Watch: The Warriors’ Klay Thompson Had the Best Quarter of All Time

Video tells the tale

Until Friday night, the NBA record for most points scored in a period belonged to George “Iceman” Gervin, who dropped 33 for the San Antonio Spurs one night in April ’78 (he had a scoring title to clinch), and to Carmelo Anthony, who scored 33 for the Nuggets against Minnesota in December 2008. Gervin could shoot, and so could—can?—Anthony.

But neither has anything on the league’s reigning assassin, the Golden State Warriors’ Klay Thompson, who managed 37 points in a fiery third quarter against the sad-sack Sacramento Kings. (The Warriors, overall, had 41 points in the quarter.) Thompson went 13-for-13 from the field, including nine-of-nine from three-point range. He tied the record for most field goals in a quarter, and set a new record for most three-pointers. And he added in two free throws for good measure. SB Nation’s Seth Rosenthal has all the oohing and aching you’ll need, and Ray Ratto has the local color but for now behold this: With the win, the Warriors advanced to 35-6, five and a half games better than any comer the stellar West has to offer. They’re 9-1 in their last 10 and 20-1 at home. Good luck trying to catch them.

TIME Basketball

NBA Player LeBron James Pushes Coach David Blatt During a Game

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers at the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix on Jan. 13, 2015.
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers at the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns in Phoenix on Jan. 13, 2015. Christian Petersen—Getty Images

Blatt explains that the NBA star was trying to prevent him from a foul

Cavaliers star LeBron James appeared to push coach David Blatt during Tuesday night’s 107-100 loss to the Suns in Phoenix.

The incident recalls James bumping Heat coach Erik Spoelstra on his way to the sideline during a Nov. 2010 game against the Mavericks. That season ended with Miami reaching its first of four consecutive Finals.

The push on Tuesday night comes after a media report surfaced in late December regarding Cleveland’s concern about Blatt’s ability to “to reach the team.”

Cavaliers general manager David Griffin has come out in support of the first-year coach, saying earlier this month that the “narrative of our coaching situation is truly ridiculous.”

After the game, Blatt and James downplayed the exchange, with Blatt explaining that James was trying to prevent him from receiving a technical foul. James shrugged off the incident as well, according to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin.

Prior to Tuesday night’s loss, James had not played since Dec. 28 due to a strained back and knee.

He scored a team-high 33 points on 11-for-18 shooting, recorded seven rebounds and dished out five assists in 37 minutes. Forward Markieff Morris led the Suns with a career-high 35 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

The loss dropped the Cavaliers, which were viewed as a championship contender in the preseason but have dropped six straight and nine of their last 10 games, to 19-20. The Suns improved to 23-18.

Cleveland now sits in sixth place in the Eastern Conference while Phoenix is three games ahead of the Thunder and Pelicans for eighth place in the West.

This article originally appeared on SI.com.

TIME Media

Thank You, Stuart Scott, for Your Unapologetic Blackness

Stuart Scott accepts the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2014 ESPYS in Los Angeles on July 16, 2014.
Stuart Scott accepts the 2014 Jimmy V Perseverance Award at the 2014 ESPYS in Los Angeles on July 16, 2014. Kevin Winter—Getty Images

xoJane.com is where women go to be their unabashed selves, and where their unabashed selves are applauded

You changed the game forever


There were times when a trip to the ESPN website’s comment section made me want to (a) take a shower and (b) call the Southern Poverty Law Center to file a hate crime complaint whenever legendary anchor Stuart Scott was being discussed.

But Scott, who passed away at the age of 49, didn’t ever let the prejudices he was working against slow him down. On the contrary, he changed the game entirely.

By remaining true to himself despite calls for him to be less “urban,” Scott managed to connect African American sports fans — fans that most sports networks couldn’t be bothered to reach out to — to the games they love and educated all of us in the process.

When I got the news that the ESPN SportCenter host had finally succumbed to the cancer that he had been fighting like a boss for much of the last eight years, I thought about a trip I took in 1996.

