Bradley Chubb thinks rookie sack record is “attainable”

Broncos linebacker Bradley Chubb has 12 sacks in his rookie year. He’s only 2.5 sacks from tying Jevon Kearse’s rookie record of 14.5. Chubb thinks he can get there. “Since...

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Steve Kerr: ‘We’re not moving the ball;’ Kevin Durant: ‘We pass the ball too much’

When he took over for Mark Jackson as Golden State coach, Steve Kerr emphasized pace, spacing and ball and player movement offensively. The Warriors’ scoring skyrocketed, and they became the...

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Steve Kerr

Steve Kerr: ‘We’re not moving the ball;’ Kevin Durant: ‘We pass the ball too much’

When he took over for Mark Jackson as Golden State coach, Steve Kerr emphasized pace, spacing and ball and player movement offensively. The Warriors’ scoring skyrocketed, and they became the juggernaut we now know.

Then, they added Kevin Durant.

Ever since, there has been a give and take. Kerr and the Warriors – including Durant – still like to run, spread the floor and share the ball. But Durant is also great in isolation and sometimes reverts to that. Remember, Durant’s and Draymond Green‘s infamous argument earlier this season stemmed from a play where Green wanted to push the ball up-court then pass to an open player while Durant wanted to control the ball himself.

The latest disconnect in offensive style came after Golden State’s 108-103 loss to the Jazz last night. The Warriors had just 266 passes and 18 assists, marks that would rank last or near last per game in the NBA this season.

Kerr, via Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“We’re not moving the ball,” Kerr said after watching his club shoot 40 percent from the field, including 10-for-31 (32.3 percent) from three-point range. “We’re not playing the way we’ve played the last few years, where the ball is really moving and we’re taking great shots.”

Durant and Kerr have disagreed after a loss before, and they still came together to win a championship. It’s a long season. This needn’t necessarily blow up into something huge.

But this is the most detached Durant and Kerr have seemed on this issue. With Durant’s free agency looming, his alignment with Golden State justifiably gets put under the microscope. This shouldn’t be ignored.

Durant views basketball a certain way. He values getting buckets in a way that doesn’t neatly overlap with Kerr’s philosophy. I’m not sure that will ever completely change.

But both sides can continue to work to meet in the middle. Durant reportedly left the Thunder, in part, due to frustration over Russell Westbrook commandeering the offense. Yet, Durant must do more to get the ball within a free-flowing system. He can be too stagnant. Durant has shown an eagerness to expand his game, and maybe Golden State can sell him on this being the next skill to develop.

Steve Kerr

The Warriors are at their best when running Kerr’s equalitarian offense. Green and Klay Thompson particularly perform better in that structure. Stephen Curry too, though he’s good enough to play multiple ways. But, as Durant said, opponents have become more adept at stopping it. Everyone has copied the Warriors, so defenses have adjusted. Durant isolating is a great alternative against defenses slowing Kerr’s preferred system. But Durant is also far too talented to be pigeonholed as Golden State’s last resort.

To some degree, these are first-world problems. Whatever the Warriors are doing, it’s working.

They still lead the league in assists per game (27.6). They still rank fourth in passes per game (309.8). They still rank second in points per 100 possession (113.0, just behind the Bucks’ 113.2).

And, of course, Golden State has won two championships in Durant’s two years there. The Warriors are favored to win another this season.

Most teams would kill to have these offensive problems.

But with Durant’s impending free agency, how he feels matters greatly. Golden State must continue to work to get on the same page with him.

Google hit

Google hit with FTC complaint over ‘inappropriate’ kids apps

The Federal Trade Commission is being asked to investigate how apps that may violate federal privacy laws that dictate the data that can be collected on children ended up in the family section of the Google Play store.

A group of 22 consumer advocates, led by the Institute for Public Representation at Georgetown University Law School, filed a formal complaint against Google on Wednesday and asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether the company misled parents by promoting children’s apps that may violate the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and Google’s own policies.

“The business model for the Play Store’s Family section benefits advertisers, developers and Google at the expense of children and parents,” Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said in a statement. “Google puts its seal of approval on apps that break the law, manipulate kids into watching ads and making purchases.”

Among the examples cited in the complaint are a “Preschool Education Center” app and a “Top 28 Nursery Rhymes and Song” app that access location, according to an analysis by privacy research collective AppCensus. Other apps, including “Baby Panda’s Carnival” and “Design It Girl – Fashion Salon,” were among those listed that sent device identification data to advertising technology companies, allowing them to build a profile of the user.

