHO = Dribble hand-off
Joel Embiid | "The Process", "Do-a-180"
In a nutshell: Philadephia 76ers C, 7-0, 250lb, All-Star. Basic stats: 23.4/11.8/3.1/0.9/1.3 with 3.1 TOVs on 47.4/34.8/81.4 splits (59.3 TS%), 44 games played. Advanced: 0.203 WS/48, 5.2 BPM. The good:
Monster low-post scorer: Embiid has an excellent scoring rate (~28 points per 75). He does most of his damage on offense by being the most prolific post-scorer in the league (91st percentile in post scoring efficiency, 1st in frequency by a large margin), where Embiid's massive frame and Hakeem-esque post-game allow him to make opposing big men look helpless and draw fouls at a heady pace with his relentless bully ball.
Decent scoring efficiency: +3.0 rTS%, it mostly results from a monstrous free-throw rate (10.5 FTA per 75, 81.4 FT%) and elite scoring in the paint (72 FG% from 0-3 feet). His midrange shooting has improved to an acceptable 41% too, and his 3P shooting is a decent 35%. He's been slightly less efficient in the playoffs (56TS%, +1.1 rTS%), with the caveat being that he was afflicted by injury and that the Raptors had an all-time-great playoff defense and former DPOY Marc Gasol, who made his life a nightmare (18/9/3 on 53TS% that series).
DPOY-level defender: Embiid is an amazing defender, stemming from his elite rim protection (1.3bpg, Sixers defense improves by 7 points when he enters a game). His mammoth frame, length, and first-class shot-blocking instincts at the rim have given him a Gobert-like deterrent-effect on offenses, making opponents thinking twice about attacking the basket. The Sixers have 105.1 DRTG with Embiid on the floor, which would rank 3rd in the league. Even when he's having a bad day on offense, he can recover his impact on the other end - he was a +84 over 7 games against the Raptors last playoffs despite shooting poorly from the field, testament to his incredible defense.
Heavy feet: Embiid can be slightly lead-footed when switching onto perimeter players, and can be blown past on closeouts. He's still a decent perimeter defender overall, as his length and timing can allow him to recover well with strong contests from behind.
Spotty vision/passing: JoJo has as many turnovers as assists. His decision-making falters somewhat under defensive pressure. His dribble is a bit loose, too, which doesn't help in this aspect. He can make basic passes out of double-teams, though more advanced reads are beyond him for now.
3P-shooting has some room for improvement: He came into the league shooting 37% in his rookie year, so he's regressed somewhat since then. He's shown marked improvement this season though, making 34.8% of his threes. Joel's next step will be attempting more 3s, since he currently takes fewer than 4 threes a game. His excellent FT% (81.4%) and passable midrange efficiency (41 FG%) bode well for future improvements in his 3P shooting.
Durability: Health will perhaps always be the biggest concern with Embiid- he's consistently missed an average of 20 games/year over his past 3 seasons. When he does see the court, he's generally been great.
Nikola Jokic | "Joker", "Big Honey"
In a nutshell: Denver Nuggets C, 7-0, 253lb, weak MVP candidate. Basic stats: 20.2/10.2/6.9/1.2/0.7 with 3.1 TOVs on 52.8/31.4/81.3 splits (60.4 TS%), 65 games played. Advanced: 0.209 WS/48, 7.6 BPM. The good:
Passing prodigy: Best playmaking big in NBA history and one of the best passers in the league, period - Jokic's vision is reminiscent of a 7-foot Magic Johnson. He makes every single pass in the playbook quickly and accurately, never looking at his target in order to throw off defenders, adept at using his eyes to manipulate defenses. His outlet passing is the envy of any point guard - throwing outlets like thismid-rebound is unfair. Jokic runs Denver's offense from the high post, as the Nuggets' bevy of guards and wings whir around him for DHOs and PnRs. He rarely ever misses high-% layup-passes, and his otherworldly vision (helped by his 7ft frame allowing him to see over defenders) encourages his teammates to move and cut off the ball because he'll almost certainly get the ball to them the moment they make themselves open. Joker's height and wingspan allow him access to passing lanes not available to most guards and wings, deftly flicking it to teammates around the outstretched arms of defending bigs. Jokic can lob to his more athletic teammates, pitch bounce-passes to cutters through the tiniest of passing windows, no-look skip-passes to 3P-shooters, and is even capable of blending in passes with his shooting motion as he reads the help and rifles the ball neatly into a wide-open teammate's shooting/scoring pocket. For me, he's right up there as one of the finest passers in the game.