A friend of mine was credentialed to cover the National Basketball Association Draft, and because he needed a ride to the Continental Airlines (now the Izod) Arena in the New Jersey Meadowlands, I got a credential too.

Everyone in Philly was paying close attention to this particular Draft for two reasons: one, the Philadelphia 76ers, a team whose ineptitude over the years is the stuff of NBA records, had a Lottery pick, which meant that they were going to get a player that would make an immediate impact.

And two, the buzz was that the Sixers were actually going to do something useful with their lottery pick and use it to grab a flashy, undersized point guard from Georgetown named Allen Iverson.

A.I. was the talk of the City of Brotherly Love. He won the Rookie of the Year award with a game more at home on a guy twice his size. He led the Sixers to the playoffs more often than not.

But Iverson — like sportscaster Scott and his urban language — also caused his share of “problems.”

For example, he refused to wear a suit on the team plane, opting instead for sweat suits and sneakers. He was covered in tattoos and wore his rather large Afro in cornrows on the court.

By the time he retired a few years ago, Iverson had inspired NBA Commissioner David Stern to create a dress code and put a few other rules in place to take some of this influence out of a game played by guys who grew up in urban areas.

But despite Stern’s best efforts to make the NBA a lot more palatable to a crowd that’s waiting for Larry Bird to come through the doors of the Boston Garden, the league’s parquet floors are still filled with men covered in tattoos, wearing cornrows and bringing the urban swagger that they picked up on the courts where they learned the game.

Kind of like the swagger that Scott brought to telling the stories of their exploits on “SportsCenter.” Like Iverson changed the game on the court, Scott managed to change the game for sports television.

For a lot of people, Scott’s phrases like “Can I get a witness from the congregation?!” or “Cool as the other side of the pillow,” or a whole host of other phrases heard commonly in the Black community were landmark and unapologetic.

And if I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard someone shout “Booyah!” to one another just the same way Scott did on TV, I would be writing this piece from my villa in Barcelona, Spain.

My relationship was like many Americans with the sportscaster. Scott was often the last voice that I heard as I fell asleep at night.

I say this because I live with a sportswriter.

ESPN and I became acquainted whether I wanted to or not. Before seeing Scott for the first time at a National Association of Black Journalists convention, I already felt like I knew the man because of that late-night version of “SportsCenter” that played me to sleep every night.

For me, Scott made the hours and hours spent watching “SportsCenter” (sometimes three times in a row, the 90-minute program played again and again) an unforgettable and entertaining and very real slice of television — because Scott brought the games to life in a way that you didn’t see elsewhere on television.

Just like any Black church in South Philly on Sunday, he spoke the words of the preacher: “Can I get a witness from the congregation?!”

He could and he did.

Scott also made it a point to reach out to another group that sports networks don’t often bother to reach out to: young, African American reporters. Every year, the NABJ Sports Task Force holds a Mentor Breakfast that’s sponsored by ESPN. He was a constant presence there and mentored in a way that’s become legendary.

We don’t even notice how much our language has changed in the years since Scott first presided over the network like a formidable, unflinching presence breaking the rules and ignoring the common parlance.

And that is his legacy.

Denise Clay is a journalist and educator in Philadelphia. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Sports

New York Knicks Haven’t Learned That Money Can’t Buy Them Wins

at Madison Square Garden on January 8, 2015 in New York City.The Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks 120-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
The Houston Rockets defeated the New York Knicks 120-96 at Madison Square Garden on January 8, 2015 in New York City. Elsa—2015 Getty Images

David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University.

Quit trying to buy a championship

The New York Knicks are awful. The team has won only five games the entire season, and since November 16, the team has won only once.

