My 2017 NBA Playoffs Bracket Prediction

Brackejkt

This is my NBA 2017 playoff bracket. It may be a bit surprising to you, however I fervently believe that both 1 seeds (and the Cavs) will not make the Finals this year. Iʻll include some final remarks to this bold opinion at the end of the piece, but I want to explain my thought process for each of my playoff selections first, starting with the first round.

 

First Round

8 Bulls vs. 1 Celtics- The Celtics have confidence on their side, especially against a hurt Bulls team. Canʻt fathom the Bulls winning a game in this series. Celtics in 4.

5 Hawks vs. 4 Wizards- The Wizards have been under the radar all year. This team has the second best back court in the East (barring the Raptors) and I just canʻt see how the Hawks can get around that. With that being said, the Hawks are really solid this year. I just feel that they lost their Finals potential with their trading of Korver. Wizards in 6.

6 Bucks vs. 3 Raptors- The Raptors, similarly to the Wizards, have been underrated this year so far. They have the best point differential in the east and made the move for Ibaka, who was exactly what the Raptors needed to up their Finals potential. The Bucks have had an outstanding year and Antetokounmpo has been at the forefront. I just have a hard time seeing how one player on a team with otherwise average talent can beat this red-hot Raptors team. Toronto in 5.

7 Pacers vs. 2 Cavaliers- This season for the Cavs, and particularly for LeBron, has been nothing short of adversity. From all the injuries to their recent struggles to defend, it has been short of many expectations. The Pacers have been quite the opposite as of late. Currently on a 5 game win streak, they are not going to be walked over in the playoffs this year. To me, this is the closest series of the first round. Cavs squeak by in 7.

8 Blazers vs. 1 Warriors- This one really is a no brainer. Warriors are the best team in the league facing the worst team in the playoffs. No disrespect to the Blazers, and Lillard in particular, but they really do have no chance. With that being said, the Blazers are hot and will barely win one game. Warriors in 5.

5 Jazz vs. 4 Clippers- I have respected the Jazz this year. They have played outstanding defense, probably the best in the NBA this year, and I cannot see them losing to this Clippers team. In fact, I believe they will be confident out the gate and finish them off early. Jazz in 4.

6 Thunder vs. 3 Rockets- The Thunder have had a wild year. Starting with Durant leaving and ending in housing the probable MVP Westbrook. So when the Rockets clash with the Thunder, I have a hard time saying that the Rockets have the advantage. Yes, their team is significantly stronger than the Thunder. However, the Thunder do have some forgotten weapons such as Kanter, Adams, and Oladipo. I think that these guys will step it up after Westbrook is given MVP and on the flip-side, morale will be lost in the Rockets locker room after Harden does not receive it. Thunder win in 6.

2 Spurs vs. 7 Grizzlies- The Spurs have been excellent all year and it is this consistency that gives me little worry about their chances of advancing this round. Spurs in 5.

 

Second Round

4 Wizards vs. 1 Celtics- The Celtics have the confidence, coaching, and players to win this series against the Wizards. I do love the Wizards this year, but the Celtics are the best all-around team in the East and because of this, they will win this series. Celtics in 6.

3 Raptors vs. 2 Cavaliers- If the Pacers series goes the way I think it will, then the Raptors will stomp the Cavs in this series. The Cavs are going to have a hard time defending, plus the fact that James is going to be overplayed, only spell disaster for the Cavs. Raptors in 6.

5 Jazz vs. 1 Warriors- This series will be the closest in the second round. The Warriors are the best team in the West, but the Jazz are a team that has been overlooked this year and will put up one great fight against this team. Their scheming can be challenging to score against and Gobert should have an easy time scoring on Golden States bigs. This was probably the toughest decision for me out of all of these results, but I have to go with the Warriors in a nail-biting game 7 based solely off of experience.

6 Thunder vs. 2 Spurs- On the contrary, this is quite the easiest decision for me. The Spurs are the best coached team in the league and will easily defeat a team whose offense revolves around one player. Spurs in 4.

 

Conference Finals

3 Raptors vs. 1 Celtics– This really has no logic to it. I just really have a strong feeling about this yearʻs Raptors. Maybe the Celtics get cocky over the fact that they donʻt have to play Cleveland. Maybe the Raptors feel healthy pressure that Lowry might consider leaving if they cannot make a Finals run. Maybe its confidence off the coattails of a victory against James. Maybe its all of these things. I just feel like the Raptors have a good chance to show up for this series against the Celtics. Raptors in 7.

2 Spurs vs. 1 Warriors- For me, fatigue will be a major factor in this series. Spurs are coming off of a 4 game series and the Warriors are doing quite the opposite after beating the Jazz in 7. I imagine that the Jazz series will be physically taxing, and because of this, it will be hard for the Warriors to play the same amount of minutes they usually do. Add the fact that the Warriors have, subjectively, the worst bench in the league and its hard to see the Spurs struggle in this series. Spurs in 5.

