﻿ Explaining Different Types of Bets | A McLean Bookmakers

# Explaining Different Types of Bets | A McLean Bookmakers

• Explaining Different Types of Bets | A McLean Bookmakers
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##### GW 37+ Player Point Projections

Forwards
Midfielders
Defenders
Goalkeepers
Team Stats Since Restart

# General Notes

• I created a 90% confidence interval using the mean and standard deviation of players scores throughout the whole season. That's where the Proj (low) and Proj (high) come from.
• The Proj (high) and Proj (low) are just the upper and lower bounds of the confidence interval formula. CI Formula: Mean +/- ( t-score * (STD/sqrt(#games))

• To get the specific weekly projection, I use fixture difficulty as a scalar. So for a fixture difficulty of 5 (MCI, LIV), the weekly projection is only 10% above the player’s projected low. Conversely, for a fixture difficulty of 1 (NOR), the weekly projection is 90% above the projected low (or 10% below the projected high).
• The GW 37+ column (the projections) are colorized based on fixture difficulty. The colors in that column only: dark green dark red corresponds to 1 5 fixture difficulty.
• These projections are far from perfect. I try my best to give raw statistics without any weighted or biased equations. I write out my formula so that everyone understands how these numbers are obtained and the notes I add are to help point out where the deficiencies lie in my projections. If something looks off and I didn't address, please don't hesitate to ask!

# Forward Notes

• Marcus Rashford's results on the pitch are finally mirroring his excellent peripheral stats. Since the restart, Rashford has an xG of 4.27 (5th among all) and an xA of 2.22 (8th among all) so it was nice to see his good chances translate to points. With West Ham's win over Watford yesterday, the Hammers seem to have escaped relegation this season and may be more prone to rolling over to a United team with everything to play for before their clash against Leicester.
• Jamie Vardy put on a playmaking masterclass in their last game against Sheffield and was truly unlucky to have picked up only one assist. In just that game alone, Vardy accrued an xG of 0.79 and a whopping xA of 1.91. He faces Tottenham this week in a must win game. He can always easily grab a goal, but I think against Mourinho his ceiling is limited in what could be a low scoring game.
• I've been impressed with how Southampton have been playing since the restart, ranking 4th in shots per game (14.3), 5th in shots on target per game (5.4), and 7th in xG (1.57). I think Danny Ings is an excellent choice this week and may even be a differential option for captaincy. Bournemouth likely won't be parking the way they had been the past 4 weeks against top clubs as they are fighting to escape relegation. I expect them to play more aggressively and attack-minded like they did against Crystal Palace and Newcastle earlier on.
• Aubameyang is a great option for this week as well as the next (Watford @ Home). He also received his rest last gameweek and even with the FA Cup game looming, I am confident that Auba starts both of the remaining Premier League games and likely plays around 90 minutes in each as he chases Vardy for the Golden Boot. Aston Villa has been a very tough opponent since the restart and they won't fold easily with everything to play for.
• Chris Wood is the big sleeper pick this week against Norwich. Wood has recorded an xG of 16.27 throughout the entirety of the season which is greater than the aforementioned Ings and Aubameyang. Norwich are embarrassingly bad against strikers, and with Wood on penalties as well as a good threat on set pieces, he is a strong bet to score a goal and maybe more.

# Midfielder Notes

• Manchester City play in the FA cup today which means record levels of fraudulence should be expected against Watford. There's no sense in trying to tie any real logic to him, but nevertheless we try. We can expect The Fraud to start his strongest XI against Arsenal today (Walker, Garcia, Laporte, Mendy, Dilva, Rodri, KDB, Mahrez, Jesus, Sterling). This leads me to believe that if David Silva starts in the FA Cup semi-final, he will be benched against Watford (maybe for Foden) and start in his final game for the club against Norwich. I think Mahrez received his rest last week and should be fit to start in the FA Cup as well as the last two Premier League fixtures, though he will likely be subbed at 60 minutes for both. De Bruyne and Sterling are a little tougher to predict since City have Champions League on August 7th and potentially an FA Cup Final on August 1st. However, Kevin is chasing the 20 assist record and Sterling may still make a push for the Golden Boot. It is important to note that in their last two matches, City have beaten Watford 14-0 aggregate.
• Liverpool attackers Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah should have a strong gameweek against a poor Chelsea defense. I expect this to be a game of end-to-end football and predict around 4 goals total in this match. Salah looks like the hungrier of the two forwards to score and he'll need at least a brace this game in order to have a chance to catch Vardy in the race for the Golden Boot.
• Michael Antonio has been the most in-form attacker since the restart, leading the league with a whopping 6.33 xG while also carrying a respectable 1.86 xA (11th in the league) in that timespan. West Ham don't have a whole lot to play for, so maybe a Hammers fan could let us know what the chances are of him being benched for Haller. However should he continue starting at striker, I think he has a good chance to score on the counter against a Manchester United back line that hasn't always been the most cohesive. If Luke Shaw misses another game, United may face trouble in stopping that Bowen-Antonio connection from the right.
• Bruno Fernandes has consistently been atop my projections but I think Anthony Martial is right there with him this week. West Ham are among the worst defenses in the league and won't park the bus as strongly as a team like Brighton does. Thus, I think there will be plenty of space for Martial to get in behind for easy opportunities, as he has been doing so well at home since the restart.