After such a dreadful start, the Knicks on Monday apparently surrendered. Gone in trade are Iman Shumpert (the team’s starting shooting guard) and J.R. Smith (a key reserve). In addition, Samuel Dalembert – a player who started 21 times at center — has been waived. In return, the Knicks have acquired three players on non-guaranteed contracts. Perhaps more importantly, the team has acquired even more salary cap space. Such space will be used next summer in yet another rebuilding effort.

For Knicks fans, the rebuilding scenario isn’t new. Since 1973 — the last time the Knicks won an NBA title — this team has been trying to build another champion. And all these efforts remind us of this standard history lesson: Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.

What can’t the franchise seem to learn from its own history? When the Knicks spend large sums of money on players, they tend to lose.

Prior to the aforementioned trade, the Knicks ranked third in the NBA in payroll. Since 1987-88 (we have payroll data for every season from 1987-88 to 2013-14) the Knicks have ranked in the top three in spending 17 times. What did all that spending achieve? Mostly losing. In 12 of these 17 years, the Knicks won fewer than half their games. And only once during those 17 years did this team win more than 60% of their contests. On average — across these 17 seasons of spending — the Knicks had a winning percentage of only 0.449.

What about the nine seasons where the Knicks did not rank in the top three in team payroll? In these seasons, the Knicks finished with a winning record every single time. And seven of those times, the Knicks won more than 60% of their games.

So the lesson from history is simple: quit trying to buy a championship.

Of course, one has to ask: Why doesn’t spending more money lead to more wins for the Knicks? If we look at the entire NBA, we actually see a weak positive correlation between spending and wins. Specifically, about 11% of the variation in winning percentage is explained by team spending. Or, to put it another way, about 89% of the variation in winning percentage in the NBA is NOT explained by team spending. So contrary to what we see with the Knicks, more spending doesn’t necessarily hurt. But it also doesn’t help much.

To understand why more money doesn’t lead to many more wins, we need to understand how players are evaluated in the NBA. As I noted last October, published studies have shown that scoring totals are the primary performance statistic determining free agent salaries, post-season awards, and the allocation of minutes. Scoring totals, though, can be manipulated. The more a player shoots, the more a player will score. And that is true, even if the player is not truly amazing with respect to shooting efficiency.

Hence the problem. Shooting efficiency — along with factors like rebounds and turnovers — are the primary determinants of wins in the NBA. So if a team hires a collection of scorers who do not shoot efficiently — and can’t do much else to help the team win — then that team will not win very often.

Two teams in New York history highlight the role scorers — and the lack of scorers — play in the fortunes of a team. The 1992-93 edition was the last team to win 60 games in New York. This team did employ Patrick Ewing, an All-Star who could score. But it was led in the production of wins by Charles Oakley and Anthony Mason. And the team also received substantial contributions from Doc Rivers and Greg Anthony. Although these four players produced wins, they didn’t score much. And this team led by non-scorers ranked 22nd in league payroll.

The 1992-93 team is essentially the opposite of the 2005-06 edition. This team ranked first in payroll. In fact, the Knicks spent more than $125 million on players that season. This remains the most any team has ever spent directly on player salaries (this does not count luxury tax payments). But all that spending led to only 23 wins.

The 2005-06 Knicks had a host of players who were above average scorers. The list included Stephon Marbury, Jamal Crawford, Eddy Curry, Channing Frye, Jalen Rose, and Nate Robinson (among others). But all these scorers didn’t produce many wins.

The architect of the 2005-06 fiasco was Isiah Thomas. After the 2008 season, Thomas departed the Knicks and once again the team was rebuilt. By 2012-13, the Knicks appeared to be competitive. That season, the Knicks won 54 games. And just as we saw 20 years earlier, the 2012-13 Knicks were led in the production of wins by two non-scorers. Jason Kidd and Tyson Chandler — two players not known for scoring many points — combined to produce nearly 24 wins with this team.

But after the 2012-13 season, Kidd retired. And Chandler missed 27 games the next season, before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks in 2014. For the Knicks to keep winning, the production of Kidd and Chandler had to be replaced. But the moves the Knicks made were not consistent with that objective.

