5 ways to embrace autism in the workplace

4 months, 10 days ago

As our society becomes more aware of autism, and the different ways it manifests in different people, we also must become more cognizant of the fact that autism in the workplace could be a reality for many businesses.

And the number of autistic employees in the workforce will likely continue to grow.

In fact, the CDC estimates that about 1 in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), according to estimates from the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.

Many prominent companies nationwide are starting to actively recruit people who have autism spectrum disorder. What do these companies know that your company doesn’t about hiring people with ASD?

The following tips provide insight into the unique strengths of autistic workers and may help your company successfully hire employees with autism.

1. Focus on can, not can’t

Hiring someone on the autistic spectrum should be much like hiring anyone to work for your company. Your focus should be on whether the person can do the job, not on their disability.

It’s the same thought process you would use if you interviewed someone with an identifiable or obvious disability (e.g., blind, deaf or wheelchair-bound). Don’t make assumptions and decide the person can or can’t perform some function of the job because of his or her disabilities.

Instead, focus on each person’s abilities.

If the candidate identifies the need for an accommodation, engage in conversation with them to focus on their abilities and let them tell you what’s possible. This engaging conversation is referred to as the “interactive process” and is key to an organization’s defense against allegations of discrimination based on disability or failure to accommodate.

People with ASD exhibit a wide range of behaviors, many mild enough that you may never realize the candidate is diagnosed as autistic. What’s important is that the person meets the essential functions of the job. Each person will have individual abilities to perform certain jobs – with or without a reasonable accommodation.

In some instances, jobs may be ideal for employees who enjoy repetition. Tasks that others might find monotonous, some people may find comforting, including those with ASD.

The benefits of fostering and managing diversity in the workplace are well documented and extend to employees with ASD. It’s a strategy that can open your company up to the creativity and innovative approaches of talented individuals of varied abilities and skills.

2. Consider essential functions

What can business leaders do to accommodate employees at various levels of the autistic spectrum?

In any instance of hiring and managing employees with disabilities, a well-defined job description can help both your managers and your employees understand the essential functions of a job and the standards for those functions. You should always:

Consult with your trusted HR or legal professional.
Engage in the interactive process.
Evaluate the need for accommodating individuals with any form of disability on a case-by-case basis.

The essential functions of each job, and the candidate you are considering for that role, should be individually considered. For instance, it’s probably an essential function that your web developer meet deadlines for launching new apps and microsites.

However, it’s probably not necessary that this person also contribute new ideas and solutions verbally during staff meetings. Allowing them to write their ideas in an email or memo, and share them with the team later, may work just as well.

When considering essential functions, it’s vital you check your own prejudices and preconceptions at the door. Just because someone doesn’t look you in the eye or laugh at your jokes doesn’t mean they can’t be a dedicated, successful team player or perform the essential functions of the job.

Take a good look at the job description and keep an open mind. Is making direct eye contact truly necessary for the person to perform well? If it’s a sales job, maybe so. If it’s an assembly line worker, probably not. For the assembly line worker, an employee who excels in an environment with structure and repetition may be a significant asset.

Don’t let certain personality traits that may be common to the person’s autism affect your ability to determine whether the person can actually do the job.

3. Be open to reasonable accommodations

The words “reasonable accommodations” can often cause discomfort for managers who automatically assume this term requires them to turn their business inside out to adapt to an employee’s needs.

However, accommodating an employee with ASD (or, really, any disability) is probably similar to changes you may already be making for other employees, such as providing standing desks for those with back problems. Common alterations that may be requested by those with ASD include:

Allowing the person to wear noise-reducing headphones (in the case of noise sensitivity)
Swapping desks with a coworker and turning off an overhead light (to help with light sensitivity)
Permitting them to take lunch at exactly 12:15 p.m. each day (to provide needed structure)
Outlining the day’s priorities (to help with time management)
Letting the person work from home (to accommodate the need to hyper-focus)
Providing advance notice of meeting agendas (to help facilitate communication)

As with any employee who requests an accommodation, you should have a discussion with the employee and include your HR team or legal advisor to determine whether the request is practical (and how it will impact other employees and overall productivity). In addition, there may be a need to ask the employee to provide a doctor’s note that articulates the needs of the employee.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy formula to be followed when it comes to reasonable accommodation. What’s considered reasonable is as varied as individuals with autism and the companies where they work. This is true for any person with a disability.

The Job Accommodation Network provides an excellent resource for some typical accommodations.

4. Promote kindness

A key component to building diversity into your company culture is encouraging an environment of respect. This requires that your leadership proactively address any issues between employees, especially those that may be an indicator (or predictor) of workplace bullying.

People with disabilities such as ASD can be perceived as easy targets by bullies, so extra vigilance may be needed to ensure your work environment is friendly and inclusive.

In less extreme forms of exclusion, it may become necessary to remind employees to invite everyone out for team lunches or after-hours company-sponsored events, even if they think the person may be uncomfortable. That way, at least they know they were invited – even if they choose not to participate.

Sensitivity training may also be helpful for your whole team. Such training can help ensure everyone understands how to work most effectively with coworkers who may require accommodations in the workplace. It can also be helpful in demonstrating what it means to treat everyone with professionalism and respect.

For instance, some people with autism have trouble understanding jokes, sarcasm or hyperbole.

Educate your team members on when and how to use them appropriately in the workplace, and remind them to speak in direct, concise and specific terms. Doing so will help autistic employees with this particular symptom, while also helping your employees understand what you require of them.

