Predictions on NFL divisional winners 2017-2018

AFC

AFC East

  • New England Patriots – There really isn’t much to say. The AFC East is pretty much terrible and New England is always going to be one of the top teams in football as long as Belichick and Brady are around. Buffalo is always going to flirt at being good, the Dolphins can’t seem to ever pull it together and the Jets are so far from even having a winning record.

AFC North

  • Pittsburgh Steelers – The AFC North is a little less lopsided then the AFC East but that being said there is still only two competitive teams in the AFC North. Steelers and Ravens. The Steelers in my eyes are probably the favorite to play in the AFC championship against the Patriots again this coming year. They have a older but still very talented quarterback in Roethlisberger. Arguably the best receiver in football in Antoino Brown. And a top 5 running back in Le’Veon Bell. They also took three great talents in the draft in  T.J Watt(OLB), JuJu Smith-Schuster(WR), and James Conner(RB).

AFC South

  • Indianapolis Colts – I think this division is now more lopsided then people think. The Colts had the worst GM in the world, they finally fired him and have moved on to a defensive minded GM in Chris Ballard which is great for the Colts. They have a established offense but the defense wouldn’t of been the best in Pee Wee football. Ballard completely scrapped the defense and built it himself with some pretty decent talent. Drafted 6 defensive players with 8 draft picks. The top of that list, a remarkable talent in Malik Hooker.  Expect the Colts to be a 11 win team not season putting them 2 games ahead of everyone else in the AFC South.

AFC West

  • Oakland Raiders – In a very competitive AFC West with Kansas City and the Denver Broncos. I see the Oakland taking the AFC West. They have a excellent young talent in Derek Carr on the offensive side of the ball and the have a great talent in Khalil Mack on the defensive side of the ball. The secondary was the focus of change for Oakland and they added depth with Obi Melifonwu and they also have their 2016 pick in Gareon Conley. Also the signed Marshawn Lynch this off season which adds a great amount of personality and he will find a way to be contributor some how.

NFC 

NFC East

  • Dallas Cowboys – The Cowboys shocked the world last year. Dak Prescott and Zeke were just flat out great last season. Even though i do believe that Dak might of showed everything he had last season and I don’t see him improving much. I do think Zekes potential is wherever he wants to go. I see the Cowboys beating the Giants out for the NFC East again this season.

NFC North

  • Green Bay Packers – The NFC North is fairly weak. I don’t think anyone is going to compete with the Packers this season in the North especially if they can stay healthy. Aaron Rodgers is going to put up outstanding numbers just like every year. I think the Packers are more than talented enough to win the NFC North.

NFC South

  • Atlanta Falcons – Probably the best offense in football in a division that there is no team defensively going to stop them. Matt Ryan outstanding. Julio Jones outstanding. That duo is almost unstoppable. They also have a workhorse running back in Freeman. No one in the NFC South is stopping the Falcons. (28-3)

NFC West

  • Seattle Seahawks – The NFC West has completely fallen apart. The Seahawks are a excellent playoff team. Excellent defensively. With a quarterback who probably wouldn’t be a starter in any other system they seem to make it work. Watch out for the Seahawks come playoffs because they seem to always be a competitive playoff team.

 

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A Way to Early Look at the 2018 NBA Playoffs

Knowing that the NBA playoffs ended last month and free agency isn’t even completely over, would it even be a blog if we didn’t start talking about the 2018 playoffs?

Western Conference

  1. Golden State Warriors – No reasoning needed.
  2. San Antonio Spurs – I don’t believe anyone in the West improved enough to take the 2 spot over the Spurs.
  3. Oklahoma City Thunder – With the addition of Paul George and the resigning of Roberson I see the Thunder as one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. Oh yeah, and they have Russell Westbrook still.
  4. Minnesota Timberwolves – I think with trade for Jimmy Butler losing potentially nothing and the signings of Jeff Teague and Taj Gibson. I think the Wolves win 20 more games moving them up to 4th in the West this year.
  5. Houston Rockets – I think with the addition of Chris Paul the Rockets became worse simply because there is only one basketball and now two ball dominant guards.. Also they’re trying to trade for Melo???? Reminder Houston: 1 BALL.
  6. Portland Trailblazers – Lillard and McCollum are just amazing. Nurkic stays healthy averaging 15pts 10rebs 3ast and 2blks. I think they have a bright future. Even though I think the Zach Collins pick was awful. I believe they got a steal in Caleb Swanigan in the draft.
  7. Los Angeles Clippers – The Clippers became drastically worse this off season but I still don’t see them falling out of the playoffs. (assuming Blake is healthy which is a long shot) I believe in the Chris Paul trade they received enough to keep themselves in the playoffs.
  8. Denver Nuggets – Jokic is arguably the most interesting player in the NBA. Pair him along side Paul Milsap and I see the Nuggets in the playoffs. The only thing that troubles me about the Nuggets is they have way to many “bigs” who deserve to play and not enough guards.