The primary player the Knicks added after the 2012-13 season was Andrea Bargnani. In 2006, Bargnani was the number one pick in the NBA draft. In 2010-11, Bargnani avaraged 21.4 points per game. And for his career he has average 15.0 points per contest.

All this scoring has resulted in career earnings that will exceed $70 million after this season. But because Bargnani can’t shoot efficiently or rebound, he can’t produce wins. For his career, his production of wins have always been in the negative range. In other words, the team is generally better off if he doesn’t play.

Despite this production, Bargnani ranks among the top three in salary on the current Knicks. The other two members of this trio are Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony. Both Stoudemire and Anthony have been elite scoreres in the NBA. But neither player has produced many wins for the Knicks.

If we look at Stoudemire’s career numbers, we see a player in the past who was an above average scorer and above average on the boards. Consequently, his production of wins was well above average before he came to New York. But with the Knicks, Stoudemire’s rebounding has declined. Plus he has often been hurt. Consquently, despite his paycheck, he has produced less than 12 wins in his entire career with the Knicks.

Unlike Stoudemire, Anthony has generally been healthy. But as I detailed last May, Anthony is very much overrated. Yes, he scores many points. This, though, is because he takes many shots. His career shooting efficiency isn’t much different from average. And since he doesn’t do much else to help a team, Anthony’s production of wins in his career tends to also be close to average.

Again, the Knicks needed to replace the production of two non-scorers from the 2012-13 season. But just as they have done in the past, they chose to return to the top ranks in NBA payroll by investing in scorers. And just as we have seen in the past, this strategy did not pay off.

But after this season, the team can once again rebuild. The team has cap space in abundance, so a new collection of players will be brought to New York. If this cap space is devoted to a new set of scorers, we probably can expect history to repeat for the Knicks. But perhaps the Knicks will spend just a bit less and be focused a bit more on players who produce wins. If that happens, maybe competitive basketball can again return to New York.

David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University. He is the lead author of The Wages of Wins and Stumbling on Wins and continues to serve on the editorial board of bothJournal of Sports Economics and theInternational Journal of Sport Finance.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.


Here’s Why Michael Jordan Is No Longer Friends with Charles Barkley

Michael Jordan;Charles Barkley
(L-R) Basketball players Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley at Great Sports Legend Dinner on 26 Sept., 2000. Sylvain Gaboury—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

It has to do with their respective post-retirement careers

They were competitors, teammates, friends, and even Space Jam co-stars in the 1990s, but former NBA superstars Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley no longer see eye-to-eye. And Barkley revealed the reasons behind their fallout in a TV interview on Wednesday, USA Today reported.

“I think [Jordan] was offended by some things I said about him on television,” said Barkley, who is now an NBA analyst for TNT while Jordan is owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets.

“I said Michael wasn’t doing a good job — he’s doing a great job now, [the Hornets have] gotten better…but they weren’t doing good.”

Barkley went on to explain that Jordan didn’t understand that it isn’t possible to have double standards in the media for people you like or dislike. “Your job is to be an analyst. It’s not to protect your friends…no, he’s not feeling that,” he said.

[USA Today]


Cleveland Let Go of Dion Waiters and Get Shumpert and Smith From Knicks

Dion Waiters
Cleveland Cavaliers' Dion Waiters (3) brings the ball up against the Minnesota Timberwolves in an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014, in Cleveland. Mark Duncan—AP

Cavaliers look to bolster their ranks in the middle of a subpar season following Lebron James' return

Cleveland Cavaliers let go of guard Dion Waiters late Monday, trading him to the Oklahoma City Thunder in a three-team deal that saw the Cavs get J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert from the New York Knicks.

Cleveland will also get the Thunder’s first-round draft pick for the 2015 season, the Associated Press reports.

The Knicks, meanwhile, received Cavaliers reserves Lou Amundson and Alex Kirk as well as the 2019 second-round pick. Oklahoma City forward Lance Thomas will also move to New York as part of the deal.