Very good, efficient scorer: 23.2 points per 75 on +4 rTS%, mostly stemming from his versatile post game and decent midrange scoring (45 FG%). He's also got excellent touch around the rim, mixing in some floaters and hooks (elite 60.2 FG% from 3-10 ft), along with throwing his weight around in the post and pump-faking defenders into oblivion to get easy looks at the rim (elite 73 FG% from 0-3 ft). He also likes following his own/opponent misses- he has 3 offensive rebounds a game. Encouragingly, there exists some precedent for Joker elevating his offensive production when the team requires it - he put up 25/13/8 on +4.8 rTS% in 2019 playoffs, up from 20/11/7 on +2.9 rTS% in the 2019 regular season.
Not a bad team defender! : Sound positioning and good hands(healthy steal rate for a big, ~2%) + his size and length allow him to retain good value on defense. Denver's defensive rating actually improves by +1.6 points when he's on the court.
Clutch play: Jokic has been one of the most clutch players in the league this season- he even had two game-winners against the Sixers and Wolves. The Nuggets are ranked 5th in clutch-win% in the league (26-14 record in clutch situations) largely due to Jokic's play.
Durability: Jokic has always been highly durable, having yet to miss a game this season. He's missed a grand total of 20 games in his entire 5-year career.
Paint-defense: Jokic doesn't offer too much in the way of rim-protection (low block rate for a big, opponents shoot a pretty high 63 FG% in the paint when Jokic is the nearest defender). Although, as mentioned previously, his good positioning and size/length plus IQ/anticipation make him an adequate/decent team defender, often making smart rotations to stall opponent forays to the rim.
Perimeter-defense: He also suffers from some of the the same heavy-footedness that Embiid has when switched onto non-bigs, albeit to a higher degree.
3P-shooting: Jokic's outside shooting has been pooinconsistent (31.4% from 3), though with some flashes of potential (he shot 40% in 2018, 39% in 2019 playoffs). His solid shooting from the midrange (45%) and from the FT line (81%) bodes well for him stretching out more succesfully in the future.
Is perhaps too selfless on offense: Especially compared to the other behemoths on this list, Joker could probably afford to call on his own number slightly more often when it comes to scoring. I doubt his coaches or teammates would mind him scoring more, given how efficient and unselfish he normally is, and given Jamal Murray is a much less efficient scorer (-0.5 rTS%) than Jokic despite taking more shot attempts than Nikola. Jokic is clearly capable of elevating his scoring, as mentioned earlier. Given that Denver's offense is generally quite good (+2.1 rORTG this season, +2.6 rORTG last season), I don't think Jokic will necessarily change what he's doing as it's been working decently so far. However, if he wants to run a truly elite offense or be considered one of the league's best offensive players (along with Steph, LeBron, Harden, Doncic etc.), he could think about starting to score more.
Karl-Anthony Towns | "KAT"
In a nutshell: Minnesota Timberwolves C, 6-11, 248lb, All-Star level. Basic stats: 26.5/10.8/4.4/0.9/1.2 with 3.1 TOVs on 50.8/41.2/79.6 splits (64.2 TS%), 35 games played. Advanced: 0.205 WS/48, 7.8 BPM. The good:
Elite, multi-level 3-point threat: KAT is already probably the best 3-point shooting big in NBA history, taking into account volume and efficiency - he's shot 41.2% from 3 on 7.9 attempts per game this season. (For reference, Klay Thompson, from 2015-2019, averaged 42.3% from 3 on 7.7 attempts per game.) The only players to shoot more accurately than Towns on at least as many attempts this year were Duncan Robinson (44.5%, 8.4) and Dāvis Bertāns (42.4%, 8.7). KAT's shooting is is in rarefied air. He doesn't just stand in a corner and wait for Jeff Teague or DLo to pass him the ball, either. He shoots these off-the-dribble, catch-and-shoot, stepbacks, pick-and-pop, diving around screens like he's some oversized Reggie Miller. The spacing and gravity he provides the Minnesota offense with his shooting and off-ball movement is tremendous. He destroyed the Jazz once earlier this season by hitting 7 threes and pulling reigning DPOY Gobert all the way out to the 3-point line, pushing their paint-centric defensive scheme to the breaking point. The Wolves improve by 12 points on offense when he's on the court.
