Here we are at the halfway point of the NFL season, and we’ve witnessed some unbelievable things. Between games resulting in a tie for the past 2 consecutive weeks (possibly a 3rd coming up), Julio Jones 300-yard game against the Carolina Panthers in week 4, Jay Ajayi’s back to back 200 rushing yard games, and the Cleveland Browns being winless, this season has shaped up to be an entertaining one thus far. With that being said, here are our midseason awards picks.
Derek Carr, QB (Oakland Raiders) Matt Ryan has the stats to be MVP this year (2,636 yards passing, 19 touchdowns and 4 interceptions), and you can even make an argument for Tom Brady, even though he missed the first four games of the season. I’m going with Derek Carr. The Oakland Raiders are 6-2 this season (yes, that is correct) with them being 5-0 being away from home and tied for the division lead. He’s thrown for 2,321 yards, 17 touchdowns, just 3 interceptions, and a passer rating of 100.9. Carr is on a career high pace with all categories that were mentioned. Most importantly, the Raiders are relevant again (for now).
D.Reed’s Pick: Matt Ryan
“Dak Elliott” Dak Prescott, QB & Ezekiel Elliott, RB (Dallas Cowboys)
Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott has been sensational for the Dallas Cowboys this season. In the absence of Tony Romo, Prescott has thrown for 1,773 yards, 9 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions. He holds the record for most passes without an interception to start an NFL career with 163 attempts. Ezekiel Elliott has filled the void of the running back whole for the Cowboys due to the departure of Demarco Murray in 2014. Elliott leads all of the NFL in rushing with 799 yards, averaging 5.0 yards per carry. This dynamic duo has proven to be a force to reckon with, not only in the NFC East, but in the NFL as well with a record of 6-1.
D.Reed’s Pick: Dak Prescott
Joey Bosa, DE (San Diego Chargers)
Bosa didn’t play until October because of contract negotiations that dragged out into the regular season. In the four games that Bosa has played in, he has recorded 13 tackles, including 4 sacks. He is turning out the be the pass rusher that the Chargers has desperately needed since the Shawne Merriman era.
D.Reed’s Pick: Joey Bosa
Julio Jones, WR (Atlanta Falcons)
There are a few plays you can make a case for this award including Matt Ryan, Demarco Murray, Ezekiel Elliott, and A.J. Green, but Julio Jones has been special. Arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL, Jones has 43 receptions for 859 yards (20.0 yards per catch) and 4 touchdowns thus far. His defining moment came in week 4 where he caught 12 balls for 300 yards and a touchdown against Carolina. That game cost former Carolina Panthers cornerback Bene Benwikere his job.
D.Reed’s Pick: Julio Jones
Zach Brown, LB (Buffalo Bills)
Rex Ryan is known for his defensive coaching, and Zach Brown has been a key component to their success this year. Brown leads the NFL with 87 tackles (59 solo tackles), which includes 3 sacks. If their offense can get healthy, this team can sneak up for a possible wild card berth down the line.
D.Reed’s Pick: Marcus Peters
Jordy Nelson, WR (Green Bay Packers)
Jordy Nelson missed all of the 2015 season with a torn ACL. He’s not quite the explosive wide receiver we are used to seeing back in 2014 just yet. So far he has 31 catches for 415 yards and 6 touchdowns. The Packers offense struggled last season without the deep threat of Jordy Nelson and has not been that much better this season. However, it’s only a matter of time before Nelson turns the corner to become an elite WR again.
D.Reed’s Pick: Jordy Nelson
Jason Garrett (Dallas Cowboys)
The Dallas Cowboys are without Tony Romo. They have been without Dez Bryant for a period of time during this season. They have rookies starting at quarterback and running back. Somehow, they are 6-1 on the season. This team has played mistake-free football while winning close games (games there were prone to losing last season). What a difference a few injuries and a couple of rookies make, huh?
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)
My good friend D.Reed and I are making our predictions for this upcoming season. Make sure you check him and myself out on social media for NFL updates and Fantasy Football advice.
D.Reed @freshprynce23 (Instagram)
JGood @jgoodwithsports (Twitter and Instagram)
Divison Winners and Wildcard
Cincinnati – JGood
Pittsburgh – D.Reed
Jacksonville – JGood
Houston – D.Reed
New England – JGood
New England – D.Reed
Oakland – JGood
Kansas City – D.Reed
New York Jets/Pittsburgh – JGood
Denver/Indianapolis – D.Reed
Green Bay – JGood
Green Bay – D.Reed
Carolina – JGood
Carolina – D.Reed
New York Giants – JGood
Washington – D.Reed
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A few months ago I did a 7 part NBA preview for this season. On the last part of the preview, I gave my season predictions on who would win each award, which teams would make the playoffs, and who would appear in the finals. Let’s see how accurate I with the following awards.
Rookie Of The Year – Karl Anthony-Towns
My pick in October was Jahlil Okafor. Okafor has been solid this season (17.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.15 bpg), however, Anthony-Towns has really impacted the Timberwolves with his production (16.1 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.79 bpg). In a usually stacked Western Conference, Minnesota has found a perfect complement to Andrew Wiggins heading into the future. Kristaps Porzingis is 2nd on my list. His impact on the New York Knicks has done a complete 180 to the culture of the team from the previous season. Who would’ve thought the Knicks would be making a run for a playoff spot this year?
Sixth Man Of The Year – Will Barton
My pick in October was Isaiah Thomas. Isaiah is having an all-star caliber season (21.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 6.6 apg), but he’s started 44 games this season so he doesn’t qualify. Lou Williams would be a strong candidate as well but he’s in the same boat as Thomas. Will Barton has been balling off the bench this season (15.7 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 2.5 apg), and has only started 1 game all year. He’s been the only consistent player on Denver all season. He deserves this award.
DPOY – DeAndre Jordan
Finally, one of my picks is living up to the hype! Jordan has been sensational on the defensive end this season (11.9 ppg, 13.6 rpg **10.0 defensive rpg**, 2.2 bpg). He continues to clean the glass like Windex and alter shots in the paint. Andre Drummond would be next on my list. Drummond is a better rebounder than Jordan but still has some ways to go to be an elite rim protector.
Most Improved – CJ McCollum
My pick was the “Greek Freak”. The overall of the starting line up in Portland paved the way for McCollum to have a break out season (20.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.4 apg). Him and Damian Lillard has formed an exciting young backcourt that teams around the league cannot take for granted.
Coach Of The Year – “Luke Kerr”
My pick was Fred Hoiberg. Luke Walton lead the league’s best Golden State Warriors record 39-4 during Steve Kerr’s absence. Even though the NBA won’t credit Walton’s record, he should definitely be given recognition of his accomplishment. That’s better than Tyronn Lue being the Eastern Conference coach of the All-star game right?
Most Valuable Player – Stephen Curry
My pick was Anthony Davis. What does the reigning MVP and world champion do for an encore? He turns around and has a better season than his unicorn season a year ago (29.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 6.6 apg). His team is chasing the 96 Chicago Bulls single season record for wins and they are definitely on pace to break it. What more can you ask for?