The complaint also spotlights several apps that may not be age appropriate, including “Dentist Game for Kids,” which lets the player give the virtual patient shots in the back of their throat. Another game, “Doctor X & the Urban Heroes,” requires players to cut clothing off of a patient.

“Parents want their children to be safe online and we work hard to protect them. Apps in our Designed for Families program have to comply with strict policies on content, privacy, and advertising, and we take action on any policy violations that we find,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement.

Google marks apps that are suitable for children with a star and the recommended age group. Google said it removed thousands of apps this year from its family program after it found policy violations. In addition, Google said one-third of applicants to the program were rejected in 2018.

Google hit

The complaint is just the latest scrutiny of the Google Play store. Earlier this year, researchers analyzed 6,000 free children’s Android apps and found that more than half shared details with outside companies in ways that could violate COPPA. A study from the University of Michigan looked at 135 apps marketed by Google to children under the age of 5 and found that 95 percent of the apps had some kind of advertising. Additionally, more than half had pop-up ads that were difficult for a young child to close, according to the study.

And in September, Google was named in a lawsuit filed by New Mexico’s attorney general, accusing app maker Tiny Lab Productions of sending location data of its young users to other companies.

In 2016, the FTC settled a case against InMobi for $950,000 for tracking the location of children using the app without first getting parental consent.

Google removed an app based on the show “Blaze and the Monster machines” in January after a sinister recording of a voice in the app threatening children with a knife went viral, prompting parents in the U.K. to complain.

Tough road

Tough road ahead for Predators

For one thing, they’ve dealt with some serious injuries. P.K. Subban‘s missed a lot of time, with the hope that he’ll be back soon. They’ve often been without two-thirds of their top line, as injuries have also struck Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson.

You also wonder if there’s at least a slight threat of complacency, as most fans and onlookers are more interested in how they fare in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs after seeing them win a Presidents’ Trophy last season and reach the 2017 Stanley Cup Final the year before.

It’s a testament to Peter Laviolette, David Poile, Pekka Rinne, Roman Josi, and other key figures that the Predators remain neck-and-neck with the healthier Winnipeg Jets for the Central Division lead, as Nashville only trails Winnipeg by a single standings point.

Unfortunately, that gap could grow in the near future, and with the Colorado Avalanche hovering just two points behind them, the Predators risk some slippage heading into 2019.

While there’s some optimism about Subban maybe returning soon, the Predators may be without Arvidsson and Forsberg for quite a bit longer, which is troubling because Nashville’s mostly on the road until mid-January.

That’s nine of their next 12 games on the road, which isn’t super-promising since Nashville’s stout at Bridgestone Arena (14-5-0) but more ordinary away from home (8-6-2). The Predators also face three back-to-back sets to close out 2018 and begin 2019.

This isn’t to say the sky is falling. Arvidsson is skating, so perhaps he’ll be able to play during a portion of those games, potentially giving Nashville a significant shot in the arm. It’s also true that there’s a holiday break in that mix, which (ideally) would help alleviate some of the struggles. Also, 8-6-2 isn’t a world-beating road record, but it’s not the sort of mark that would lead you to believe that the Predators will totally fall apart.

There might be smaller, subtler impacts that eventually matter, however.

The Avalanche are only two points behind the Predators (both with 35 games played), and they’ll eventually get more home games than road, as they’ve played 20 away from home and just 15 in Colorado so far in 2018-19.

Tough road

This opens up an uneasy scenario for Nashville: Colorado may very well make up enough ground so that the Avs get the second seed in the Central, not Nashville. That might not sound like a big deal, but remember that a) the high elevation could already give the Avalanche a larger home-ice advantage than usual and b) an additional home game could help Colorado engineer easier matchups for their deadly top line, even if it would be for four games if a best-of-seven went the distance, rather than three.

Of course, a lot can change as the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs approach. The Jets could be the ones slipping, or a different Central team could make a meteoric rise.

Still, in a league of considerable parity – and an NHL where fates can sometimes turn on a dime, like we’ve seen with teams like the Kings and Sabres – it can be interesting to pinpoint potential fork-in-the-road moments.

The Predators have passed plenty of tests to show that they’re a legitimate contender in the modern NHL, so maybe this will just be another hurdle that they’ll clear. Even so, we may learn quite a bit about the 2018-19 edition of this team over the next few weeks.

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