Eastern Conference

  1. Boston Celtics – The Celtics have something to prove after signing Hayward. Also they drafted Jayson Tatum and if you’ve watched summer league wow! That kid can play.
  2. Cleveland Cavaliers – Easy as this they have LeBron. The only reason they’re not the 1st seed because LeBron takes 3-4 games off a month and their bench is horrendous.
  3. Milwaukee Bucks – I believe this year the Bucks make the jump from the 6th seed all the way up to the 3 seed. Jabari is going to stay healthy and be one of the top scorers in the whole Eastern Conference. Also don’t forget they have Giannis.
  4. Washington Wizards – They ultimately gain nothing and lose nothing this off season so I like the Wizards staying here at 4.
  5.  Toronto Raptors – The raptors became worse this off season changed nothing and lost two role players in Corey Joseph and Demarre Carroll and received C.J Miles…. If you think C.J is going to bail your underachieving out then think again. Also drafted OG Anunoby who may not play this year. I don’t understand the Raptors off season at all.
  6. Charlotte Hornets – With the East being so terrible, I believe the pick up of Dwight Howard for this Hornets teams actually launches them into the playoffs. Plus I think Malik Monk and Kemba Walker are going to be a deadly combo with each other. A center who is going to average over 10rebs a game is going to really help this team.
  7. Atlanta Hawks – Not really much to say. The East is awful this could be a 36 win team in the playoffs.
  8. Philadelphia 76ers – A team of great talent only if they can all stay healthy. They drafted Fultz who can already score like a NBA veteran, the kid is going to light up the stat books. Also could only be a 36-35 win team and make the playoffs and if everything comes together I think they could possibly even steal a couple of games from the 1 seed in the playoffs.

This is a long shot because we are still almost a year away until the playoffs start. Injuries, trades, etc. still will happen between now and then. But on July 12, 2017 this is how I believe the playoffs will look like come April of 2018.

Paul George trying to ruin the Pacers?

Did Paul George try and ruin the Pacers? Many Pacers fans have reason to believe so. Lets date back to early February 2017 when the rumors that in 2018 Paul George was going to sign with the Lakers. These rumors sent all Pacers fans into a panic because now you’re faced with what to believe with these rumors. Was Paul George really going to turn down more money to play in LA? Are these rumors real? Where did they come from? Many of these questions  went through all of the Pacers fans minds and plenty more. So plenty of Paul George trade options start surfacing especially with the Celtics. (the team that had the most to offer) The Pacers front office was then stuck on the fence on what to do because they aren’t sure if the rumors are true just like everyone else. But to stop all rumors Paul George comes out and says that he wants to win in Indy(completely lie to shut up all of the press). The trade deadline finally passes Paul isn’t dealt, leaving the impression to a lot of Pacers fans that Paul George is the man for the future for the Pacers. Fast Forward to April Pacers are now in the playoffs and George plays outstanding against the defending champs(Pacers arguably giving the Cavs the best competition in the playoffs other than the Warriors). After that series Pacers fans seem happy with the decision to not deal George. Jump 2 months to mid June and Paul George comes out and says that he is not resigning with the Pacers in 2018 and plans to sign with the Lakers. (complete cock move by the way) Now after that comment his trade value drops tremendously. Teams are only willing to give role players and no draft picks for George because they see him as a one year rental unless you’re the Lakers. Which the Lakers came out and said that they will give up no young talent for George but would give either Clarkson or Randle and a late first round pick for George. (which would go down as one of the worst trades in NBA history) Boston tried to draw the trade out as long as they could because they preferred Hayward over George and didn’t want to ruin their chances with Hayward. (good decision by them) OKC jumps in and offers the Pacers Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis (no draft picks) for George. Which the Pacers received to mediocre role players(in my opinion) and the Thunder dumped salary to get what some consider a top 10 player in the league. Now in July, Paul George reportedly has the nerve to come out and say “interest in Lakers has “been overstated” could stay with the Thunder” via Bleacher Report Twitter. Does he just want to be the most hated Pacer of all time?

