Congrats to the Phoenix Suns for getting the first overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. This is a first for their franchise to own the premier pick. If they don’t end up trading the top pick for Karl Anthony-Towns or something catastrophic, the Suns will end up taking either the hometown kid DeAndre Ayton, from Arizona, or European sensation Luka Doncic. Either way, both players will be going to Phoenix or Sacramento (Kings), pending a blockbuster trade. Marvin Bagley III out of Duke seems destined to be drafted by the Atlanta Hawks at this point.
Phoenix, Sacramento, Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, and Orlando pick in front of Chicago (in that order). Even if the Bulls don’t make a move to get one of the players mentioned above, the following prospects can make an immediate impact to this young Bulls roster.
Michael Porter Jr. was projected to be the number one overall pick in this year’s draft before suffering the back injury during his freshman year at Missouri that sidelined him for majority of his college career. The 6’10” swingman can fill a major need in the Bulls rotation. There are no major weaknesses in his game and he has NBA size, shooting and athleticism to be productive out the gate. Memphis would be the one team that could take him before falling to Chicago at 7. Porter was coached under former NBA all-star Brandon Roy at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle.
Mohamed Bamba already has potential to be an All NBA defender, but his 7’10” wingspan that was recorded at the NBA combine solidified that notion. He is still raw on offense but fills a need at center for the Bulls. The star out of Texas can be a long term defensive anchor for this team, something the Bulls hasn’t had since a healthy Joakim Noah. I mentioned the other day on Twitter that you will always be relevant with a 7’10” wingspan. Dallas and Orlando both need centers so it may be a long shot to have Mo Bamba available when it’s time for the Bulls to make their selection.
Mikal Bridges was a critical piece for the Villanova Wildcats, who won the NCAA National Championship 2 out the last 3 years. Who wouldn’t want a 2 time national championship on your team? The last time the Bulls had a player of those credentials was Joakim Noah. His offense, specifically his catch and shooting from behind the arc is his greatest strength, and probably the Bulls biggest need. His defense isn’t bad either. Bridges has the potential to be a great two-way player in the NBA one day. He can’t create his own shot and will need to add some weight but would be an immediate impact in an offensive-minded Fred Hoiberg offense. Memphis may take him at 4 or Orlando at 6.
Jaren Jackson Jr. is special. He has the highest celling for bigs in the draft and is already the best two-way. He can shoot and defend the 3, protect the rim, and his size and frame fits today’s game (6’11”, 242 pounds). Personally, would be very surprised if he falls to Chicago. Every team could use Jackson without hesitation. The sky is truly the limit for him.
We’re already in March, but it feels like the new year just started. Now that we’re past the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star Weekend, GRAMMY Awards, and the Oscars, we can turn our attention to March Madness. Last year, I had a contest for the best bracket and the winner received a $25 Amazon Gift Card and a JGoodWithSports “March Madness” themed t-shirt. I haven’t decided on the prizes yet for this year, but the value will be more.
Here are the rules:
I will create a private group on ESPN once the bracket entries are open.
One entry per person.
You have to be a follower. If you’re NOT a blogger, CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE (make sure you check your email to verify the subscription).
Once you become a follower, send me an email with the subject “March Madness” at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name. Once I receive your email, I will send you an invite to fill out your bracket. Password is “jgood”.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment or send me an email.
We are living in an era where we’re witnessing historical records are being broken, mesmorizing moments from deciding games are taking place, and once in a lifetime achievements are current. Clear examples of such greatness includes the Golden State Warriors winning 73 games in a regular season, the newly infamous Julian Edelman’s catch that helped propel the New England Patriots Super Bowl LI comeback, and the Chicago Cubs winning their first World Series since 1908.
We are also living in an era where we’re witnessing some of the best athletes to ever play. When I was a child, I saw Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Ken Griffey, and Jerry Rice. As I got older, I witnessed Kobe Bryant, Mario Lemieux, Derek Jeter, and Randy Moss. Now there’s LeBron James, Patrick Kane, Kris Bryant, and Julio Jones. Over the past 30 years, we’ve have seen athletes come and go, but we have all been witnesses to the greatness that certain professionals have displayed.
