Lob City – The Dark Horse of the 2014 NBA Playoffs

Posted by – April 17, 2014

The NBA playoffs – where amazing happens.  The postseason starts Saturday, and while TV pundits, professional betters, and normal NBA fans can predict most of the serious championship contenders, there are always a few dark horses that can sneak into the Conference Finals and even win the championship with a few breaks.  After combing through the numbers at ESPN.com, we’ve identified empirical evidence correlating to the NBA Finals’ participants over the past 10 years.  Granted, there is no magic set of data that will predict a champion; however regular season rankings in key categories may suggest that certain under-the-radar teams have a great chance of overachieving.  The Los Angeles Clippers currently are a 9/1 bet to win the NBA championship; their odds may not be as slim as Vegas thinks.

chris paul flex

Regular Season Point Differential

Not surprising – if a team easily beats opponents during the regular season it’s a safe assumption they should continue their dominance through the playoffs.  Playoff games tend to be closer than say a regular season Bucks-Pacers matchup, but look at the past 20 NBA Finals’ participants:

  • 2013 – Miami #2, San Antonio #4
  • 2012 – Oklahoma City #3, Miami #4
  • 2011 – Miami #1, Dallas #8
  • 2010 – Los Angeles Lakers #6 (tied), Boston #9
  • 2009 – Los Angeles Lakers #2, Orlando #4
  • 2008 – Boston #1, Los Angeles Lakers #3
  • 2007 – San Antonio #1, Cleveland #7
  • 2006 – Dallas #3, Miami #5
  • 2005 – San Antonio #1, Detroit #6
  • 2004 – Detroit #2 (tie), Los Angeles #7

Only once did both finalists fall outside of the top 5 in regular season point differential (2010).  Every other year, at least one team was the first, second, or third best in the NBA.  Excluding that 2010 matchup between the Lakers and Celtics, 9 of the past 10 Finals’ participants were in the top 4; obviously regular season dominance translates to postseason success.  The Clippers currently have the second best point differential, trailing only the top winning percentage San Antonio Spurs.

Adjusted Field Goal Percentage

This somewhat obscure yet simple statistic also coincides with NBA Finals participation.  AFG%, for short, calculates a team’s point production per shot attempt and illustrates the benefit or detriment of a team’s three point shot selection.  The formula for AFG% is [field goals made + (3 pointers made/2)]/field goal attempts; essentially meaning teams that take too many dumb 3s and miss them will have a lower AFG% than teams that take the right amount of smart 3s and make them.  Looking at regular season AFG% in the past 10 Finals:

  • 2013 – Miami #1, San Antonio #2
  • 2012 – Oklahoma City #2 (tie), Miami #5 (tie)
  • 2011 – Dallas #3, Miami #4
  • 2010 – Boston #5, Los Angeles Lakers #15 (tie)
  • 2009 – Orlando #3, Los Angeles #5 (tie)
  • 2008 – Los Angeles #4, Boston #5
  • 2007 – San Antonio #2, Cleveland #22
  • 2006 – Miami #2, Dallas #10 (tie)
  • 2005 – San Antonio #6 (tie), Detroit #23
  • 2004 – Los Angeles Lakers #7, Detroit #20 (tie)

The Clippers finished the season tied for fourth.  The past 6 Finals again outline the importance of AFG%, with 11 of 12 finalists falling within the top 5.

Offensive Rebounding – Hardly Important

But we can’t just cherry-pick the best statistics and ignore the blemishes.  Offensive rebounding is thought to be a vital component of slower, grind-it-out playoff basketball.  Teams will need every extra shot attempt against better competition in closer games, right?  The Clippers are currently 21st in the NBA at 10.5 offensive rebounds per game, but this may be indicative of better shooting (3rd highest percentage) which means offensive rebounds become less pertinent.  Regular season offensive rebounding in the past 10 Finals:

  • 2013 – Miami #28, San Antonio last (tie)
  • 2012 – Oklahoma City #19 (tie), Miami #24
  • 2011 – Miami #26 (tie), Dallas #28
  • 2010 – Los Angeles Lakers #3, Boston last
  • 2009 – Los Angeles #3, Orlando #27
  • 2008 – Los Angeles #17 (tie), Boston #23
  • 2007 – Cleveland #1, San Antonio #28
  • 2006 – Dallas #3 (tie), Miami #20 (tie)
  • 2005 – Detroit #6, San Antonio #15 (tie)
  • 2004 – Detroit #12, Los Angeles #13 (tie)

Clearly, offensive rebounding has almost no correlation to championship pedigree.  Just look at the Detroit Pistons; the #1 offensive rebounding team and their president resigned amidst a disappointing 29-53 season.

