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Mac Taylor

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Ben Simmons Has Old-School Range. In 2019, That’s A Problem.

The Philadelphia 76ers have been one of the most interesting teams of the 2018-19 NBA season so far — and that hasn’t always been a good thing. On the court, they’re a fast-paced squad with a ton of young talent, but they haven’t quite made the leap forward people expected after last year’s breakout performance. Off the court, they followed up a crazy offseason with the blockbuster trade of the year to date, snagging Jimmy Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves. But perhaps predictably, it didn’t take long before reports emerged about drama between Butler and Philly’s coaching staff. Stir in Joel Embiid’s troll tweets and the depressing saga of former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz’s shot, and there’s never a dull moment with these Sixers.

Somewhat quietly amid the craziness, though, point-forward Ben Simmons’s shooting has also become a major subplot in Philadelphia’s mercurial ascent. Late in his rookie season, we noted that Simmons had never made a 3-pointer in his NBA career; he’s now 126 games in, and that’s still true — in fact, he hasn’t even attempted one this season. Only 10 percent of Simmons’ shots have even come outside of 10 feet from the basket. Here’s what his highly compressed shot chart looks like this season, according to Austin Clemens’ Swish 2.0 tool:

It’s like something you might have seen from an NBA star of the 1970s or 1980s — if only we’d had shot charts for players back then. Of course, this hasn’t stopped Simmons from being an extremely productive NBA player: He currently ranks 16th in the league in Win Shares and is tied for 14th in Value Over Replacement Player.

But as SB Nation’s Matt Ellentuck pointed out a few weeks ago, Simmons’s unwillingness to shoot could be hampering Philly’s potential against better opponents. “In Simmons’ 11 career games against the Celtics,” Ellentuck wrote, “Boston has outscored Philly by 125 points in 402 minutes with him on the floor, according to StatMuse.” By comparison, that number was somehow 134 points worse than Embiid’s plus-minus against Boston in a comparable number of minutes.1 Ellentuck went on to show a similar split for Simmons against other contenders (such as the Toronto Raptors), and more favorable splits against poor teams such as the Atlanta Hawks, although a lot of that is to be expected — obviously a good player on a good team will have a better plus-minus against bad teams than fellow good ones.

Individually, though, Simmons does have one of the NBA’s largest splits in performance based on the quality of the opponent, and the Sixers have won disproportionately more games against bad teams than good ones. Using data from HoopsStats.com, I broke out the DRE (Daily RAPM Estimate, a useful all-in-one “game score”-type stat from Nylon Calculus) per 36 minutes for every player who logged at least 500 minutes against opponents who are better and opponents who are worse than .500 this season.

Many players across the league see a decline in production when facing tougher teams, but Simmons has seen the fourth-biggest drop-off. And while No. 1 on the list belongs to Steph Curry of all players, Curry still does plenty of damage against good teams, ranking eighth in DRE per 36 vs. teams with winning records. Simmons, by contrast, ranks 77th against those same opponents.

Which players drop off against good teams?

Biggest declines in Nylon Calculus’s Daily RAPM Estimate (DRE) for 2018-19 NBA players against opponents with winning records vs. losing records

DRE per 36 minutes
Player Team vs. .500+ vs. <.500 Diff
Stephen Curry GSW 10.1 15.1 -5.0
De’Aaron Fox SAC 7.2 12.0 -4.9
Nikola Jokic DEN 9.6 13.9 -4.3
Ben Simmons PHI 7.2 11.1 -4.0
Enes Kanter NYK 5.9 9.7 -3.9
Victor Oladipo IND 7.1 10.9 -3.8
James Harden HOU 11.2 14.7 -3.5
Kevin Durant GSW 9.7 13.2 -3.4
Klay Thompson GSW 5.8 9.1 -3.3
Russell Westbrook OKC 7.9 11.1 -3.2

Minimum 500 minutes played; 2019 DRE as of Jan. 15.

Sources: hoopsstats, Nylon Calculus

In addition to Curry, you can also see the maniacally stat-stuffing James Harden and even Curry’s own teammates Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson near the top of the list. So in itself, this isn’t necessarily an indicator of postseason limitations or of players who haven’t yet reached their full potential. But there’s a difference between players who are amazing against all kinds of teams (just playing extra-great against bad ones) and ones who feast on bad opponents in particular.

