2017-18 NBA Bold Predictions


Atlantic Division

Boston Celtics – Jaylen Brown will win Most Improved Player

The Celtics revamped their team and practically changed their identity. Their biggest problem was scoring points and with the additions of Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, scoring shouldn’t be an issue. However, with the gruesome, season-ending injury to Hayward, the “next man up” tactic has been put in place. Jaylen Brown will have the minutes and opportunity to become the two-way player that the team needs right now.

Brooklyn Nets – They will win 30 games this year

With the addition of D’Angelo Russell, the Nets should win a few more games than last year. He has a lot to prove, especially after what Magic Johnson said about him after he was traded this summer.

New York Knicks – Kristaps Porzingiz will make an All NBA team

The Knicks are rebuilding around Porzingiz after finally moving on from “Hoodie Melo“. With inferior talent surrounding “The Unicorn”, he will have ample opportunity to put up huge numbers.

Philadelphia 76’ers – They will finish as the 6th seed (if healthy)

Joel Embiid has superstar talent. Ben Simmons can be a walking triple-double. Markelle Fultz can score from anywhere. This young core plus veteran leadership can definitely clinch a playoff in the subpar Eastern Conference. Just “Trust The Process”.

Toronto Raptors – Will lose in the first round

Even though Kyle Lowry returned this past off-season, this team has plateaued two years ago. Cleveland, Boston, Washington, and Milwaukee are better than them. Unless something drastic changes with this roster, this team will only get worse.

Central Division

Image result for giannis antetokounmpo lebron

Chicago Bulls – Justin Holiday will be the team’s leading scorer

The full rebuild in Chicago is underway. With Zach LaVine still a few months away from returning from an ACL injury, Justin Holiday seems like the candidate to take the reigns for scoring on offense. He’s flying under the radar and might even be in the hunt for Most Improved Player.

Cleveland Cavaliers – Jae Crowder was the biggest addition this summer

Neither Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade, Jeff Green or even Isaiah Thomas have the same significants that Jae Crowder brings. Crowder will guard the opponent’s best player ever game. This will ultimately allow LeBron James to rest more on defense and put more emphasis on the offensive end. With Thomas being out until at least February, LeBron once again is the focal point.

Detroit Pistons – Reggie Jackson gets traded

Last season, the Pistons underachieve as a whole after making the playoffs the season before. Even though Jackson was dealing with a knee injury, he hasn’t lived up to the 5 year/80 million contract he signed in 2015. Jackson was almost traded this summer so expect changes if there team gets off to a good start again.

Indiana Pacers – Myles Turner will finish top 5 for Defensive Player of the Year

With Paul George’s future hanging a cloud over the franchise last season, Turner became the bright spot for the team moving forward. He averaged 14.5 points. Where Turner made a difference was on defense by grabbing over 7 rebounds and 2 blocks a game. With Myles Turner being the cornerstone of the franchise, he’ll have the tools to succeed.

Milwaukee Bucks – They will play Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals

Last season, the Bucks took a step forward with the “Greek Freak” leading the charge. Antetokounmpo finished in the top 20 in all five of the main statistical categories (points, rebounds, assist, steals and blocks) and will be a strong candidate for MVP this season. If this team stays healthy and is rolling on all cylinders, I don’t see why they can’t finish in the top 3 in the Eastern Conference and make their way to a showdown against the Cavs.

Southeast Division

Atlanta Hawks – John Collins will make All-Rookie First Team

The 6 foot 10 inch forward out of Wake Forest showed his versatility and potential during the summer league. And the way this roster is currently constructed, he’ll have ample opportunity to put up some numbers.

Charlotte Hornets – They will return to the playoffs

The Hornets regress last season after making the playoffs the year before. Losing Al Jefferson left a void in the middle. The team is hoping that signing Dwight Howard can have an impact. He’s not as offensively gifted as Jefferson, but his impact on the defensive end can be a difference maker. He should be motivated after a disastrous season in Atlanta.

Miami Heat – They will make a big move at the trade deadline

With many teams making power moves over this pass offseason and Miami missing out on stars such as Gordon Hayward and Blake Griffin, this team finds itself at the fork in the road. Even though the Eastern Conference is lackluster, they are still behind Cleveland, Boston, Washington, Toronto, and Milwaukee. Don’t be surprised if Pat Riley tries to move Justin Winslow and/or Josh Richardson for a premier wing.

Orlando Magic – Jonathan Simmons will be the team’s best player

Simmons made the most of his opportunities last season as a member of the San Antonio Spurs. With his high motor, athleticism, and work ethic, he will earn every minute and penny of his contract.

