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The Lakers’ entrance workplace ought to be on the identical scorching seat as Frank Vogel


Glad Wednesday, everybody!

Let’s get proper to it.

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Good morning to everybody however particularly to…


usatsi

THE MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES

I like the Memphis Grizzlies. They’re at the moment third within the Western Convention and 8-1 because the calendar flipped to 2022 — tied with the Mavericks for greatest within the NBA.

Memphis was considered one of simply three groups to earn an A+ in our NBA specialists’ midseason grades. Jack Maloney has the breakdown:

  • Maloney: “After sneaking into the playoffs by way of the play-in match final season, the Grizzlies have formally taken the leap. Ja Morant is enjoying at an All-NBA stage, they’ve the deepest roster within the league (shout-out John Konchar) and are high 10 in each offensive and defensive ranking.”

However that is not why I like the Grizzlies. Maloney covers it within the second a part of his grade:

  • Maloney: “They play extraordinarily laborious, is not going to again right down to anybody and their 14-8 report in opposition to opponents which are .500 and above (second solely to the Suns) makes it clear that is on no account a fluke. The Grizzlies are for actual.”

That is what I like most in regards to the Grizzlies.

It is a trait exemplified in a two-game stretch once they beat the Suns on Dec. 27 and the Lakers on Dec. 29 — a trait they get from their celebrity, Ja Morant. He hit the game-winner in opposition to Phoenix after which posted 41 factors in opposition to Los Angeles, the latter of which Memphis trailed by as a lot as 14 in. I firmly consider groups’ attitudes are formed by their stars’ attitudes, and I like Morant’s: stuffed with pleasure and competitiveness.

There’s a lot extra to Memphis, although. There’s Jaren Jackson Jr., an absurdly athletic and expert large man who’s even youthful than Morant. There’s Desmond Bane, a two-way stud who garnered loads of “Most Improved Participant” votes in our midseason awards. I may go on and on. Any participant can have a big impact any night time.

All I can say is that the Grizzlies are a lot enjoyable, breaking by means of the slog that the common season usually turns into. They play laborious. They play an thrilling model of basketball. They’re legit. I am excited to see what they do over the second half. The A+ for the primary half is so well-deserved.

Honorable point out

  • Florida State and No. 6 Duke handled us to a game-of-the-year contender with the Seminoles pulling out a 79-78 time beyond regulation win. FSU has now received 13 straight time beyond regulation video games, the longest streak in Division I historical past.

And never such a great morning for…


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THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS

Even when issues ought to be good in Laker Land, they are not. Let me clarify. On Monday night time, the Lakers beat the Jazz 101-95, overcoming a 10-point deficit and snapping a three-game dropping streak.

As a substitute of waking as much as headlines about their greatest win of the season, the Lakers acquired a a lot totally different story: In line with a report from The Athletic, head coach Frank Vogel “narrowly averted” being fired after a blowout loss Saturday to Denver, and he’s being evaluated on a game-by-game foundation.

Pay attention, the Lakers have been dangerous this season, and Vogel is part of that. However there is a bunch of accidents (together with to LeBron James and Anthony Davis), the continued struggles of Russell Westbrook (who has by no means been a great match) and a poor supporting forged accountable, too. Vogel is not accountable for any of these three areas. GM Rob Pelinka and senior basketball advisor Kurt Rambis are.

And if Vogel goes, they need to go, too, writes our NBA skilled Sam Quinn:

  • Quinn: “It is not as if he traded for Westbrook. Blame for that falls on the executives who noticed a possibility to reshape a championship roster, however solely ended up dismantling it. Shooters had been changed with redundant, high-usage ball-handlers. Defenders had been swapped out for turnstiles. Even the persona suits had been usually disastrous. … It is made the failings of this yr’s roster really feel a tad predictable.”

I very a lot agree with this, particularly the sensation of predictability. Westbrook has been terrible: 31 gamers have taken at the very least 600 photographs this season and just one — Reggie Jackson — has a worse true taking pictures proportion than Westbrook. On the opposite finish, the Lakers additionally misplaced key defenders Alex Caruso and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, amongst others. The Lakers completed first in defensive effectivity final yr. They’re 18th this yr.

