The Golden State Warriors and their fans are (rightly) focused on celebrating a championship right now. But with their 105-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night, the Warriors put the finishing touches on a run that was no ordinary title-winning season. The Warriors’ 2014-15 campaign should go down as one of the greatest single seasons in league history.Golden State’s journey started with the unrealized potential of previous years. The 2013 team overachieved under second-year head coach Mark Jackson, but an ousting in the first round of the 2014 playoffs and a lack of harmony between Jackson and management sent Golden State looking for new leadership going into this season. After Steve Kerr spurned the New York Knicks1In retrospect, an outstanding decision! to take the Warriors coaching job and the smoke cleared on the rest of the offseason’s transactions, our numbers said the Warriors had the most talented team in basketball.But our crystal ball didn’t foresee how dominant the Warriors would be. During the regular season, Golden State crushed their competition in a way that hadn’t been seen since the Michael Jordan-era Chicago Bulls. Golden State won 67 games, tied for the sixth-most in league history, and its schedule-adjusted points-per-game margin (as measured by Basketball-Reference.com’s Simple Rating System, also known as SRS) ranked seventh all-time. The team became just the fourth in NBA history to outperform the league average by 6 points of efficiency on one side of the ball — in the Warriors’ case, offense — and by 4 points on the other. Moreover, the team’s Elo rating at the end of the regular season was second only to that of the record-setting 1996 Bulls.After those 67 wins, though, there were lingering concerns about Golden State’s ability to win in the postseason.Unlike other dominating squads from the past, the Warriors were relative greenhorns on the postseason stage — in a sport in which playoff experience does seem to have a tangible effect. Their 288 dynasty points2A measure of playoff experience. over the preceding five seasons3Leading up to 2015. were the fewest ever by a team with an SRS of +8 or better and tied the 2014 Clippers for the second-fewest by a +6.5 SRS team. Out of the 95 historical teams with anywhere near as much regular-season success as the Warriors had in 2014-15, Golden State owned (at best) the fourth-worst postseason pedigree over the half-decade beforehand.Relatedly, while the Warriors dominated our power ratings all season long, their talent level was less proven than that of their stronger peers atop the all-time SRS list. For instance, while the aggregated multiyear Statistical Plus/Minus talent projection was an absurd +10.9 for members of the 1996 Bulls, +10.4 for the 1997 Bulls and +9.2 for the 1992 Bulls, Golden State’s +7.5 rating was more akin to the 2009 Cavaliers’ +7.1 mark. Simply put, the Warriors hadn’t been good enough for long enough to generate a higher talent rating, which might also suggest the potential for postseason regression.Not to mention that the Warriors also played a fast-paced, 3-point heavy style that traditionalists were still not convinced could win an NBA championship. While there’s little evidence that such a team is more prone to slumps, no team that led the league in pace had won a title since the 1972 Lakers, and no team had ever won after using more than 29 percent of their field-goal attempts on 3-pointers. The NBA’s conventional wisdom was that those types of teams couldn’t win a title because their supposedly gimmicky strengths would surely abandon them when the pressure was on.The Warriors hopefully put those myths to rest with a championship run that counts among the best of the past three decades. It wasn’t without its moments of concern. Golden State trailed 2 games to 1 against both Memphis and Cleveland. But on the whole, the Warriors’ postseason performance ranks eighth among champions since 1984 after accounting for their scoring margin, the SRS ratings of their opponents and the location and leverage index of each game:If we don’t adjust for leverage and therefore have the ability to measure playoff SRS going back to 1950, Golden State’s 2015 title run ranks 16th among all 66 NBA champions in that span. By that measure, the Warriors might not pass the 1971 Bucks or 1996 Bulls — both of whom followed up the two best regular seasons of all time by SRS with two of the three best playoff runs ever4The other belongs to the inconsistent 2001 Lakers. — on the list of best single-season teams ever, and it might even open up the door for the 1986 Celtics to slip ahead of them on the basis of a superior postseason performance.(Although, it’s worth noting that Golden State wrapped up the playoffs with the second-highest Elo rating on record and that they played in a league with nearly twice as many teams as Milwaukee did in 1971. But I digress.)Half the fun of these GOAT arguments is splitting hairs with different stats, but the most important thing to realize is that these Warriors firmly belong in that conversation. This might be the start of something even bigger for the franchise, or it could be a stand-alone championship. But for at least one season, we just witnessed a team that could legitimately be compared to Jordan’s Bulls, with hardly any hyperbole necessary.For fans of basketball history on this championship morning-after, that’s worth appreciating and celebrating.