# Defender Notes

• Doherty has finally overtaken Boly in the projections and all it cost was everything. On the bright side, I don't have to keep explaining Boly's slightly inflated projections due to his great clean sheet record (11 cleans in 20 games). I think Wolves are a good shout for a clean sheet this week against an anemic Crystal Palace attack that may be without Patrick Van Aanholt this game.
• I would be surprised if either Liverpool or Chelsea kept a clean sheet this week, but Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are still strong bets for an attacking return. Marcos Alonso falls into this same boat, however he has rotation risk with Reece James behind him and Liverpool are more likely to score 2 goals than Chelsea are which increases his chance for a -1 point deduction.
• Matt Ritchie scored a banger of a goal last week against Spurs and showed why he is one of the best attacking players, much less defenders, on the team. Newcastle have been statistically the worst defensive team in the league since the restart (0.23 xCS)so it's hard to rely on a clean sheet this game, but I think Ritchie will have the opportunity for plenty of attempted assists and even a shot or two.
• Burnley defenders should have one of their easier games of the restart today against Norwich, who are statistically the worst attack in the league at a mind-numbing 0.52 xG since the restart. James Tarkowski has been the best and most consistent defender in FPL since the restart and has an excellent chance at an assist + a return today. I don't think Norwich will sit as far back as they did against Chelsea so the game should be more open. I hear that Charlie Taylor may not be fit for the match, but I like any Burnley defender such as Pieters or Bardsley around that projection of 4 pts, with my preference on the former.
• Don't start Manchester City defenders unless for some reason you have John Stones or Nicolas Otamendi.
• Sheffield United have fallen a bit from the strong, consistent defense they had been prior to the restart. However, it cannot be understated how bad of a midfield Everton are trotting out at the moment. I think this could be a game where Sheffield dominate possession and so a clean sheet is not out of the question at all. Enda Stevens has a tendency to get near the byline and send dangerous ground crosses into the center of the box; I like him the most out of Sheffield United defenders this week.

As always, I hope this information is helpful to you guys. I've learned a great deal about FPL from this sub in just under two years and I want to help others succeed to the best of my ability. Cheers and green arrows for all!

##### [OC] The Chicago Bulls rebuild imploded again this year. How can they pick up the pieces and make it better next time?