The Los Angeles Clippers have the statistics indicating great potential for a deep playoff run.  Best point guard in the game – check.  Great coach – check.  All aboard the Clippers’ bandwagon.

The Wall Street Flaneur’s 2014 Solar Outlook (spoiler alert: we’re buying more)

Posted by – April 11, 2014

Solar Energy is the futureEvery day the sun crests the horizon and travels across the sky. Every day it provides energy to plants that feed animals that feed other animals that die that eventually become fossils that eventually become oil. The sun, directly or indirectly, powers almost everything on Earth.

Today, thanks to the proliferation of solar energy installations, the sun also powers robust income streams. Companies, individuals, and investors the world over are profiting handsomely from the enormous income-generating potential of solar energy. Its ascent over the past decade has been rapid, and it’s picking up steam.

Solar has become visible. It’s become economical. It’s become irrefutable. It’s become the future. –The Flaneur

The Wall Street Flaneur’s 2014 Solar Outlook

We first published a series on the solar industry nearly two years ago (part 1, part 2). Since then, we’ve covered the SolarCity IPO and published a state of the industry. The industry’s recovery and remarkable run in the stock market over the past 22 months has prompted many questions. Is it just speculation? How much room is there to run? What happens when incentives inevitably wither? More

Scotch Whisky – Europe’s Safest Investment

Posted by – March 26, 2014

This Inflation-Hedging Investment May Already Be in Your Cabinet
Delicious and exclusive, investment grade scotch may be the best inflation hedge you already own.

The Federal Reserve’s current monetary policy is wholly unprecedented. That’s a fact. These tactics have never been tried before. If the mainstream media, economist community, and investment “experts” were capable of putting ego aside, they’d all agree – no one knows what is going to happen next.

The economists over at the Fed are writing papers about a potentially deflationary outcome, not dissimilar to the Japanese experience in near-zero interest rate policy. Other very smart economists are predicting an impending explosion of inflation, the likes of which could devastate the buying power of your hard earned savings.

What is a reasonable investor to do? It’s simple – take steps to protect your assets from these possible risks. Some say gold is the answer. Others real estate. Today, we want to tell you about another asset you may have never considered. It’s liquid. It’s brown. It can be very, very delicious. It can also be a fantastic investment and inflation hedge. -The Flaneur

Scotch Whisky – Europe’s Safest Investment

In January, a bottle of Macallan “M” sold for over $600,000 in Hong Kong, considered the most expensive whisky transaction in history.  Granted, the purchased bottle was six times the normal size and the bottle was made of hand-blown crystal (the first 40 iterations were deemed imperfect and destroyed while the 17 craftsmen sadly shook their heads).

Source: http://money.cnn.com/2014/01/21/news/economy/whisky-auction/

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From $20 million to $166 billion: How One Company Took Over The World One Sip at a Time

Posted by – March 7, 2014

Winners come in a variety of shapes and sizes. There are the companies that transform overnight from obscurity to the front page (like this, or this, or this). And then there are the household names that have been delivering products and services for decades and sometimes centuries.

For some of these companies, winning is a fluke. The right place, the right time, the right product. The hula hoop. Blackberry. MySpace. For others, it’s a function of a brand’s enduring strength and scale creating a barrier to entry too strong for challenger’s advances.

But for some neither luck nor legacy tell the story. For some companies, winning is about taking business personally. It’s about ruthlessly crushing the competition. It’s about dreaming big and delivering bigger. It’s about developing a game plan so strong, so indomitable, that it propels a small, $20 million company into a $166 billion behemoth in less than 25 years.

And why do we care about investing in winners? Because winning is the best investment strategy. –The Flaneur

From $20 million to $166 billion: How One Company Took Over The World One Sip at a Time

In 1989 a group of investors led by Marcel Telles purchased the second largest beer brewer in Brazil, Brahma. Backed by the Brazilian investment bank Banco Garantia (home to private equity master Jorge Paulo Lemann, one third of the group who would go on to found 3G Capital and control Burger King and Heinz Ketchup), Brahma rapidly began to change. More

9 Pics of Presidents Being Bad Ass. And, Yes, #4 Does Feature President Obama Riding A Lion.

Posted by – February 17, 2014

Happy President’s Day from The Wall Street Flaneur!

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