Right now, Simmons is fitting into the latter category. He sees greatly reduced rates of scoring (from 19.2 points per 36 minutes to 15.5), shooting efficiency (from a 60.1 field goal percentage to 54.2) and foul-drawing (from 6.2 free throw attempts per 36 to 5.5) against winning clubs, along with an increase in turnovers (from 3.5 per 36 to 4.0). (Simmons’ rebounds and assists stay roughly stable between each level of competition.) These opponents are the ones best equipped to approach Simmons like Boston did in the playoffs last year, cutting off driving lanes and exploiting the reduced amount of space his shooting range requires them to defend.

But there’s also evidence Simmons’s game is adapting in his second healthy season as a pro. According to Second Spectrum tracking data, his drives per game are down from 15.5 last season (sixth-most in the league) to 9.0 (54th-most), and his pick-and-roll ballhandling plays are down from 18.1 to 8.1 — largely due to the arrival of Butler, who commands 10.0 picks per game as a ballhandler and tries 8.6 drives per game. So while Simmons now gets the vast majority of his buckets in transition, which makes sense given his skill set, he’s also ramped up his workload in areas more closely linked to traditional big men, such as rolling off screens and posting up. And more importantly, he’s gradually been taking more jumpers over the past few weeks: In January (through Tuesday’s game), 14 percent of Simmons’s shots have come from outside 10 feet of the basket (with a field goal percentage of 29 percent), compared with only 11 percent of shots (and a 20 percent field goal percentage) in October through December.

Simmons still has a lot of work to do in these new parts of his game, but he is at least showing some signs of developing a more diversified offensive profile. And the fact that he’s managed to increase his true shooting percentage and offensive efficiency somewhat significantly while doing so has to be encouraging for the Sixers in the grand scheme of Simmons’s evolution as a player. Although his shortcomings may still leave him vulnerable to good teams for now, that may not always be the case.

Check out our latest NBA predictions.

UltimateSEO.net Launches As Sister Site Focused On Free SEO Tools

Ultimate SEO has gotten a little more ultimate.  We continuing to offer our SEO information and topical articles and plan to expand into indepth discussions of stuff at the most minute details.  Great for those of us who love metrics and but our metrics are only as good as the tools we can access.  SEO tools are plentiful and almost all are expensive.  The best tools focus on one aspect of SEO and do that well but effective SEO campaigns are holistic and can’t neglect other foundational tool categories.  Having the best backlink tool won’t make the best SEO Site Audit.  It takes multple tools, often overlapping and many cost hundreds of dollars a month.  Thats why we’re launching UltimateSEO.net

FREE SEO TOOLS SITE

SEO Tools are abundant but hard to find interestingly enough. At Ultimate SEO We’re offering more than one scan tool for page auditing.  In the image below there is a scan auditing tool in the blue and yellow header and a separate unrelated scan auditing tool on the page. We encourage you to use both.  Additionally from the Tools drop down you can take advantage of a dozen more SEO tools.  We’ll work to continue to expand the sites tools and we will NOT charge for these tools.

In addition to these tools SEO Panel is an open source tool that will allow users to track metrics and issues over the course of months and years allowing sites to see trends.  SEO Panel is also FREE but it does require registration at THAT site.  SEO Panel is available at https://panel.ultimateSEO.org

UltimateSEO.net homepage
UltimateSEO.net focused on SEO Tools

UltimateSEO.org also hosts a forum where you can seek answers to common and uncommon SEO issues.  Happy SEOing and may the backlinks always be follows.

List of existing tools

CSV File Merger

Keyword List Multiplier

Structured Data Tool

Link Variance

Analytics Spam Tool

Bulk URL Checker

RSS Feed Creator

What’s My SEO Score (Page Auditor #3)

SEO Panel Homepage

SEO PANEL – Free Rank Trending Site

We also have an in-depth SEO tool available to our listers and visitors.

SEO Knowledge Bank And Support At UltimateSEO.org

SEO Articles and case studies will be published and pieced together to create guides specific to topics of interest.

