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

NFL Week 9: Tips and Fantasy Picks


nfl-week-9

CONFIDENCE PICKS

JGood (Green) 

13 New Orleans
12 Dallas
11 Kansas City
10 Seattle
9 Minnesota
8 Carolina
7 New York Giants
6 New York Jets
5 Indianapolis
4 San Diego
3 Baltimore
2 Oakland
1 Tampa Bay

D.Reed (Blue)

13 Dallas
12 Kansas City
11 Green Bay
10 Seattle
9 Carolina
8 New York Jets
7 Atlanta
6 San Diego
5 Minnesota
4 Miami
3 New York Giants
2 Denver
1 Pittsburgh

Week 8 Points and Results
JGood: 68 pts (9-3) record; Overall: 543 pts (62-56)
D.Reed: 61 pts (9-3) record;  Overall: 594 pts (70-47)

HOT OR NOT 🔥❄️ (D.Reed)

What’s Hot🔥
QB
Dak Prescott (Dallas @ Cleveland)
What’s not to love about Prescott’s week 9 matchup against a winless Cleveland Browns team!? Dallas is one of the hottest teams in the league right now, and Prescott is a huge part of their success!! Prescott is coming off of a huge game against a very tough Philadelphia Eagle defense scoring 27 pts!!! If Prescott had that great of a game against one of the better defenses in the league, what do you think he’ll do to one of the worst!!! Start the rookie of the year candidate with confidence!!!

Philip Rivers (Tennessee @ San Diego)
For three weeks in a row, the Tennessee Titans defense has allowed at least 25 pts to opposing quarterbacks which bode well for a struggling Philip Rivers. Over the last 3 games, Rivers is averaging only 13 pts, but he has faced a brutal Denver defense in two of the last 3. Bottom line is that Philip Rivers is due for a productive outing, and I expect for Rivers to bounce back in this one.

RB
Charcandrick West (Jacksonville @ Kansas City)
Charcandrick West is expected to start with Spencer Ware going through concussion protocol. In a week where a total of 6 teams are on bye, West makes a great waiver wire option and should be inserted as a fine RB2 option. With Alex Smith also out and Kansas City not wanting to rely heavily on backup Nick Foles, I expect West will receive a heavy workload and turn that workload into a very solid fantasy outing in week 9!!! Pick West up and get him into your lineups immediately!!!

Jonathan Stewart (Carolina @ Los Angeles)
Ever since Stewart has returned from injury, he’s been scorching hot, scoring 4 TDs in his last two starts!!! Carolina has been a better team with “J-Stew” in the lineup as Carolina gained a much-needed boost in the rushing department!! I expect that Stewart will be used heavily in attempt to keep QB Cam Newton upright and injury free!!! Newton is known to steal goal line carries from Stewart in the past, but with Carolina wanting to minimize the hits on Cam, I expect Stewart will handle majority of the touches up close and turn them into scores!!!

WR
Davante Adams (Indianapolis @ Green Bay)
With Randall Cobb sidelined due to injury last week, Davante Adams stepped in and made the best of his opportunity, reeling in 12 catches on 14 targets for 73 yards. In the past two weeks, Adams has been targeted a whopping 30 times, turning that into 25 catches, 206 yards, and two scores!!! Adams has a great week 9 matchup against a poor Colts secondary that was gashed by the Chiefs last Sunday. With his recently gained rapport with QB Aaron Rodgers, I believe that Adams is in for another solid outing!!!

Dez Bryant (Dallas @ Cleveland)
He’s baaaack!! Dez Bryant wasted no time knocking the rust off from his 3 game absence, catching four passes for 114 yards and a score on whopping 14 targets!!! I like Bryant to continue his hot production against the winless Cleveland Browns. This is the matchup that fantasy owners dream of, and I believe that Bryant won’t disappoint. I’m sure that Bryant will have no problem posting top 5 WR numbers this week!!!

TE
Kyle Rudolph (Detroit @ Minnesota)
Kyle Rudolph has been pretty inconsistent this year but so has the entire Vikings offense. Even with Rudolph’s inconsistency, I love this weeks matchup against a Detroit defense who’s allowed 8 TDs total and the most points to TEs this season!!! With Rudolph being one of the better options in the passing game and a big red zone target, I expect that Rudolph will put together a very respectable stat line.