 

FINALS

3 Raptors vs. 2 Spurs- Fatigue will also be a factor in this series, however to a much less drastic degree. The Spurs have the experience which the Raptors lack. The Spurs have Leonard, a guy who has already won a Finals MVP award and a coach who has been to countless Finals before this. It is hard for me to see them lose to a team that lacks these credentials. I will be secretly rooting for the Raptors, but I have the Spurs winning the NBA Finals in 6.

 

So, to review, I have the Spurs winning the Finals against the Raptors this year. I believe the Celtics will be eliminated by the Raptors in the conference finals. I believe the Cavs will fall because of the Pacers hot streak causing fatigue sizable enough to fall to a respectable Raptors team and I think the Jazz will put up a great fight against the Warriors, causing them to lose mainly because of fatigue.

 

Thanks for reading. Song(explicit)

 

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The Best Thing to Happen to Westbrookʻs Basketball Career

Last seasonʻs playoff ended for the Thunder when they lost a 3-1 lead in a series against the Warriors. Durantʻs contract was over and after a heart-breaking loss, its no surprise that he had soon made headlines about leaving. Furthermore, leaving to join the team that he saw jubilate over what I could only perceive as despair. All people want to be happy, and athletes are no exception. But, its hard to imagine that Westbrook isnʻt subconsciously filled with ecstasy over Durantʻs leave.

I know that it may sound weird. Since when is losing a star that was pivotal to getting far in the playoffs a good thing? Well, it certainly isnʻt. However that may not be the case for Westbrook. During the playoffs and the entire previous season, Westbrook had been ridiculed for his “inability to share the ball.” Durant was the face of OKC, and quite undeniably so, for however many years he was on the team. Now, quite the opposite is true. Durant is the one who is ridiculed and Westbrook is the face of the team. So, yes it may sound weird, but it is quite common to say that people like to be appreciated rather than abhorred.

Also, the MVP race has been changed drastically by this move. Before the move, Durant was the only Thunder player who was considered for MVP. Westbrook was given little thought throughout his career for MVP. Until this year. Now Westbrook has the ability to be himself on the court, without having to worry about media breathing over his neck about why Durant doesnʻt get enough shots or about why he shoots too much. It just him and the basketball, and he has had the best stats of the year because of it. Furthermore, Durant is barely mentioned in the debate for the MVP.

Sure, Durant had greatly increased the odds of the Thunder winning the Finals. But, the Thunder have been to the Finals and another year they were up 3-1 against the red hot Warriors and still failed to secure the title. The fact of the matter is that if you canʻt win in that situation, then what other chance is there, especially with the super teams of the Warriors and Cavaliers. I donʻt want to sound like I am blaming Westbrook for hogging the ball now. In fact, I praise him. I wish more, to put it frank, hopeless teams would shoot for awards like MVP with their stars. What player wouldnʻt want to join a team with an MVP caliber player? There are a few, but there cannot be that many against that when considering free agency.

Thanks for reading. Song

Why Don’t NFL Teams do This?

Almost every team in the league, successful or not, has one quarterback that they rely on for almost every play on offense. But, why? Why can’t their be certain specialized quarterbacks in the same way that a running back can specialize in speed or strength? Why can’t teams have one quarterback that can only bomb the ball down the field and another that can only accurately throw short or intermediary passes? The answers to all of these questions have yet to surface in my mind.

Now I am obviously not saying greats like Brady or Rodgers should be specialists, but players like Gabbert and Kaepernick or Hoyer and Cutler to share playtime in each game and play to their strengths. These teams are not successful with the orthodox strategy of having only one quarterback, so why not try and experiment with this. It can’t be much worse.

So what am I suggesting these teams do exactly? Well, I want to see quarterbacks interchanged just like running backs are for many teams. Have a quarterback that excels on third down play on every third down. Have a quarterback that has a cannon only throw deep passes. Have a fast quarterback run options. The options are limitless! I am not certain of many examples where this would be applicable. Maybe the Vikings with Bradford and Bridgewater? I’m still not sure, but I think that if teams drafted with this mindset in mind, then they could really see what success is.

Thanks for reading.

Song

My NFL Playoff Prediction for 2017

Many sport’s fans are anxiously waiting for this year’s NFL champion to be crowned. This is when I thought to myself, “Why? Don’t people have anything better to do?” I soon had a revelation that they, including myself, have no such thing! So, with all of that said, here is my prediction for the upcoming playoffs…

 

bracket

WILDCARD ROUND

Dolphins at Steelers- Dolphins have been great this year, but they have too many issues at quarterback and their defense will not stand a chance against the Steelers powerhouse offense.

Raiders at Texans- Texans are severely underrated in my opinion. With that being said, their is a blaring issue offensively. Yes, the Raiders have the same issue at quarterback, but the rest of Oakland is good enough to make up for it. The Raiders have a great O-line, receiving core, and running game. Texans, although having a better defense, will not be strong enough offensively to top the Raiders.

