Quick — which NBA player is most integral to his team’s offense? Which player shoulders the biggest offensive burden? And to what degree are those questions even equivalent?Statistically, such concerns fall under the umbrella of “usage rate,” a term that colloquially describes an entire class of metrics tasked with quantifying the size of a player’s offensive role. Usage is one of the most accessible concepts in basketball analytics — rock-simple in its purview and relatable to anyone who’s ever played with a shameless ball hog or been a terrified freshman playing hot potato. In statsier circles, usage is a staple of player analysis, in part because it remains relatively constant amid a player’s shifting contexts and roles. At a glance, usage says more about how a player plays than most other basic basketball metrics.One small problem: Nobody seems to agree about what exactly usage rate is, or should be, or how it is calculated. Many analytics-minded observers don’t even know there are different, competing versions of the statistic in popular use, much less that each variant has its own philosophy about what it means to “use” a possession. For a term so common to the modern hoops lexicon, that’s more than a little strange. So let’s have ourselves a little history lesson and learn much more than you ever wanted to know about usage rate, in all its permutations.Usage through the yearsLike many concepts in basketball analytics, usage rate can be traced back to Dean Oliver and John Hollinger, still probably the field’s two most influential figures. The notion that too much (or too little) offense could flow through an individual player is as old as the game itself, but it’s hard to find anyone formally putting a number on the phenomenon before the early-to-mid-2000s, when Hollinger published his inaugural “Pro Basketball Prospectus” and Oliver wrote the seminal “Basketball On Paper.” In fact, the thought of listing a player’s rate of possession-usage at all — let alone as something other than a purely negative indicator — was alien to many of the early hoops number-crunchers.To understand why, it’s useful to look back at the primordial era of basketball metrics. NBA statheads cribbed many of their early concepts from baseball’s sabermetric movement — which effectively had a 25-year head start — including a tunnel-visioned focus on maximizing efficiency. Such a fixation makes sense in baseball, where a player’s susceptibility to making outs is unambiguously negative — you get 27 of them each game, to be guarded vigilantly — and you can draw a straight line between a player’s individual efficiency and his effect on the team. Hence the reasoning, as applied to basketball: If possessions, like outs, are the sport’s fundamental unit of opportunity, why would we celebrate a player’s propensity for using them up?Basketball is more complicated than baseball, however. Possessions alternate between teams, so at least one player must always have a hand in “using” each of them. More importantly, teammates do not take turns with their opportunities like hitters going through a batting order: Any individual player is free to use as many (or as few) of the team’s possessions as he wants. This provides a lot of complex ways for an individual to help the team beyond his own personal efficiency statistics.One of Oliver and Hollinger’s key insights was that the frequency with which a player generates offense — as proxied by usage rate — is a consideration that should always accompany (and temper) his efficiency metrics. “Some guys … are great shooters and passers, and rarely turn the ball over,” Hollinger wrote, introducing usage in the 2002 edition of his “Prospectus,” predicting the wars he’d fight over Carl Landry half a decade later. “If that’s the case, why don’t people regard them as superstars? The reason is that they cannot create their own shot as often as some other players can.” Usage rate was born out of the effort to quantify said ability to create.Hollinger’s original conception of usage, which can still be found at ESPN.com today, was a relatively simple pace-adjusted rate of shots, assists and turnovers per 40 minutes. Oliver’s, while rooted in the same basic tenets, went to a far more complex place, accounting for the additional possession-extending nature of offensive rebounds and even parceling out fractional credit to the scorer and passer on an assisted basket. But at their most elemental, both attempt to individually account for all the actions that can spell an end to any team possession: made baskets, misses that aren’t rebounded by the offense, free throws and turnovers.Neither Oliver’s nor Hollinger’s interpretation of usage, however, is the preferred version of 2015’s stathead. (At least, not according to this unscientific Twitter poll I conducted Tuesday.) Among the respondents who actually recognized differences between various flavors of usage, nearly twice as many said they use the Basketball-Reference.com (BBR) version as Hollinger’s. (Oliver’s version isn’t widely available online, except for college players.)As the stats are used today, there isn’t much separating the three. Mention that a player’s usage rate or usage percentage is in the high-20s to low-30s and you call to mind a ball-dominant focal point of an offense; drop down an octave, into the low-to-mid-20s, and you instead have a player who creates a good deal of offense but doesn’t dribble the leather off the ball. Whichever version you prefer, usage is in common enough usage that it serves as shorthand for offensive hierarchy.In most every practical application, breaking one or the other down to its atomic