Sources told Fox Sports that the Cavaliers, whose fortunes have not been buoyed as expected by the return of superstar LeBron James, are still looking for a center to bolster their subpar 19-16 record. Kosta Koufos of the Memphis Grizzlies and Timofey Mozgov of the Denver Nuggets are players Cleveland is reportedly interested in.



Owners Agree to Sell the Atlanta Hawks

A general view of the Atlanta Hawks court at Philips Arena on Nov. 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia.
A general view of the Atlanta Hawks court at Philips Arena on Nov. 18, 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia. Kevin C. Cox—Getty Images

The Hawks are currently owned by three groups

The owners of the Atlanta Hawks have agreed to sell 100 percent of the franchise, reports Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution. The team will officially go on the the market next week, the report says.

The Hawks are owned by three groups: A Washington-based group headed by Bruce Levenson that owns 50.1 percent, an Atlanta-based group that owns 32.3 percent and a New York based group that owns 17.6 percent.

The NBA has approved agreements for all three of those groups to sell their stakes in the franchise, according to the report.

The league announced in September that Levenson had agreed to sell his controlling stake in the franchise after the revelation of a racially charged email he sent in 2012 to fellow Hawks executives.

The investigation that turned up Levenson’s email is believed to have been triggered by a derogatory remark general manager Danny Ferry made about Luol Deng during a conference call with ownership.

Ferry has taken an indefinite leave of absence with the team.

Hawks legend Dominique Wilkins and a group including former NBA player Chris Webber are among those who had reportedly expressed interest in purchasing the franchise.

Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said in September that he had spoken with six potential buyers. In October, reports surfaced that the Hawks hired investment banks Goldman Sachs and Inner Circle Sports to sell the franchise.

Estimates suggest the franchise could be sold for more than $700 million. In May, Steve Ballmer reportedly purchased the Los Angeles Clippers for $2 billion, while the Milwaukee Bucks sold for a reported $550 million.

This article originally appeared on SI.com

TIME Basketball

LeBron James to Miss 2 Weeks With Knee, Back Strains

LeBron James
LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers reacts to a call by the referees during a game against the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on December 30, 2014. Kevin C. Cox—Getty Images

Cleveland's star has missed Cleveland's last two games

LeBron James will begin 2015 on the shelf.

The Cavaliers announced on Thursday that James will miss two weeks after he was diagnosed with a left knee strain and a lower back strain.

James, who turned 30 earlier this week, had missed Cleveland’s last two games, losses to Atlanta on Tuesday and Milwaukee on Wednesday. He also sat out a Dec. 11 loss to the Thunder.

If James returns in exactly two weeks, he will miss the Cavaliers’ next seven games. Four of those games come against teams currently in the playoff picture: Dallas, Houston, Golden State and Phoenix.

Throughout his 12-year career, James has been known for his remarkable durability. In fact, James has never missed more than seven games in a season since entering the NBA as the No. 1 pick in the 2003 draft. In other words, this injury absence will likely prove to be the longest of James’ professional career.

The Cavaliers (18-14) possess the East’s fifth-best record, but they are on a three-game losing streak and rumors are beginning to swirl around first-year coach David Blatt. It goes without saying that the Cavaliers will struggle to replace James’ production during his absence, as their bench is generating just 25.5 points per game, the fourth-lowest mark in the league. Blatt will likely turn to veteran wingsMike Miller, Shawn Marion and James Jones to fill the minutes and reserve guardDion Waiters will likely see his offensive role increase. Marion has also missed Cleveland’s last two games with an ankle injury. Cleveland is also without starting center Anderson Varejao, who was lost to a season-ending Achilles injury in December.

