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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.

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Reps. Jayapal, Omar concerned over Kashmir

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Jayapal Omar Kashmir

WASHINGTON (Diya TV) —  Democratic Congresswomen Pramila Jayapal and Ilhan Omar are both expressing concern over reports from Kashmir saying the Indian government has arrested 2,000 people. 

Jayapal in a tweet said “using fear & hyper-patriotism to suppress dissent is as detrimental in India as it is America.”

Omar called “for an immediate restoration of communication; and de-escalation in Kashmir.”

So far, there is no clarity from the Indian government what charges arrests have been made under or for how long those arrested face detention.

A request by Pakistan’s minister for human rights asking that Priyanka Chopra be stripped of her role as a UN Goodwill Ambassador for Peace was rejected. The United Nations defended Chopra, saying she retains the ability to speak in their own personal capacity, but that those views do not necessarily reflect the UN.

And two Indian athletes are competing in the first round of the U.S. Open. 

And Sumit Nagal, who became the youngest Indian man to qualify for a major since Leander Paes, took one set from the legendary Roger Federer before losing in his first round match 3 sets to one. Prajnesh Gunneswaran also fell short against fifth seed Daniil Medvedev.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Human Rights

Modi has Kashmir issue ‘under control,’ Trump says at G7 meeting

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Modi, Trump, Kashmir, G7, Srinagar, Protests, ArunJaitley, PVSindhu, Tennis, Badminton, SumitNagal, PrajneshGunneswaran

BIARRITZ, France (Diya TV) — President Trump and Prime Minister Modi had a side meeting at the G7 Summit in France. When asked about the ongoing Kashmir conflict, Trump said India and Pakistan “can do it by themselves.” Modi added he has faith to find a solution through discussion since before 1947, the region was one nation.

Meanwhile, isolated skirmishes continue. Protesters threw stones at Indian security forces in Srinagar, while chanting freedom slogans. The security forces responded with tear gas.

Arun Jaitley, who was India’s finance minister until May of this year to address health issues, has passed away. He was 66 years old. Jaitley was a pivotal figure in Prime Minister Modi’s cabinet and leading proponent of India’s demonetization of ₹500 and ₹1000 rupee notes to counter corruption and black money.

P.V. Sindhu became the first Indian to win a Badminton World Federation World Championships Gold Medal.

And two Indian athletes are competing in the first round of the U.S. Open.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Cricket

Modi to visit New York City, Houston in September

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Modi Houston New York

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be returning to the United States to attend a United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York. And then will take a day to visit Houston for the first time, where an event for him to connect with the diaspora is being planned.

A series of racially-charged tweets by President Trump directed at four minority female members of Congress received near universal condemnation by Democrats. Mr. Trump in the tweet said these members should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.” Three of the four women Trump targeted were born in the United States.

In an epic championship match, England defeated New Zealand to become the World Champions for the first time in cricket history.

And in an another amazing contest — the top two seeds and tennis legends Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer played the first-ever five set tiebreaker in a major Grand Slam. It was the longest match ever played at Wimbledon and Djokovic edged Federer in that tiebreaker to win his fifth Wimbledon championship.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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