In the last 12 months alone, we have seen some of the best championship sporting outcomes in history. We saw March Madness end with a buzzer beater by Villanova to beat North Carolina. Two months later, the Cleveland Cavaliers ended the city’s championship drought by coming back against the Golden State Warriors down 3 games to 1 to capture their first NBA title in franchise history. Fast forward to October, we witnessed another drought end but on a more significant level. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 10th inning of game 7 after being down 3 games to 1 as well. Last month, we saw Clemson get their sweet revenge against Alabama in of the most fantastic finishes in recent memory. Serena Williams won her 23rd Grand Slam title. Less than 2 weeks ago, we’ve witnessed the best Super Bowl ending in NFL history. The UConn women’s basketball team are currently on a 100 game winning streak (that is ridiculous!).
It seems like we’re at a point where we expect great things to happen at every major sporting event. From The Master’s to Wimbledon; the Stanley Cup to the World Series; the NBA Finals to the Super Bowl, we are spoiled by greatness. Appreciate these moments while you can because all things (including exceptional moments) must come to an end.
What a year! I hope everybody enjoyed 2016. If you didn’t for whatever reason, I hope 2017 will be a better one. In the sports world, we definitely had our fair share of good and bad moments. We even had some interesting moments like Odell Beckham Jr. going one on one with a kicking net (and losing), Rougned Odor knocking the shades off of Jose Bautista’s face, Kevin Durant shaking up the NBA by signing with the Golden State Warriors, and JR Smith being topless for about half the week (supposedly) since the beginning of the Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade.
Joe Thomas Sr. (55 year old running back from South Carolina State becoming the oldest man to play Division I football. His son Joe Thomas Jr. is a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers)
Colin Kaepernick Kneeling (You may or may not agree with Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling to the National Anthem, but the reason behind the action should be the focal point)
Conor McGregor Dominance (Conor McGregor became the first 2 division champion in UFC this year. His next venture may be a fight with Floyd Mayweather, but we’ll see)
10) Ken Griffey Jr. Hall Of Fame (Almost) Unanimous
“The Kid” is my all-time favorite baseball player, ever since I saw him swing with the Seattle Mariners (I barely remember that). In January, Griffey and Mike Piazza were the only two players elected to the National Baseball Hall Of Fame. This is the hardest sport to get placed into the hall of fame because it requires 75% of the vote. The most impressive and staggering note to take away is that Griffey received the highest percent of votes in the history of Major League Baseball at 99.3% (437 out of 440 votes). Personally, Ken Griffey Jr. should have been the first unanimous hall of famer, and I would love to hear their reason for not voting Griffey in for those 3 voters who didn’t vote for him. Nevertheless, this is an astonishing achievement to cap off a remarkable career.
9) Stephen Curry: Unanimous MVP
Speaking of unanimous, Stephen Curry became the first player in NBA history to be voted unanimous MVP of a season. In 2015, the Golden State Warriors shocked the world by winning their first NBA Title in 40 years. Trying to top that achievement in 2016, the Warriors won the most games in a season in NBA history with 73, while Steph Curry was putting on a display. Even though Golden State came up a Draymond Green kick and few plays short of repeating this past June, they found a way to steal the headlines over the summer (signing of Kevin Durant).
8) Von Miller Dominates Super Bowl 50
Even though Cam Newton (#1 overall pick) was the only player selected ahead of Von Miller (#2 overall pick) in the 2011 NFL Draft, Von Miller came out on top on the biggest stage. Newton looked like “Superman” throughout the whole season until the Super Bowl, where Miller registered 2.5 sacks and forcing 2 turnovers. His constant pass rush disrupted the Carolina Panthers offense the entire game. If Von Miller wasn’t hitting the quarterback, Demarcus Ware was definitely getting a few hits in from what I remember.
7) Bolt, Phelps, USA Takeover Rio 2016
Rio 2016 will go down as one of the most memorable summer Olympics ever. It signifies the end of an era with Usain Bolt accomplishing the “triple-triple” (winning the 100m, 200m, and 4 x 100m relay races consecutively in 2008, 2012, & 2016) and Michael Phelps winning a total of 28 medals (23 gold medals). The United States also were dominant in swimming events, gymnastics, and track and field events. I’m going to miss seeing Bolt and Phelps dominate their respective competition, but I’m excited to see who’s going to be the next sensation on sports’ biggest stage in Tokyo 2020.
6) Villanova Buzzer Beater
From what I remember, Villanova has always been a tournament let down whenever they are seeded high. This past March and April, Villanova actually lived up to the hype. Their mind-blowing victory over North Carolina in the NCAA Championship game was the icing on the cake. That game, in particular, was arguably the best championship game I’ve ever witnessed. The game had non-stop action with suspense and an appropriate climax. Kris Jenkins brought the game to a close and a National Title home to “Nova”.