As we continue to wait for real basketball to happen (or not?), it may be a good time to monitor teams that will definitely be missing out on all the playoff bubble hijinks.
Here's a look at the CHICAGO BULLS, with a special shoutout to true Bulls' fans like celsius_two_3_two for helping me review the content.
PART ONE: From Playoff Challenger to Challenger space shuttle
Like any proper degenerate, I like to make a few Las Vegas "oveunder" bets before the season (note: don't try it at home, it's usually a waste of time and money.)
Still, a few win totals jumped out at me. Among them: the Chicago Bulls, oveunder 33.5 wins.
Now, the logical move may have been to pound the "under" here. After all, this was a team coming off two seasons with 27-55 and 22-60 records. However, I couldn't help but overthink this one. Sure, the Bulls had a very bad 2018-19 season (highlighted by Fred Hoiberg getting fired and Drill Sergeant Jim Boylen taking over). At the same time, they played better in the second half of the season. Boylen (douche or not) would presumably keep improving their defense. Moreover, Boylen and the front office were on shaky ground in terms of their job security, which usually motivates an organization to push forward and win as much as possible.
The front office clearly had that in mind as well, signing Tomas Satoransky and Thaddeus Young to sizable \$10M+ contracts. Neither are great players, or perhaps even good players, but they're solid and reliable veterans whom the team could immediately plug into a rotation. These Bulls felt deep, balanced, and perhaps ready to strike. After all, star Zach LaVine would be set to enter Year 6 in the league. Otto Porter would be entering Year 7. Some of their other "young" pieces weren't that young; for example, Kris Dunn and Denzel Valentine are both 26 right now.
Overall, this felt like a recipe for success. Or at least, semi-success. The Bulls were ready to take a jump. Making the playoffs may have been unrealistic, but 35-38 wins felt doable. "OVER" it is!
Flash forward nearly a year later, and I've got so much egg on my face that vegans won't even talk to me anymore. Turns out, these "new Bulls" were the "same ol' Bulls." They'll end the season with a 22-43 record, which would have put them on pace for 27.8 wins over 82 games, well under the 33.5 set by Vegas.
So what went wrong? How did this potential darkhorse run so far off the rails that it needed to get shot and turned to glue? Let's take a closer look.
PART TWO: Missing Otto Porter III + D
One of the major reasons the Chicago Bulls disappointed in 2019-20 was injuries. Center Wendell Carter missed time, and Otto Porter III barely played due to lingering hip injuries. He appeared in 14 games, and only drew 9 starts (averaging 23 minutes per game.)
On the surface, Porter shouldn't feel like a huge loss. After all, this is a player who's never averaged as much as 15 PPG in any season in his career and has never sniffed an All-Star team.
That said, the loss of Porter had a trickle down effect that hurt the team in numerous ways.
Offensively, Porter is a low-usage player who's about as efficient as anyone in the league. For his career, he shoots over 40% from three (40.4%). Better yet, he's only averaged 0.8 turnovers per game (1.1 TO per 36 minutes.) He's what you'd call a role player / assassin. He gets in, hits his target, and slips out without being noticed. Porter actually has a little more versatility to his offensive game than the average catch-and-shoot player (he can take you down on the block, for example), but most often, he's used as a spacer and he thrives in that regard. Without Porter's shooting, the Chicago Bulls' offense looked even more sluggish than usual. Their offensive rating ranked 27th out of the 30 teams in the league.
Porter's loss also showed up in other ways. Porter's not a great defender -- he's probably "above average" -- but that's still an asset to have in your lineup. He's a savvy player who's usually locked in defensively, despite one infamous Shaqtin' A Fool moment. He also has good size and length for his position at 6'8" with a 7'1" wingspan.
That size is a key element to this discussion. Porter has "plus" size as a small forward. In his absence, the Bulls struggled to fill that void with the same. They ended up shifting Zach LaVine (6'6", 6'8" wingspan) over to small forward quite a bit. LaVine played 67% of his minutes at SF this past season according to basketball-reference. You can take those positional play-by-plays with a grain of salt because it's not easy to track and label, but that's still a notable difference in terms of the roster composition. The Bulls were smaller than average at SF, and smaller than average at SG with rookie Coby White (6'4", 6'5" wingspan) playing the majority of his minutes there.
The natural follow up to this may be: so what? Even with those size limitations, Jim Boylen's Bulls still finished with the 14th best defense (up from 25 last year.) However, the lack of size on the wings helped contribute to the Bulls' problems on the glass. They finished 30th (out of 30 teams) in total defensive rebounds, and 28th in rebounding differential (-3.6 per game). Using rebounding totals isn't always the best metric to use because bad teams miss more shots (and thus allow their opponents more rebounds). However, if you dig deeper, the numbers still aren't pretty. The Bulls' grabbed 75.6% of their potential defensive rebounds -- 5th worst in the league. Overall, they grabbed 47.9% of all potential rebounds -- 2nd worst in the league. "Rebounds" may be not be an en vogue stat in general, but it's a weakness that still hurt the team at the margins. When you're a mid-level team, those extra few possessions per game could mean the difference between a win and a loss.
The good news? Porter will likely be back and healthy next season. The bad news? He's not cheap. He'll almost certainly pick up his oversized \$28M player option. In another circumstance, he may try to rip it up and renegotiate a long-term deal with the Bulls or another team instead, but the murkiness around the cap and around his health makes that too difficult to imagine. Barring a trade, he'll be back with the Bulls next year, and will help the team win a few more games.
PART THREE: Misusing their offensive weapons
The Chicago Bulls are a young team, built around young stars like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen. Both LaVine and Markkanen have some limitations overall, but they're both gifted offensive players. So given that, how is it that the team only finished 27th in offensive efficiency?
In terms of the national media, a lot of the blame tends to fall on Zach LaVine. After some inefficient play early on in his career, the narrative has stuck that LaVine is an "empty calorie" or "volume" scorer. However, the results on the court don't really justify that anymore. Sure, LaVine shoots a lot, but he doesn't take as many bad shots as you may expect. He takes 8.1 threes per game (and makes an above-average 38%). He takes 5.6 free throw attempts per game (making 82% for his career.) Overall, that's a winning formula. LaVine's efficiency and true shooting is above league-average, no small feat for a player averaging 25.5 points per game this year. You'd like to see him hammer his way to the line even more, but he's not the problem for this team (offensively.)