If you hire a person with ASD, it may be helpful to assign them an office buddy. This person can act as their mentor, quietly offering helpful tips and guidance that help the new employee acclimate and get the support they need to succeed in their job.

The intent of an office buddy should never be to perform some or all of the job for the person with a disability. But instead, it should ensure they have the support to be successful.

5. Make compliance a priority

Accommodating employees with disabilities or special challenges doesn’t have to be a daunting endeavor. A professional employer organization (PEO) can help you navigate the complexities of employer-employee relationships, helping you take the steps needed to remain compliant while enriching your company’s culture and knowledge base.

Want more insight into HR best practices? Sometimes knowing what not to do is as important as knowing what you should do. Learn more by downloading our free e-book: 7 most frequent HR mistakes and how to avoid them.

Read more: insperity.com

Detecting Early Signs Of Autism

6 months, 26 days ago

What is autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental behavioural disability that causes significant social, communication and behavioural challenges. These children communicate, interact, behave, and learn in ways that are different from most other people. The child may have normal intelligence quotient and still have autism. It is characterised by impairment of social interaction, defects in language development and communication skills, stereotype, repetitive, restrictive patterns of behaviours, interest and activities which limits and impairs daily functioning.
Structurally there is no malformation of the brain or neurons. The number is rising at an alarming high rate with still undefined reasons.
What is the cause for Autism? Scientists don’t know the exact cause of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but research suggests that both genes and environment play important roles.
Environmental factors:
‘Environment’ refers to anything outside of the body that can affect health. This includes the air we breathe, the water we drink and bathe in, the food we eat, the medicines we take, and many other things that our bodies may come in contact with. Environment also includes our surroundings in the womb, when our mother’s health directly affects our growth and earliest development. Researchers are studying many environmental factors such as family medical conditions, parental age and other demographic factors, expo¬sure to toxins, and complications during birth or pregnancy.
The cause appears to be multifactorial as no study is conclusive of a single cause.
Genetic factors:
In identical twins who share the exact same genetic code, if one has ASD, the other twin also has ASD in nearly 9 out of 10 cases. If one sibling has ASD, the other siblings have 35 times the normal risk of also developing the disorder. Researchers are starting to identify par¬ticular genes that may increase the risk for ASD.
Most people who develop ASD have no reported family history of autism, suggesting that random, rare, and possibly many gene muta¬tions are likely to affect a person’s risk.
What are the early signs?
Autism should be suspected if there is absence of:
• Babbling by 12 months
• Gesturing (e.g., pointing, waving bye-bye) by 12 months
• Single words by 16 months
• Two-word spontaneous (not just repletion of words) phrases by 24 months
• Loss of any language or social skills at any age

When should we suspect Autism?
The following actions, if ‘not done’ by the child can raise suspicion of Autism.
• Not pointing at objects to show interest (for example, not pointing at an airplane flying over)
• Not looking at objects when another person points at them
• Have trouble relating to others or not have an interest in other people at all
• Avoiding eye contact and wanting to be alone
• Having trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
• Appearing to be unaware when people talk to them, but responding to other sounds
• Being very interested in people, but not knowing how to talk, play, or relate to them
• Repeating or echo words or phrases said to them, or repeat words or phrases in place of normal language
• Having trouble expressing their needs using typical words or motions
• Not playing ‘pretend’ games (for example, not pretending to ‘feed’ a doll)
• Repeating actions over and over again
• Have trouble adapting when a routine changes
• Having unusual reactions to the way things smell, taste, look, feel, or sound

What are the different kinds of experts who the parents should meet?
The child should meet paediatric neurologist for exclusion of secondary causes leading to autism such as tuberous sclerosis, exclusion of seizures etc.
The next visit should be to development paediatrician or child psychologist for the confirmation of the diagnosis. They apply certain questionnaire based tests which help in the diagnosis of the disease. After the diagnosis is confirmed, the child requires therapies from occupational therapist, speech therapist, applied behaviour analyst and therapist.

What are some do’s and don’ts that parents of autistic kids must take care of?
• Autism is generally associated with hyperactivity so these children should not be given high sugar based foods as they increase the hyperactivity.
• They require a lot of physical exercises to control their hyperactivity
• Alternative therapies like Yoga, Music therapy, swimming by a person trained especially for special children have scientifically shown difference in the child’s behaviour.
• The results of GFCF diet is controversial and not promising so better be avoided.
• There is no role of stem cell therapy as a treatment option so should not be considered.

Read more: momspresso.com

Here are MOFSL’s Rahul Shah’s top three bets for traders

7 months, 6 days ago

Bullish on ITC among largecaps, Tata Elxsi in midcap IT and Eicher Motors in auto, Rahul Shah, Motilal Oswal Financial