Basically to my point of Paul George trying the ruin the Pacers. Imagine the Pacers getting some real starters and draft picks which is what the value of George was not just one mediocre starter and a unproven bench player for what some consider a top 10 player in the league. Also imagine how terrible Paul Georges legacy in Indy would be if the Pacers improved or even stayed just above .500 because they were given a good trade for him. Do I think Paul George purposely tried to tarnish the Pacers to save his ego/legacy? Yeah, I do believe that. In the order of how he did everything just doesn’t make sense. Did Paul George know the Pacers were going to get snubbed because he claimed himself as a rental? Obviously unless he doesn’t have a brain. Thunder traded for top 10 player in the league and dumped salary with nothing to lose(knowing they aren’t going to beat the Warriors or the Spurs next year). Did I just write a whole conspiracy theory on why Paul George is a asshole? Pretty much.

The Loss of Avery Bradley ruins the Celtics Chance at Finals Appearance.

The Celtics announced Friday that they were trading SG Avery Bradley to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for PF Marcus Morris and a 2nd round pick.

This trade was made to clear cap room for the newly acquired Gordon Hayward, who many believe could help the Celtics get past the Cavs. But, the loss of Avery Bradley diminishes those chances.

Yes, Hayward has more star power and is a better scorer, but Bradley is arguably the best on-ball defender in the NBA. 

When you dive deeper into the numbers you see that Hayward is not much better than Bradley. Hayward averaged 21 points per game last season while shooting 47% as the go to guy on the Jazz. Bradley averaged 16 per game while shooting 46% as the third fiddle behind Isaiah Thomas and Al Horford. Bradley is also a better rebounder and a much better defender.

Then the issue for the Celtics becomes finding someone to fill the other guard position. Hayward could play there, but is better suited to play Forward. Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown could, but the Celtics would be giving up scoring for defense that still isn’t quite on Bradley’s level. 

Make no mistake about it, the Celtics will be good again. But they are giving up more on defense than they will gain on offense, and in the end, it’ll be the same playoffs result as last year.

Pacers 2017-2018 Outlook

Free agency is winding down, so let’s look ahead at the Indiana Pacers outlook for next season.

Additions

  • PF TJ Leaf (via draft)
  • C Ike Anigbogou (via draft)
  • PG Edmond Sumner (via draft
  • SG Victor Oladipo (via trade)
  • F/C Domantas Sabonis (via trade)
  • PG Darren Collison (via free agency)
  • SF/SG Bojan Bogdanovich (via free agency)
  • PG Cory Joseph (via trade)

Losses

  • SF Paul George (via trade)
  • PG Jeff Teague (via free agency)
  • SG Monta Ellis (waived)
  • PG Aaron Brooks (expired)
  • F CJ Miles (via trade)
  • F Lavoy Allen (expired)

Obviously the big takeaway here is that the Pacers lost Paul George. They got at least one mid-level starter out of it, but it is definitely a rebuilding year. The Pacers have a little bit of a log jam in the front court as they have loaded up on bigs. Expect Anigbogou, and Sumner to spend the season in the D-League, and possibly TJ Leaf as well, if Thad Young remains on the team throughout the season. The addition of Collison was just to get a serviceable point guard and to add veteran leadership. This signing will probably keep Lance coming off the bench next season. Getting Cory Joseph for CJ Miles was a nice pickup as CJ was bound to leave anyway. This shows that the Pacers don’t believe much in Joseph Young yet. Bogdanovich is probably better than Glenn Robinson III, but he is better suited to play the role of a bench scorer, as he averaged 14 points per game off the bench last season. Overall, the Pacers got considerably worse.