particles and recompiling them into the competing version will be pointless; you already get the idea. Still, it remains worthwhile to understand the differences, such as they are, and how those differences inform what it is you’re looking it. Why? Because BBR’s usage metric doesn’t include assists.Confusion reignsFull disclosure: I used to work for Sports-Reference, the company that runs BBR, so I’m close to the situation. And now, a scene from my former life running the company blog at a time when BBR founder Justin Kubatko and I staged nerd fights about this (and other statistical barnacles):ME: “Why do we use Hollinger’s definition of usage instead of Dean Oliver’s?”JUSTIN: “That’s not Hollinger’s. That’s mine.”ME: “It’s not what he uses at ESPN? I thought it was the same definition.”JUSTIN: “No. His multiplies assists by a third.”ME: “I see. But I guess the question still stands.”JUSTIN: “Mine is basically percentage of team plays used. What the heck is his actually measuring?”ME: “It’s trying to measure possessions, and failing. But Oliver’s formula gives us real possessions.”JUSTIN: “They’re not real, either! They’re estimates — better than Hollinger’s, but estimates.”ME: “I’m confused. This is Hollinger’s fault.”For most players, this distinction is largely irrelevant; among qualified players1Minimum 400 minutes. this season, the correlation between BBR usage and Oliver’s more full-bodied formula is 0.98. But for certain types of players, it can matter: It’s the difference, for instance, between claiming that DeMarcus Cousins carries the league’s biggest offensive burden (as he does under BBR’s formula) and giving the distinction to Russell Westbrook (No. 1, according to Oliver and Hollinger). One measures pure scoring affinity; the others factor in ballhandling responsibility while still strictly accounting for the player(s) who served as the conduit for every possession’s end.Neither approach is perfect. Playmaking is obviously a massive part of “creating” offense, and cutting it out entirely isn’t ideal. But just stapling assists onto a scoring metric misses huge chunks of what you’re trying to capture. Plus, heavy ballhandlers tend to have higher turnover rates than would be predicted from how often they end possessions, which suggests that even a completist accounting method such as Oliver’s is missing some fundamental aspect of how passers create shots for others.So with the advent of player-tracking data from SportVU, Seth Partnow of NylonCalculus.com set out to detect the invisible. He developed a statistic called True Usage, which incorporates “assist chances” (so-called “hockey assists,” plus passes that would have been scored as assists if the shot had been made) into the usage mix. The resulting leaderboard is decidedly skewed toward point guards and other primary ballhandlers, like LeBron James. If we’re truly interested in measuring a player’s offensive burden, that probably makes for a more accurate usage framework.The problem, of course, is that the old-hat usage figures are now entrenched in not only the analytic lexicon, but also the updating leaderboards on big industry portals like Basketball-Reference and ESPN. It’s hard to change hearts and minds without first winning over the APIs.From one stat to manyThen again, maybe the entire concept of a one-number “usage rate” has outlived its usefulness, particularly in an age of hyper-detailed SportVU possession stats. We can now see how long a player holds the ball, how often he passes, how many points those passes create — every conceivable piece of the puzzle is out there, if you know where to look. And just about every basketball analytics expert I consulted told me that they preferred a modular approach to usage, with different formulas to measure different aspects of a player’s offensive responsibility.“I don’t use just one usage stat,” Oliver told me. “I do have a shot usage, a field goal usage, and a possession usage stat. Depending on the question being asked, I will look at the one that makes the most sense.”Jacob Rosen, who writes about analytics for Nylon Calculus and the Cleveland sports blog Waiting For Next Year, concurs that today’s all-in-one usage metrics are inadequate. “Like any type of basketball stat, it’s the balance of wanting to push everything into one metric,” Rosen said. “In some ideal world, you’d have a stat that measures the dimensions of possession time, passes, potential assists, turnovers, shots, free throws, etc. But they’re on somewhat different planes of existence.”As a possible alternative to a one-size-fits-all usage formula, Rosen wondered if usage rate’s next step would be to incorporate player typologies, such as the Position-Adjusted Classification (PAC) system developed by current Cleveland Cavaliers Director of Analytics Jon Nichols. “In my mind, having those different dimensions would be more accurate,” Rosen said. “You could perhaps do a PAC definition just with usage-based things alone (i.e., passing, possession, turnovers, shots).”Given the state of today’s tools of observation, Partnow’s True Usage may have struck the best balance between the all-encompassing and the customizable, if not the most widely used and understood.“To me the ideal is True Usage,” Nylon Calculus writer2And FiveThirtyEight contributor. Ian Levy said. “It is as accurate a measure as there is of the quantity of a player’s offensive responsibilities. But the real benefit is that you can parse out the different components to see what comes from playmaking, scoring, turnovers. That’s the ideal — [a] good holistic measure [that’s] also parsable into components for descriptive uses.”If so, maybe we should all just turn our attention toward rebranding campaigns for the other myriad versions of usage rate — “Possession Rate”? “Scoring Attempt Frequency”? — or pester the bosses at ESPN or Basketball-Reference for one more column in the Advanced Stats tab. That is, until basketball’s next data revolution comes and brings with it an even more accurate way to measure offensive workload … which we can promptly christen “usage rate” and start all over again.
Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will introduce the system of collecting garbage even during the evenings from August 15.”The system of collecting garbage is the most important aspect of solid waste management (SWM). Presently, we have a mechanism for garbage collection thrice during the day. From August 15, we will be doing the same four times a day. Kolkata will be the only city in the country where garbage collection will be carried out so many times,” Member, Mayor -in-Council (SWM) Debabrata Majumder said on Thursday. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeIn response to a proposal from Left Front councillor Debasish Mukherjee on how KMC is moving towards the implementation of the newly envisaged SWM Act 2016 by the Union Ministry of Forest & Environment in the monthly meeting, Majumder urged all the stakeholders associated with the process, to have an efficient system in place for keeping the city clean.”We are setting up three groups of people for each borough, who will keep an eye on garbage accumulation from 12 noon till 9 pm. Each gang will have a supervisor. If they find garbage at any place, particularly during the evening, they will inform the SWM department and immediate action will be taken for cleaning it,” Majumder added. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedIn Bengal, the municipal waste generation stands at 14,000 metric tonne per day, while KMC alone handles 4,500 metric tonne per day.SWM Rules 2016 that has categorised solid waste into six broad categories — Industrial hazardous waste, Healthcare or biomedical waste, Solid waste that involves wastes from houses, schools and offices, Plastic waste, Electronic or e waste and Construction or Demolition waste.The state is working upon classifying solid waste under three categories- bio-degradable waste, recycle waste and inert waste to begin with.In seven wards in the city — 33, 47, 64, 103, 110, 115 and 135, KMC has employed private agencies, who collect inorganic and organic wastes in separate buckets to ensure segregation at source. The same system will be soon introduced in another 20 wards of the civic body. Majumder also stressed the need of awareness and urged the local clubs, schools and colleges to be involved in the awareness drives. “The councillors need to take a proactive role regarding the throwing of garbage in separate bins,” he said. Majumder also announced that the civic body is coming up with the construction material crusher machine at Dhapa. “This can be used in road repair,” he maintained.
4 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. September 1, 2015 Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. The word “innovation” and its many derivatives have come to define the state of business today. Every company, regardless of size, the service they provide or the product they produce wants to at least be perceived as being innovative, regardless of the reality. In fact, the word is so over-used that it’s quickly joining the ranks of the now-meaningless buzzword brigade, nestled securely between “cutting edge” and “game changing.”Most companies, particularly startups, are challenged simply by the pressures of our economic climate to innovate or die. It’s enough to drive a budding entrepreneur insane. How can you possibly constantly create the next industry-shaping idea? You see that lightning over there? Here’s a bottle. Best of luck.Related: 5 Ways to Create a More Innovative BusinessHere’s the reality though: innovation is a double-edged sword. Everyone has to be perceived to be constantly innovative to have a chance of standing out from the crowd in today’s crowded technology marketplace. But innovation merely for the sake of it is meaningless, at least to the majority of us. Sure, some of those monster companies out there can dedicate entire divisions to building teleporters and time machines, but for most of us, we’re simply trying to provide valuable products and solutions and make a little money doing it.Also, be wary of getting too good at something. Even if you were to bottle that lightning, all you’ve done is establish an expectation in the marketplace that you’re going to do it again and again. Apple’s stock is taking a hit right now even though its sales numbers remain the envy of every company in the world. Why? Because the company was so innovative for so long that any new release that doesn’t blow everyone’s collective mind is considered a failure.But again, that’s a bit of an extreme example. Let’s talk about how we — the business leaders and entrepreneurs of the world — bring the perceptions and realities of innovation a little closer together. How do we engage in the nebulous activity of “innovation,” while avoiding the second edge of that sword and still meeting the needs of our existing and potential customers?For me, innovation is at its most powerful when it’s born out of a need to help someone. A business, a department, a team, an individual — whoever is having problems out there, let’s bring our minds together and find a new or more efficient way to solve those problems.Related: 5 Hidden Dangers of a Stereotypical Startup CultureInnovation has to