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Services, tells ET Now. Edited excerpts: What changed in November that made Nifty rally 800-900 points? We have seen the dollar. We have seen oil. We have seen bond yields. So all three things put together pushed up the market. It should continue till the time all the macros have been taken care of. I do not see any reason for the market to correct near term. For more than a month and a half we have not heard anything negative. We have seen the RBI operations — OMOs as well as policy matters being taken up. So they have been in sync with market requirement. Now the only thing people are questioning is the result of the assembly elections. That is a week ahead. If macros are placed well, I do not think any other things are going to bother the markets much in the near term. What is the sense that you get in terms of flows? Do you think that FII flows are turning positive? As I said, if the macros improve, flows can improve. FIIs have been sellers since last six-eight months and we have seen a huge outflow but things have started improving. Obviously, there is some kind of money to be invested at this point of time and a lot of opportunities. In terms of valuations, a lot of stocks look attractive. We have seen flows coming in. FMCG and tech which are doing well are where they are focusing. There is no reason for FIIs not to put in money as of now. The IT sector did particularly well this week. TCS was up almost 8-9%. What is your call on that sector? We have seen a fantastic runup in last one year and all IT stocks have done quite well and obviously they are backed by good numbers that should continue. This quarter, the results are also good for IT. By and large, the management commentary is in line with what they predict. In my view, the IT results were good. Going forward, I do not think there should be any problem. There will be more conviction in sectors with earnings visibility. The IT pack is least affected by any other noise that we hear other than the marco and political factor. IT will continue to do well. Largecap IT remains a sweet spot still. My view is TCS, Infy amd HCL Tech should all do well, going forward from here also. Week after week, Airtel or Idea have been coming in the top losers’ list. This week is not different despite markets doing pretty well. What is your view on the telecom pack? Could you even include Reliance in that list? I would stay away from this underperforming sector. These two stocks have been underperforming for the last two years. I would avoid Bharti and Idea. Reliance looks interesting and should be give another 15% to 20% return for positional traders. How important will this RBI meet be? Whenever RBI comes, there are a lot of questions in people’s mind about what is going to happen next, whether a rate cut can be expected. Inflations are under control, bond yields have cooled off and some action in terms of rate cut can be expected. The markets have been rallying and in case of a rate cut, we can expect the markets to rally more. It is important for investors and as well as traders to understand what RBI has to say. What will be your call on the real estate pack? Should one start to look at real estate names selectively? I would still avoid. There is enough opportunity in the markets in the other sectors rather than playing in sectors which have underperformed for quite some time. In the bull market also, real estate stocks did not perform. I am not so keen on them and I do not recommend any of the real estate stocks to add at this current level. Any picks for our viewers? In largecap space, in the FMCG pack, ITC looks very convincing in terms of valuations. A 10% move from here could be a positional trade. One should look at tech stocks also. Midcap IT has underperformed for quite some time now. Tata Elxsi from that pack looks convincing. In auto space, Eicher Motors is one which has also underperformed. So these are the few ideas which I feel could be good bets at current market levels.

Read more: economictimes.indiatimes.com

How Often Should You Change Your Bed Sheets?

7 months, 20 days ago

Slipping into a bed of clean, crisp bedding is a wonderful feeling. A survey by Bupa a couple of years ago revealed that a freshly made bed was voted number one in a list of things that make us feel great – it’s a genuinely easy-to-achieve, feel-good phenomenon.

So why do so many people shirk on the sheet washing – and how often should we really be doing it?

It comes down to more than just good quality bedding and a lovely smelling fabric softener – although these things are very important to us here at Sleepypeople! It’s a health issue too.

We spend a lot of time in bed. In fact, the average person spends around 25 years of their life in bed – and that’s just sleeping. So there is naturally a bit of a build of up on the sheets. An adult can actually lose up to a litre of sweat in one night alone, and there is more than just sweat getting soaked in; your sheets absorb skin, food, cosmetics, creams and general dirt and dust.

This creates a build up of bacteria, which will naturally fester for longer as the sheets get dirtier. Exposing your skin to this can cause irritations, particularly if you suffer from sensitive skin already. Ironically, any preventative cosmetics and creams you apply will add to the situation. Dirty pillowcases in particular can cause spots and pimples on the face and neck.

While spots and itchy skin can be irritating, there is more. The build up of sweat helps mould and fungi to grow within the fibres of your sheets, which can lead to a range of infections – sometimes in some pretty intimate places!

In addition, our skin attracts mites; microscopic creatures that feast on our skin – and we naturally shed the stuff when we sleep, so we are very attractive to these tiny organisms! Their droppings contain a pretty potent allergen, which may lead to asthma-like symptoms, eczema or sinus problems.

So clean, good quality bedding is a must for a healthy night’s sleep.

The general advice is to change your bedsheets at least once a week. Ensure that it is washed in high temperatures – 60 degrees or above is recommended. In between washes, turn down the duvet in the morning to give the bed a good airing. Hoover around the bed and over the mattress to reduce dust levels – and don’t forget to wash your pillows and duvets every month or so too: a pillow will be one third skin, dust mites and mite droppings after remaining unwashed for just a few months.

Another tip is to use pillow and mattress protectors between your sheets and bedding, these should be washed regularly, ideally with your sheets.

Getting into the habit of a weekly sheet wash is about more than just the feel-good factor; it’s a health issue for the whole family. Keeping spare bedding to hand is a must and needn’t cost the earth; we stock a range of bedding sets for all bed sizes, from cot bedding up to king size bed sheets.

Newer ranges include the Silentnight Safe Nights collection, which has been specially created for babies and infants, as well as a range of luxury adult bedding in a variety of textures and colours, from waffle to stripe, grey to pink.

With a little planning and organisation, you can ensure your sheets are clean and your bed is healthy. Which all contributes to a better sleep and a happier you.

Read more: sleepypeople.com

Every NBA team’s entire offseason, explained with a single emoji

10 months, 26 days ago

How do you feel about your favorite team’s offseason? Here’s how we felt.

NBA Summer Grades are here, and this year, we did things a little differently. Thirty teams ventured into the offseason with their sights set on improving immediately or incrementally through the draft, free agency, or trade. Not every team accomplished that goal.

So we broke these teams up into three groups according to how they saw themselves entering the offseason: as contenders, as teams that needed a bump, or as teams building toward the future. Then we judged each of their summers — with emojis.