Washington Wizards – Bradley Beal will make his first NBA All-Star game

In reality, Beal should’ve been an all-star last season instead of Carmelo Anthony. And even with the new format for selecting players for the exhibition game this season, Beal has taken is game to another level. He’s worth being selected.

Northwest Division

Denver Nuggets – Playoff bound

Last season, the Nuggets showed glimpses of their potential. The emergence of “The Joker” as giving the Mile High City new life in its rebuilding stage. Signing Paul Millsap and Richard Jefferson will enhance their roster. Jamaal Murray and Gary Harris should be a formidable backcourt for years to come. This team will make a splash.

Minnesota Timberwolves – Will make it to the Western Conference Semi Finals

At the moment, the T’Wolves are the 5th best team in the Western Conference (Golden State, San Antonio, Oklahoma City, and Houston are ahead). As the season progresses, this team will become a defensive juggernaut once they fully buy into Tom Thibodeau’s scheme. Adding Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson will give them that grittiness on defense. The team added depth by signing Jeff Teague and Jamal Crawford. If Karl Anthony-Towns and Andrew Wiggins can take their games to the next level, this team will a tough out against anybody in the playoffs.

Oklahoma City Thunder – Carmelo Anthony will be a top 15 player again

We’ve seen Phil Jackson rip Carmelo Anthony to shreds in the media last season and to Carmelo’s credit, he handled it like a professional. After the appearance of “Hoodie Melo” and being dealt to Oklahoma City, Carmelo has an opportunity to be the player that we once knew. The past month or two says that he is having fun playing the game of basketball again. He seems motivated, hungry, determined, and eager to prove all of the doubters wrong. Now if the league could only let Melo wear his hoodie on the court…

Portland Trail Blazers – Damian Lillard will be an all-star

The general consensus is that Damian Lillard was snubbed for the NBA All-Star game the past 2 seasons. With the new format that allows two captains to pick their teams, Lillard should get his opportunity to perform this up and coming February. Dame D.O.L.L.A. average 27 ppg, 5 rebounds, and 6 assist per game last season. If he stays consistent, there’s no reason why he won’t be on the team.

Utah Jazz – Rodney Hood will emerge as a star

Gordon Hayward’s departure left a hole to fill, especially on the offensive end. Rodney Hood as the skill set to put up numbers. Also, with an extension is unlikely to get done, he will be betting on himself to cash out next summer as a restricted free agent.

Pacific Division

Golden State – Will repeat

You would think the Golden State Warriors couldn’t get any better after beating the Cavs in 5 this past June. Then the off-season happened. The team brought back Curry, Durant, Iguodala, McGee, Livingston, West, and Zaza. Also, they added Swaggy P, Casspi and Jordan Bell. This team is more talented than the team from a season ago. Good luck!

Los Angeles Clippers – They won’t miss a beat

Trading Chris Paul might seem like a downgrade on paper but the additions that were made this off-season will not regress them into their old habits. Signing Danilo Gallinari gives them the small forward they were always lacking. Signing Milos Teodosic still gives them a true point guard. They become a better defensive team with Patrick Beverley on the floor. Don’t expect them to fade away.

Los Angeles Lakers – Kyle Kuzma has a legitimate chance to win Rookie of the Year

Drafting Lonzo Ball is worth every penny they’re going to pay him because we will make his teammates better. Drafting Kyle Kuzma was probably the best value pick of the whole draft. He can attack the basketball, can play off the ball and has a smooth shooting touch. Give him minutes and he will produce.

Phoenix Suns – Devin Booker will be an NBA All-Star

Devin Booker is a special player. Whenever you can get the Boston Celtics fans to cheer for you dropping 70 points in your building, you are on the right track. As the team continues to rebuild, he will be the face of the franchise.

Sacramento Kings – De’Aaron Fox will be the starting point guard by February

No disrespect to George Hill but Fox is the future of this team and this team isn’t going anywhere this year. His speed alone gives him an advantage over everyone in the league except a handful of players. He has perennial all-star talent and once his skills catches up to his ceiling, watch out.

Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks – Dennis Smith Jr with become the cornerstone of the franchise

A lot of analysis suggested that Smith should’ve been drafted by the Knicks instead of the Mavs. He reminds me of Derrick Rose 2.0 with his explosiveness. His impact with make his teammates better and eventually will turn them into contenders again.