Mainly, the Lakers entrance workplace took all the nice components of final yr’s group and gave it away for Westbrook and gamers who aren’t pretty much as good as the blokes who stuffed their roles final yr. That is a recipe for precisely the place the Lakers are actually: struggling regardless of one other distinctive yr from James, with out many options, and unable to have fun celebration-worthy wins.

Predicting who will fill the NFL’s head teaching openings 🔮

There are eight head teaching vacancies to fill this offseason: the Bears, Broncos, Dolphins, Giants, Jaguars, Raiders, Texans and Vikings.

Our NFL guru Jeff Kerr performed matchmaker and predicted who would fill every of the eight openings. One candidate to observe is Brian Flores, the previous Dolphins coach who’s attracting lots of consideration. Kerr has him heading to … the Giants.

  • Kerr: “Flores is arguably the largest title available on the market and Giants proprietor John Mara reportedly has ‘nice respect’ for the previous Dolphins coach. The Giants have but to interview Flores (they’re nonetheless trying to find a normal supervisor), however New York wants a big tradition change within the locker room.”

As for Flores’ substitute in Miami, Kerr has the Dolphins turning their eye to the offensive facet of the ball with present Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy:

  • Kerr: “Coming from the Andy Reid tree, Bieniemy is aware of easy methods to construct a workers and might work effectively with a entrance workplace. He seems to be the suitable match for Miami, despite the fact that the Dolphins have not sought him out within the early phases of their head teaching search. If the Dolphins are dedicated to Tagovailoa, Bieniemy looks as if the coach to get essentially the most out of him.”

You possibly can sustain with all the newest teaching developments right here.

Massive modifications coming to Massive 12 quickly 😲


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The Massive 12 as we all know it — or at the very least have recognized it just lately — will look very totally different in a few years. The convention is planning to break up into two divisions in soccer beginning in 2023 because the league’s realignment takes place.

In July, Texas and Oklahoma had been prolonged invites to affix the SEC in 2025, and each colleges accepted. In September, the Massive 12 added BYU, Cincinnati, Houston and BYU. They’re anticipated to affix within the 2023-24 tutorial yr.

Meaning the Massive 12 will quickly broaden from 10 groups to 14 in 2023-24 and 2024-25 earlier than shrinking to 12 beginning in 2025-26. That additionally implies that two divisions are coming, experiences our faculty soccer insider Dennis Dodd.

  • Dodd: “NCAA guidelines state that any league with greater than 12 groups should break up into divisions for soccer in accordance with Massive 12 senior affiliate commissioner Ed Stewart. … Stewart mentioned a call has not been made whether or not to separate the divisions competitively or geographically. Massive 12 North and South divisions existed from 1996 to 2010. In 2017, the Massive 12 determined to match its two highest-ranked groups a league title sport to create a better probability of stepping into the Faculty Soccer Playoff.”

Dodd has already proposed a possible answer. I will depart you with it under:

HYPOTHETICAL BIG 12 NORTH

  • BYU
  • Cincinnati
  • Iowa State
  • Kansas
  • Kansas State
  • Oklahoma
  • Oklahoma State

HYPOTHETICAL BIG 12 SOUTH

  • Baylor
  • Houston
  • TCU
  • Texas
  • Texas Tech
  • UCF
  • West Virginia

Newest NHL Energy Rankings has new No. 1 🏒


CBS Sports activities

Unusual as it could appear, the NHL at the moment runs by means of the state of Florida. Positive, the Lightning are back-to-back defending Stanley Cup champions, however this season they have been joined by the opposite Sunshine State group.

The Florida Panthers are No. 1 in our NHL skilled Austin Nivison’s newest Energy Rankings:

  • Nivison: “Since Dec. 29, the Panthers are averaging six objectives per sport, they usually have scored 9 objectives twice in that stretch. Some taking pictures luck has actually contributed to that, however the Panthers are merely outplaying opposing groups. Their 55.91% anticipated objectives share at five-on-five is proof of that.”

What we’re watching Wednesday 📺

🏀 No. 13 LSU at Alabama, 7 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Marquette at No. 11 Villanova, 8 p.m. on CBS Sports activities Community
🏀 Clippers at Nuggets, 10 p.m. on ESPN





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