Meanwhile, Markkanen has some work to do. For a 7-footer, he's a gifted shooter. He shot 42.3% from three in college (and even flirted with 50% early in the season.) He carried that success over to the NBA for his first two years, netting over 36% from three each year. His results at the free throw line (84% then 87% as a second-year player) illustrated his potential to keep improving from there. 7-footers tend to get labeled as "stretch bigs" if they can get anywhere over 30% from three; Markkanen has the potential to get closer to 40%.
However, that leap didn't happen in Year 3. Markkanen sagged to 34.4% from three, and "only" 82.4% from the free-throw line. But those percentages aren't what bothers me. Percentages will go up and down over smaller sample sizes like that. What's more concerning is how Markkanen's role shrunk offensively. After averaging 15.3 field goal attempts last season, he slipped down to 11.8 attempts this season per game. Even if you account for a few less minutes, he dropped from 17 FGA to 14 FGA in terms of "per 36" numbers.
As mentioned, Markkanen is an offensive player. He's a shooter. I'm no coaching genius (and neither is Jim Boylen apparently), but I'd encourage a shooter to SHOOT. Because if Markkanen isn't a focal point of your offensive attack, then he's not doing much good for your team. He's not a good defender -- he's not a good rebounder. This is like the Justice League sending Aquaman off to the find evil aliens in the desert; we're misusing his talents here, people.
Practically speaking, the next Bulls' coach needs to rethink the approach with Markkanen. Personally, I believe he has more in the tank offensively than he's been allowed to show so far. Maybe he's not Dirk Nowtizki, but he's still an extraordinary talent as a shooter for his size; I'd make a point of funneling him the ball. And if the problem is that he's getting marginalized by ball-dominant LaVine, then Markkanen should come off the bench as a 6th man scorer instead. He needs to be an offensive priority whenever he's in the game. And consequently, a better offensive philosophy and system needs to be installed in order to allow that to happen.
PART FOUR: Natural growing pains
When the Chicago Bulls' playoff chances slipped away, Jim Boylen and the front office finally unleashed their rookie, Coby White.
White took advantage of that greenlight and turned up the gas as a scorer. He'll end the season with a modest 13.2 points per game, but that undersells his impact as a scorer. Per 36 minutes, he averaged 18.5 points per game. That trended upwards over the course of the season as well. White averaged over 20 points per game in February and March (albeit over a limited 14 game size.) If White can do that as a 20-year-old rookie, then it's fair to suggest that he could be routinely scoring over 20 PPG in his prime.
While Coby White has some obvious virtues -- highlighted by his quickness and his cool hair -- there are some natural concerns and growing pains that he showed. He scored, but he didn't necessarily do that with efficiency. He shot only 39.4% from the field, and netted only a 50.6 true shooting percentage that's well below the league average.
Defensively, White also struggled. Playing "up" at SG for 71% of his minutes (and even at SF for 17%!), White's limited size and limited experience showed. ESPN's real/plus minus metric graded him as -1.9 impact per 100 possessions. If you wanted to count White as a point guard, that would rank 89th best (out of 94 qualifiers.) If you envision him as a shooting guard, that would rank 134th (out of 137 qualifiers.)
That debate -- is Coby White a point guard or shooting guard? -- is an important one. Sure, we're in an era of "position-less" basketball to some extent, but players still have certain roles offensively and certain assignments defensively. White's limited size and length (6'5" wingspan) projects best as a point guard. However, he's more of a scorer than a natural distributor. He only averaged 3.8 assists per 36 minutes this season, not far removed from the 5.2 assists per 36 minutes he averaged back in college at UNC. His playmaking can improve, but he's more of an attack dog by nature.
This combination of strengths and weaknesses makes you wonder about the long-term fit next to Zach LaVine. If the Bulls' long-term plan is to play White at SG and LaVine at SF, then they're always going to be behind the eight-ball in terms of length and rebounding (especially with Lauri Markkanen at the 4.) If their plan is to start White as a point guard, then they're going to have to rely on LaVine to be more of a lead facilitator, or on the entire team to adopt more of a ball-moving offense 1-5.
Most realistically, White projects best as a super-scorer off the bench, a la Lou Williams. To excel in that role, he'll need to continue to draw more free throws (he was at only 2.0 FTA per game as a rookie), but the potential is there to improve his shot selection and become a big-time scorer. Staggering White and LaVine would also allow them to be aggressive as scorers without stepping on each other's toes.
PART FIVE: Done with Dunn?
The other reason that it'll be important for the new Bulls' coach and front office to devise a long-term plan for Coby White is because it will affect other decisions on the roster. Among them: the fate of Kris Dunn.
Like Coby White, Dunn has some extreme strengths and weaknesses -- they just happen to be in opposite order. He EXCELS defensively. He has a big frame (6'9" wingspan) and natural instincts on that end. He nabbed 2.0 steals this season in only 24.9 minutes of action. A lot of times, "steals" can be misleading because they amount to gambling. For Dunn, it's more reflective of his actual talent. He has extremely quick hands; he could have made a lot of money as a gunslinger back in the Old West. In some ways, he reminds you of Andre Iguodala on the ball defensively, combining length, strength, and savvy.
The rest of Dunn's game is a mixed bag. He's not a bad distributor (averaging 6.0 assists in both 2017-18 and 2018-19), but he's a poor shooter. He's also had injury issues flare up over the course of his career. As mentioned, he's already 26 years old, so it's unrealistic to expect him to become a wholly different player in the next few years. With Kris Dunn, you mostly know what you're getting to get. So the question is: do you want it or not?
The Bulls will have to make that choice this offseason, as Dunn enters his (restricted) free agency. There's a chance that COVID will infect the cap and allow them to retain him on his one-year qualified offer of \$7M. Alternatively, there's a chance that another team will swoop him and sign him to an offer sheet. He'd make some sense for a team like the Detroit Pistons, who could invest in him as an heir apparent to Derrick Rose at PG. If a team like that offers Dunn a deal in the 3 year, \$8-10M per year range, will the Bulls match it? TBD.
Again, a lot depends on their views regarding Coby White. If they envision White as a future starter at PG, then there's less of a need for Kris Dunn. The Bulls would be able to start White at PG as soon as next year, with Tomas Satoransky as a combo guard off the bench and Ryan Arcidiacono serving as a third point guard and insurance policy. If the team envisions Coby White as a SG (or combo guard off the bench) then there's more of a need for Kris Dunn to platoon with Satoransky as a lead guard.
This game of musical chairs may be getting more crowded, because there's also another element at play: yet-another lottery pick.
PART SIX: Drafting some Help