5) Eric Berry’s Homecoming
PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO. Eric Berry has been my favorite safety in the NFL since he came into the league back in 2010. Berry was diagnosed with cancer in December of 2014 and was pronounced cancer free in July of 2015. When he bounced back after 7 months, it gave me a stronger reason of why he’s my favorite safety. Atlanta is Eric Berry’s hometown and where he received treatment during his fight against cancer. In his first visit back since therapy, Berry had a “pick 6” and a failed 2 point conversation returned for a touchdown (another pick 6) to solidify the Kansas City Chiefs victory over the Atlanta Falcons.
4) Mamba Out: Kobe Bryant’s Final Game
On the last day of the 2015-16 regular season, you had the choice to either watch the Golden State Warriors go for 73 wins or Kobe Bryant’s last game. I caught the 4th quarter of “Mamba Out”. I wasn’t the biggest Kobe fan, but I truly respected him. Watching the final 3 to 4 minutes live gave me chills and rewatching this video duplicated how I felt about it. Seeing him leave the game lets you know that an era in the NBA has ended (and my childhood basketball icons are gone). When you add Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen (officially announced his retirement) to that list of retirees in 2016, you have a higher level of appreciation for the game of basketball (and an epic hall of fame class down the line). Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, and Manu Ginobili are next in line.
3) Cavaliers Comeback 3-1
In June of 2015, the Cleveland Cavaliers came up short in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors. Even though LeBron James nearly averaged a triple-double, missing Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving due to injuries played a crucial part of them coming up short. A year later (with healthy teammates), the Cavs pulled off an improbable comeback in the NBA Finals. What really makes this achievement special is the fact that this is the first major championship for the city of Cleveland since the Cleveland Browns won in 1964 during the Jim Brown era. This was also the first ever NBA Title for the Cavaliers. Being a Chicago Bulls fan, I wasn’t thrilled about Cleveland winning, however, I know the importance that particular title meant to the city of Cleveland. Congrats, again, to the Cleveland Cavaliers!
2) Passing Of Legends
With the amazing things that I’ve previously mentioned during this countdown thus far, we lost some great people along the way of this special year of 2016. Some of the icons that we’ve lost this year includes boxing legend Muhammad Ali (His contributions inside and outside the ring can’t be compared to another), golfing legend Arnold Palmer (golf’s most beloved figure and he surged the sport into popularity), legendary sports broadcaster Craig Sager (#SagerStrong), former NFL head coach Dennis Green (coached the Minnesota Vikings and Arizona Cardinals), legendary women’s basketball head coach Pat Summitt, and ESPN’s reporter John Saunders. I know it can be sad to think about, but we should remember their achievements and how meaningful their contributions were.
1) Cubs Win!
This is by far the most memorable moment for not only this year but the best moment for certain people’s lives. There have been generations that have waited for the day for the Chicago Cubs to win a World Series championship since 1908. I remember a little over a decade ago in 2003 when the Cubs were 5 outs away from the World Series. Then…the Steve Bartman incident happened. I seriously believe Chicago is the best sports city and Chicago Cubs fans are the most loyal fans amongst all major sports. Chicago coming back from 3-1 against Cleveland (pretty ironic), which included an unreal rain delay in extra innings of game 7, made their championship more fitting for the franchise. I know a few Cubs fans that are still celebrating (and it’s well deserved). 2016 is your year, Chicago Cubs.
Last week, I mentioned that I was part of a basketball network at Purdue University Northwest. Apparently, some people within this unofficial fraternity has experienced some unbelievable moments and rare opportunities. A prime example of this is my good friend Angel Martin de Soto, who was the personal assistant of Chicago Bulls forward Nikola Mirotic. I’ve known Angel since 2011 when he first came to the United States from Spain.
He’s one of the best all-around basketball players I ever played with (intramural basketball teammates). From his home country of Spain, Angel has been playing basketball since the age of six. He has played with the youth teams of Unicaja Malaga, one of the Top 5 teams in Spain. Angel has also played 4 years semi-pro in the 3rd Division in Spain.
If you don’t know, Nikola Mirotic is from Spain as well. The 6 foot 10 inch forward was drafted by Houston Rockets with the 23rd overall pick in 2011, but his draft rights were ultimately traded to the Chicago Bulls. Mirotic stayed in Spain until 2014, where he and Real Madrid (basketball team in Spain) reached a buyout of his contract.