So the emoji for, say, the Oklahoma City Thunder might be similar to the emoji for, say, the Phoenix Suns, even though they’re in two opposite NBA stratospheres.

Either way, consider this your comprehensive guide to this NBA off-season. Have fun with it and let us know what emoji you’d give for your favorite team’s offseason.

Building for the future
Atlanta Hawks

IN:

Trae Young (No. 5)
Kevin Huerter (No. 19)
Omari Spellman (No. 30)
Jeremy Lin (trade, Nets)
Alex Len (2 yrs/$8.5M)
Justin Anderson (trade, 76ers)
Carmelo Anthony for like a day
2019 1st-round pick via Dallas (top-5 protected).
Head coach Lloyd Pierce.

KEPT
A long rebuilding process.
OUT

Head coach Mike Budenholzer (Bucks)
Dennis Schroder (trade)
Mike Muscala (trade)
Carmelo Anthony’s Contract
Luka Doncic Mania

Hawks fans are gonna have to be patient, because this team isn’t going to be competing for anything worthwhile until Bitcoin’s worth $100,000. Atlanta wants to be the next Golden State, and it’s banking on Trae Young as its Steph Curry. Ultimately, the Hawks’ summer rests on Young’s development. The Hawks traded Luka Doncic for him. They need to mold him into a star.

Los Angeles Clippers

IN

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (No. 11)
Jerome Robinson (No. 13)
Marcin Gortat (trade, Wizards)
Luc Mbah a Moute (1 yr/$4.2M)
Mike Scott (1 yr/$4.2M)
Healthy Patrick Beverley and Danilo Gallinari.

KEPT

Avery Bradley (2 yrs/$25M)
Montrezl Harrell (2 yrs/$12M).

OUT

Austin Rivers (trade)
DeAndre Jordan (Mavs)
C.J. Williams
Sam Dekker (trade)
The last vestiges of Lob City

The last remaining player of the Lob City era Clippers is Wesley Johnson. The team blew it up without actually blowing it up.

But don’t forget the Clippers ran into their fair share of injuries last season (Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Danilo Gallinari, and Milos Teodosic), traded Blake Griffin in the middle of the season, and still finished 42-40. This is still a team that should make some noise in the West, and while they do so, they’ll develop SGA into their point guard of the future.

That’s a perfect environment to nurture a young player. Just ask Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.

Orlando Magic

IN

Coach Steve Clifford
Mo Bamba (No. 6)
Melvin Frazier (No. 35)
Timofey Mozgov (trade, Hornets)
Jerian Grant (trade, Bulls)

KEPT:
Aaron Gordon (4 yrs/$80M)
OUT

Coach Frank Vogel
Bismack Biyombo (trade, Hornets)
Mario Hezonja
Shelvin Mack
2019 + 2020 2nd-round picks

Bamba, Gordon, and Jonathan Isaac make for one lanky, athletic frontcourt, and Steve Clifford should be able to maximize their length on the defensive end. But two of those three players are still projects, and it’s hard to see how they can all play together. Worse, the rest of Orlando’s roster leaves a whole lot to be desired.

Let’s check back in in three long years.

Brooklyn Nets

IN

Ed Davis (1 yr/$4.4M)
Shabazz Napier (2 yrs/minimum)
Kenneth Faried (trade, Nuggets)
Jared Dudley (trade, Suns)
Treveon Graham (minimum)
Dzanan Musa (No. 29)
Rodions Kurucs (No. 40)
Dwight Howard for like 12 minutes
2019 cap space

KEPT:
Joe Harris (2 yrs/$16M)
OUT

Jeremy Lin (trade, Hawks)
Dwight Howard (buyout)
Timofey Mozgov (trade, Hornets)
Darrell Arthur (trade, Suns)
Nik Stauskas
Dante Cunningham
Isaiah Whitehead
The ripple effects of that horrible Celtics trade.

The Nets beautifully exchanged cap space for future draft assets, positioning Brooklyn for about $50 million in room next summer. Their draft picks are young, smart system fits, and their acquisitions in free agency fill the team’s biggest needs: rim protection and back court depth. And here’s the kicker: they’ll still have space to add a max free agent next summer if they cut into that space.

Phoenix Suns

IN

Coach Igor Kokoskov
DeAndre Ayton (No. 1)
Mikal Bridges (No. 10)
Elie Okobo (No. 39)
George King (No. 57)
Richaun Holmes (trade, 76ers)
Trevor Ariza (1yr/$15M)
Darrell Arthur (trade, Nets)

KEPT
Devin Booker (5 yrs/$158M)
OUT

Jared Dudley (trade, Nets)
Alex Len
Elfrid Payton
Tyler Ulis
Interim Coach Jay Triano

The Suns did a few smart things this summer, mainly their long-term extension for Booker and bringing in a veteran contributor in Ariza. Phoenix isn’t a playoff team in this tough Western Conference, but it looks as if it’s on the right path.

Dallas Mavericks

IN

Luka Doncic (No. 3)
Jalen Brunson (No. 33)
DeAndre Jordan (1 yr/$24M).
A super fun backcourt

KEPT

Dirk Nowitzki (lifetime contract)
Salah Mejri (minimum).

OUT

Nerlens Noel
Seth Curry
Yogi Ferrell
2019 No. 1 pick (top-5 protected)
Doug McDermott
DeAndre Jordan emoji jokes.