Currently, the Chicago Bulls are slated in the # 7 position in terms of the NBA Draft order. They have a 9% chance of moving up to # 1, and a 32% chance of moving into the top 4. If they can make that leap, then that would mean adding another potential star to the fold. It's not a strong draft by any stretch, but SG Anthony Edwards (Georgia) and C James Wiseman (Memphis) have the potential to be good starters. If they can land someone like that, you ignore "fit", take the potential stud, and work out the rest later.
More likely, the Bulls will be picking in that 7-8 range. That's still a good pick, of course, but not one that should cause you to throw the baby out with the bath water and ignore the composition and needs of your team.
Again, this is why the "Do the Bulls need a PG?" question becomes so critical. This is a poor draft, but it's strongest in terms of its point guard depth. According to ESPN's draft experts, 5 of the top 13 prospects are point guards (LaMelo Ball, Tyrese Haliburton, Killian Hayes, R.J. Hampton, Cole Anthony). A few of those -- namely Hayes and Anthony -- are "pure" point guards who don't have enough size to switch around and play minutes at the 2.
Among the crop that's likely to be available around pick 7, here are some potential fits.
PG TYRESE HALIBURTON, IOWA STATE (# 8 on espn). Haliburton is one of the easiest "fits" for the Bulls and for basically every team, because he offers a versatile set of skills. He's technically a point guard (averaging 15.2 points and 6.5 assists last year) and can capably fill that role. Better still, he can be effectively off the ball. His three-point shot looks a little wonky, but he converts it well, hitting 42.6% of his threes in college. Defensively he's got good size (6'5" with a 6'10" wingspan) and instincts (2.5 steals, 1.3 fouls last year). In a sense, Haliburton can be a "3 + D" point guard that plays alongside a ball-dominant player, be it Zach LaVine or Coby White. If the team drafts him, you figure it'd be with the intention of using him as an upgrade on Dunn (slightly worse defense but better offense.)
SG DEVIN VASSELL, FLORIDA STATE (# 16 on espn). Like Haliburton, Devin Vassell is another player who could fit well on virtually every team because of his 3+D potential. He's hit 41.7% of his threes in his two years at FSU with a good-looking form that's aided by good size for his position and a higher release than Haliburton. Right now, Vassell is listed around 6'6" with an estimated 6'10" wingspan, but he looks bigger than that to my eye. That's crucial because it would allow him to play both SG and SF and draw some different assignments defensively. I also like Vassell's personality off the court; he seems like a good kid that should continue to improve. Like Haliburton, Vassell is the type of player that should easily into a lineup with LaVine and/or White.
SF DENI AVDIJA, ISRAEL (# 5 on espn). I'm not going to pretend to have as much confidence in my projection of Avdija, who's played in the international youth circuit and has been a rising star with Maccabi Tel Aviv. Based on what I do know, he could be an intriguing boom/bust pick around # 7. He's a big forward (6'9") who can convert inside, and better yet, has a real knack for playmaking. The Bulls' young stars -- Zach LaVine, Coby White, Lauri Markkanen -- are all better scorers than passers right now, so perhaps Avdija can operate as a de facto point forward and help the offense click into place. Right now, his shooting results have been shaky though, so he's not someone you can just throw out there and tell to stand in the corner as a 3+D option. If you take him, you need an actual plan to highlight his skill set. The Bulls' top exec Arturas Karnisovas is from Lithuania originally, so you presume that he'd have no qualms about selecting an European like Avdija (whose dad is Serbian) if need be. Of course, that logic didn't quite work out for Sacramento GM Vlade Divac and Luka Doncic.
SHAKIER FITS. Alternatively, there are some players in the Bulls' draft range that may not be ideal fits. As mentioned, Killian Hayes and Cole Anthony are more of traditional ball-dominant point guards; I don't love the idea of that next to Coby White and Zach LaVine. I'd also be wary of Dayton's PF Obi Toppin. Toppin has strong scoring potential with a decent shot and good athleticism inside. That said, he's a little stiff in the hips defensively, and may duplicate Lauri Markkanen in that regard.
PART SEVEN: Buh-Buh Boylen
One of the Chicago Bulls' biggest decisions will be among their first. Technically, the new front office has not fired coach Jim Boylen yet, but it appears that his clock is ticking on that decision. It's only a matter of time.
Candidly, Boylen gets too harsh of a rap from national media and fans. He's not a complete asshat. He's had success as a defensive assistant in the past, and did help the Bulls' defense improve some over the past few years. He'd be a fine assistant coach somewhere in that limited capacity.
However, he does seem woefully out of his depth as a head coach. He's never had success in that role before, and he didn't have any now. His offensive system is virtually nonexistent, and his attitude is boarish. Usually those "Drill Sergeant" coaches get a short-term year or two of improvement from a young team, but he couldn't even do that. We need to pull him out of there before there's a full-on Full Metal Jacket rebellion here.
Looking ahead, the Bulls need to pick a coach that can get the team back on track, especially in terms of their offensive philosophy. That said, the Bulls have to be careful not to "zigzag" too much in their coaching hires. They went from Tom Thibodeau (the gruff, defensive-heavy coach) to the Anti-Thibodeau in Fred Hoiberg (likable, low-key former player), and then jumped on the seesaw again with the complete opposite in Boylen. There's always a tendency to go for the opposite of your last coach, but presumably there's a happy medium in between these two poles. Goldilocks was happy to find something "just right," so Karnisovas should be as well.
According to media reports, Ime Udoka is a top candidate, and would be a natural fit. While Udoka doesn't have head coaching experience yet, he's about as "ready" as any first-time coach would be. He's a former player, and a long-time assistant under Gregg Popovich in San Antonio (and now has worked the last year in Philadelphia.) The Spurs' philosophy is an ideal template for the Bulls to use, both in terms of their offensive ball movement and their locker room culture.
I'd also recommend Kenny Atkinson as a viable candidate. He didn't mesh with the new superstars in Brooklyn, but he'd done a great job prior to that in terms of rebuilding a broken Brooklyn team. He specializes in pace and space offense, and player development. That sounds ideal for this team right now.
There are a few other candidates out there that would be worth interviews (Chris Finch, Wes Unseld Jr., Chris Fleming, Nate Tibbetts, Alex Jensen, Dave Joerger, etc) but Udoka and Atkinson represent a very solid top two. Hiring either of them would be a great first step for this new administration.
TL;DR
The Chicago Bulls' "breakout" didn't happen; instead, they broke down. However, the foundation isn't bad here. If the new front office wants to push for the playoffs next year (manifested by keeping Otto Porter and continuing to play veterans) then it's not unrealistic that they can get up to 35-40 wins with better health and a better offensive system. Conversely, the team may decide they're further away than that, and take a step back to collect their bearings.