Well-rounded, exceptionally-efficient scorer: His offensive impact isn't limited to shooting, not by a long shot- close out on him too hard and he'll drive to the rim, where he's finishing at an elite 72 FG%. He barely takes any midrange shots- only 7% of his total shots come from there. His post game, however, is decently efficient (61st percentile), though he doesn't utilise it as much as Embiid or Jokic. Overall, due his incredible outside shooting, rim finishing, and decent foul drawing(8.8 FTA per 100, 79.6 FT%), his scoring output is extremely impressive- 27.2 points per 75 on amazing efficiency (+8 rTS%).
-Decent passer: KAT's passing has come along this year (4.4 APG), making good reads when he's doubled in the perimeter or in the post and finding cutters with regularity. He has a passable AST/TO ratio for a big (1.4:1).
Good post-defense: He's good at defending other post scorers (eg. Embiid, AD), where he can take advantage of his length and strength.
Not great at most other aspects of defense: His blocks (1.2 bpg) are more the result of block-chasing than good positioning. He's poor at navigating pick-and-roll defense. He's possibly the most laterally-challenged of the bigs in this list, his transition defense is bad, and he often falls for pump fakes. He shows potential for becoming a good rim protector- when he does manage to get in front of his man and get his hands up in time, his opponent rim DFG% is pretty great (~50 FG%)! However, his motor and defensive-IQ aren't the best- he can be found ball-watching sometimes or falling behind opponent plays, losing track of cutters or getting stranded in no man's land. Overall, Minnesota are nearly +8 points better on defense with Towns off the court. (The usually defensively-challenged Wolves were a top 10 defense for a period when KAT missed 15 games earlier on in the season, thought that was also partly because his replacement Gorgui Dieng was a defensive god.)
Some holes in passing game: There's still room for improvement in this aspect. He's still relatively turnover-prone, and misses open high-% passes under the rim sometimes.
Durability: Prior to this season, this was one of Town's greatest strengths- he didn't miss a single game during his 1st 3 seasons and only 5 games his 4th season (last year), and that was only because he got into a car accident. This year, however, the script has changed- he's missed 30 games with a sprained knee followed by a fractured wrist.
Anthony Davis | "AD", "The Brow"
In a nutshell: Los Angeles Lakers PF/C, 6-10, 253lb, weak MVP candidate. Basic stats: 26.7/9.4/3.1/1.5/2.4 with 2.5 TOVs on 51.1/33.5/84.5 splits (61.4 TS%), 55 games played. Advanced: 0.262 WS/48, 8.5 BPM. The good:
Excellent all-round volume-scorer: 27.8 points per 75, on ~ +5 rTS%. AD has a versatile scoring arsenal, capable of shifting his offensive game to fit cleanly within different offensive schemes (e.g. higher pace in NOLA vs. LeBron's more methodical half-court style). Possesses a variety of post-moves, hooks, spins, fakes, stepbacks, turnarounds, etc.; has a passable face-up game with a good handle, moves like a guard and capable of athletic finishes at the rim. This season he's been skilled at leaking out in transition to receive LeBron's outlet passes. His scoring has translated well to the playoffs- he's averaged 27.3 points per 75 on ~ +5 rTS% in his 3 playoff series.
Vertical spacer: All-time lob-finisher (75 FG% from 0-3 feet). Davis's catch-radius is one of the best in NBA history. Just throw it up in the general direction of the rim and he'll make it work somehow with his touch and athleticism. His addition to the Lakers is a major reason why LeBron's leading the league in assists (2.8 of LeBron's 10.6 assists/game go to AD). It's an underrated part of his game as it allows him to fit with a variety of teams and mesh well with ball-dominant stars.
Decent passer: This is mostly based on his last season at New Orleans, which was his peak year as a passer. In the 2019 season, with their starting PGs missing significant time due to injury, the Pelicans leaned on Jrue Holiday's versatile playmaking gifts more, but they also parked AD in the high post and ran offense through him from there, letting him weaponise his own threat to score by feeding cutters with neat interior pocket passes or spraying kickout passes to shooters when he got doubled. He averaged 4.4 assists and only 2.0 turnovers prior to his trade request, producing a very efficient 2.2:1 AST/TO ratio. However, AD's playmaking has regressed this season (only 3.3 APG, uninspiring AST/TO ratio of 1.25:1) as he's gone more off-ball than in 2019 with LeBron manning point full-time in LA.