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Tonight’s NFC North showdown between Minnesota (2-2) and Chicago (1-3) will mark a potentially historic moment for the Bears as quarterback-of-the-future Mitch Trubisky will officially take the reins of the reeling franchise. But how much can we expect from the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft? Watch the video above to find out.
Then-sophomore outside hitter Reese Devilbiss hits the ball over the net during the finalset of No. 3 Ohio State’s match against No. 8 Penn State on Jan. 28, 2018 in St. John Arena. The Buckeyes defeated the Nittany Lions in straight sets (25-19, 25-15, 25-17) to pick up their fifth win of the season. Credit: Aliyyah Jackson | Senior ReporterStruggling to build on recent offensive success, the Ohio State men’s volleyball team was inefficient, error-prone and out-blocked in a straight-set defeat to No. 11 Loyola Chicago Friday in Chicago. The loss brings the Buckeyes (8-17, 3-8 MIVA) closer to locking up the seventh seed in the conference tournament, while Loyola Chicago (16-7, 9-2 MIVA) remains entrenched in a battle for the top seed with No. 8 Lewis. The Buckeyes hit at a meager .144 clip on the night, managing 30 kills and five aces while the Ramblers’ hit .329 with 33 kills and eight aces. Of the 63 total kills, 30 came in the third and final set. The Buckeyes came out swinging in the third set, taking a 7-1 lead off of four kills by sophomore outside hitter Jake Hanes and three combined aces by senior setter Sanil Thomas and junior outside hitter Reese Devilbiss. Two five-point runs helped Loyola Chicago back into the set, giving the Ramblers a 14-13 lead, but the Buckeyes used three kills and an attack error to tie the set at 17. The Ramblers took control down the stretch, using two kills by senior outside hitter Will Tischler and an ace by senior opposite hitter and setter Dane LeClair to open up a three-point margin before LeClair hammered home a final kill, ending the set 25-22, and giving Loyola Chicago the 3-0 match victory.Tischler led the Ramblers with 11 kills, adding an ace, four digs and two blocks. LeClair finished with six kills, two aces, 10 digs and three blocks. Hanes paced the Buckeyes with 17 kills, providing six digs in support. Defensively, redshirt senior libero Aaron Samarin led the team with 10 digs, also contributing three assists. Kills by LeClair and senior middle blocker Paul Narup and an ace by senior outside hitter Collin Mahan helped Loyola Chicago storm out to an early 6-2 lead. The Buckeyes used two kills and an ace by Devilbiss and three kills by Hanes to try to cut into the Ramblers’ lead to no avail, but Loyola Chicago led by eight at set point, 24-16. Backed against the wall, the Buckeyes mounted a comeback, rattling off five straight points courtesy of three Loyola Chicago errors and two Hanes kills to move within three before a kill by LeClair sealed a first set win for the Ramblers, 25-21. Loyola Chicago finished with 20 total errors, seven attack and 13 service, while Ohio State totaled 33 errors, 17 attack and 16 service. With the second set tied at nine, eight Ohio State errors helped the Ramblers go on a tear with three different scoring runs of three, five and five points, the last of which won them the set, 25-14. Despite just seven kills, Loyola Chicago used three kills and three blocks to dominate the second set. The Ramblers finished the match with eight blocks, while the Buckeyes did not record a block. Ohio State will face No. 8 Lewis at 8 p.m. Saturday in Romeoville, Illinois.
Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Smart home security system Canary has flown into big-box retailers.The system made waves on the crowdfunding site Indiegogo in the summer of 2013. It quickly surpassed the initial fundraising goal of $100,000, raising more than $1,900,000 by the end of the funding period. (It later went on to raise an additional $10 million in Series A funding.)While exceeding your crowdfunding goal and scoring a lot of cash is nothing to bat an eye at, what makes this startup unique is the fact it even made it onto the shelves of Best Buy, Amazon, Home Depot and Verizon Wireless. With competition fierce, landing limited retail space isn’t easy, especially if you are a small company. But apparently having so much interest and a known product-market fit, helped Canary get noticed by the big guns.Related: These High-Tech High Heels Change Color With the Click of an AppThe system retails for $249 and with that, you get a whole lot of features.The cylindrical device has a high-definition video camera, a microphone, night vision and sensors that can detect changes in the house. Canary connects with Android and iOS smartphones, so you can see the video feed of your home in real time. It also sends alerts when it registers discrepancies like an unfamiliar motion or sound (perhaps an intruder) or a change in temperature and air quality (perhaps a fire). As Canary becomes more familiar with what’s typical for your house, it will send more appropriate alerts. Those who are already using the device as beta testers reportedly check the app approximately four times a day and watch nearly an hour of live video per month, the company said in a statement.U.S. retail stores are just the beginning, as Canary plans on expanding its wings to the global market later this year.Related: Avoiding the ‘Inevitable’ Breach: 4 Ways Retailers Should Amp Up Security March 25, 2015 2 min read Register Now »
For several months, the investment community has been abuzz over the possibility of a tech bubble, with nearly everyone from the financial world weighing in. The very fact that there’s so much chatter about a bubble probably indicates that one doesn’t exist. Nonetheless, I decided to look deeper into the matter. On August 28, I began examining the evidence in a series of articles titled “Tech Bubble 2.0”? In Part 1, we looked at the Nasdaq’s normalized price/earnings ratio over the last 20 years. Our conclusion: the Nasdaq is due for a correction, but is nowhere near the highs of the dot-com bubble. In Part 2, we looked at mergers and in Part 3, IPOs—both areas where irrational exuberance would indicate that a bubble is forming. In both areas, we concluded that there are definite signs of excess, but we are not approaching bubble levels… yet. In today’s fourth and final installment, we’ll take a look at what the venture capitalists are up to and decide whether they’re signaling that a bubble is upon us. The Unique Barometer of Venture Capitalists Venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) are terms that are often used interchangeably. And though in practice they often overlap and are hard to distinguish, in theory they connote two very different kinds of business funding. Private equity investors typically buy existing companies with established products, distribution, and revenues that are under- or mismanaged, then seek to optimize profitability through operational improvements and/or restructuring. Venture capitalists, on the other hand, are the intrepid souls who fund startup or early-stage companies that may have little to no revenue but have extremely high growth potential. Since more growth potential exists in technology than any other field, that’s the sector where most VC activity takes place. VCs make their money by funding startup and early-stage companies until a “liquidity event” can be arranged, such as an IPO or sale to an established company that sees a strategic advantage to making the purchase. Awash with cash from a few big wins and high demand from investors seeking to jump on the bandwagon, funding and liquidity events tend to reach a fever pitch when a bubble is imminent. Unlike private equity funds that often have strict criteria for what multiples of revenue, EBITDA, and enterprise value they will purchase companies at (which limit their likelihood of overpaying), VCs get to be more creative by definition. Since most VC funding happens based on a vision of what a company might be able to accomplish, they can be much more creative about how they value a company and take on a lot more risk. When the cash is flowing into funds, the temptation to keep it there often has them throwing more and more money at fewer and lesser-quality deals, all to avoid giving it back to partners and losing out on fees or looking like they don’t know what they’re doing amidst