remain customer-centric. While the population as a whole is more tech-savvy than it’s ever been, they still don’t move anywhere near as fast as we (the creators of technology and software) do. Not everyone wants to be an early adopter or is looking to constantly disrupt their workflows with the newest app, tool or feature.Instead, think long and hard about what tangible benefits a new feature or technology actually provides to those that you have the privilege to serve or sell to. I don’t want to make better things; I want to make better, happier, more efficient or more productive people. That mindset is what brings the idea of innovation alive for me.So yes, be innovative, but innovate toward the customer, not away from them. Find a new way to solve a common customer complaint, even if that solution itself isn’t the most innovative idea the world has ever seen. Challenge the status quo of areas of your business that you wouldn’t commonly consider innovation hotbeds, be it pricing models, customer support, even internal communication and collaboration processes, but only if it helps your organization better serve your customers.Always be deliberately and meaningfully customer-centric in the choices you make.I’ll close with a paraphrase of Jeff Goldblum’s character in Jurassic Park: When it comes to innovation, don’t get so caught up in whether you can do something that you forget to stop and think about whether you should.Related: We Have Lost Sight of the Real Meaning of Innovation Register Now »
9 min read This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. September 23, 2016 This won’t surprise anyone who picks up every annual release of the Call of Duty series or catches monsters on his or her smartphone with Pokémon Go, but video games are a huge, global industry.More than 135 million games were sold in the United States in 2014, generating more than $22 billion in revenue, according to the Entertainment Software Association. But games are a global business. Newzoo, a global market intelligence firm specializing in games, esports and mobile, estimates the global games market value was $91.8 billion in 2015 and grew to $99.6 this year. It forecasts the industry to grow to $118.6 billion in 2019.And it’s not just your teenage nephew who’s playing games. Most video game players, 29 percent, are between the ages of 18 to 35; 27 percent are under 18, and 18 percent are between 36 to 49, the ESA reports. Most surprising, however, is that 26 percent of players are older than 50 — so yes, your mom who constantly swipes to find matches in Candy Crush is very much a gamer.Do you see shiny coins popping out of question-mark blocks yet?If you’ve got the will, creativity and skills, you could be a part of this huge industry and possibly develop the next breakout hit game. With the proliferation of mobile games and digital platforms such as Valve’s Steam, it’s never been easier to release a game and get it into the hands of players, a.k.a. customers. But like any entrepreneurial pursuit, it’s not simple.Related: Stop Worrying About What You Don’t Know and Just Focus on OpportunitiesImage credit: IGDATo get some insights into the video game industry, Entrepreneur spoke with Kate Edwards, executive director of the International Game Developers Association, which has about 9,000 members. Her answers have been lightly edited.What opportunities are available for those interested in turning a love for gaming into a business? The good news is there are a lot of opportunities out there. The game industry continues to grow. For all of these forms of creative media, all of us are consumers to some degree. We know from surveys and statistics that gameplay is ubiquitous today. We’ve reached gender parity as well.We have so many people now pursuing game development as a career, even more so as a hobby. People have to decide whether this is something they want to do every day or just want to toy with on the side. Fortunately, because a lot of game engines are free to use for a basic account, anyone can make games. We’ve seen this huge democratization of game development in a way that didn’t exist five years ago.Are there opportunities for people who aren’t coders or programmers?You do not need to be a programmer or coder to make a game or be involved in game development. There are so many different, diverse jobs in the industry. There’s the art and design aspect, narrative designers and writers, marketing people, legal, HR, finance.Because game development is a global thing, about 50 percent of revenue on a global scale comes from localized versions of games, so there’s a lot of room for people who have skills in translation. There are even opportunities for people like me. I’m a geographer. I’ve worked in the industry for 20 years doing culturization work, so the games aren’t offensive or add something to make games feel local.Frankly, because it is changing so quickly, based on the technology and other forces at work, a lot of people can come into the industry and make up a new kind of job.Overall, what kind of overhead is there for any gaming business? Over the last few years, there’s what we call indie game dev. There are a lot of people who are pursuing it. One of the primary reasons is they have creative control over what they’re doing. If you know the skills, you have the ability to basically just do it and create something on your own.Related: 7 Ways to Make Extra Income Even With a Full-Time JobYou can pull other team members together — doing everything by yourself tends to be rare — and form a small team of maybe three to seven people working together with this shared vision of seeing