DPOY-level defender: Highly likely to finish in the top-2 in voting this season. His weakside rim-protection is elite - the Lakers have had a top-3 defense due in no small part to his efforts. He's highly switchable, too, capable of jumping onto guards and wings as required and scaring them silly. His motor has been excellent and he closes out hard on shooters. He's handsy as well, with good defensive instincts- he has a good eye for anticipating plays and jumping passing lanes. His steal-rate is elite for a big, and he hasn't gambled too much this year, either. He often cleans up mistakes by teammates, allowing them the freedom to play aggressive defense on the perimeter because they know that he's always got a watchful eye out to pounce on any perpetrators who make it past them. Works well in tandem with the Lakers bigs (Dwight/McGee) so that if either of them gets beat, he is still there to protect the rim. Strangely enough, the Lakers' defensive rating actually improves when he sits, likely because LeBron paired with Dwight/McGee are too much for weaker opponent bench units to handle.
Surprisingly healthy: The opposite of KAT - durability is generally considered a weakness of AD's, but this season he's missed only 8 games. Good stuff!
3P/Midrange Shooting: Much like Embiid, AD's 33.5% 3-point shooting on 3.5 attempts/game isn't awful, but it isn't good enough to consistently garner defenders' respect either. His midrange efficiency isn't great, either, too, at about 38 FG%. The latter isn't too detrimental to his overall scoring game, however, as it at least allows him to keeps defender honest in the post. Regardless, his foul drawing (8.3 FTA per 100, 85 FT%) and elite rim finishing does allow him to compensate for his relatively weaker jumper.
Ability to run an offense: It remains to be seen whether AD can run an efficient team offense as a primary initiator, like a slasher like Giannis/LeBron/Kawhi or a full-time high-post operator like Jokic in Denver or Kevin Garnett back in the day on the Wolves. Perhaps further improving his handle or his strength will allow him to do so, since he already proved he possesses decent playmaking vision in New Orleans last year. When LeBron's been off the court this season, his decision-making on-the-ball has been inconsistent at times. Even so, as things stand, the Lakers still have a good offense (+2.6 rORTG) with AD playing primarily off-ball, so I doubt that's going to change much in the foreseeable future.
Some areas for improvement on defense: Ball-watches every so often, though greatly improved from last season. Quicker guards can still occasionally blow by him. Misses the odd help scenario. Gambles sporadically for steals, though it works out for him more often than not. The KAT's and Embiid's and Giannis's of the world have sometimes caused him trouble before, though he often holds his own too.
Giannis Antetokounmpo | "The Greek Freak"
In a nutshell: Milwaukee Bucks PF/C, 6-11, 242lb, strong MVP candidate. Basic stats: 29.6/13.7/5.8/1.0/1.0 with 3.7 TOVs on 54.7/30.6/63.3 splits (60.8 TS%), 57 games played. Advanced: 0.282 WS/48, 11.5 BPM. The good:
All-time-level slasher and rim-finisher: Elite drive-and-kick game that is the crux of Milwaukee's 7th-ranked offense. A monster in transition, and getting increasingly comfortable as a shooter in half-court situations. Has some post-moves too, with some basic fadeaways, flip shots, and hooks, made all the more dangerous with his incredible wingspan. Has started taking more midrange and three-point jumpshots off-the-dribble this season.
Elite volume scorer: Giannis has the highest scoring rate in the league (yes, higher than James Harden), on good efficiency: 32.9 points per 75 on ~ +4.5 rTS%. He is the likely MVP, leading a historically good Bucks team while averaging only 30.9 minutes per game. There are some worries that elite playoff defenses (most famously, the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 ECF) can limit his scoring output (22/14/6 on 52 TS% that series), but it's really only the very very best of defenses, with ideal personnel and scheme, that have proven that they can slow him down. He mowed down Boston's 1st- and 7th-ranked defenses in consecutive postseasons, to the tune of 26/12/5 on 62 TS% in 2018, and 28/11/5 on 62 TS% in 2019. What the Raptors accomplished in 2019 isn't easily replicable.