Predicted Lineup (bench player)

  • PG Darren Collison (Cory Joseph)
  • SG Victor Oladipo (Lance Stephenson)
  • SF Glenn Robinson III (Bogdanovich)
  • PF Thad Young (Domantas Sabonis)
  • C Myles Turner (Al Jefferson)

This Lineup doesn’t look awful on paper until you really dig into it. Collison is a high end backup at point guard at best. Cory Joseph is a solid backup. Oladipo will be a good defender and a decent second scoring option behind Myles, and Lance will provide a huge spark off the bench. GR3 started a lot of games last year when PG was hurt and did a decent job, he’ll provide decent defense and spot-up shooting. Bogdanovich is a good shooter and playmaker off the bench. Thad Young is an aging but still productive player. I don’t see Thad being on the roster by the time the first game comes around but if he is, he will start and be a low double-digit scoring guy. Sabonis off the bench will be a nice spot-up player. Myles is the guy now that PG is gone and he’s going to need to rebound better, but he will protect the rim and lead the team in scoring. Al Jefferson is aging but can still contribute a little off the bench. He’s a skilled post scorer. All in all, the East is weaker than ever, but a team with no star power will have a hard time competing in a star-driven league. Look for the Pacers to be in the lottery next year.

Is Hayward Enough for the Celtics to get Past the Cavs?

Gordon Hayward made headlines late Tuesday when he announced in a column posted in the Player Tribune that he would be joining the Boston Celtics on a four year deal worth $128 million dollars.

As soon as it was announced the debate of whether the Celtics could now dethrone the Cavs in the East.

Nxt Gen Sports founder Derrik Noel (LeBron hater) had this to say when presented with the question, “if the Celtics get the looks they had last year, there will be a lot of excuses being made by LeBron fans, which is what they do best.” 

Personally, I believe that the Celtics didn’t get as close as everyone thinks due to a few reasons

  1. LeBron can guard Gordon Hayward. He struggled with Kevin Durant in the finals, but Hayward is not even on the same planet as Durant offensively.
  2. If you watched the series this playoffs, you saw that Kelly Olynick was arguably the Celtics most effective player against the Cavs, and the Celtics let him walk to make room for Hayward.
  3. Isaiah Thomas couldn’t guard Kyrie if Kyrie had one leg
  4. Al Horford is not a great rebounder, which is Tristan Thompson’s biggest strength.
  5. The Celtics don’t really have anyone that can play the Power Forward. The only one on the roster is Jordan Mickey. Jae Crowder could play stretch 4, but that would not help the rebounding any.
  6. The Celtics have to trade Marcus Smart to make room for Hayward. Smart is a key contributor. Or the other option is to trade Terry Rozier and waive Jordan Mickey, who as I stated is the only power forward on the roster.

All in all, the Celtics got better, but not better enough. If they can keep Smart and somehow discover a rebounding power forward to put in the lineup, I’ll give them a chance. But as of now, Hayward just isn’t enough to get past one of the 5 greatest players to ever play the game.

Update: Paul George Reportedly Traded to Thunder.

Paul George has reportedly been traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo.

Update: The trade is now confirmed. First reported by Ramona Shelbourne. 

First reactions seem to indicate that the Pacers got a poor return on their investment. The trade also comes as a complete shock considering OKC wasn’t even mentioned in talks leading up to the trade.

The market for PG must’ve crashed as the Pacers were only able to Net Victor Oladipo, and Domantas Sabonis.

Fans of the Indiana University basketball program remember Oladipo well from his time as a star at IU leading to him being selected 2nd overall in the 2013 draft. 4 years into his career and he has yet to live up to that lofty draft slot.

Sabonis was a lottery pick in last years draft (11th overall). He had a quiet rookie year in which he averaged 5.6 points and 3.2 rebounds a game in about 20 minutes per night. This acquisition could pave the way for a Thad Young trade.
Overall, the Thunder made out like Bandits in this trade. They traded two underwhelming players for a top 15 player in the league. The worst part of this trade for the Pacers is that Oladipo signed a 4 year, $84 million extension earlier this season. That is too much cap space being taken up by one player on a rebuilding team. I’d like to see the Pacers flip Oladipo for more assets. A first round pick and young bench player should be an attainable package.

More to come on this.