I’ve been a Bulls fan ever since I can remember. When Angel first told me about his unusual opportunity back in April of 2015, I was stunned (I actually have that conversation saved on Facebook).
The reason why I worked for him, it is because Nikola was looking for an assistant that help them with their daily basis in his freshman year. I have a really good relation with his agent and he called me to have a interview.
Even though this job was an experience of a lifetime, just like any job, it came with some hard work and some inconvenient duties.
Everyday was different. It was basically 24/7 on call for whatever they (him and his wife) might need. I usually help them with their personal documents, travel arrangements, game day assistance, like hosting the guests, get their tickets and passes. Also, few times we did some shooting practice in his days off.
On the positive side, just like any job, there are a few benefits that make it worth your time there.
The fact that both Angel and Nikola Mirotic are from Spain was probably the icing on the cake during their time together. To have someone with you from the same country when trying to adjust to another country’s culture makes the transition less hectic. Angel stopped working for Nikola Mirotic this past August to move back to Spain, but he has truly helped Mirotic adjust to the American culture. As long as Nikola Mirotic is a Chicago Bulls player, I will continue to cheer for him, especially knowing one of my friends has assisted him off the court.
Roethlisberger played shaky in his first game back from injury against the Baltimore Ravens last week. “Big Ben” will be poised to get the Steelers offense rolling this week as they play host to a smoking hot Dallas Cowboys team. I expect for Roethlisberger to improve on his subpar performance from last week as he continues to get healthier. Roethlisberger has been a different animal at home, and it’ll be very difficult to bet against him there!!! Be sure to get “Big Ben” locked into your QB1 slot this week!!!
Carson Palmer (San Francisco @ Arizona)
Fresh off a bye week, Carson Palmer and company will be up against the dreadful secondary of the San Francisco 49ers who have surrendered multiple touchdowns to opposing QBs in all game but 1 this season!!! Before their week 9 bye, Palmer put up top notch numbers throwing for 363 yds and 3 scores and I foresee week 10 being another huge week for Palmer!!
Jonathan Stewart (Kansas City @ Carolina)
In three games since returning from injury, Stewart has averaged 3.8 yards per carry and has also averaged 20 touches per contest with four total TDs over that span!!! This week, “J-Stew” is back at home against the Kanas City Chiefs, who were ran all over by both Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon for a total of 172 yards rushing and one TD!!! I see a huge opportunity for Stewart to be a top 10 RB play this week!!!
Jordan Howard (Chicago @ Tampa Bay)
In Howard’s outing last week, he ran wild against a very tough Minnesota Vikings defense for 153 yards and a score!!! With Howard dominating the touches over his backfield mates KaDeem Carey and Jeremy Langford, he could be in for one stellar outing against a poor Tampa Bay run defense!!! If the cards are played properly, Howard could find paydirt twice before the day’s end!!!
Larry Fitzgerald (San Francisco @ Arizona)
Larry Fitzgerald was one of the hottest WRs at the beginning of the season, scoring 3 TDs in his first 2 games, but he has cooled off a bit since then. This week, I look for Fitzgerald to get back on track as he draws a matchup against a San Francisco defense that’s allowed 18 total passing touchdowns!! With injuries to Arizona’s receiving corp, Fitzgerald should be used heavily, especially in the red zone. I like “Fitz” to find the end zone this week!!!
Jordan Matthews (Atlanta @ Philadelphia)
I love Jordan Matthews for two reasons this week: he is facing the Atlanta Falcons defense (who has allowed the second-most receiving TDs and the most receiving yards to opposing wideouts this season!!!) and the Eagles are going to have to score early and often to stay in the game against one of the leagues most potent offenses!! I see a land of opportunity for Matthews this week!!!
Antonio Gates (Miami @ San Diego)
It’s good to see that “Ol Reliable” is still getting the job done in the sunshine state. Antonio Gates just continues to produce, tallying 28 targets, 14 receptions and 146 yards for two scores over the last three games!!! Gates has seen a tremendous target boost with the last few games, especially in the red zone!!! At home against the Dolphins this week, it’s safe to lock in future Hall of Famer as your TE1!!!
Arizona (vs San Francisco)
Arizona is fresh off a bye week and hosts a very lackadaisical San Francisco 49ers team this week! I expect for Arizona to lead by a couple scores in this one, which would force San Fran to throw the ball often (resulting in multiple turnovers)!! This game is just what the doctor ordered for Arizona to get its inconsistent defense back on track!!! Expect a very solid stat line from the Arizona defense this week!!!