The Mavericks somehow traded up for what could be the best player in the draft, got a second-round steal in Brunson, then signed Jordan after he went back on his word and re-signed with the Clippers years ago. Depending on how quickly Doncic hits the ground running, Dallas just got really interesting, especially if Dennis Smith Jr. builds on a solid rookie season.

New York Knicks

IN

Coach David Fizdale
Kevin Knox (No. 9)
Mitchell Robinson (No. 36)
Mario Hezonja (1 yr/$8.6M)
Noah Vonleh (minimum)
Kadeem Allen
Dreams of a big 2019 free agency splash.

KEPT

Luke Kornet
A Christmas game, somehow
James Dolan (for eternity)

OUT:

Coach Jeff Hornacek
Kyle O’Quinn
Michael Beasley
Kristaps Porzingis’ ACL

Knox and Robinson were studs in summer league, and Hezonja makes this Knicks roster more interesting. This team might not be competitive this year, especially if Kristaps Porzingis sits the entire season after an ACL injury. But New York is finally trending in the right direction again, and Fizdale is a perfect choice to lead this team.

Sacramento Kings

IN:

Nemanja Bjelica (3 yrs/$20.4M)
Marvin Bagley III (No. 2)
Ben McLemore (again, we know)
Deyonta Davis (trade)
Memphis’ 2021 2nd-round pick
Yogi Ferrell (2 yrs/$5.6M).

KEPT
Same ol’ Kings jokes.
OUT

Garrett Temple
Vince Carter.

Bagley at No. 2 was the most puzzling pick of the draft, rivaled only by the Hawks trading down for Trae Young. Now, much like the Hawks, that move defines the Kings’ offseason, because trading for a player they already let walk (Ben McLemore) didn’t help Sacramento much at all. But hey, at least Bjelica stretches the floor, right?

Chicago Bulls

IN

Jabari Parker (2 yrs/$40M)
Wendell Carter Jr. (No. 7)
Chandler Hutchinson (No. 22),

KEPT

Zach LaVine (4 yrs/$80M)
Some 2019 cap space

OUT

Jerian Grant (trade, Magic)
Noah Vonleh
Paul Zipser
Sean Kilpatrick
Wing defense.

The Bulls took what they were given, and they were given the Summer League standout, Wendell Carter Jr. Defense might not be in their vocabulary — it damn sure isn’t in Jabari Parker’s — but this summer made the Bulls fun again. For a big market team that’s been hot trash for a while, that’s more than you can ask for.

Teams that entered the summer in need of help
Indiana Pacers

IN

Tyreke Evans (1 yr/$12M)
Doug McDermott (3 yrs/$22M)
Kyle O’Quinn (1 yr/$4.4M)
Aaron Holiday (No. 23)
Expectations

KEPT

Thaddeus Young (opted in)
Bojan Bogdanovic (guaranteed)

OUT

Al Jefferson
Glenn Robinson III
Lance Stephenson
The surprise factor.

What would you get a young team that likes to run and shoot 3s for Christmas? How about more playmakers and more three-point shooters? Indiana calmly leveled up this summer, deepening a roster that took LeBron James to Game 7 last season.

The best part? They kept cap flexibility to add a near-max player next summer. Watch out for these guys.

Denver Nuggets

IN

Isaiah Thomas (1 year/minimum)
Michael Porter Jr. (No. 14).
Luxury tax freedom.
A healthy Paul Millsap (fingers crossed).

KEPT

Nikola Jokic (5 yrs/$147M)
Will Barton (4 yrs/$50M).

OUT

Wilson Chandler (trade, 76ers)
Kenneth Faried (trade, Nets)
Darrell Arthur (trade, Nets)
2019 1st-round pick (top-12 protected, trade: Nets).

Denver saved about $93 million in salary and luxury tax by shedding Chandler, Faried, and Arthur this summer. They re-signed both Barton and Jokic, then got a motivated Isaiah Thomas at the vet’s minimum. This was a beautiful summer for the Nuggets, even if Porter Jr. doesn’t play.

Now, it’s time for Mile High to make the playoffs. It’s unacceptable for them to fall short again.

Milwaukee Bucks

IN

Brook Lopez (1yr/$3.4M)
Ersan Ilyasova (3 yrs/$21M)
Donte Divincenzo (No. 17)
Coach Mike Budenholzer

KEPT

Giannis Antetokounmpo’s enthusiasm.
Shabazz Muhammad (minimum)

OUT
Jabari Parker

The Bucks landed the darling of the NCAA Tournament, then addressed one of their bigger needs by adding a legitimate, veteran two-way center — at a massive discount, too. Considering the questions surrounding their coach in the past, Mike Budenholzer could be a massive upgrade as well. It’s time the deer starts giving the league a reason to fear.

That better happen this year, too, with Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton up for new deals after next summer.

Minnesota Timberwolves
IN

Anthony Tolliver (1yr/$5M)
Josh Okogie (No. 20)
Keita Bates-Diop (No. 48)
Jimmy Butler trade rumors.

KEPT

Derrick Rose (minimum)
Andrew Wiggins angst
ICE ICE ICE!

OUT

Jamal Crawford
Nemanja Bjelica.

Like Miami, Minnesota didn’t have any cap space to sign free agents, and Crawford leaving — though after a poor season — didn’t help. Okogie is a 3-and-D player who should contribute in spots, but the Timberwolves didn’t move the needle this summer. Their improvements have to come from within. (I’m looking at you two, Andrew Wiggins and Karl-Anthony Towns).

Otherwise, Jimmy Butler’s time here might end soon.

