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

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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

2016 Sports Moments: Top 10


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.

Honorable Mentions

  • 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.

Happy Holidays!!

JGOOD

 

Ball Is Life: Windy City’s Spaniards


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.

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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.

 

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Black Mamba warming up

 

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.

JGOOD

2016-17 NBA Season Predictions


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.

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Kevin Durant signs with Golden State

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.

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D’Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson

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.

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Russell Westbrook

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).

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2016 Golden State Warriors

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.

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Ben Simmons

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.

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Hassan Whiteside

 

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.

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Derrick Rose

 

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.

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Dwyane Wade

 

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.

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Dwight Howard going home

 

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.

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Reigning Champs

 

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 

nba-predictions

D.Reed @freshprynce23 (Twitter and Instagram)
JGood @jgoodwithsports (Twitter and Instagram)
Cello @brimology101 (Twitter)
Reap @reapdareaper07 (Twitter)
Chris @mrwsa11 (Twitter)

JGood’s NBA Midseason Awards


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

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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

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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

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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

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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”

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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

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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?

Top 10 NBA Bust In The Past Decade


The past 10 years the NBA has provided us some memories from great players who were drafted within this time frame (Stephen Curry, Blake Griffin, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, and many more). The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Golden State Warriors are a prime example of what happens when you draft the right players. Unfortunately, there are others who didn’t even scratch the surface of the hype that they were given before stepping foot on an NBA court. Here are the honorable mentioned below:

Andrea Bargnani, 1st Overall, 2006, Raptors, Italy

Epke Udoh, 6th Overall, 2010, Warriors, Baylor

Jimmer Fredette, 10th Overall, 2011, Kings, BYU

Anthony Bennett, 1st Overall, 2013, Cavaliers, UNLV, (Jury still out on him)

And here we go!

10) Patrick O’Bryant, 9th Overall, 2006, Warriors, Bradley

This guy, physically, had the potential of being a game-changer but his skills never developed. He wasn’t able to crack the rotation. O’Bryant played in 90 games (started 3) in 5 seasons averaging 2.1 points per game. Yeah… that’s pretty bad.

9) Yi Jianlian, 6th Overall, 2007, Bucks, China

The next best thing from China was nowhere as formidable as Yao Ming. His game wasn’t as polished and was too injury prone to stay on the court. At times you saw flashes of what could be, but all we’re left with is a “never was” (sounds harsh).

8) Sheldon Williams, 5th Overall, 2006, Hawks, Duke

The former Duke star was nothing close to stardom in the NBA. After only 2 years in Atlanta, Williams became a journeyman around the league until 2012. The only thing going for him is Candace Parker (Winning).

7) Royce White, 16th Overall, 2012, Rockets, Iowa State

Royce White was one of my favorite players entering that 2012 draft because his game was outstanding (point forward with an all-around game). However, nobody will ever see him at the next level because he is battling with anxiety disorder. It is to the point that White is not comfortable with flying. The only stat he has is 3 minutes played in his NBA career (Shaking my head). Great talent nevertheless.

6) Michael Beasley, 2nd Overall, 2008, Heat, Kansas State

After missing out on the Derrick Rose sweepstakes, Michael Beasley became the “sloppy seconds” to a draft class that also produced Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez, DeAndre Jordan, and Goran Dragic. Beasley’s play never lived up to the side kick that Dwyane Wade needed, and he also dealt with some off the court issues as well. Another player with wasted potential (You see the theme right?).

5) Joe Alexander, 8th Overall, 2008, Bucks, West Virginia

While we’re still on the 2008 draft class, we can’t forget Joe Alexander. Let’s put it like this: the guy who was supposed to help turn Milwaukee around played 67 games in his career in 2 years. He was phenomenal at West Virginia (I remember watching him on television). I honestly don’t have a clue what happened besides lack of work ethic and skills, but more unfortunate things have happened (You’ll see).

4) Jonny Flynn, 6th Overall, 2009, Timberwolves, Syracuse

I just want to remind everyone that the Timberwolves had back-to-back picks (like the cover of Lethal Weapon) which also included Ricky Rubio with the 5th pick. ALSO, they had two chances to draft the kid from Davidson but blew it. Jonny Flynn wasn’t the same after having hip surgery in the summer of 2010. No one could predict this would happen… just like the player who was selected after him right?

3) Adam Morrison, 3rd Overall, 2006, Bobcats, Gonzaga

Easily the 2nd worst pick that Michael Jordan was responsible for (cough, Kwame Brown). That one mythical season in College got him to be the worst pick in the Bobcats history (Now Charlotte Hornets 2.0). He lost his starting job mid way through his rookie year because of poor defense and shooting. The following year, he tore his ACL. He ended up being the late 2000’s version of Mark Madsen by riding the bench and receiving a championship ring from the Lakers (bum status with perks).

2) Greg Oden, 1st Overall, 2007, Trail Blazers, Ohio State

A lot of people have him at number one on these type of list because of where he was drafted and how many games he played. He also reminds people of Sam Bowie (ouch). When Oden did play, he was productive. Unfortunately, when you go four seasons without playing an NBA game due to knee injuries and set backs, it’s extremely hard to ignore that. At least he’s currently playing in China.

1) Hasheem Thabeet, 2nd Overall, 2009, Grizzlies, UCONN

He was the highest draft pick ever to be sent down to the NBDL. The worst lottery pick to ever come out of UCONN. He’s played on 4 different teams and his best statistical season was his rookie year (3.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.3 bpg). The Memphis Grizzlies passed on James Harden, Stephen Curry, Demar Derozan, Jeff Teague, Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, Ty Lawson, Taj Gibson… even Danny Green would’ve been a better option than Thabeet (the list is longer than that). The TRUE definition of a wasted draft pick.