Colin Kaepernick (San Francisco @ Arizona)
Colin Kaepernick had an awesome fantasy outing last week against the Saints, throwing for nearly 400 yds (398 passing yards) and two scores!! In just about every fantasy format, “Kaep” was surprisingly labeled a stud for the week. Kaepernick’s solid outing may very well be short-lived because this week I would bench him against a Cardinals defense that is allowing an average of 200 yards passing and one TD a game to opposing quarterbacks!!
Christine Michael (Seattle @ New England)
Christine Michael was once a very reliable fantasy option, but it seems as if those days may be limited with C.J. Prosise cutting into his carries and Thomas Rawls nearing full strength. To make matters worse, Michael has a tough matchup on the road this week against the New England Patriots!! I’d keep Micheal on my bench this week until the Seattle backfield becomes less cloudy!!!
Brandin Cooks (Denver @ New Orleans)
Brandin Cooks has been a boom or bust this year and very touchdown dependent as well. Cooks has a week 10 matchup with one of the best secondaries, and the number one ranked defense against wideouts in the Denver Broncos!!! Denver is fresh off shutting down one of the best duos in Oaklands Michael Crabtree and Amari Cooper!! I would temper my expectations for both Brandin Cooks and Micheal Thomas this week!!!
Julius Thomas (Houston @ Jacksonville)
Thomas has become TD or bust as of late, and I expect him to have a subpar performance in his matchup with the Texans this week! If Thomas doesn’t score this week, you could be looking at about 3 points in standard scoring!!! With Blake Bortles playing so terribly, I would avoid Thomas in most league this week if I could help it!!!
Philadelphia (vs Atlanta)
If there was week to bench the third best defense in football, it’s Week 10!!! The Eagles are in line to face one of the most potent offenses out there in the Atlanta Falcons!!! Bench the Eagles D this week, and stream a team with an easier matchup!!! If Atlanta comes out with guns blazing, Philly could be in for a long day!!!
D.Reed @freshprynce23 (Twitter and Instagram) JGood @jgoodwithsports (Twitter and Instagram)
Witnessing the Chicago Cubs winning the 2016 World Series goes down as one of the most remarkable moments in sports history. The Cubs hasn’t been to the World Series since 1945 and hasn’t won a title since 1908 before this achievement. As a Chicago White Sox fan, I am extremely happy for the Chicago Cubs organization and their entire fan base. There have been generations that haven’t seen the Chicago Cubs on top of Major League Baseball. The Titanic sinking was more recent than the Cubs last championship title before this one (let that SINK in).
I’ve watched quite a few games this postseason just to see if the hype around this team is true. This team on paper is strong in all the major categories: hitting, pitching, baserunning, fielding, and coaching. However, the one word that has defined this postseason run for the “Northsiders” is resilient. The Cubs hasn’t faced adversity all season until they reached the playoffs, and a lot of people and baseball analyst wasn’t sure how this team will react when their backs were against the wall. This Cubs team has proved multiple times during this postseason run that they will not give up. Game 4 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants was a prime example. The Cubs were down 5-2 in the top of the 9th inning. Chicago scored 4 runs that inning to win 6-5 to eliminate the Giants (The Giants emptied their whole bullpen and still couldn’t stop the bleeding).
The fact that the Cubs forced a game 7 after being down 3 games to 1 is resilient within itself. This game 7 will go down as one of the most memorable game 7’s in the history of sports, in my opinion. From the Cubs being up 5-1 in the middle innings to Cleveland hitting the 2-run home run down 3rd baseline to tie the game at 6 in the bottom of the 8th inning to the, now infamous, rain delay, this game had a story book ending. Two teams have suffered for decades, and both teams were deserving of ending their respective titleless droughts. Words can’t fully describe the story and impact of this game, but the atmosphere was like no other. Here’s the highlight to game below.
This Chicago Cubs team that is currently constructed is poised to be contenders for the foreseeable future. There were 1 million people that turn out for the Chicago Blackhawks parade and festivals in 2015. I seriously believe that number will at least triple for the Chicago Cubs. Wrigleyville in Chicago was packed instantly after the win.