a game released. There’s a very entrepreneurial spirit to that exercise.But a lot of game developers in the indie space, although this is changing, don’t have the business, marketing, finance and other skills.So someone can just start developing a game without much money?It can really be that level of a startup. It can be that whole “friends, family and fools” thing, where you scrape together money however you can and find people who share your vision for the project. A lot of these indie projects I see are started by people who have full-time jobs and are working on them at night or during weekends. Then there are others who go all in. They leave their jobs and start a small indie group. They use their own money or get a small level of investment from a relative or a person in the business world. There are a lot of models to follow.Whatever form it took to start, none of those things guarantee success. It will depend on the game itself. Sadly, because there are so many games coming out — there are thousands and thousands of games — I’ve seen very good games get completely overlooked because they just can’t find an audience because it’s so inundated. That’s where marketing acumen really has to come into play.What challenges do game entrepreneurs face that others don’t?When it comes to grant programs, there does still tend to be a bias against games as an art form. It depends on the location. Some states get it, others don’t. It varies country to country. There’s a certain challenge at the political and social levels, because a lot of people still view games as a distraction or for kids.A lot of indie devs who start out don’t have business skills, and it’s not always easy to get those skills. Most people getting into it now understand they can’t just know how to make a game, they have to run a business. But that still remains a challenge for a lot of them. Like most art forms, game development is a passion, but the passion can be blinding to the reality of what they need to be doing.You have to find people that share a creative vision. Being able to pull together people and work together collaboratively is so important.What advantages do game entrepreneurs have that other small businesses might not? The ease of which you can just basically pick it up and do it. That may be on par with other industries in creative media. If you’ve got the desire, and a certain level of skill where you can learn the tools and you’re willing to put the time in, creating a game doesn’t have to be that difficult and daunting of a task. The barrier to entry is pretty low at this point, but making a good game is a challenge.Related: 7 Ways to Build a Team With Little or No MoneyPeople need to play games in order to understand them. Being an avid player may actually help you. What they tell writers is that the best way to learn how to write is to read a lot.Depending on your development cycle, let’s say you have a fairly simple casual game that you develop over a period of several months, you put it out — the lag time between knowing whether your game is a success and knowing how people feel about it is almost zero. With a game, you release that thing and you know right away. It’s a blessing and a curse. That’s the nature of the digital world. It’s out there on a global scale.Another cool thing is your game may not find an audience where you thought it would, such as the U.S., but for all you know, you wake up the next morning and you have thousands of people playing it in Turkey. It’s one of those quirky things no one can predict.Are there any types of skills or traits that are especially helpful overall to succeed in games?Number one is being able to collaborate with other creative people. That’s a make-or-break factor in game development. Creative people can be really strong in their convictions about what they feel should be done, so the ability to compromise, yield and make a case and do it in a friendly way is really important. That skillset takes practice.You also need to be able to give input to others in a way that person would understand. A coder can’t speak to an artist in code terms. That’s one of the reasons the IGDA was created over 20 years ago: to help game developers interact with each other.Business skills are extremely important. A lot of game developers enter this field with the idea that this is a creative art form; “therefore, we’re just going to create and release what we want.” But that’s not true. It’s a business. The game industry is an industry as well as an art form.You have to put out something that’s fresh, interesting and worth playing. All that touches upon user and market research, marketing, business strategy and all of that kind of stuff. All of it is essential whether you’re working on an indie team or at a large publisher.Related: Here Are 4 Things I Would Have Done Differently as a FounderBecause the games arena is so technology dependent, being flexible with your skillset is really important, too. Now we have the fields of virtual, augmented and mixed reality that are opening up games to these platforms that actually work now. It’s becoming an interesting challenge.As technology changes, so do the roles in the industry. We’ll always have the core roles — artist, writer and producer — but there are other support and integrating roles that evolve and change. It’s challenging, because if you’re working in a certain type of job, that job may not be around forever in this industry. You have to think about how the next wave of technology will influence your skillset and you have to continually improve that skillset. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Free