New Orleans Pelicans

IN

Julius Randle (2yrs/$18M)
Elfrid Payton (1 yr/$2.7M)
Jahlil Okafor (minimum)
Tony Carr (No. 51).

KEPT
Ian Clark (minimum)
OUT

DeMarcus Cousins
The New Twin Towers dream
Rajon Rondo
Rivals trying to poach Anthony Davis (for now)

Losing Boogie stung. Losing Rondo to the Lakers was even worse. Adding Randle should be an interesting frontcourt fit alongside Anthony Davis and Nikola Mirotic.

But if this Pelicans team doesn’t make the playoffs this year — and there’s a good chance they don’t — Davis’ 2021 free agency becomes a whole lot scarier. Was passing on Cousins worth that risk?

Charlotte Hornets

IN

Tony Parker (2 yrs/$10M)
Miles Bridges (No. 12)
Bismack Biyombo (trade, Magic)
Coach James Borrego
Kemba Walker trade rumors.

OUT

Dwight Howard (trade, Nets)
Timofey Mozgov (trade, Magic)
Michael Carter-Williams
Coach Steve Clifford

The Hornets traded one year and $23.9 million of Dwight Howard for two years and $34 million of Bismack Biyombo. That should work, right? The highlight of Charlotte’s summer was landing a Gregg Popovich disciple as their new head coach, but this team is in limbo until they clear house. What’s next for Kemba Walker, who is in the final year of his contract?

Detroit Pistons
IN

2018 Coach of the Year Dwane Casey
Glenn Robinson III (2 yrs/$8.3M)
Zaza Pachulia (minimum)
Jose Calderon (minimum)
Bruce Brown (No. 42)
Full Season Blake Griffin

KEPT
Pressure to win
OUT

Coach Stan Van Gundy (and his mustache)
This delightful picture
Anthony Tolliver
Eric Moreland

The Pistons have been real sad since they made the playoffs three years ago, and Dwane Casey is their biggest offseason acquisition. Can he motivate these guys better than Stan Van Gundy did, or will we see more iso-ball in Casey’s next act?

Memphis Grizzlies

IN

Kyle Anderson (4 yrs/$37M)
Jaren Jackson Jr. (No. 4)
Jevon Carter (No. 32)
Omri Casspi (minimum)
Garrett Temple (trade, Kings)
Healthy Mike Conley
Healthy Marc Gasol

KEPT
J.B. Bickerstaff to coach the team
OUT

Ben McLemore (trade, Kings)
Deyonta Davis (trade, Kings)
Tyreke Evans
2021 2nd-round pick
Tanking

The Grizzlies were a straight-up dumpster fire last year due to injuries to Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, but don’t forget this was a perennial Western Conference contender for almost a decade. The Grit-n-Grind era is over, but don’t think Memphis is here to tank. They’re here to win, and their moves this summer should help them do that.

If Conley and Gasol stayed healthy, Memphis should be right back in the mix, even in the deep West.

Washington Wizards
IN

Dwight Howard (2 yrs/$11M)
Austin Rivers (trade, Clippers)
Jeff Green (minimum)
Troy Brown (No. 15)
Thomas Bryant.

KEPT
Locker room angst, probably
OUT

Marcin Gortat (trade, Clippers)
Mike Scott

This summer will be remembered in one of two ways. Either landing Dwight Howard was the move that gave the Wizards some legitimacy, or it’s the move that spelled their doom. Either way, Washington needed to shake things up. This effectively did just that without moving a core piece.

Utah Jazz

IN

Grayson Allen (No. 21).
Expectations.
A Christmas appearance.

KEPT

Derrick Favors (2yrs/$36M)
Dante Exum (3yrs/$33M)
Raul Neto (2yrs/$4.4M)

OUT

Jonas Jerebko.
Low expectations

Donovan Mitchell was excited about drafting Allen, and the rookie out of Duke should help the Jazz claw deeper into the playoffs. This team, though, probably did not improve enough to make it out of the second round. In fact, with the Lakers and Nuggets more in the mix for the playoffs this season, Utah may find itself clinging to a lower seed. The Jazz are hoping continuity is the biggest form of improvement.

Portland Trail Blazers

IN

Seth Curry (2 yrs/$5.6M)
Nik Stauskas (minimum)
Anfernee Simons (No. 24)
Gary Trent Jr. (No. 38)
Damian Lillard trade rumors (OK OK, not just yet)

KEPT
Jusuf Nurkic (4yrs/$48M)
OUT

Ed Davis
Shabazz Napier
Kevin Durant podcast appearances

The Trail Blazers will go as far as Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum can carry them, and Dame and C.J. carried them to a first-round sweep by the New Orleans Pelicans. That was a reality check, and realistically, Portland didn’t do too much this summer. Anfernee Simons gives hope to the future and Seth Curry was a decent buy-low get, but the Trail Blazers seem stuck in basketball limbo and it would take a huge shake-up to get them out.

Miami Heat

IN
Uhhh, a healthy Dion Waiters?

KEPT

Derrick Jones Jr.
Wayne Ellington (1 yr/$6.2M).

OUT
Nobody!
TBD
Dwyane Wade (may retire)

The Heat were handicapped by the contracts they handed out in the past (hi, Tyler Johnson), so they really couldn’t do much this summer. They will get Dion Waiters back from injury, though.

What’s up with D-Wade?

The Contenders
Boston Celtics

IN

Robert Williams (draft)
Brad Wanamaker (minimum)
Healthy Kyrie Irving
Healthy Gordon Hayward.

KEPT

Marcus Smart (4 yrs/$52M)
Aron Baynes (2 yrs/$11M).