This was by far the best game of 2016. To me, this game tops game 7 of the NBA Finals when Cleveland came back down 3-1 to beat the Golden State Warriors. I know that the city of Cleveland hasn’t won a sports title in over 50 years until that moment. However, this Cubs team is “America’s Cinderella” that had never gotten over the hump for 108 years. This was the LONGEST drought in NORTH AMERICA sports (mind blowing). Cubs fans from all over the world will come to their victory parade. Congratulations again to the Chicago Cubs of ending something that has lasted for far too long. Chicago has truly become a “City Of Champions”. “Fly The W” Northsiders, you truly deserve it!
A new beginning is upon us in the Windy City. The Bulls organization has made some significant changes over the summer that have transformed the shape of the team. The Bulls officially traded away their franchise (and my favorite) player, Derrick Rose, to the New York Knicks for Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon (thankfully we cut him), and Jerian Grant (Former Chicago Bull Horace Grant’s nephew). In free agency, we elected not to bring back Pau Gasol (signed with San Antonio) or fan favorite Joakim Noah (signed with New York to play with D.Rose).
The Bulls front office, at the time, said they wanted to get “younger and more athletic”. We eventually drafted Denzel Valentine out of Michigan State. However, things got interesting when the Bulls decided to sign free agent point guard Rajon Rondo. The biggest and most unexpected news was the signing of free agent shooting guard, and Chicago native Dywane Wade. The Bulls pursued Wade in the summer of 2010. There were actual signs that Dywane Wade was going to sign with Chicago, but that changed at the 11th hour when Lebron James decided to take his talents to South Beach.
With that being said, the initial plan of rebuilding has turned into a retooling phase. Recently, the Bulls traded Tony Snell to the Milwaukee Bucks, for former rookie of the year winner Michael Carter-Williams. With all the changes, Chicago has one of the more interesting teams in the league. They lack 3 point shooting, but have better defense and can attack the basket. We did get somewhat younger but added veteran leaders and championship experience. We’re not quite a championship contender and not good enough to beat Cleveland. However, if we make the playoffs, we won’t be an easy out either.
It’s definitely a different vibe with the team because this is a new era with the Bulls. Last season was the beginning of the transition when they fired Tom Thibodeau and hired Fred Hoiberg. This year, we enter a grey area in which we don’t really know the outcome. We can finish as low as probably the 11th or 12th best in the Eastern Conference, or we have the ability to challenge for a home court advantage in the first round. One thing is for sure, I’m going to be here for the ride. I’ll have my Dywane Wade shirt ready for when we start our season against Boston. Let’s see what happens!
The NBA season is finally back after a historic NBA Championship victory by the Cleveland Cavaliers, and an offseason where Kevin Durant shook up the basketball world by signing with the Golden State Warriors. Phenoms were drafted in June and some NBA stars found different homes with contracts that would break the bank 20 years ago. My good friends Cello and Reap (yes, short for Grim Reaper), along with D.Reed and Chris helped contribute to this article. They will also be active on Twitter for this upcoming NBA season for your NBA news, updates, questions, and debates.
NBA WEST PLAYOFFS 2016-17 (Cello)
(Preseason Seed Predictions)
15. Denver Nuggets
Not much to this Denver team. They play hard even game, but it just won’t be good enough with such a tight race to the playoffs in the west.
14. Phoenix Suns
The Suns lost some players and no one on that roster really has what it takes to make them as good as they were last season. They are going to need to rebuild.
13. Sacramento Kings
On paper, this team looks like they should be in the playoffs yearly. DeMarcus Cousins is arguably the best big man in the West, but he seems to just not be able to get his team close to the playoffs. With him and Rudy Gay in the line-up, what is the problem? Seems that management just can’t surround him with the best supporting cast, and it’s only a matter of time before “Boogie” moves on to a new team.
12. Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers will be in the playoff hunt in a few seasons, but there is going to be an adjustment period. The first season in 20 years without Kobe “Black Mamba” Bryant is going to be tough. At the same time, these young guys can now grow as players as last season held them back and didn’t allow them to get any real development on the court in order to celebrate Kobe’s retirement with the tour. No doubt they are better than everyone thinks. Ingram, Clarkson, and Russell are going to be exciting to watch.
11. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Timberwolves are on the rise. This team will be in the playoffs within the next few seasons. Their starting line-up is scary. With some time under their belt, expect Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns to be All-Stars. Unfortunately, this team has no bench, and that will be the reason they do not make the playoffs this season.