Transition terror: The most prolific transition scorer in the league, with his long, long strides, speed, length, and poweskill around the rim. Also, shoutout to his huge hands and underrated handle for letting to him to move as fast as he does with the ball.
DPOY-level defender: The favourite to win the award this season, he's a high-level rim-deterrent with his length, instincts, and athleticism. Opponents score an anemic 41% at the rim when Giannis is the closest defender, the best mark in the league. He's also a skilled perimeter defender. Milwaukee improve by +8.0 points on defense when he's on the court (they have a ridiculous 98.7 DRTG when Giannis plays), and he rates very highly on the majority of available defensive impact metrics. 2019-20 Milwaukee are one of the best defensive teams ever, and Giannis is the best overall defender on the team. He's long, fast, twitchy, and strong, capable of switching 1-5 without batting an eye. With the Lopez twins walling off the rim, Giannis is free to roam and generally wreak havoc where needed, scaring shooters off the line, providing weakside rim-help as required, shadowing ball-handlers step-for-step and occasionally stamping their layups onto the glass with his huge paws or simply clouding their vision with his massive reach. When he is beat by a guard/wing on the perimeter, he doesn't chase blocks, instead staying grounded and disciplined, often funneling these slashers to the equally-long waiting arms of human fly-swatter Brook Lopez at the rim as the Bucks' game-plan decrees, while he stalks them from behind, helping effectively make the paint a no-fly zone. Much like AD, his condor wingspan shrinks passing lanes and deters high-leverage interior passes.
Decent passer: An adept and willing passer for a 7-foot human, gathering 5.8 APG this season. He's skilled at lasering kickouts to Milwaukee's armada of shooters if his initial penetration fails/draws help defenders, and has some success making tight interior passes near the rim.
Durability: Giannis is rarely injured.
Some areas to improve in terms of passing/vision: Has room to improve in terms of interior passing, sometimes doesn't recognise open cutters or the passes themselves can be off-target etc.. Turnover-prone at times, has imperfect decision-making if he's under intense ball-pressure by elite defensive bigs/wings (guys like Bam, Embiid, Jonathan Isaac). Notably, the Raptors' monster playoff defense led by the length and IQ of Kawhi/Gasol/Siakam greatly tested his passing ability and decision-making last playoffs, leading to him turning the ball over much more often than usual (5.5 assists : 4.2 turnovers).
Poor outside shooting: Giannis has become much more comfortable taking these shots, attempting nearly 5 a game this season, but he's still not very good at making them (30.6 3P%). Defenses still heave a sigh of relief when they see him pulling up for 3. He's also shooting 38% from midrange, which isn't much better.
Some areas for improvement on defense: Has occasional lapses on off the ball, arriving late on help, whether due to motoball-watching or not recognising plays until it's too late; can get blown past by quick guards due when he closes out sometimes (though his length/athleticism helps clean up some of his own errors); has trouble navigating screens sometimes because he's so large. Like AD, elite post-players can still overpower him on occasion, but luckily for Giannis there aren't that many elite post players any more.
FT shooting: This could be an aberration, but his FT-shooting has greatly regressed this season, at 63 FT%. This can limit his effectiveness on offense in clutch situations (notably, he shot a ghastly 58% from the line against the Raptors in last season's ECF), and put a cap on his overall scoring efficiency. Prior to 2020, he's shot 74% in the regular season, so he's certainly capable of being a decent FT-shooter.
Kristaps Porzingis | "KP", "Unicorn"
In a nutshell: Dallas Mavericks PF/C, 7-3, 240lb, Sub-All Star. Basic stats: 19.2/9.5/1.7/0.7/2.1 with 1.6 TOVs on 42.0/34.9/77.6 splits (54.0 TS%), 51 games played. Advanced: 0.129 WS/48, 1.5 BPM. The good:
Potential elite shooter: Porzingis's offensive potential still lies mainly in his incredible shooting (40% from 3 in 2018), though he's yet to recover that elite form this season. However, he remains highly dangerous, taking a wide variety of threes at a very high rate (7.1 attempts per game) and hitting a decent enough percentage of them (35%) that defenders have to respect his shot. In his last 14 games, he averaged 37% on 9.1 attempts per game. Much like KAT, he's a dynamic shooter, shooting off movement, off-the-dribble, off-the-catch (& pick-and-pop), pulling up from well behind the 3-point line, etc., spacing the floor for Dallas's resident offensive genius Luka to go to work.