OUT
The ghost of LeBron James.

The Celtics didn’t need to do anything except keep the gang together and get healthy this summer. They did just that, and along the way, they stumbled into a center that fell way down the draft board. The rich keep getting richer.

Los Angeles Lakers

IN
LEBRON JAMES, Lakers exceptionalism.
ALSO IN

Lance Stephenson (1 yr/$4.5M)
Rajon Rondo (1yr/$9M)
JaVale McGee (minimum)
Michael Beasley (minimum)
Travis Wear (two-way)
Mo Wagner (No. 25)
Svi Mykhailiuk (No. 47).

KEPT

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (1yr/$12M)
LaVar and Lonzo Ball (for now)
2019 cap space

OUT

Isaiah Thomas
Julius Randle
Brook Lopez
Channing Frye
20-win seasons

This isn’t the ideal team you want around LeBron James — history shows surrounding him with shooters is lethal. But it’s much, much more athletic than last year’s Cavs team that checked in as the oldest in the NBA. The Lakers have fun, charismatic players and young stars on the rise. They also landed the best player in the world.

No, this Lakers team isn’t trash. This summer will make them fun to watch again. We’re in on them.

Golden State Warriors

IN

DeMarcus Cousins (1 yrs/$5.3M)
Jonas Jerebko (1 yr/minimum)
Jacob Evans (No. 28)
Kevin Durant arguing on his own social media accounts.
Even more jealousy around the league.

KEPT

Kevin Durant (2 yrs/$61.5)
Kevon Looney (1 yr/minimum)
#ARROGANTSZN

OUT

JaVale McGee
Zaza Pachulia
Kevin Durant burner accounts

The Warriors were probably going to win another championship this season anyway. And THEN, they signed Boogie.

Let’s fast forward to the year 2021 already.

Toronto Raptors

IN

Kawhi Leonard (trade, Spurs)
Danny Green (trade, Spurs)
Greg Monroe (minimum)
Nick Nurse as head coach

KEPT

Fred VanVleet (2 yrs/$18M)
Lorenzo Brown
(Almost the entire) bench mob

OUT

DeMar DeRozan (trade, Spurs)
The beautiful Lowry/DeRozan friendship
Jakob Poeltl (trade, Spurs)
2019 1st-round pick (top-20 protected)
2018 Coach of the Year Dwane Casey
LeBron’s shadow.

One thing’s clear: Between Casey and DeRozan, the Raptors don’t handle separation well. Another thing’s clear: Toronto just got a whole lot harder to score on with Leonard and Green in the lineup. If the Raptors can convince Leonard to stay long-term, they will be scary for years to come.

If they can’t, well… about that.

Houston Rockets

IN

Carmelo Anthony (minimum)
James Ennis (minimum)
Michael Carter-Williams (minimum)
Gerald Green (minimum)
DeAnthony Melton (No. 46).

KEPT

Chris Paul (4 yrs/$160M)
Clint Capela (5 yrs/$90M)

OUT

Trevor Ariza
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute
27 missed threes in a row
Some luxury-tax payments.

If anyone can revive Michael Carter-Williams’ career, it’s gotta be Mike D’Antoni, right?

Houston opted against paying the luxury tax on Trevor Ariza’s next contract, then let Mbah a Moute walk, too. Then, they punted defense altogether by going after Carmelo Anthony. D’Antoni and Daryl Morey have made the impossible look gracefully easy before, but this is their biggest challenge yet.

At least DeAnthony Melton fell in their lap at pick No. 46.

San Antonio Spurs

IN

DeMar DeRozan (trade, Raptors)
Jakob Poeltl (trade, Raptors)
2019 1st-round pick via Toronto (top-20 protected)
Lonnie Walker IV (No. 18)
Marco Belinelli (2yrs/$12M),
Dante Cunningham (minimum)
Being able to actually talk to their star player

KEPT

Rudy Gay (1yr/$10M)
Davis Bertans (2 yrs/$14.5M)
Bryn Forbes (2 yrs/$6M)

OUT

Kawhi Leonard (trade, Raptors)
Uncle Dennis (trade, Raptors)
Danny Green (trade, Raptors)
Tony Parker (free agency, Hornets)
Spurs exceptionalism

TBD
Manu Ginobili

Nothing makes up for the bizarre Kawhi Leonard saga, but it’s time to take a step back.

The Spurs made the playoffs last season, despite an injured Leonard playing in only nine games. They just replaced a 50-percent-healthy Kawhi Leonard with a 100-percent-healthy DeMar DeRozan, and Lonnie Walker IV is no scrub.

The West got really interesting this summer, but you can never count out the Spurs.

Oklahoma City Thunder
IN

Dennis Schroder (trade, Hawks)
Jerami Grant (3 yrs/$27M)
Nerlens Noel (2 yrs/$3.75M)
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarot (trade, 76ers)
Hamidou Diallo (No. 45)
Abdel Nader (trade, Celtics)

Some luxury tax savings

KEPT

Paul George (4 yrs/$137M)
Raymond Felton (1 yr/minimum)
A massive luxury-tax bill

OUT

Carmelo Anthony (trade) and his needs
2022 1st-round pick (top-14 protected; trade, Hawks)
Nick Collison (retired)
Dakari Johnson (trade, Magic)
2019 2nd-round pick

The Thunder had one of the best summers in the NBA. Not only did they defy the odds to retain Paul George, rid themselves of Carmelo Anthony, and get a backup center, but they saved themselves some luxury tax payments and got a proper reserve point guard in Dennis Schroder.