10. New Orleans Pelicans
New Orleans just doesn’t have the pieces anymore. A couple of years ago, they were on the rise. With Anthony Davis missing most of last season’s games due to injury and the departure of Ryan Anderson, this team is in need of new pieces and that isn’t coming this season.
9. Houston Rockets
With the departure Dwight Howard, this team may be better off without him. They have added Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, and Nene,but is it enough to get this team in the playoffs? Only time will team. Right now, I think they will just miss the playoffs due to Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder. May come down to a tie-breaker.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder
This team, of course, is no longer a title contender without Kevin Durant (we all know this). However, Russell Westbrook is the type of guy that will push his team into the playoffs this season. Look for him to have the best season of his career and lead his team to what would be a dream matchup between the Thunder and Warriors.
7. Utah Jazz
Seeds 7-11 will be in the mix of making the playoffs this season. Utah has progressively gotten better each of the past few years, and with their new added vets of Boris Diaw, Joe Johnson, and George Hill, these guys will only get better.
6. Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers are going to fight and claw their way right into the playoffs again. Lillard and McCollum are one of the best backcourts in the league right now. With the struggles of the Western Conference teams through the past few seasons, Portland will get to the playoffs and make some noise.
5. Memphis Grizzlies
There isn’t much to say about Memphis. They always seem to hover around the five seed. Mike Conley should come in highly confident after that contract he signed (highest paid player in NBA history, for now), and they will just keep grinding.
4. Dallas Mavericks
This team has added some championship pedigree to the roster in Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut. These two alone will continue to keep Dallas in the mix. With Dirk Nowitzki’s career coming to an end soon, don’t expect this team to make it to the make it past the second round.
3. Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers starting lineup is good. Their problem, though, is they just don’t have enough to take them to the finals. As long as the core group stays together, they will be in contention, but unless they add another key piece, don’t expect them to get past the Spurs or the Warriors any time soon.
2. San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs are a great team, as usual (much like the NFL’s Patriots). It really doesn’t matter who is on the floor because the system is just great. The greatest PF to play the game is now retired, but they didn’t really downgrade the position as Pau Gasol is there now (he still averages a double-double).
1. Golden State Warriors
The GSW is expected to get back to the finals. The starting line-up can do that but what people don’t realize it to get Kevin Durant, they had to give up some of their key players like Harrison Barnes and Leandro Barbosa. That can be an issue later. Right now, they are the top team in the West, we shall see once the season starts.
NBA EAST PLAYOFFS 2017
(Preseason Seed Predictions)
15. Brooklyn Nets
This team has been on a downfall for the last few seasons. Stars like Joe Johnson left and free agents like Jeremy Lin have signed. After a terrible season last year, don’t expect any improvement this year.
14. Philadelphia 76’ers
With the addition of Ben Simmons to the Sixers, this team will be very exciting to watch. Joel Embiid, will finally make his debut and his looks good. They won’t be as bad as they have been in the past few years, but they are all still young and have some building to do. This team will be good in about 3 seasons.
13. Milwaukee Bucks
The Bucks have the potential to a very good team. Giannis Antetokounmpo is going to be a superstar in the league, but the franchise just hasn’t surrounded him with the right people. Watching this team play will be better than their record will be.
12. Orlando Magic
The Magic have some good new additions like Bismack Biyambo and Serge Ibaka, but they just don’t have the necessary star power that it’s going to take to get to the playoffs. Look for them to be in the hunt within the next 2 or 3 seasons.
11. Charlotte Hornets
This team has the pieces to make the playoff race, but the East seeds are going to be close. Teams 5-11 will be within a few games apart.
10. Washington Wizards
They always seem to be good but just not good enough. With the East being so tight this year, the Wizards look like they may just fall out of the runnings. It will definitely be close.
9. Detroit Pistons
Detroit is just on the outskirts of the playoffs. This team can float anywhere from 6/7 seed to about the 12th seed. With the addition of the Bulls possibly making the playoffs this season, the Pistons are going to just barely miss their entry.
8. Miami Heat
With the loss of Dwyane Wade, the Miami Heat will no doubt struggle to make the playoffs. With the weak of the East, they still do have enough pieces to make it to the playoffs but don’t be surprised if they slip into the 9/10 spot before season’s end.
7. New York Knicks
On paper, this team looks amazing or as D. Rose says, “super team” (but that’s on paper). The fact of the matter is the Knicks have a bunch of players who used to be stars. Now, they are a bunch of injury-prone players. I would love to see this team gel and succeed, but it seems more and more, less likely. Their playoff hopes strictly depend on whether the team can stay healthy OR if D. Rose can stay out of jail.