The four-time MVP’s celebrated return to Cleveland from Miami has gotten off to a bumpy start this season, in part because his individual production has dipped slightly. James is averaging 25.2 points, 7.6 assists and 5.3 rebounds in 37.5 minutes per game this season. His scoring average is his lowest since his rookie year, his 48.8 shooting percentage is his lowest mark since 2007-08, and his Player Efficiency Rating of 25 is his lowest since 2006-07.

This article originally appeared on Si.com

TIME Sports

How the NBA’s Age Limit Helps Colleges But Hurts Players

Kentucky v Louisville
Terry Rozier #0 of the Louisville Cardinals shoots the ball during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats at KFC YUM! Center on December 27, 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky. Andy Lyons—Getty Images

David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University.

The Kentucky Wildcat's recruiting system, in which team members play for only a year, disproportionately benefits the school and coach

With Saturday’s victory over in-state rival Louisville, some observers now expect the University of Kentucky men’s basketball team to finish the season undefeated. Although it is probably too early to make this prediction, it is not too early to think Kentucky has a very good basketball team.

Under coach John Calipari, this is hardly an unusual result. Kentucky won 80.4% of their games in Calipari’s first five seasons (2009-10 to 2013-14). Not since the first five years of Adolph Rupp’s career (1930-31 to 1934-35) has a Kentucky coach had this much success in his first five years with the Wildcats.

As is probably true for most college coaches, a big part of Calipari’s success is recruiting. And Calipari’s recruiting is probably unique in the history of college basketball. Calipari doesn’t just recruit talented players. He has a tendency to recruit players who play only a single season for the coach.

The 2005 Collective Bargaining Agreement in the NBA, imposed an age limit on players entering the draft. Beginning with the 2006 NBA draft, players had be 19 years of age (and a year out of high school) before being eligible to be selected. This limit meant that players — like Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant, and LeBron James — would no longer enter the NBA straight from high school. Now a player had to play at least one year of college first.

This restriction has created a class of players called the one-and-done. And no coach has employed more of these than Calipari. At the University of Memphis, Calipari had three one-and-done players (Shawnee Williams, Derrick Rose, and Tyreke Evans). When he moved on to Kentucky in 2009, the one-and-done player became a staple of his squads. Of the 43 one-and-done players drafted from 2010 to 2014, 13 of these were recruited by Calipari at Kentucky.

And these one-and-done players have been crucial to Calipari’s success. We can translate the standard box score statistics tracked for players into a measure of how many wins a player produces for his college team (the method is essentially the same as what has been done for the NBA). When we look at the productivity of the one-and-done players at Kentucky, we see that these players have produced 63.7 wins for Calipari. This represents more than 40% of the team’s wins in Calipari’s first five seasons.

The impact of these players is not just seen on the court. Kentucky basketball also generates substantial revenue for the university. According to the Department of Education, men’s basketball at Kentucky generated $16.7 million in revenue the year before John Calipari arrived. Across the next four seasons, revenue increased each year, with the team earning $23.7 million in revenue in 2012-13 (the last year data is reported).

Professional sports leagues in North America – like Major League Baseball and the National Football League — pay about 50% of their revenue to their players (a similar story is told in the NBA and the NHL). If we argue that:

  • Kentucky’s players — like professional basketball players — are worth at least 50% of the team’s revenue (and revenues did not change in 2013-14),
  • and revenue should be allocated in terms of the percentage of the team’s wins produced by each individual player,

then – as the following table indicates — the one-and-done players employed by Calipari from 2010 to 2014 were worth about $21.6 million in revenue.

One-and-Done Players Draft Year

Wins Produced


Julius Randle




James Young




Nerlens Noel




Archie Goodwin




Anthony Davis




Michael Kidd-Gilchrist




Marquis Teague




Brandon Knight




John Wall




DeMarcus Cousins




Eric Bledsoe




Daniel Orton







Each of these players received a one-year scholarship to the University of Kentucky. The cost of attending Kentucky – of a non-resident – is estimated to be less than $35,000. So clearly these players are receiving far less from the school than they would if they played in a typical professional sports league. Furthermore, that comparison tends to overstate the benefits the players are receiving. Although a college education (relative to a high school diploma) increases median earnings by 70.2%, just having some college only increases earnings by about 11.7%. In other words, one year of college is really not quite as valuable as the entire college education promised the student-athlete.

