Elite Prospects Like Ben Simmons Almost Never Miss The Tournament

The crew of prospects Simmons will join if LSU fails to make the tournament isn’t exactly bad — even Steph Curry ended his Davidson career in the NIT, after all. (Granted, Davidson in the Southern Conference and LSU in the Southeastern Conference are apples and oranges; perhaps a better comp for Simmons is Chris Bosh, who couldn’t elevate Georgia Tech into the tournament out of the ACC in 2002-03.) But the distribution of basketball talent is steep. Top draft picks are, on average, so much better than their peers that a No. 1-ranked prospect should probably be held to a higher standard than the rest of the top five.And, sure enough, in the 15 years before Simmons only one No. 1 prospect was on a team that missed the NCAA Tournament: Nerlens Noel, in 2012-13. The other 92 percent of No. 1s at least got to the round of 64, and even Noel’s case comes with a huge asterisk. Before Noel was lost for the season with a knee injury, his Kentucky team was on the bubble at 17-6, but improving; afterward, the Wildcats closed out the season 4-5 and stamped a nonrefundable ticket to the NIT. The rest of the No. 1s went far — and I mean really far. Half went to the Final Four, and a third went to the national title game. They didn’t do it alone, though. Shane Battier, Anthony Davis and Greg Oden, for instance, generated almost exactly 25 percent of their teams’ win shares when they blazed a path to the championship game. Simmons has been a bit less productive than that trio on a per-minute basis, but he’s also generated 33 percent of LSU’s win shares this season, with his teammates creating roughly 45 percent fewer wins per game than those of Battier, Davis and Oden. If Simmons had anything close to their supporting casts, LSU probably wouldn’t be fretting about Selection Sunday.Instead, we’ll probably be left with a March Madness that doesn’t feature the nation’s best NBA prospect. That isn’t unprecedented, but it is pretty rare — and, mainly, it’s a bummer because Simmons is such an electrifying all-around talent in a sport that needs all the excitement it can get. LSU’s Ben Simmons is a ludicrously versatile basketball prodigy whose freshman numbers already compare favorably with greats of the past. He’ll probably go first overall in this summer’s NBA draft, and deservedly so. But for all of Simmons’s brilliance, his Tigers aren’t very good — they rank 75th in Ken Pomeroy’s ratings, and at 18-12 they’re a long shot to make the NCAA Tournament.This pairing of an exceptional individual and an unremarkable team is pretty rare. When a team has a prospect as good as Simmons, it doesn’t usually lose before the second weekend of the tourney, much less miss the field entirely. To measure this, I gathered ESPN’s prospect rankings for collegiate players from 2001 through last season, tracking how far their teams went in the postseason during their final NCAA season. Among top-five prospects in that span — and Simmons ranks No. 1 this year — 87 percent were on teams that made the NCAA Tournament, with about half going as far as the Elite Eight before losing. read more

Learn more →

Square Creates Square Market an Ecommerce Service for Businesses

first_img 2 min read Move over, Etsy and Shopify. Popular mobile-transactions startup Square is branching out beyond processing in-person payments. Starting today, it wants to help businesses sell their wares online, too. Square has created Square Marketplace, an ecommerce service allowing businesses to sell their products and services online.”People are already using Square on their smartphones and tablets to sell things offline,” says Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Square and Twitter. “With Square Market, they have an online marketplace that enables … local businesses to go from neighborhood to national in an affordable way.”The idea is to eliminate the time and expense required for business owners to create their own dedicated ecommerce websites, says Ajit Varma, Square’s director of discovery. Any business — whether it is already using Square’s mobile payments reader and app or not — can set up a page for free. The page includes information such as the company’s name, contact information, photos and items it is selling.Related: iPad, Tablet Point-of-Sale Systems Gain PopularityOn the Square Market site, customers will be able to search for individual merchants or by the items they are looking for, Varma says. Business owners will be able to promote the items and services they’re selling over Twitter and other social media.Customers can make purchases directly through the marketplace using the Square Wallet app or by entering their credit card information. When a product or service is sold, Square’s fee is 2.75 percent of the sale price — the same rate Square charges for its mobile payments service.Already, 120 merchants have signed up to participate in the Square Market, Varma says. The service is live for all businesses starting today.Related: How Square Earned a $3 Billion Valuation Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalscenter_img June 25, 2013 Register Now »last_img read more