Houston Rockets – They will underachieve

Anything less than a visit to the Western Conference Finals will be considered a failed season. Adding Chris Paul will improve their backcourt play. However, the other teams in the Western Conference has gotten better (Oklahoma City, Minnesota, San Antonio, and Golden State). Each of those teams can not only score but they play GREAT defense. That has yet to be seen from a Mike D’Antoni team.

Memphis Grizzlies – Marc Gasol will be the center of trade talks

The Memphis Grizzlies used to me known as a “grind it out” team and was a tough matchup for any opponent in the playoffs. It looks their window as contenders has closed either the departures of Zach Randolph and Tony Allen. Marc Gasol is 32 and his value will only decrease from here. He should be heavily coveted.

New Orleans Pelicans – Will make the playoffs

Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins have a combined total of 4 playoff games in their careers. I believe a year together will do them good. They both can average 20 points and 10 rebounds a piece. Most importantly, they will learn how to play together on the floor without limiting each other. Rajon Rondo will make a difference once he returns from injury.

San Antonio Spurs – Kawhi Leonard will win MVP

Leonard came into the league as a defensive specialist. He emerged as the future cornerstone of the Spurs when he gave LeBron James problems and won the NBA Final’s MVP back in 2014. As the face of the franchise for the next decade, he has every opportunity to continue to lead the Spurs into contention and win MVP this year.

JGOOD

The Trilogy: NBA Finals


If you’re looking for a 3-part series, you usually look for movie trilogies. The public perception says the first movie is usually the classic. The second movie is generally harder to top than the first one. And the third movie is the wild card (you’re not sure what you’re going to get). From what I experienced, the first movie is the best, the second movie is a let down, and the third movie is slightly better than the second one. Personally, I enjoyed The Matrix trilogy but others may differ. Lord Of The Rings is another iconic trilogy that people celebrated. Those movies gives you a beginning, middle, and ending.

With that being said, it’s hard to find a good trilogy these days, but we might finally get one starting June 1st. This will be the 3rd consecutive meeting between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers with enormous anticipation. 

In the first matchup in 2015, the Golden State Warriors won their first NBA Title in over 40 years, beating Cleveland in 6 games. The Cleveland Cavaliers and their fans felt that the loss was a fluke because Kevin Love was out for the postseason with a shoulder injury that occurred in the first round and Kyrie Irving injured his knee in game one of the NBA Finals. Even though LeBron James was without his All-Star teammates, he still put on an outstanding performance and kept the series interesting. 

In last year NBA Finals matchup, the Cleveland Cavaliers won their first NBA championship by edging out the Warriors in 7 games and also coming back from a 3 games to 1 deficit. The Golden State Warriors and their fans would say if it wasn’t for Draymond Green being suspended for game five or Andrew Bogut getting hurt, the Warriors would’ve been back to back defending champs. 

You can make excuses for both teams if you choose to but the fact of the matter is that we will finally get to see a “winner take all” meeting in this long awaited rubber match. What makes this main event still admirable is the additional on Kevin Durant to the Warriors last July. He is the ultimate x-factor in this series and also has the most pressure to win. The Warriors won 73 regular season games last season and are proven champions without him. If Golden State falls short for the second consecutive year, majority of the heat will be on Durant just because of his “power-shifting” free agency decision last summer. Anything less than holding up the Larry O’Brien trophy this season will leave a stain on his legacy.

In which seems to be a conclusive matchup between these two teams, this is projected to be the best series yet. There are no injuries. No one is on track of being suspended. Each team is coming into the series well rested. All we can hope for at this point is for the series to live up to the hype. We’ll get to see a healthy Kyrie Irving against a healthy Stephen Curry. We’ll witness Kevin Durant to try to get over the hump against LeBron James. The 3 point shooting of the Cavs will be tested by the Splash Brothers of the Dubs. JR Smith will probably be JR Smith, and Draymond Green’s antics may appear once or twice. And Kevin Love would want to have a better NBA Finals performance than last year. 

The series will come down to a few things. Whoever team’s role players can step up on the road will have a big advantage. We expect the stars to perform to a high level, but when you can get consistent productivity from a JaVale McGee and David West or Iman Shumpert and Channing Frye, it will take some of the burden off the starters and make them less fatigued.

Another factor is 3 point shooting. Whichever team is hitting from behind the hot consistently will make it tough for the opponent to stay in the game. The Warriors have better long distance shooters, but the Cavaliers have plenty of long range depth.

My last key point is turnovers. Golden State’s only moderate weakness is being too careless with the basketball at times (that was one of the main reasons Cleveland was able to come back last year). The Cavs will continue to make them pay if that trend continues. If the Warriors can hold on to the ball, then the Cavaliers might have their hands full. 