##### New Tire Day Review: Panaracer Gravel King SS

Hey y'all! I posted a couple weeks ago about my order for a new set of Panaracer Gravel King SS tires to replace my ailing Maxxis Ramblers. I finally got both of the tires in and mounted. It took longer than I thought because I messed up the order but, regardless, here's a review.
The link to Panaracers page on the SS's
I selected the 700 x 38c standard version, they are not the plus variant.
Quality: The tires came in Panaracer's very minimalist "packaging" of a blue plastic pass-through and rubber band. On inspection the beads were very smooth with no deformities or defects. The casing was a uniform thickness by eye, and on the kitchen scale (without packaging) they were 412 and 411 grams (410 grams listed on the site).
Mounting: I've recently added a Bontrager Flash Can to my workshop and the bead of these tires seated onto the stock TLR rims for my Trek Crockett with no issues, didn't even have to use soapy water. Note: like with most tubeless tires, you will probably want a good set of tire levers to get them over the rim.
Ride and Comparison: I have a 10.5 mile mixed surface (tarmac, sand, hardpack, peas) loop right out my door that I use regularly for quick workout rides. I've had tons of rides on it with 38c Maxxis Rambler mounted that I used for this comparison.
In short, these tires roll fast. Even with a full 4oz's of Orange Seal in each tire and with a 30 gram weight increase over the Maxxis Ramblers these tires felt much faster on tarmac and hardpack. Additionally, one of my biggest criticisms of the Ramblers was that they had a tendency to lose grip unpredictably in aggressive turns because the shoulder tread wasn't very progressive. The Ramblers transition from the tightly packed center blocks to the widely spaced shoulder blocks with no intermediate tread, much like skinny MTB XC tires. That was not a problem on the Gravel King SS, I got all the way over to the shoulder bars several times at full tilt and even in loose corners the grip was consistent.
In the loose sand on my route the tires sunk in and the diamond and then bar tread grabbed well. Also, the SS's tracked well through the sand and I noticed no wheel spin on the loose climb on the route but if you are doing lots of very steep and loose climbs I think the Ramblers are a superior choice in that case.
At 40 PSI I found the Gravel King SS's to be as supple as the Ramblers even though the Ramblers have 1500+ miles on them now. Over peas on hard pack and some slight washboard they cut down the chatter very well and I bet the 43c and 650 x 48c version will be amazing for serious miles. I expect my set of Gravel Kings will become even more supple after the first 100 or so miles like the Gravel King Slicks I had before.
Verdict: These tires are fast rolling with good grip properties and predictable handling in loose, fast corners, they even carried me to 2 PRs on my route. They keep up Panaracer's reputation for quality and are \$10 cheaper per tire than the Ramblers I replaced to boot.
After one ride on a very familiar route I've used to assess other equipment I would recommend these tires to anyone that does a lot of fast multi-surface riding. I can't wait to take them onto some baby head and longer stretches of pea gravel roads to better assess their properties.
TL;DR: The Gravel King SS is a fast rolling, high quality, grippy gravel/all-road tire that will be great for fast rides on hardpack and tarmac that can still handle loose conditions like soft sand and pea gravel. 5 stars, would recommend.
UPDATE 20JULY20: I put together a 30 mile ride in the PQ valley/Del Mar area it was a mix of single track, Fire/Access road, "Un-maintained" asphalt, sand, and road. It being July in SoCal it was VERY dry. The GravelKing SS's were amazing. I lost grip one time while standing going up a steep fire road climb, it was all on my weight distribution and not on the tires. I did not miss my Ramblers on the single track like I thought I would and they handled DEEP sand much better than I was expecting for 38c tires at 40 psi. Also, on the road I was as fast as the lycra set out for their miles up and down the Torrey Pines Beachfront and on the fire roads I was passing the All-mountain and XC bikes like they were in mud. I even ticked off a few electrics. GREAT TIRES, 10/10 would recommended for dry conditions.