6. Chicago Bulls
Dwyane Wade is HOME!! But does that make the Bulls a contender? No, but this one of the most interesting teams entering this year’s association.
5. Boston Celtics
Al Horford, that’s all you need to know. This man is going to make the Celtics a tough team to beat. Last season, they played better than anyone thought they would, and this new addition can be scary with a few more additions.
4. Toronto Raptors
They Raptors will still be a decent team in the East after last year’s surprise performance to the ECF (Eastern Conference Finals). The loss of Bismack Biyambo will sting a little, but they will still be top four in the East.
3. Indiana Pacers
Paul George is a superstar and looks like he hasn’t missed a beat after that gruesome injury he had in the summer of 2014 (Team USA scrimmage). With Al Jefferson and Jeff Teague added to the roster, this may be just what they need to go deep into the playoffs.
2. Atlanta Hawks
With the Hawks acquiring Dwight Howard (where he can actively be used), he will be motivated to work hard in Atlanta (his hometown). The Hawks have some very experienced players on the roster, and they will succeed because of it.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
That’s a given. The defending champs have little competition in the East (but far more now than last season). Look for Lebron to continue to a 7th straight NBA Finals appearance. The Cavs roster hasn’t changed much but when you have Lebron James, it really doesn’t matter who else is on the team.
NBA Awards Predictions
D.Reed @freshprynce23 (Twitter and Instagram) JGood @jgoodwithsports (Twitter and Instagram)
Cello @brimology101 (Twitter)
Reap @reapdareaper07 (Twitter)
Chris @mrwsa11 (Twitter)
Growing up, my favorite power forward was Kevin Garnett. Garnett can play on the block, shoot the mid-range consistently, occasionally shoot the 3, rebound, block shots, pass, hustle after loose balls, and ignite his teammates and the stadium with his passion. I personally liked him more than Tim Duncan, but I never denied the greatness of the Big Fundamental. I was just drawn to Garnett’s passion for the game.
Before being traded to Boston after the 2007 season, I really feel that Kevin Garnett was underappreciated in the “Twin Cities”. During his first 12 years with Minnesota, Kevin Garnett and the Timberwolves only made it out the first round one time (2004) with Latrell Sprewell and Sam Cassell, who were both past their primes. The Big Ticket’s wingman for majority of his time in Minnesota was Wally Szczerbiak. KG and Stephon Marbury could’ve been a superb dynamic duo for years to come, but Marbury’s ego and jealousy of Garnett’s stature ended the partnership before it had a chance to take off. Kevin never complained about the lack of talent that the organization put around him (and believe me, they didn’t help him at all). He brought out the best of his teammates and made the best of the situations during his first tenure with Minnesota.
Seeing KG in a Boston Celtics uniform was weird initially, but playing along side future hall of famers Paul Pierce and Ray Allen helped solidify his legacy as an all-time great. Getting over the hump and winning a championship against the Lakers, an organization that has tormented him his first 12 years, brought everything full circle.
Kevin Garnett is a 15 time NBA All-star, 9 time NBA All-Defensive first team, 4 time All-NBA first team, MVP back in 2004, NBA Champion in 2008 w/ Boston Celtics, all-time Minnesota Timberwolves leading scorer, was Illinois Mr Basketball, McDonald’s All-America game MVP, and Mr. Basketball USA in 1995, and has career averages of 17.8 ppg, 10.0 rpg, and 3.7 apg. He was been apart of the NBA for majority of his life. Garnett was able to stay relevant for 2 decades (not many have ever achieved that).
During the 1997-98 season, Kevin Garnett signed a contract extension for 6 years, 126 million, which was unprecedented at the time. This contract, was not the cause of the NBA to be locked out the following season, it basically established the salary cap in the NBA. KG was a rare talent that just wanted to win and was willing to put everything on the line game in and game out. Garnett will potentially be apart of a hall of fame class in 2021 that will consist of Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and himself. Together they have a total of 48 NBA All-star appearances, 11 NBA Championships and 4 league MVP awards.
Now that his career has come to an end, we will forever remember the moments that he left us, especially saying “ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!!!!!!” when they defeated in the Lakers in 2008 for the NBA title. Whenever Kevin Garnett laced them up, he was going to give you everything he had. That plus his passion is the reason they called him “The Big Ticket”.