Both teams come into the NBA Finals on dominant stretches. Golden State is undefeated in postseason play thus far and Cleveland only suffered one loss. The Warriors are the favorite in this series. Get your popcorn ready because part 3 should be rewarding for the average NBA fan.

Warriors in 6.

JGOOD

2017 NBA All-Star Weekend


February is one of my favorite months for sports because of the Super Bowl, pitchers in MLB report to spring training, college basketball is starting to get down to the wire, and NBA All-Star Weekend. This year, the festive event will take place in New Orleans. I took a trip to New Orleans in May of 2015, and that was one of the best experiences of my life. The culture in “NOLA” is truly one of a kind. The original destination was Charlotte, but due to anti-gay laws within the state, the NBA elected to change locations. The NBA just hosted the All-Star Game New Orleans in 2014.

Besides Kyrie Irving’s belief that the world is flat, the most intriguing headline of the weekend is Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook reuniting as teammates. Their brotherly friendship has been derailed since KD’s departure to Golden State. The two has yet attempted to patch things up so that should make way for an interesting interaction in the locker room. 

The events for Saturday includes the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, JBL Three-Point Contest, and the Verizon Slam Dunk Contest. I’m picking Isaiah Thomas for the Skills Challenge, Nick Young for the Three-Point Contest, and Glenn Robinson III for the Slam Dunk Contest.

As for the NBA All-Star Game itself, I have Anthony Davis as the MVP. With that being said, I hope all the events live up to the hype! 
JGOOD

Decisions, Decisions


We all make decisions in life. Some minor. Some major. Some might only effect yourself and some could impact others. Sometimes it can take days, weeks, months, or even years to decide OR it could take a split second. Regardless of the decisions that you make, just make sure you’re happy about it and can live with it. 

With all that being said, I’m sure the whole United States and parts of the world has heard about Kevin Durant’s career decision. The reactions have been mixed to say the least. He’s been called “weak”, a “coward”, and names far more vulgar than you can imagine. I’ve seen videos of Kevin Durant jerseys and shirts being set on fire and even obliterated with automatic weapons. I can’t say that this is the worst I’ve seen from a decision like this because LeBron’s choice had a similar impact in the city of Cleveland in 2010. 

I was one of the people who got on LeBron for leaving to form the big 3 in Miami. I felt like he ran from the challenge to make his life easier. I thought he lied to the city by promising them a title but bolted. The fact that he went on live TV to announce his decision wasn’t right. It was just unacceptable.

However, now I understand. If LeBron didn’t leave he wouldn’t have learned how to win. Playing with a proven winner like Dwyane Wade molded him. I don’t believe he would have the mental tools to bring a championship to Cleveland. Also, he was already getting criticized for not winning so he put himself in position to win multiple titles and that’s what he did. The same thing applies for Kevin Durant. He spent 8 years with the Thunder  organization (first year as the Supersonics) and only been to the NBA Finals once. When the Heat formed the big 3, Durant mentioned on Twitter that he didn’t understand why you need to team up with other stars. At the time, Kevin thought he would win a championship soon. When you keep losing year after year (meaning not winning a  championship), it will take a toll on you.

Kevin Durant went to the Golden State Warriors because playing with great teammates makes his job easier and he will have the chance to win multiple rings. People are stunned that he joined the team that eliminated him. In my opinion, I don’t think he thought of it in that way. I believe that this team gave him the best chance to win. The guy was already criticizing for losing (like LeBron was). If he chose any other team, he would’ve felt backlash as well (except maybe the Celtics). If he stayed in Oklahoma City and never won a championship, he would’ve been like Karl Malone or Charles Barkley: to win MVP, a Olympic gold medal, but no NBA championship. We always like to compare the great players to Michael Jordan. We know that Michael wouldn’t want to join the competition (he would want to beat them), but we have to realize and accept that KD or LeBron are not MJ.

He made the choice for himself and now he’s has to live with it. More pressure is on him to win and win now. To join the team that had the best regular season record in league history, winning is the only thing that’s acceptable. He can’t please everybody and I think he understands that, and everyone is not going to understand his decision either. At the end of the day, he made a life decision just like the rest of us.