We don’t know if this’ll be enough to vault the Thunder into legitimate championship contention, but OKC fans should be pumped. Their team just had an incredible offseason.

Philadelphia 76ers

IN

Wilson Chandler (trade, Nuggets)
Zhaire Smith (No. 16)
Landry Shamet (No. 26)
Mike Muscala (trade, Hawks)
Markelle Fultz’s confidence

KEPT

J.J. Redick (1yr/$12M)
Amir Johnson (minimum)
Max cap space (for 2019)
Not having a general manager
The rookie injury curse

OUT

Ersan Ilyasova
Marco Belinelli
Justin Anderson (trade, Hawks)
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarot (trade, Thunder)
Richaun Holmes (trade, Suns)
@AlVic40117560
The Process (or at least this stage of it)

The 76ers set the bar at landing a star and fell far below it. Still, the Chandler trade was smart, and their two draft picks are insurance in case Markelle Fultz still can’t shoot a jumper.

Cleveland Cavaliers

IN

Collin Sexton (No. 8)
Channing Frye (minimum)
Sam Dekker (trade, Cavs)
David Nwaba

KEPT
Kevin Love (4yrs/$120M).
OUT

Nobody important
Oh wait, maybe one person, but he didn’t move the needle much

Everyone and their mom knew LeBron James was walking out the door after Cleveland was swept out of the Finals. That happened, and the Cavs have begun the painful process of putting the pieces back together. Collin Sexton at No. 8. was a good start, and Love’s $120 million extension ensures Cleveland will be at least competitive. But what’s the vision for Cleveland in a post-LeBron world?

Read more: sbnation.com

5 Steps To Taking Powerful Underwater Photos

11 months, 24 days ago

During the summer holiday season, underwater photography is something that spontaneously comes to our mind. Diving and sunbathing sometimes aren’t enough – taking underwater photos can make our vacation much more adventurous!

Thanks to a plethora of gear options that are now available,  underwater photography isn’t reserved only for professional photographers – even amateurs can do it with more affordable equipment.

These tips will help you better understand how to shoot underwater images and what equipment you will need to make these incredibly fun summertime photos.

1. Understand Equipment Options

There are endless options when it comes to different brands of underwater bags and housing made for both video and photography. Some of them are better than the others, so it’s really important to read reviews before buying anything –many cheaper underwater bags tend to start leaking at some point. Underwater housing from Ikelite is one of the most popular choices in terms of this type of gear.

In case you’re just looking to have some fun during summertime, instead of buying expensive equipment you should consider renting or buying a GoPro. In the event that you decide that underwater photography isn’t something you want to pursue further, you can still use a GoPro for anything else since it’s really versatile.

If the safety of your gear is your main priority and you want some truly great photos, you should consider  Nikon AW1 instead of GoPro. This Nikon is waterproof, shockproof and freeze proof with interchangeable lenses.

Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash

2. Choose Your Location Wisely

The quality and the overall atmosphere of your underwater photos will depend a lot on the location. A heavily chlorinated pool is usually not a good choice. Even if the water inside the pool seems clear to you, it’s probably going to look very hazy in your photos. There are many chemicals in the water that you can’t see, but your camera can.

A body of water such as a freshwater lake or clear saltwater is a much better choice. They are also likely to have very lively flora and fauna, which means you’ll have a wide selection of subjects to shoot.

Photo by Jacob Owens on Unsplash

3. Use Wide Angle Lenses

In order to cut down on the amount of water between your subject and your camera, you need to stay as close to your subject as possible. This is actually the only way to keep the subject entirely in the frame, without focusing issues.

If you’re not positioned close enough to your subject, you won’t be able to focus correctly and you’ll probably have some clarity issues – just remember that water is rarely crystal clear no matter what it looks like to you.

If you’re shooting in an environment where distortion doesn’t matter too much, you can play around with fish-eye lenses. On the other hand, for close-up portrait work, you can shoot with something like 40 or 50mm. Portrait lenses such as 85mm are wonderful but too tricky to handle underwater.

Photo by Marco Assmann on Unsplash

4. Be Patient

If you’re working with models, you should understand that it’s very difficult to pose underwater.  Most people automatically close their eyes while diving, so even this simple task of keeping the eyes open can be overwhelming sometimes.

For the same reason, underwater models can barely see the camera and photographer  – it’s just a dark blob to them.

Models should first learn to keep their face looking natural and relaxed underwater and later on practice various body poses. As a photographer, you can help them by making a list of poses they can practice on land before going underwater.

Photo by SweetIceCreamPhotography on Unsplash

5. Post-Processing Matters A Lot

Chances are you won’t be quite satisfied with your underwater images straight out of camera.  This shouldn’t discourage you at all – the majority of those amazing underwater photos you see on the internet are heavily post-processed.

Shooting through water will always affect clarity and sharpness and add a blue cast that you may want to remove. In case your lighting conditions are less than ideal, you may end up with lots of noise in your underwater images due to increased ISO.  Luckily, the majority of these issues can be fixed with skilful editing.

If you’re not sure how to edit your underwater photos, you can take a look at this great tutorial.

 

Underwater photography is truly enticing and fun, but never easy. It can be physically exhausting and time-consuming, but it is incredibly rewarding at the same time.

Thanks to this genre of photography,  we can capture and admire some of nature’s finest secrets and open our audience’s eyes to the beauty of the hidden underwater worlds.

The post 5 Steps To Taking Powerful Underwater Photos appeared first on Light Stalking.

Read more: lightstalking.com