D/ST
Kansas City (vs Jacksonville)
Kansas City has been one of the hotter defenses in the league, scoring double-digit fantasy points in each of the last 3 games. With the turnover prone Jacksonville Jags coming to town, I like that trend to continue. It’s always very difficult to play in Arrowhead Stadium, let alone win there, and I expect for Marcus Peters and company to be too much for the Jags to overcome!!


What’s Not❄
QB
Blake Bortles (Jacksonville @ Kansas City)
The Jacksonville Jaguars has been one of the biggest fantasy disappointments of the season, and Blake Bortles has been the main contributor to that disappointment. Bortles is coming off of a very solid performance at Tennessee throwing for 337 yds and 3 scores, but a huge chunk of his production came during “garbage time.” I don’t trust Bortles this week in such a hostile environment at Arrowhead Stadium. If you can help it, leave Bortles riding the pine this week.

RB
Latavius Murray (Denver @ Oakland)
Take away Murray’s TDs on the year and he’s fantasy irrelevant. It seems as if Murray’s success depends solely on his ability to find paydirt. It looks as if the Oakland offense is shifting towards being a pass first offense with Derek Carr passing the ball early and often, and that could cut into Murrays production!!! To make matters worse, Murray has a tough week 9 divisional matchup against the Denver Broncos!! Although I like Murrays chances on the goal line, I would still temper expectations for Murray until he proves himself to be more than TD dependent back!!!

WR
Marvin Jones (Detroit @ Minnesota)
Marvin Jones has been a fantasy diamond in the rough for the first few games of the season, but as of late, he’s seen a recent dip in production. Jones has been dealing with a foot injury which may have been the root of his unsatisfactory production. This week, Jones has a matchup against a pesky Vikings defense that has done a great job of shutting down opposing WRs!! The ceiling appears to be low for Marvin Jones this week!!!

TE
Julius Thomas (Jacksonville @ Kansas City)
The Jacksonville Jaguars offense is a mess, and Thomas has been ineffective in the passing attack. Jackson has scored in back to back games, but he’s caught no more than three passes in four consecutive starts. The Chiefs have allowed only one TD to opposing TEs all season and no one has more than 44 yards receiving yards. I expect Jacksonville to be down early in this one, therefore, I can only see Thomas finding paydirt in garbage time.

D/ST
Tennessee (@ San Diego)
Titans defense was a huge dissapointment in week 8 against Jacksonville with no INTS and just two sacks, and only scored 6 points last week in a game in which they let get out of hand late. As long as the Chargers can limit turnovers and sacks, I expect another subpar performance for the Titans defense!! Avoid the Titans D/ST this week if possible!!!

D.Reed @freshprynce23 (Twitter and Instagram)
JGood @jgoodwithsports (Twitter and Instagram)

NBA Preview Part 4: Southwest Division


Southwest Division

Dallas Mavericks
Key Additions: Wesley Matthews, Justin Anderson, Zaza Pachulia, JaVale Mcgee, John Jenkins
Key Subtractions: Monte Ellis, Tyson Chandler, Al-Farouq Aminu, Jameer Nelson, Rajon Rondo
Outlook: The Dallas Mavericks have continued to strike out in free agency when it comes to big name stars. That whole DeAndre Jordan situation was foul but slightly embarrassing. How much better did Dallas really get by adding Deron Williams and Wesley Matthews but losing Tyson Chandler and Monte Ellis? Honestly, Mark Cuban and that front office has to do better if they really want Dirk Nowitzki to make a run at another ring. They may be slightly better, slightly worse, or the same. Either way, they are not a real contender in a stacked Western Conference… not right now at least.

Houston Rockets
Key Additions: Ty Lawson, Sam Dekker, Marcus Thornton, Montrezl Harrell
Key Subtractions: Josh Smith, Nick Johnson, Joey Dorsey, Kostas Papanikolaou
Outlook:  This offseason James Harden requested that they find a point guard that could facilitate the offense, and ultimately take pressure off of him. The Houston Rockets found Ty Lawson. With that being said (and like the same question I asked about Dallas), how much better did the Rockets get? If this was the Eastern Conference, they would be favorite to go to the NBA Finals. James Harden led them to the Western Conference Finals with Dwight Howard on the shelf for a good amount of time. But seriously, are they good enough to be Golden State, San Antonio, LA Clippers, or Oklahoma City? We’ll find out if they are as seriously as a lot of people are making them out to be.