Good rim finisher: He finishes very well at the rim (72 FG%).
Elite paint defender: Porzingis flashes All-Defensive value with his rim-protection (led the league in blk% in 2018, is 6th in blk% and has very good paint DFG% of 49.5% in 2020), and defensive instincts. The Mavs improve by 3.2 points on defense with Porzingis on the floor. His oft-maligned rebounding has greatly improved this season, too, snagging almost 10 boards a game, up from 6.6 in his last healthy season on the Knicks.
Very limited playmaking: KP's passing/vision remains his weakest suit (1.7 assists/game). He's actually improved slightly this season, being a more willing passer and participant in Dallas's dynamic offense, but his assist rate still lags in the single digits, at 8.6% (for reference, AD's is about 15%, KAT 23%, Jokic 34%), and he has almost as many turnovers as assists.
Scoring efficiency/shooting: His poor shooting to start the season coming off a serious injury hurt his efficiency, which is currently 2 points below league average (-2 rTS%). He averaged an excellent 60TS% in his final 14 games, though, signs that he was rounding into form before the quarantine hit.
Not a great perimeter defender, but still decent: With his lanky 7'3'' frame, he's not the best at closing out to shooters (opposing players hit 40% of their threes when he's the closest defender), and while he can move his feet decently for a big and he's surprisingly athletic, his fundamentals defending the perimeter and effort can seemingly be lacking sometimes: he's often "flat-footed, erect", and doesn't always have his hands up.
Durability: KP has missed a season and a half prior to this one with a torn ACL, and missed 15 games this season too. His health remains a huge asterisk, though it's promising that he was healthy and playing games up until the quarantine hit - he played 20 of the Mavs' last 25 games.
That's it for today. Thanks for reading! **JUST KIDDING, I FORGOT ABOUT BAM.
Bam Adebayo | "Bam", "Bam Bam"
In a nutshell: Miami Heat PF/C, 6-9, 255lb, All-Star. Basic stats: 16.2/10.5/5.1/1.2/1.3 with 2.8 TOVs on 56.7/7.7/69.0 splits (60.6 TS%), 65 games played. Advanced: 0.175 WS/48, 3.6 BPM. The good:
Versatile inside scorer: 17.6 points per 75 on +4.2 rTS%. Bam was a revelation for the Heat this season, utilising his length and explosive athleticism well to finish at the rim (both from half-court and in transition), scoring at an elite rate (73.5 FG%) from 0-3ft. He's an adept lob-finisher from Miami's guards, with about 72% of his total baskets being assisted - for comparison's sake, AD, a similarly adept off-ball rim-finisher (albeit on better efficiency and much higher volume), has about 64% of his total baskets assisted. Similar to AD, Bam's far from a one-trick pony when it comes to scoring, often running pick-and-rolls and hand-offs with Miami's army of guards and wings (he has especially good chemistry with Duncan Robinson and Jimmy Butler) to find clean looks at the rim. He often employs his 7.1ft wingspan and athleticism to rebound team misses (including his own), with 2.5 offensive rebounds/game either resulting in tip-ins or neat passes to open teammates. He's got surprisingly deft touch further away from the rim, too, with little floaters, finger-rolls, and hooks in the paint (outside the painted area), finishing there at an impressive 45% rate (his hooks are especially efficient, going in 56% of the time). Outside of the paint, his short-midrange game is money, too, for a big, finishing 42% of his short midrange attempts. Going any further than that, though, yields diminishing returns for Bam - he shoots a woeful 19 FG% outside 16 feet. Fortunately for Miami, though, Bam sticks to his strengths, with only 7% of his total shot attempts coming from outside 16ft.
Elite passer for a big: Outside of Jokic and Draymond, there isn't a better passing big in the game today. His 5.1 assists/game are impressive enough, but it's the way he goes about getting these dimes that stands out. Coach Spoelstra has effectively given him the keys to Miami's offense this season for a reason- his offensive IQ is excellent, and he routinely makes quick and smart decisions with the ball in his hands. As stated earlier, he's Miami's primary high post operator, with Bam's dribble handoffs (DHOs) and PnRs with their guards being one of the primary features of their offense. His low post passing is great, too, often setting up Miami's other bigs with adept interior bounce passes and lobs when the help commits to him, and he can drive-and-kick to the Heat's shooters as well, Giannis-style. In transition, he's fully capable of and willing to grab a defensive rebound and start the break on his own - he's got a really good handle for a big - either creating his own score with that elite paint finishing we talked about, or making quick kickouts to Duncan Robinson for transition 3s. If a transition score doesn't happen at first, he will push for a quick DHO with a guard, with Bam's elite screening and Miami's elite shooters meaning that said 3PA is highly likely to go in. Bam is highly active on offense, too, always either scoring, setting a screen, or orchestrating from the elbows.