a market where everyone else is doubling down. Of all investment markets, without the healthy forces of short selling, volume declines, and negative analyst coverage to push back against their ideas of grandeur, VCs are most susceptible to the groupthink that drives any bubble and thus tend to blaze the trail going in. That’s what happened in 2000; is it happening again? Overstating the Case We hear a lot of anecdotal evidence that a VC bubble is indeed imminent, most of which revolves around seemingly irrational valuations. “A $10 billion valuation on AirBnB… ridiculous. Or Uber’s $18 billion… preposterous.” Okay, I won’t even try to justify those, even though AirBnB holds more inventory than most of the world’s hotel chains, and Uber is quickly becoming the eBay of transportation, generating $20 million per week in revenue by the end of last year and doubling every six months… and all this before the company even raised the cash to truly start marketing. None of that matters because: No one valued AirBnB at $10 billion, or Uber at $18 billion. The companies are twisting the truth for air play, and the media are parroting it back in exactly the way they’d hoped. Bingo!: free marketing. With VC deals, you see, the terms are far more complex than just a chunk of money for a percent of the company; and as a result, the implied valuation is almost always meaningless. These deals invariably contain options, warrants, and most germane to valuation, liquidity preferences. Those spell out terms that put the VC’s preferred stock ahead of other investors when the stock is sold to an acquirer or the public markets. For example, if a VC invests $500 million for 5% of a company, the implied valuation is $10 billion. If there’s a liquidation preference on that investment and the company sells out for $3 billion to a competitor, the VC gets paid first. Despite the paper loss against implied valuation, the VC walks away fully paid off and most likely with a profit to boot, because he was first in line before lower-order shareholders… and the common stock is worth wildly less than $10 billion. The point is this: valuations in the world of venture capital are routinely inflated and misreported because they’re calculated without taking into account the true nature of liquidity preferences. But inflated valuations make for good headlines that drive clicks, so we get stories about bubbles from reporters more interested in sensational claims than anything resembling the truth. Let’s take those claims with a grain of salt (since we now know they often rest on a faulty premise or three) and turn our attention instead to more quantifiable data as we wrestle with the Tech Bubble 2.0 question. A Look at the Numbers Here’s a chart that shows the annual number and dollar amount of venture capital deals from 1998 through 2013. As you can see, information technology drove the 2000 bubble, accounting for 65% of venture capital financing as it jumped to record heights—not unlike subprime loans in 2005-‘07, the asset class exploded higher in activity. In 2013, tech accounted for a much healthier 26% of total venture capital financing—close to its typical share. Furthermore, total tech financing (including life sciences) of $17.2 billion in 2013 was only 26% of the $66 billion financed in 2000, while “other” industry financing in 2013 was 59% of the 2000 amount. From the data, an argument could be made that there’s less evidence of a bubble in tech than in the rest of the market. So the numbers seem to be telling us we’re not yet in a tech bubble. However, our chart also shows us that we’ve had significant VC financings for three consecutive years. And Dow VentureSource reports that in 2014 the pace is accelerating. First-half 2014 venture investment, according to the research firm, was $25 billion and is projected to reach $50 billion for the year. That’s a 52% increase over 2013. A Bubble of a Different Sort How do we reconcile the fact that technology isn’t running away from the pack as it did in the dot-com era with the fact that venture activity has surpassed 2007 levels and is climbing? The former seems to contradict the theory that tech is in a bubble, yet the latter shows we have definitely entered an exuberant phase. Has the economy improved so much it’s simply a warranted increase? Some believe that we’ve simply entered a new golden age of technology, and that differences in the makeup and maturity of the tech market between the dot-com days and the present justify the increased activity. Marty Biancuzzo, writing for Wall Street Daily, effectively describes those differences: Consider that before the dot-com frenzy took hold, the euphoria came largely from one industry trend: the Internet. Today, we still have tech sector exuberance, of course… but it’s dispersed across several industries instead. For example, trends