JGOOD

Upcoming Events: 2016 Summer


First off, I want to congratulate the Cleveland Cavaliers on winning their first NBA Title. It has been 52 years since the city of Cleveland has last won a major sports championship.

image

Also, I want to congratulate Chile on winning Copa America. I’m shocked that Argentina couldn’t get it done. I’m even mkr surprised that Lionel Messi announced his retirement from international competition. Personally, I hope he reconsiders and continue to play. Argentina will need him in the 2018 World Cup.

image

With that being said, here are some things to look forward to:

Euro Cup 2016: Now

image

We are currently down to the last 8 teams in this exciting event. Germany has always been a strong team but France and Italy has been exceptionally well. I can’t wait to see how this plays out.

NBA Free Agency: July 1st

image

Free agents can’t actually sign until July 10th but they can come to verbal agreements as soon as the first of the month. Headlining this free agency class is former league MVP Kevin Durant.

MLB Home Run Derby/All-Star Game: July 8-12th

image

We are in the prime months of Major League Baseball. The Home Run Derby will showcase the league’s biggest bats while the All-star Game will display the season’s best players.

NFL Training Camp: Second Half of July

image

Amazing how quickly the NFL season is approaching. Before you know it, it will be week one and I’ll be finalizing my fantasy football lineups. Hopefully, no major injuries in the next couple of months.

Olympics: August 5th

image

I’ve waited 4 years for the return of the World’s biggest sporting competition. I’m most looking forward to USA Men’s Basketball, Swimming, Track and Field, and Water Polo.

image

image

JGOOD

History In The Making (On Father’s Day)


On this Father’s Day (Happy Father’s Day!), this game 7 of the NBA Finals will not only end the 2015-16 NBA season, but we will see history in the making not matter who wins tonight.

image

For the city of Cleveland, this could end the misery of not winning a championship in over 50 years by any of the major franchises. As a Chicago Bulls fan, I despise the Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James (however, I do have respect for his greatness and his abilities). As for Cleveland, the city with a bunch of factories according to Joakim Noah, I feel bad for. Chicago Cubs fans might be the only ones suffering more than Cleveland so I get it.

image

For the Bay Area, this would cap off a season that could never be duplicated. This is the first team ever to win 73 games and only have single-digit losses. Also, this was the first time in league history that a player was named MVP by an unanimous vote. And to defeat the Cavaliers for a second straight year with Cleveland having a healthy team this time around, will solidify their place as one of the greatest teams ever. The Golden State Warriors backs are against the wall dealing with injuries of their own and losing back to games for the second time all year (Oklahoma City Thunder series). If they lose, it would be an epic collapse and one of the biggest disappointments in league history. What will the defending champs do?

image

Nevertheless, we will see an entertaining game tonight on this Father’s Day. Once again, Happy Father’s Day!

image

JGOOD

Where Is The (Kevin) Love?


The man that was traded for the NBA 2014 number one overall pick and the same man who was a double double machine in Minnesota, is now starting to be questioned if he can coexist with the other 2 of the big 3 in Cleveland with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. Initially we all thought, including LeBron, that Kevin Love would be the missing piece for the city of Cleveland to end it’s drought of winning a championship. Kevin Love’s ability to rebound, stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting, and his fastbreak starting ability convinced LeBron and the Cavaliers to trade away Andrew Wiggins. What wasn’t taken into account was Love’s inability to defend, especially against the pick and roll and help side defense.

image

Kevin Love signed a 5 hear, $110 million deal over the summer. While Irving was out at the beginning of the season, LeBron emphasized that Love would be the focal point of the offense. Last year, Kevin would look misplaced and lost within the system with James and Irving on the court. Once Kyrie returned in December, much of the same continued. When Cleveland initially made the trade, they promised Kevin that he would receive his (max) contract. I’m starting to think they just gave him his money based on that reason alone, and not because they wanted to use him long term (at this point). At times, the team would take him out during the 4th quarter of his defensive deficiencies. If you can’t play in the 4th because of that or the inability to hit free throws (other players qualify here), then you don’t deserve a max contact in my opinion (don’t you agree?). And if you don’t deserve a max contract but is currently under a max contract, then you’re overrated. Being teamed up with LeBron has exposed Kevin Love’s flaws on the national stage. When he was in Minnesota, Ricky Rubio was always hurt so Kevin did everything. Love has 11 20-point-20-rebound games in his career. None of them has happened since joining the Cavaliers. I’m convinced to say that he is the most overrated player in the NBA at the moment. Not taking away from what he’s excellent at but when you’re on the same team as LeBron and you’re outcasted and isolated by your own teammates and in the middle of trade rumors, then you wonder why Minnesota gave him a 4 year contract extension instead of a max contract the first time around. There’s no love in Minnesota. There’s starting to have no love in Cleveland. So my question is where is the love?

image

JGOOD