One could argue that these players could have chosen to just stay in school and complete their education. There is, though, a problem with this strategy. Published research indicates the longer a player stays in school, the later he will be selected in the NBA draft. In addition, a player will also be selected later if he scores less. And a player will score less if he returns and loses the competition for shot attempts with the next freshman class. For example, Terrence Jones, Willie Cauley-Stein, and Alex Poythress were all highly touted recruits who did not turn pro after one season. All three saw their shot attempts per game in their sophomore year decline relative to their freshman season.

Calipari has brought in an average of four top-40 recruits each season he has been at Kentucky. If one of these top recruits decides to stay, he knows he will face serious competition the next year. And so these players have an incentive to leave for the NBA draft as quickly as they are able. All of this means that Calipari is recruiting players who have a tendency to be one-and-done.

This system clearly benefits Kentucky. And with Calipari earning more than $5 million per season, he clearly benefits from this system as well. But it is also seems clear the players are being exploited (i.e., paid a wage that is less than the revenue the workers generate).

Calipari’s solution for the one-and-done issue is to have the NBA raise the age limit. This would then require these recruits to give Calipari two years of labor before entering the draft. Although this would replace the one-and-done player with the two-and-done player, this solution only appears to benefit Calipari and his employer. It is hard to see how having a player be exploited for an additional season leaves the player better off.

Two other solutions would seem to benefit the players. First, we could establish a free market for college athletes. Such a market would certainly increase the wages paid to these athletes. If that doesn’t happen, the NBA could return to the labor market where high school players were allowed to enter the NBA draft. If that happened, one suspects that some of the players who produced wins for Calipari would skip college basketball and go straight to the NBA.

Until that happens, look for Calipari to continue to stockpile top recruits at Kentucky. We should expect those top recruits to produce a significant number of wins for the coach. For example, after just 13 games this season, Calipari’s 2014 freshman class — Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyler Ulis, Trey Lyles, and Devin Booker — have combined to produce 41.4% of the team’s wins. If Kentucky does finish undefeated, this quartet will be a big reason for this outcome. But don’t look for them to stay and keep winning for the Wildcats. Another batch of recruits is sure to be coming. And that means the players who are currently producing wins for Kentucky and Calipari might want to skip on the promised education and consider finding a better paying employer.

David Berri is a professor of economics at Southern Utah University. He is the lead author of The Wages of Winsand Stumbling on Wins and continues to serve on the editorial board of bothJournal of Sports Economics and theInternational Journal of Sport Finance.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.


LeBron James Says Cleveland Cavaliers Are ‘Not a Very Good Team’

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James again gave an assessment of where his team stands, saying that they are “not a very good team” after they were blown out by the Pistons on Sunday, Cleveland.com’s Chris Fedor reports.

During the 103-80 rout by Detroit, the Cavaliers actually led by 15 points early before the Pistons used an 18-0 run to put the game out of reach. Detroit made 17 three-pointers and turned 18 Cleveland turnovers into 21 points.

“As far as on the court, we’re still trying to find our way as well,” James said after the game, according to Cleveland.com. “But right now, we’re just not very good in every aspect of the game that we need to be to compete every night.”

James basically repeated what he said after the Cavaliers lost to the Miami Heat on Christmas Day. After a win the next night over the Orlando Magic, James said that his team was playing “nowhere near championship ball.”

The Cavaliers have been blown out in their past three home games and with the loss to Detroit fell to 18-12, three games behind the Chicago Bulls in the Central Division.

James had 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven rebounds in Sunday’s loss to Detroit. He also turned the ball over seven times and shot 5 for 19 from the field in 32 minutes.

This article originally appeared on Si.com

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