Packers at Giants- Packers are on fire right now. Although I think the game will be close, the Packers are red hot right now and I don’t think any team has a chance against them in this wildcard round.

Lions at Seahawks- Seahawks have been hot and cold all year and without Earl Thomas in the backfield, their defense is mediocre at best. Add the fact that they are facing a top 5 quarterback gives them really bad odds.

DIVISIONAL ROUND (Predicted Matchups)

Raiders at Patriots- Derek Carr is out. Need I say more?

Steelers at Chiefs- VERY CLOSE. Picking straws really. At the end of the day, the Chiefs are ecstatic from their division win and therefore will be slightly more explosive on offense. Also, the Steelers defense leaves something to be desired.

Packers at Falcons- Remember that thing I said about being red hot? Yeah I meant to say the Falcons are. The fact of the matter is that both these teams have bad defenses and outstanding offenses. This game will be super high scoring, but I have to give a nod to home field and to rest.

Lions at Cowboys- Here I am with the Lions winning again. A Cinderella story of sorts. The Cowboys aren’t ready yet. Will they be? Absolutely! Just, not now. Why, you may ask? I dunno…morale or lack of leadership or somethin’. I can’t put my finger on it. Something about the team going from what they were a year ago to now basically with the addition of two rookies running the whole offense doesn’t bode well for me. Like the saying says, some things are just too good to be true.

CONFERENCE ROUND (Predicted Matchups)

Chiefs at Patriots- ABSURDLY CLOSE. Picking toothpicks here. Boiled it down to the fact that Alex Smith can look like Tom Brady against a mediocre Patriots defense with an Andy Reid playbook. They only win if he has one of those games, and obviously I think he can and will. Also, the Chiefs defense is almost guaranteed a turnover of some kind because that defense is legitimate.

Lions at Falcons- I’m not THAT crazy about the Lions. Falcons have better offense and defense no question. Win by double digits.

CHAMPIONSHIP (Predicted Matchup)

Chiefs vs. Falcons- Chiefs win because they have defense. Really that simple. Both teams have offense, only one has defense. And the last few years have proven that you need defense to win championships. If Falcons win, it would change the way teams build. Them even being in the Super Bowl, (if I am right), will make waves among general managers. However, I still believe that a strong defense will always beat a superior offense, therefore I am choosing the Chiefs to be champions.

 

Thanks for reading! And just as a reminder, I am no expert, merely a fan so take all I say with a grain of salt. Well, maybe not salt. Maybe more like a rock of Parmesan cheese you see in those shakers. Hope you have a great start to your new year.

Song

My Thoughts on the Evolution of Esports

My Thoughts on the Evolution of Esports

For those unaware, Esports, or competitive video gaming, has become a growing sport in many circles. Although not fully accepted by the public (and with good reason), companies like ESPN and TBS have bought Esports events and have been advertising them like “real” sports. Some people believe that video games on a competitive level should be considered sport, while other believe that a lack of physical activity makes gaming a hobby and nothing more. I agree with the former.

In my opinion, competitive gaming is a sport. First, a sport requires extensive training to become better than others, which is true with gaming. Also, a sport requires a player to be inherently better than other common/casual players. This is true in gaming as well.

I think the main issue with people accepting video gaming as a sport is the fact that there is an inherent disconnect between the human and the avatar which they control. Sports are about seeing the natural ability of humans and what we as a species can be capable of. The fact that in some video games the characters controlled aren’t even human creates a subconscious disconnect in the mind between the player and the character. Human talent is expressed, just in an unconventional way.

I don’t want this to become a rant, so I will digress. If you believe that a lack of physical ability aside from hand-eye coordination completely declassifies an activity as a, “sport” than I respect your opinion. I think the greater discussion is about what precedent Esports can set for the future of sport.

Think of the possibilities. If (and what seems to be becoming a question of when) Esports becomes a legitimate sport in the eyes of society, other hobbies such as singing, eating, etc. will also likely be labeled as sport. The sports realm is experiencing a huge shift, and, to me, it is exciting. Here’s a quick list of a few activities I see getting a sports following in the future:

  • Singing (Already gaining ground as competitive with shows like The Voice).
  • Eating (Also gaining ground as competitive sport).
  • Board Games (Not huge, although something tells me this will be regarded as sport shortly).
  • Drawing/Painting (i.e. best drawing in certain time limit).
  • Cooking (Closest to becoming sport in my opinion with shows like Chopped).

Really, the options are limitless. The future of the term, “sport,” is on pace to have a diluted and controversial definition, akin to that of, “art.” Soon, our society may even see the two terms have similar meanings, with the only difference being that sports are competitive in nature, while art is not particularly competitive.

I am fully excited for the transformation of sports as a whole. I want to see what people consider to be a sport and what they consider to be a mere activity. Where is the line drawn, or is there even a line to draw?

Thanks for reading. Plan on posting at least three times a week. Have a wonderful rest of your day!

Song