##### Carl's Collection: Prologue

Greetings, fluffycommunity. Long time lurker, but I finally decided to start an ongoing story of my own with a separate account. Feedback is welcome.
~~~~~~~~~~
Autumn.
You are Carl. You wake in the morning to the sound of rustling at the window. You roll over and watch the window as leaves flutter across the pale sky and batter the window pane. After a few minutes of doing nothing at all, you muster the will to get out of bed. You walk over to the window to get a better view of the outdoors.
The sky is cloudy and still a little dark. You glance back at the alarm clock: 7:08 AM, it declares. Maybe there’ll be a storm today, you wonder. Your eyes return to the scene outside, and you watch as the wind rattles more leaves away from the trees. Here and there the lights in the neighbors’ windows come on as others in the neighborhood rise from their slumber. Little creatures scurry from branch to branch in the trees. Everyone’s ready for a new day, it seems.
You shower and dress yourself and head across the house into the kitchen. The house is only one-story, but it’s plenty spacious for your needs. You start brewing a pot of coffee and sort through the overnight emails on your phone while you wait. Several requests from clients… payment notices… nothing too noteworthy. A *ding* from the coffee maker lets you know your morning potion is ready. You pour some coffee into a fresh mug and take a relaxing sip. You go to sit down at the table again and flip through the news when-
*SCREEEECH*
The sound of a car skidding to a halt. You listen for a moment in the aftermath… is that crying? You set the mug down hard and rush out the front door. Please don’t be a kid, please don’t be a kid, you plead to yourself as your feet carry you toward the source.
The driver of the sedan you see stopped in the road emerges from his car. His expression is more annoyance than concern, you realize. You slow down to a brisk walk and meet him in front of the car as he surveys the splatter on the grill and tire.
He grunts. “Hm? Ran over some shitrat crossing the street...is that a dent? Fuck sake, I just got this car.”
You leave the man assessing the damage on his car while you look behind it, following the trail of blood and viscera back to its origin. A misshapen lump of yellow fur where the accumulated dirt and fresh blood haven’t obscured its color. Its encounter with the car tire crushed its spine in the center of the back, folding the fluffy almost in half, and its belly is split open to reveal a gory mess. It sobs and gasps feebly as its lungs seem to be failing. How is this thing still alive? It finally sees you with its bulging, desperate eyes and reaches a hoof in your direction.
“...pwease h-hewp…”, it wheezes. “...hewp fwu...fwuffy...babbehs…babbehs nee’....” It doesn’t finish the thought before it sputters and coughs blood on the pavement.
“Babbehs”...babies? Does this thing have babies somewhere?
“Hey, hey! Stay with me,” you shout. “What babies? Where?”
The fluffy’s eyes look in your direction, but don’t seem to be looking at you. “...pwease...nice m-mistuh…babbehs...mummah hab b...babbehs...nee’ miwk...hewp….”
You notice movement off to the side. The driver walks toward you and the mangled fluffy, still looking pissed.
“Fucking shitrat. I have this car for two weeks, and it’s already got a dent! This thing yours?” he says, and points down at the yellow fluff.
The driver looks down at the fluffy. It’s still gasping for air and hacking up blood. “Don’t think so. Doesn’t have a collar. Probably another dipshit feral that got too close to people, and look where that got it.”
The fluffy, hearing a new voice, summons the effort to speak again. “...pwe-hease… babbehs… h-hewp….”
The driver snorts in contempt. “Help? Sure, I’ll help.” He raises his shoe over the fluffy’s head and stomps down with a wet crunch. The fluffy makes no more noise. You wince a bit as more blood flies through the air, some narrowly missing your pants. He scrapes his shoe on the asphalt to clean off some of the gore.
“Look, I’m already late for an appointment. You mind dealing with this?” he says to you, not really asking.
“Uh…” you start. “...this thing said it had babies.”
He scoffs. “So what? The babies'll die by themselves quick enough. These things are fuckin’ stupid. Just leave ‘em alone and let nature do the rest.” The man strides off to his car, gets in, and drives away without another word.
What an asshole, you think as you look at the fluffy corpse before you, now with a shoeprint where its head was. But… what about the babies? What if they get into something?
A strange thought. Why do you care what happens to fluffies? You’ve never bothered with them before, and save for a neighbor’s pet or a begging stray, they have barely anything to do with your life at all. You look at the sky to find darker clouds rolling in, and a cold wind picks up for a few seconds. There may be a storm coming after all.
You look at the fluffy again, note the direction it’s facing, and retrace where you think the fluffy came from. Wind rustles more leaves to the ground as you approach the treeline for the nearby woods, just a couple of blocks away. The fluffy came from this direction, didn’t it? Of course, it could have wandered in a bunch of ways before it crossed the road. There’s no telling where that fluffy’s nest was. Damn it, you think. This is a waste of time.
You turn around to head back home when you hear something new. A chirp. More chirps. A bunch of chirps. You look again, interest piqued, and let your ears guide you to the source: a tree with gnarled roots at the edge of the woods. In a dugout under the largest root you find exactly what you’ve been looking for.
Three colorful lumps are huddled together toward the back of the dugout, peeping loudly and miserably without their mother. Two of them seem to be a bit larger than the other: one red and one yellow, both with tiny nubs in the forehead that mark the beginnings of unicorn horns. The third, slightly smaller fluff is a darker green color, without a visible forehead nub or wings on its back like you’ve seen on some fluffies. The wind picks up again and shakes the tree leaves, which causes the foals to peep louder in fear.
*eep!* *eep!* *eep!*
You sigh, and look at the sky - still getting darker. I could just leave them here. They’d starve. Or freeze in the wind. Or drown when rainwater fills the hole. They’re not my problem. They’re not...