Forums and discussions between fellow SEO professionals are available and hosted at the site.

SEO Support Desk allows registered users to enter a support request .

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Most Personality Quizzes Are Junk Science. Take One That Isn’t.

Your groups

You’re part of the ${group} group. Its members are taking a personality quiz to see how they compare to the group’s average. Once you’ve taken the quiz, your score will be added to the group average.

What’s your personality, and what can it tell you about your true self? Those questions have launched a thousand online personality quizzes. But you can do better than those specious — yet irresistible — quizzes. You can take a personality quiz backed by science.

Meet the Big Five, the way most psychologists measure and test personality. It’s a system built on decades of research about how people describe one another and themselves. (You can read more about it in this article we published last year.) There are a couple of things that make it — and this quiz — different.

First, the Big Five doesn’t put people into neat personality “types,” because that’s not how personalities really work. Instead, the quiz gives you a score on five different traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, negative emotionality and openness to experience. For each of those traits, you’re graded on a scale from 0 to 100, depending on how strongly you associate with that trait. So, for example, this quiz won’t tell you whether you’re an extravert or an introvert — instead, it tells you your propensity toward extraversion. Every trait is graded on a spectrum, with a few people far out on the extremes and a lot of people in the middle.

The other thing that makes the Big Five different is it lets you easily compare your score to others’. We’re going to show you how your personality compares with that of the average American. And once you get your results, you can invite friends and relatives to compare your personality to theirs. (In the meantime, you’ll be stuck comparing yourself to the average FiveThirtyEight staffer.)

So what are you waiting for? Find out who you really are — take the quiz for yourself!

Multi-Domain Strategy In SEO … Risky But Lets Have Some Risk

So I feel like its everyone’s dream to be a media conglomerate, why buy one newspaper when you can buy 100s?  Well, SEO and the internet are one big community…so in the analogy … why build multiple newspapers in the same city?  No one would do that and it’s about the same with the internet or at least it should be…but everyone wants to have multiple top ranking domains.

Real Life Examples Of Multiple Domains

There is only two ways this could work out…

  • Your brand is merging with another equally powerful and recognized brand and dissolving either brand will leave a huge gap that competitors will fill fast than you can with your one brand.  Example … Zillow bought Trulia for 3.5 billion they represent the number one and number two home listings sites.  They have continued to operate two sites in the same niche because anything other than what they have now is less than optimal.  SO … you can do the same when your billion dollar company buys out your #2 competition for 4 billion or so dollars.  Until then…this first scenario doesn’t work for you.

zillow has a multiple domain strategyTrulia Is In A Multiple Domain Strategy

  • Your brand is buying a vertical business…(word for it escapes just now but its not the point so moving on) Let’s say you make eyeglasses, you make almost all of the eyeglasses.  So you buy the stores that sell them and then you buy the vision insurance company too.  Thats what I mean…Your original business was production and you dealt with retail outlets, you couldn’t make hardly any more glasses so you expanded vertically in the supply chain.  Its the story of that famous eye glass company you know that owns all the others… Luxottica.  Never heard of them well…they did a “Multi-Domain” strategy and you have heard of these companies… EyeMed, Target Optical, Pearle Vision, Lens-crafters, Sunglass Hut, Glasses.com … theres more but you get the point.  A consumer believe they have choice in the market but thats because you let them.  Combined all these companies are 1/4 of all eyewear value in all the little pieces of that industry.  They command it.  Your new domain JimmysBestTshirtsThatRFunny.info is not them you need one domain…so buying 8 other T-shirt domains wont help you other than maybe you got a better name than that monster.  Now the key part of this strategy though is vertical integration…your retail store isn’t competing with your vision insurance company and its not competing with the factory … they’re all buyers of each other till a consumer gets it.