Memphis Grizzlies
Key Additions: Brandon Wright, Matt Barnes, Jarell Martin
Key Subtractions: Kostas Koufos, Nick Calathes
Outlook: Probably the one team that nobody wants to play in a 7 game series when completely healthy. They have perimeter defenders, paint protectors, scorers on the low block and a formidable sixth man. The only thing missing from this masterpiece is a consistent perimeter scorer. Matt Barnes isn’t that guy but he adds depth and another feisty defender. Can Jeff Green evolve his game to the next level and become that missing link? Their window is closing so it’s almost now or never for this team who plays in the toughest division in the league.

New Orleans Pelicans
Key Additions: Kendrick Perkins, Alonzo Gee
Key Subtractions: Toney Douglas, Jimmer Fredette
Outlook: I view Anthony Davis as this generation’s Kevin Garnett. His post game is not on par with KG’s but his impact on the court is definitely comparable. He can do it all (Inside, outside, rebound, pass, block, steals, etc). The only thing left is to elevate the post game, become more consistent from the outside and rack up some NBA hardware. This team will either continue to hover around the 8th spot  or climb up the latter to around a 5th seed. A healthy New Orleans Pelicans will turn a few heads this season but it is Anthony Davis or bust.

San Antonio Spurs
Key Additions: LaMarcus Aldridge, David West, Ray McCallum, Jonathan Simmons, Boban Marjanovic
Key Subtractions: Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph, Aron Baynes, Marco Belinelli
Outlook: How often have we said that Spurs were done heading into the season because of old age (I’ll wait while you count)? To end that thought process, the San Antonio Spurs resigned Kawhi Leonard and lured in LaMarcus Aldridge and David West. The team still has it’s long established future hall of fame core as well. When this team is healthy and in rhythm, there’s no other team that’s better overall. They have the talent, the depth, the coaching, and the experience to win another title. Don’t be surprised if Tim Duncan wins ring number 6.

Katrina: 10 years later


Can you believe it’s been 10 years since one of the most catastrophic storms in this country’s history attacked New Orleans? The people that were affected knows first hand how it changed their lives. Rebuilding in the Big Easy has been difficult. Do you remember where you was at when this horrific event occurred? Do you remember the aftermath?

I remember I was at my grandmother’s house watching the coverage on television with my aunt and cousin.  It was the day before I started my senior year of high school. The only thing I remember seeing right before the storm was 4 people surfing in the background against towering waves. I was stuck thinking either the storm was not going to be as bad as advertised or… those people are idiots. Unfortunately, the people being idiots were accurate. Neighborhoods were drowning, cars looked like flotation devices, and homes were decapitated. People either left (some never came back), survived at the Superdome, or were taken by the hurricane. The citizens of NOLA were left hopeless for days without assistance from the government. There were people saying that New Orleans is a wasteland… just leave it be… there’s no hope.

The city of New Orleans was in for a long road to recovery. They were getting help from many charities. These people were trying to rebuild their lives one day at a time. One of the cornerstones to redemption for the city came a few months later in 2006. The New Orleans Saints signed Drew Brees.

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He was coming off a serious shoulder injury. The San Diego Chargers decided not to have negotiations with him after drafting Philip Rivers a year prior. The city needed a hero and Brees had something to prove. The things that Drew Brees has been able to accomplished during his tenure in the Big Easy has been untouchable. He has the highest completion percentage in NFL history. He also have the most 5,000 yard seasons in league history; most consecutive seasons with at least 4,000 yards (9); most consecutive games with a touchdown (54)…

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His biggest achievement was winning Superbowl XLIV against the Indianapolis Colts in 2009. That was probably the most meaningful Superbowl for any team in the past decade. The city rejoiced in emotion over what Drew and the Saints were able to achieve. Drew Brees has also started a charity to help relinquish New Orleans. He was everything that the city needed and more.

I went to visit New Orleans this past May and it was an incredible experience. From the music, the food, the buildings, the vibe… it is a place that’s incomparable. Check the link for some videos of my trip below:

New Orleans Bourbon Street

New Orleans French Quarter

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There are still some areas in New Orleans that has been revitalized from Katrina, but their culture hasn’t flinched. New Orleans is still around. That city has shown it’s ability to be resilient over the past decade. NOLA will continue to get back to it’s stature of being the heart of Southern Culture, one day at a time.

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JGood