like mobile technology, cloud computing, social media, on-demand services, the Internet of Things, and wearable technology. In other words, today’s tech sector is much more diverse than it was 15 years ago, when the Internet was just getting started. We have far more growth drivers now. In our “always on, always connected” society, says Biancuzzo, we have “unstoppable mega trends that’ll drive underlying growth for years.” It’s hard to argue with the increased user base of technology over the last 15 years—growth has been enormous all around the world. Fund raising for tech, especially information tech, is primarily driven by fundamentals and growth catalysts today as opposed to the euphoria that came to drive venture capitalist in 2000. But that only answers half the question. That technology VC activity has grown so much would be a fine explanation had it not stayed at the same ratio to all other venture investing. That means all other venture investing is way up too, and those markets don’t have the same qualitative justification. The same goes for every aspect we’ve explored: Revenue and profit multiples in publicly traded tech have increased at only a fraction of the rate of those in financials; These numbers aren’t even inflation adjusted, so the nominal value is even a bit overstated. And yes, deal flow has been increasing more rapidly than dollars, but that just means VCs are picking up smaller deals on average, which is usually indicative of a focus on earlier-stage companies (counter to all the talk about the comparative handful of “mega rounds” and late-stage financing). If 2000 is the benchmark for a bubble, these data would suggest that the VC market is nowhere near the hysteria that characterized the dot-com years. But the data cover VC activity for all industries; what about data specific to tech? Let’s take a look. I think we can all agree that 2000 was a bubble year in the truest sense. The number and dollar amount of VC deals in that year were up 39% and 89% respectively from the year before, and 149% and 421% more than two years earlier. In the 13 subsequent years, the VC market has yet to come close to equaling the number of deals or the dollar amount of financing completed in 2000. 1) Information Technology $8.6 $60.0 The increase in VC activity is much larger outside technology than in it. All these factors together look like the opposite of 1999. Back then, technology’s bubble caused excess capital to flow into all sorts of industries, pushing up wages, tax receipts, stock values, private equity and venture flows, etc. well beyond the dot-coms. But technology clearly led the way. Today, tech is rising in line with everything else. It appears to be the side beneficiary of a bubble elsewhere, not the cause. When you cannot pinpoint where you have a bubble, it usually means that bubble is in money and banking itself. While the Mexican peso crashed in the 1980s, many a “millionaire” was minted as the stock market there rose rapidly in nominal terms. Japan has seen a similar trend in recent years, with the yen falling and Japanese stocks rising. And now, America is awash in cheap liquidity. That’s driving up public debt and derivatives activity to unforeseen levels. Those who hedged their holdings against previous liquidity bubbles did spectacularly well—think George Soros and others who bet against the British pound. Those who didn’t hedge just ended up peso millionaires. My advice to those who are worried about a tech bubble… think bigger. We’re in the midst of a classic game of excess liquidity driving up asset prices across the board. When that happens, you must stay invested, lest you miss asset prices rising rapidly while wages and interest stagnate (sound familiar for the past five years?). And you would be very well served by hedging against the possibility that our currency goes the way of the peso. After all, that’s the actual goal of current policy, as cheap dollars equal strong exports and blue-collar jobs. Article one in this series: Tech Bubble 2.0? Not According to the Stock Market Article two in this series: Merger Mania! Tech Bubble 2.0, Part 2 Article three in this series: IPO Insanity! Tech Bubble 2.0, Part 3 Dollar Amount Financed 2011 $36.2 Billion $92.9 Billion 39% Number of Deals 2012 3,649 6,448 57% 2013 2000 Total Tech $17.2 $66.0 2) Life Sciences $8.6 $6.0 Peak Yr. No./Amt. Bubble Yr. (2000) No./Amt. Peak Year as % of Bubble Yr. VC’s Peak Years Since 2000 Private equity financing multiples are up across the board in every sector, including larger jumps in health care and real estate than in technology; Total, All Industries $33.1 $92.9 VC Financing (Billions): 2013 Compared to 2000 IPO sizes have increased dramatically, as have the market pops afterward, exactly at a time when the profit quality of those firms is decreasing; and Other Industries $15.9 $26.9