Increased Competition But Not Sales

Thats really about it.  You’re likely going to have room to grow in the sector you are in for sometime and you wont have the funds to buy up a fourth of the world’s T-shirt makers so focus on your one domain.  Why?  Well…changing the names to protect the guilty.  I had a client who insisted on multiple domains we’ll say they were a tour company that ran guided tours of Liberty Island in NYC.  Its a weird niche just cause you don’t have to have a guided tour to see the Island but because of the demand and popularity several companies sprout up and sale tickets to a national park property.  Its easy money with online sales being where its at … but if you have 5 competitors sites you figure well lets add two more so now there are 7 sites and your competition adds 2 sites thats 15 now plus your 3 …. so we now have 18 sites all competing for the same audience and the same experience.  Did you know that it’s really hard to rank up to the top 3 spots with one site?  So now to benefit from what you’ve done you need to rank up 3 times that and fight off 15 instead of 5 other sites.  We didn’t even have a second page until now in search results and someone has to be on it.

Multiple Domain Canabalism SEO

When Multiple Domains Don’t Work

So thing about your multiple domains, assign keywords to one … then move to the next domain … don’t assign the same keywords and the same role to that site, you’re just competing with yourself.  Also you’re diluting your search traffic maybe combined you have 30% of the traffic but Google doesn’t see that, it sees 15% here and 10% at this second domain and only 5% at the last site.  Say a competitor has a site thats at 16% his one site will out rank your three because you’ve split up all your efforts and resources.  Thats the problem with the Multi Domain Strategy.

When Might You Use Multiple Domains?

I like to think I don’t do that.  I have UltimateSEO.org and its SEO.  I have CLoud502.com and it is cloud computing and I have data502.com and its Data Analysis.  Related?  Of course but very different.  A person googling “AWS servers” isn’t going to click on a site about SEO.  You find niches for the domains and target the audience and keywords for those domains.

So in the end, before you grow to more than one domain ask yourself if this new domain will have a different audience than the first.  If not and if you can argue the same keywords fit both sites, you need one site.

So don’t eat yourself up with Multiple Domains.  I’ll be posting in the next day about my addition of UltimateSEO.net .. how I intend NOT to canabalize this site.

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How Julian Castro Could Win The 2020 Democratic Primary

On Saturday, Democrat Julian Castro held an event in his hometown — San Antonio, Texas, where he served as mayor for five years — to announce he is running for president. But Castro’s campaign might be a bit a of a long shot considering he’s polling between 0 and 2 percent in state and national polls. That said, he has all the makings of an inspirational candidate — he’s young and ambitious, he overcame a childhood of poverty to attend Stanford and Harvard Law, and if he wins the nomination, would be the first Latino presidential nominee on a major-party ticket. But he also disappeared from the national spotlight after 2016 and now faces an uphill battle to convince voters that he is the strongest choice to oppose President Trump in what could be a very crowded 2020 primary field.

Just 44 years old, Castro first held public office at the age of 26 when he won a seat on the city council in San Antonio. He then went on to run for mayor in 2005, but narrowly lost that race before handily winning in 2009. He was re-elected as mayor twice and made his first big national splash when he was selected as the keynote speaker of the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Castro was the first Latino to fill that vaunted speaking slot, and was labeled a “rising star” as a result. In 2014, then-President Barack Obama chose him to be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, and in 2016, Hillary Clinton seriously considered Castro for her vice presidential pick, but she ultimately opted for Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine instead.

Following his tenure at HUD, Castro founded the political action committee Opportunity First to plan his next steps and promote candidates in the 2018 cycle. Leadership PACs such as Castro’s are often used as fundraising vehicles to build a foundation for a future campaign as well as a way to donate to other politicians’ campaigns. Opportunity First probably did more of the former than the latter — it only donated 10 percent of the money it raised to candidates and parties at the federal, state and local level. Castro also published a memoir in 2018 about his upbringing in a poverty-stricken neighborhood in San Antonio with his twin brother, Rep. Joaquin Castro, and their Chicano activist single mother and Mexican-born grandmother. Julian Castro has a story to tell voters. But it remains to be seen if he can sufficiently raise his profile to that of a real contender.

How Castro Wins

FiveThirtyEight editor-in-chief Nate Silver recently broke down the five main constituencies of the Democratic electorate, and it seems that Castro’s path to victory likely involves gaining support from some mix of Hispanics voters, Millennials and Party Loyalists.