Elite, multi-positional defender: In the words of Zach Lowe's excellent piece on Bam, he is "addicted" to defense. Bam is an incredibly high-motor and versatile defender, and is already an All-Defensive lock in his first season as a starter. His steal rates (elite for a big) and block rates speak for themselves, but his versatility is what stands out the most - he's equally capable when switched onto Stephen Curry as he is Giannis Antetokounmpo. Opponents shoot worse from every spot on the floor when Bam is the closest defender (43 FG% overall), be it from 3 (33.8%) or in the paint (55.8%). Bam's footwork and fundamentals guarding the perimeter are impeccable, shuffling perfectly along with guards and wings as they try to dribble past, reminiscent of Draymond or KG, and his strength and wingspan allows him to bang down low with the behemoths of the league as well, despite standing at 'only' 6-8. He's a ferocious and competitive rebounder, too, a major contributor to Miami's 3rd-ranked defensive rebounding rate.
Durability: Bam has played in every single game for Miami the past two seasons.
The less good:
Some gaps in playmaking: He's a bit too excitable sometimes, and can turn the ball over trying to squeeze the ball through tiny gaps between defenders' arms near the rim. I love his aggression and offensive ideas, though - these high percentage passes put a lot of pressure on opponent defenses. His AST/TO ratio of 1.8:1 is still fantastic for a player who's helping Jimmy Butler run a strong Miami offense (+2.3 rORTG) for the first time. He can miss the shooting pocket occasionally too, and his vision isn't perfect, missing open teammates on occasion. With more experience and once he becomes a more dangerous scorer, he will presumably become a more effective passer as passing-lanes become more open when he starts to command more defensive attention.
Non-existent 3P shooting: Bam is (correctly) completely ignored by defenders on the perimeter (once again, he shoots a horrendous 19 FG% outside 16 feet). The Heat's system masks these flaws, making great use of his physical gifts as a fantastic and physical screener and elite passing big in DHOs and PnRs. His shot selection helps issues, too, as the vast majority (93%) of his shot attempts come inside 16 feet. On other teams with fewer offensive weapons, his lack of spot up shooting would likely become a larger issue.
Lower scoring rate than peers: Bam's scoring rate pales in comparison to some of the other guys in this list, and there will be a ways to go before he becomes a primary scoring option. His post game is below average (40th percentile), his ISO-scoring is only barely passable (50th percentile). In the PnR he's proficient as both a roll-man (67th percentile) and, amusingly, on very low volume, as a ball-handler (84th percentile). Perhaps expanding his post-game will allow Miami to run more offense through him like Denver do with Jokic, or Philly with Embiid/Lakers with AD. Alternatively, he could practise and develop his handle and outside-shooting more, lean into the more guard-like qualities of his game.
Some defensive flaws: Bam's rim protection lags behind the best (Gobert, AD, Lopez, Embiid, Giannis, Draymond, Isaac etc.), and larger centers can still finish over him on occasion- his 6'8" frame probably comes into play here. While Bam's man defense is impeccable, his team defensive impact seems to lag behind slightly- he's possibly a touch slow on help rotations occasionally or ball-watches sometimes. Miami's defensive rating with Bam on the floor would rank around 12th in the league (109.6 DRTG, +0.8 rDRTG), and it "only" improves by +1.7 points when Bam enters the game. However, defense, of course, is a team effort- the Jazz's seemingly perpetual top-5 defense dropped to 11th this year, even though Gobert hasn't missed a step - losing defensive stalwarts in Favors and Rubio probably contributed to the descent. In Miami's case, key starter Duncan Robinson isn't a great defender, and they lack good defensive bigs outside of Adebayo; backup Cs Leonard and Olynyk (primarily shooters) are woeful rim protectors, and Jones Jr is decent but mostly plays SF. It's perhaps to Bam's and Butler's (and Spoelstra's) credit that the team has a positive defensive rating at all.
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