Your train of thought pauses as you see the red fluffy crawl along on its weak, new legs to its yellow sibling and try to hug it, both of them peeping. The green one stays put, as close as its siblings are, and curls into itself to escape the cold. You watch, and you wait, and they cry desperately for their mother with the only sound they know. You wrestle with yourself for a few minutes and come to a decision.
You reach into the hole and scoop up the foals into your arms. Each one of them could fit comfortably in your hand. Their eyes aren’t open yet to see the source of this sudden change, but the warmth and the feeling of your sleeves reinvigorates their chirping. They wiggle against your chest to find more comfort from the wind. The first cold raindrops fall as you walk the few minutes back to your house. Some drops land on the fluffies, who peep in discomfort and wiggle even more.
Finally inside, safe and warm, you head to the kitchen where the smell of coffee greets your return. And then a second, less pleasant smell hits your nostrils. You look down at the fluffs in your arms to find stains of what can only be runny, baby fluffy shit on your sleeves. The stains have also made it onto the fluffs themselves, who have since quieted but not completely stopped their chirping.
Desire to change shirts aside, you rifle through a drawer to find a soft enough dish towel to put the foals on. You also take down a large mixing bowl and place it on the counter. Into the bowl goes the bunched-up towel as a makeshift nest and then the fluffy foals. They peep in surprise as they’re laid in yet another new place, and they try to crawl toward the edges in search of the warmth from before. Instead, they meet the edges of the bowl; too cold, too hard, too high and too smooth to climb over. They keep chirping until they find their way back together into a fluffpile, and settle for each other’s warmth.
Meanwhile, you head back to your bedroom to dispose of the soiled shirt and put on an old, clean one. You take an empty shoebox out of your closet and venture to the bathroom for some hand towels before returning with them to the kitchen.
The foals peep every now and again, but they seem less energetic than before. Either from exhaustion or hunger, you can’t tell - perhaps both. You turn on the kitchen faucet and wait for it to adjust to a warm temperature before you pick up a foal. The green one seems the dirtiest, so you choose it first. You cup it gently on its back and raise it away from its siblings, which causes it to peep again in distress. You run your finger along its belly in an attempt to soothe it, and what little fur is there feels so… plush. You pet it gently for a little while, which it seems to enjoy. The distressed peeps from before reduce to a gentle cooing sound. It also, coaxed by the slight pressure from your finger, shits a tiny, runny puddle into your hand.
So much for a sweet moment, you think.
You flip the green foal over onto its belly and gradually slide it and your hand under the running faucet. The foal chirps and wriggles in immediate terror, which starts its siblings in the bowl crying again. You pet the green fluffy along its back while the water dissolves the caked dirt, shit, and other things away from its fluff. It settles down as your petting reassures it’s in no danger, but you can still feel a slight tremble. Satisfied that the worst of the mess is washed away, you examine the green fluffy closer to find that it’s a colt.
You gently dry off the colt and place it in the shoebox padded with hand towels, where he chirps curiously as it snuggles into the cotton. You then move on to wash the yellow foal - another colt - and the red foal - a filly - who both react to water in essentially the same way as the green colt. Clean and dried, the foals settle into the shoebox nest more comfortably, but continue to chirp as they were when you found them.
“Hm. I bet you’re still hungry since your momma wandered off, huh?”, you say to the fluffs. “Oh, right. I still need to get your momma out of the road. Stay in that box, okay? Don’t go anywhere.” In response, you get more chirps and a faint cry of ‘mummah’ from the yellow colt.
Why am I talking to them? Do they even understand me?, you wonder as you equip a raincoat and head outside. The rain is now falling in earnest as the cold wind sweeps it along. Thankfully the rain starts to wash away the bloody stains in the road, but it also weighs down the fluffy mare’s corpse as you pick up its front and rear halves separately. You carry it into the garage and dump it unceremoniously in a partly filled garbage bag, which you tie up immediately to try and combat the smell.
Gruesome chore complete, you watch the rain fall and consider where you could get some fluffy milk - or at the very least, formula. Didn’t the Dewitts a couple houses down get a fluffy pet for their daughter a month ago? Was that a baby? Time, however, is not on your side to think for very long. You check inside to find the foals are still crying for their meal, and resolve to ask your neighbor for spare formula.
The husband, Joel, answers the door, and you explain your predicament. He seems to be confused about why you'd take in ferals but agrees to help. Several minutes pass as you wait in their foyer. He retrieves the remainder of their fluffy formula for you - a couple days worth, at least - a bottle, and a guide for mixing and feeding. You thank him and head back home through the downpour.
When you return, you see that the foals have gotten considerably quieter. The only one still chirping with any vigor is the yellow unicorn. Quickly, you read through the instructions to mix the formula powder with water and heat it up. You dab a little of the "milk" on the nipple and choose the yellow baby first. He chirps in distress, but when you hold the nipple near his nose, instinct kicks in and all fear is forgotten. He suckles heartily from the bottle until his belly bulges from the meal, while his siblings chirp and squirm in confusion. As soon as he's done, you set him back in the shoebox and pick up the red foal to feed, then the green one. Their bellies now full of formula, the babies settle together in a fluffpile in the corner of the box and fall into a peaceful sleep.
You started this morning with no fluffies, and now there's three babies in your house. Which you've just bathed and fed. You look at them and wonder… Carl, what have you gotten yourself into?