Learn more →

By Jeff Clark Casey Research There are a number

first_imgBy Jeff Clark, Casey Research There are a number of reasons why many of us believe gold stocks will shoot for the moon before this bull market is over – they’ve done so many times in the past… the gold price still has a long way to climb… and producers are generating record revenue and profits. But I think there’s another reason why gold stocks will soar – one that hasn’t dawned on many in the industry yet. The premise for my theory first lies in how gold itself is viewed. Some investors see gold as strictly a commodity or the infamous “barbarous relic.” This group sees no compelling reason to buy the metal and so own little to none. Others view it as a play on a rising asset or because of supply and demand imbalances; they buy while those reasons are positive and sell when they turn negative. Still others view gold as a store of value, an alternative currency, or a hedge against inflation; they tend to buy and hold. Ask yourself why you own gold. Is it because it’s just another asset that offers diversification? Are you buying because it’s going up and someone like Doug Casey thinks it will continue doing so? Or is it due to a genuine concern about the dilution of your currency, both now and in the future? What’s interesting to note is the shift in the number of investors wanting exposure to gold. Many who ignored it a decade ago are now buying. Those who started buying, say, five years ago, continue purchasing it today in spite of paying twice what they paid then. Slowly but surely, it’s becoming more important to more people. To wit, increasing numbers of investors are viewing gold as a must-own asset. So, what happens when it becomes a must-own asset to a substantial majority instead of a small minority? Sure, the price will rise, probably parabolically, but putting aside speculation on the price of gold for now, have you thought about what happens if you have trouble finding any actual, physical gold to buy? I think what many bullion dealers warned of regarding supply in last month’s BIG GOLD could come true. Andy Schectman of Miles Franklin insisted that the bullion market “will ultimately be defined by complete lack of available supply.” Border Gold’s Michael Levy cautioned, “If an overwhelming loss of confidence in the US unfolds, the demand for physical gold and silver will far outweigh all known inventories.” And Mike Maloney of GoldSilver.com warned that if shortages develop, “physical bullion coins and bars might become unobtainable regardless of price.” Here’s a trend to consider. The following chart shows the growth in the world’s population vs. the total supply of gold from around the world. By this I mean new supply from mines, not the existing holdings of refined gold of various sorts held by governments, institutions, and individuals around the world. (Click on image to enlarge) The population of planet Earth has grown roughly 15% just since the year 2000, while the new supply of gold from all sources (mining, scrap, de-hedging) has fallen 4.2%. The rate of growth in the world’s population last year was 1.1%; while this is roughly similar to the increase in annual mine production for 2011, the trend right now is clearly for the growth in population to surpass the global supply of gold coming to market. At the same time, demand keeps growing. China imported 3.3 million ounces of gold last November – and total global mining production outside China is just 6.4 million ounces per month. Gold bullion held by the world’s central banks is at a six-year high – but it’s roughly 15% below the amount they held in 1980 and has fallen in half as a percent of their total reserves. Silver supply and demand paints an even starker picture: last year, for the first time in history, sales of silver Eagle and Maple Leaf coins surpassed domestic production in both the US and Canada. Throw in the fact that by most estimates less than 5% of the US population owns any gold or silver and you can see how precarious the situation is. A supply squeeze is not out of the question – rather it is coming to look more and more likely with each passing month. This is great for gold owners and speculators, but it has further implications: As increasing numbers of people view gold as a must-own asset, and as supply is not keeping up with demand, where is the next logical place for investors to turn to get exposure? Gold stocks. Imagine the plight of the mainstream investor who calls a bullion dealer and is told they have no inventory and don’t know when they’ll get any. Picture those with wealth finally becoming convinced they must own precious metals and being informed they’ll have to put their name on a waiting list. Imagine a pension fund or other institutional investor scrambling to get more metal for their fund and being advised the amount they want is “currently unavailable.” Mining equities would be the fastest way to meet that demand. It’s already happening on a small scale. Don Coxe, the Strategy Advisor to BMO Financial Group and consistently named one of top portfolio strategists in the world, stated that, “Gold has in the past decade evolved from being a curiosity, to a speculative investment, to a sound and necessary investment.” He then urged investors to “emphasize the miners at the expense of the bullion ETFs.” David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist for Gluskin Sheff, wrote, “If we accept the premise that gold is acting like a currency, in a world where central banks in many countries are bent on depreciating their own paper money, one could conclude that bullion will rally against all these units. Gold miners offer an attractive way to play this bullion rally. Because input costs tend to be heavily concentrated in the early years of a rally, history has shown that gold miners’ shares tend to dramatically outperform bullion in the later stages of a gold bull market.” And it won’t be just investors buying stocks; sovereign wealth funds will buy entire companies. China proposed to buy Jaguar Mining in November – a producer that can barely turn a profit – for a 74% premium, double the typical amount. China National Gold Group purchased five gold mining companies over the past four years, spending almost a half billion dollars to do so. Then there was this from Mineweb last week: “A consortium of Indian companies led by Steel Authority of India has turned its sights to gold and copper exploration.” And this: “Afghanistan has now invited bids to develop gold mines in the provinces of Badakhshan and Ghazni…” Keep in mind that the market cap of gold stocks is small – Apple and Exxon Mobil are each bigger than the entire gold sector. The boring water-utilities industry is almost three times larger. The sometimes-hated life insurance industry is more than 11 times bigger. Meanwhile, most institutional investors are underweight gold and gold stocks, if they own them at all. The average pension fund devotes approximately 0.15% of its assets to gold stocks; doubling its holdings – still just one-third of one percent – would represent $47 billion of investment in the gold industry. If they wanted 1% exposure, $117 billion would flood our sector. And don’t forget about the needs of hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, mutual funds, private equity funds, private wealth funds, insurance companies, ETFs, and millions of worldwide retail investors like me and you. All these entities could easily view a shift into gold stocks as a viable way to gain exposure to precious metals. It’ll be the next logical step to take – maybe the only sensible step available if the supply of physical metal remains constrained. It will feel like the most natural thing in the world for them to do. Make no mistake: if this bull market continues, gold stocks will truly soar. An increasingly desperate clamor for exposure to gold could light a short fuse for our market sector. It’s not here yet, but when the rush starts, it will be both breathtaking and life-changing. Are you positioned? [You can buy deeply discounted gold today, getting yourself positioned for handsome profits ahead. Learn how to do it.]last_img read more

Learn more →