Much of Castro’s political career has been built on support from Latino voters. San Antonio’s population is more than 60 percent Latino, and in his successful 2009 mayoral race, Castro won the nonpartisan election by 27 points over his closest challenger,1 principally by running up the margins in San Antonio’s heavily Latino neighborhoods, particularly in the southern half of the city. In a cluster of precincts northeast of Lackland Air Force Base, for example, as much as 90 percent of the voting age population was Hispanic at the time of the election, and Castro won many of those precincts by more than 80 points. Conversely, in some majority-white precincts north and east of Shavano Park, a small independent city surrounded on all sides by San Antonio, Castro’s chief opponent won by more than 20 points.

Castro has also been vocal in his support for a renewed push by Democrats to reach out to Latino voters. Turnout among Latinos is traditionally low, but given how Obama energized turnout among African-American voters in his presidential bids, Castro’s candidacy could similarly boost Latino participation. But winning the Latino vote probably won’t be enough. Castro will also need to make inroads among millennial voters.

An NBC/Generation Forward poll released in October 2018 found that the personal quality millennials were most likely to say they wanted to see when deciding who to vote for was a candidate could bring about change. And, arguably, what could be more of a change from Trump and his anti-immigrant rhetoric than a Latino candidate of Mexican descent?

As a young Latino man from a San Antonio — a fast-growing, youthful and diverse city — Castro could try to make the case that his experience leading the nation’s seventh-largest city could be the right step for America’s future. And as a former member of the Obama administration, Castro could also play up his White House connection with Party Loyalists, who tend to be an establishment-friendly group. The former president remains incredibly popular among Democrats, and Castro can use his time in Obama’s Cabinet to claim some of that legacy in his own campaign. Among potential Democratic presidential candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden might be the only one with a more obvious connection to Obama than Castro.

The challenges Castro faces

The Democratic Party is increasingly diverse and its voters show decreasing levels of racial resentment — a measure of racial attitudes, especially how whites feel toward nonwhites — particularly among younger Democrats. Yet, this doesn’t necessarily mean voters are ready to elect a Latino candidate. For example, 2016 primary voting patterns show that Clinton was seen as the “Obama candidate,” meaning Clinton’s support among Democrats with racially conservative views fell sharply compared to how she performed in 2008, when she was running against Obama and won many of those voters. What’s more, there’s a supposed “electability” argument that Democrats need a white (and probably male) nominee in order to defeat Trump in the general, so we shouldn’t underrate how race and ethnicity could affect the primaries.

Castro’s level of political experience is also a double-sided coin. On the one hand, he is a relatively fresh face and Democrats may want someone new and young to face Trump. However, Castro might have too little experience. Although he served as San Antonio’s mayor for five years and Obama’s HUD secretary for two and a half years, he’s never run for statewide office in Texas and it’s unclear where he stands on a lot of major issues. His relative lack of experience probably played a role in Clinton’s choice to not pick him as her running mate in 2016, and it could be an issue for him as a presidential candidate, too.

Castro will also need to gather the resources to mount a serious campaign. With his Texas connections, Castro could have access to lots of campaign cash. But it’s possible that another noted Texan, Beto O’Rourke, could pull away many Texas donors who could help jumpstart Castro’s campaign. O’Rourke’s 2018 Senate campaign captured national attention that could translate into a presidential campaign. O’Rourke raised nearly $80 million for his Senate race, and among contributions large enough that their origins are reported by Federal Election Commission, a bit over half of his total cash came from the Lone Star State.2 An O’Rourke bid would also put two young Texans in the field, so Castro and O’Rourke could find themselves stepping on each other’s toes and making appeals to similar parts of the electorate.

If he gains traction, Castro might also take hits from The Left. When he was in contention for Clinton’s 2016 vice presidential nod, progressive groups attacked Castro for being too friendly toward Wall Street firms when dealing with delinquent mortgages and for not fighting hard enough for minority communities. Castro also improved his political fortunes in San Antonio by building a better relationship with the city’s business community, which had been skeptical of him in his first mayoral bid in 2005. Such coziness would not win him support from The Left.

It will be a while before we know if Castro is a true contender. But what we do know now is that he’s running and that his candidacy could make history.