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How the Warriors embrace innovation of Silicon Valley

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Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob

Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob

OAKLAND, Calif. (Diya TV) — The Golden State Warriors are undoubtedly the best team in basketball — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson & Co. proved it last year after capturing the team’s first world championship in four decades, and reinforced it this season while winning a regular-season record 73 games.

Now, the Warriors are facing off again in the NBA Finals against a familiar foe, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

While Golden State’s success has been heavily contingent on the skills of their players, some of it can also be attributed to a five-year bet the franchise hedged on technology. A wager which has likely transformed co-owner Joe Lacob’s team into a perennial NBA contender for years to come.

Lacob and the Warriors were among the league’s first to install cameras at Oracle Arena that track each time a player touches or shoots the ball during a game. During practice, Warriors players wear monitors that measure their heart rates, movement and stamina. And as days pass, the team is continuously implementing new technologies into their everyday routines, including a new “smart” sleeping mask.

In the world of sport where the old adage of not trying to reinvent the wheel is still a fixture, the Warriors are trendsetters in the technology of sports as much as Curry is shooting the three.

“You can play on the probabilities or just stand pat,” says Kirk Lacob, an assistant general manager who oversees the team’s analytics staff and is the son of Joe Lacob. “We choose to take the risks.”

The official transformation began in 2010, when the elder Lacob, a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley, and Peter Guber bought the team for a record $450 million. Their purchase coincided with the same time basketball teams had just begun exploring new analytics options for the sport.

Along with the Warriors, the Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Dallas Mavericks began collecting data that stretched far beyond the basic metrics basketball had relied upon since its inception: how many points a player scored and how many rebounds he collected.

Golden State kicked off their efforts by installing SportVU, a six-camera motion-tracking system which hung from the rafters of the arena. The system allowed the Warriors to analyze every dribble and pass each of their players made during a game, along with his speed, distance between teammates and miles run in a game. Reigning two-time MVP Stephen Curry, for example, runs about 2.4 miles during the 34 minutes he averages per game.

Now, all 30 NBA teams use SportVU, and every team additionally keeps a specialist on staff who can summarize the data collected — a privilege the Warriors didn’t have when they first implemented the system, they had to learn on the job as they went along. During their first two years using the system, Golden State won fewer than half their games.

In the days since Golden State has learned how to properly collect the data, the team’s winning percentage began to climb consistently. They won 57 percent of their games in 2013, and 62 percent in 2014. Last season, the Warriors won 82 percent of their games, and 89 percent of the regular season which just ended.

Head coach Steve Kerr with players during practice.

Head coach Steve Kerr with players during practice.

The Warriors have been complimented for their unselfish style of play on the court, “Strength In Numbers” is the team’s slogan, and everyone has a common job and role in winning another championship. While the Splash Brothers have been pegged as the league’s premiere marksmen, the Warriors dish the ball so often that forward Draymond Green is considered to be a nightly threat to collect another triple-double.

In sports, the most minuscule movements of a player can speak volumes to his fatigue or potential for injury. The Warriors consider this information as important as any other piece of information they collect on their players.

During practices, players wear a small monitor produced by Catapult Sports that tracks their movements during the session. The monitor is worn underneath a compression shirt between the shoulders, and detects pressure on the knees and ankles, and if players are moving at their usual fitness levels.

“Back in the day, we were just able to say, ‘He’s breathing hard, he might need to rest,'” says the Warriors’ Thompson. “Now [coaches] can actually see if you need a day of rest or you need to go harder.”

Lacob says the information is vital in allowing coaches to monitor workloads and prevent injury to their players.

“You may come to the gym one day and want to say, ‘I’m sore, I really don’t feel like working out,'” says Warriors forward Harrison Barnes. “This will tell you how [you’re] feeling because the data says it all right here.”

Daniel Brusilovsky, who leads the team’s digital and technology initiatives, sometimes takes a lead role in the constant testing and implementation of new products. The Neuroon is a new sensor-equipped sleep mask that helps to combat jet lag.

“I sleep with it every single night,” says Brusilovsky. “We’re talking with the company each day to provide feedback on what’s working, not working and what features they could possibly add.”

Several players on the Warriors D-League team in Santa Cruz often serve as guinea pigs in the testing of new products — the team won the league’s championship last season, as well.

Last season, the Warriors tested smart clothing by Athos, which measures breathing, heart rates and muscle use. The team is currently piloting headphones by a company named Halo Neuroscience that send electrical impulses to the brain to improve muscle memory.

Basketball

India, Pakistan spar over women’s rights in Kashmir

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India

NEW YORK (Diya TV)  — At the United Nations, both India and Pakistan’s representatives took shots at their counterpart over women’s rights. Islamabad’s outgoing envoy to the UN, Maleeha Lodhi, said the women in Jammu and Kashmir were suffering due to the communication blackout in the state. India’s First Secretary to the UN Paulomi Tripathi said, without naming Pakistan, these “baseless statements” were ironic given the amount of honor killings that take place there annually.

Rajeev Majumdar is the new president of the Washington State Bar Association, becoming the first state bar president of South Asian descent in the United States.

For the first time, India entered the ranks of the top ten countries sending visitors to the United States, with tourists from India spending nearly $16 billion in the U.S. in 2018 alone.

And while the Kings and Pacers played two entertaining games in Mumbai, their legacy will include supporting five under-resourced schools in and around the region, outfitting them with Smart Classrooms, STEM training and new basketball courts.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Basketball

Gandhi 150th birth anniversary noted around the world

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Birth Anniversary

NEW DELHI (Diya TV) —  Celebrations for Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary have been ongoing for the past year, but culminated with a ceremony in New Delhi featuring Prime Minister Modi and another in Washington at the Library of Congress. And France’s government worked with the Indian Embassy there to issue a stamp in honor of his birth anniversary.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and India’s Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal are meeting this week to continue the US-India discussion on trade and investment.

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb came to New Delhi to strengthen ties between the Hoosier State and India. Infosys has already made a large commitment there. Holcomb is part of a large delegation of Americans now heading Mumbai to take in the first-ever NBA preseason games in India featuring the Indiana Pacers and the Sacramento Kings.

Bollywood turned Hollywood actor Anupam Kher came to the Bay Area to keynote the Akshay Patra annual fundraising gala that helps feed children in India a hot meal during the school year.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Basketball

Houston cop Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal remembered, fund set up for family

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Dhaliwal

HOUSTON (Diya TV) —  The loss of Harris County Deputy Sheriff Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal while on a routine traffic stop has stunned people around the country. Everyone from Texas governor Greg Abbott to the Houston Texans football team are honoring the Dhaliwal. A GoFundMe page has been setup to support his family, with totals so far in excess of $700,000.

Before Prime Minister Modi headed back to India following his Houston community summit & UN speeches, he met with Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. The Hawaii Congresswoman & Democratic Presidential candidate has been criticized for her support of Modi. But she was happy to highlight the importance of the US-India relationship on Twitter.

The NBA is in India this week for their first-ever preseason games that will feature the Indiana Pacers & Sacramento Kings. The Gateway of India was illuminated with bright colors & there are a series of events in and around the games going on in Delhi & Mumbai.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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