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"The Stack" 2-22-17

Magic Johnson just landed himself his dream job, becoming the president of basketball operations with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss made many changes to the franchise on Tuesday. We'll see if they work out. Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Magic Johnson just landed himself his dream job, becoming the president of basketball operations with the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss made many changes to the franchise on Tuesday. We'll see if they work out.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Stack is back on this Wednesday and we don’t have a whole lot to talk about, but what we do have to talk about is pretty major.  By the way, we are close to going about three consecutive weeks or close to it with blog posts as conference start up.  Don’t miss out on the action or coverage.  Now then, let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Wednesday, February 22nd:

 

Magic Johnson taking over the Lakers

 

In a shocking, surprising, bold and daring move, Los Angeles Lakers president and co-owner Jeanie Buss, daughter of the late Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss, made sweeping moves to the franchise on Tuesday.  She removed her brother, Jim, as executive vice president of basketball operations.  She fired general manager Mitch Kupchak and longtime Lakers publicist John Black.  And she put in charge former Laker great Earvin “Magic” Johnson as the new president of basketball operations effective immediately.  Like the DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans, I have mixed reactions to this and don’t know if this is truly a good move or not.  No doubt that Jim Buss and Kupchak have made some terrible decisions here in the last few years which lead to Jeanie’s decision to believe that now was the time to make wholesale changes.  Poor drafting, not being able to surround Kobe Bryant with enough talent in his last couple of years and not making the playoffs for three straight seasons doomed Jim.  The Lakers weren’t all that relevant coming into Tuesday.  They are back to being relevant now. 

 

Johnson has held titles with the Lakers in previous years, but this is something completely different.  I believe he is going to put his heart and soul into this job and try and get the Lakers back to respectability and contention, but is Magic really the guy who can help fix the mess the Lakers are in?  Can he draft well?  Can he bring in the right free agents?  Having Magic run the show will help lure free agents back to the Lakers, but what if Magic still doesn’t get the job done?  Isn’t that what Phil Jackson was supposed to do in New York?  As with the Cousins trade to New Orleans, I need people with better NBA minds than mine to tell me if this is a good thing or not.  I don’t know if it is.  On the surface it appears like an excellent move for the Lakers, but is that more just because of the name?  I don’t know how good of an executive Magic will be.  Reportedly, Kobe Bryant’s agent is the favorite to be the Lakers GM.  Does an agent know what to do in the front office?  They deal with them enough, but that’s still a much bigger and different transition.  I’m just not sure how this is all going to work out.

 

One last thing…I would love to be a fly on the wall the next time the Buss family gets together to see what the conversation is like between Jeanie and Jim.  Maybe this severs their relationship beyond repair.  I hope this decision does not.  Jeanie did what she had to do to try and restore the Lakers back to their former perennial power self.  We’ll see if she is right or now. 

 

Dolphins trade for Julius Thomas

 

Tight end Julius Thomas is on the move.  After a couple of highly disappointing seasons in Jacksonville, Thomas is headed south to reunite with former Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase who is in his second year as Miami Dolphins head coach.  Thomas had some of his most productive seasons when Gase was coaching him.  This is a good move for him to help resurrect his career and help provide another weapon on offense for the Dolphins.  The Jaguars will receive a seventh round pick in this year’s draft.  Seems like a bit of a steal for the Dolphins.  Teams routinely give up guys who still have some good days ahead of them for next to nothing it seems like.

 

There was talk that at Thomas was going to be traded for Dolphins offensive tackle Branden Albert.  The Thomas-for-Albert trade didn’t go as planned, but nevertheless the two teams still made a trade work.  Albert is headed to Jacksonville and the Jaguars will send a 2018 seventh round pick back to the Dolphins in return.  The Jaguars offensive line was pretty bad last year.  Yes they were banged up with injuries and Albert isn’t exactly a man of steel, but when healthy he is a solid addition to an offensive line that will hope to keep Blake Bortles upright this season.

 

Coming up later this week: Reaction to top headlines in the sports world


"The Stack" 2-20-17

DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins is a New Orleans Pelican. The deal announced after the all-star game sends Cousins to New Orleans for three players and two draft picks in this year's draft. Cousins is now paired alongside another Wildcat...Anthony Davis. This could be a potent one-two combo. Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
DeMarcus "Boogie" Cousins is a New Orleans Pelican. The deal announced after the all-star game sends Cousins to New Orleans for three players and two draft picks in this year's draft. Cousins is now paired alongside another Wildcat...Anthony Davis. This could be a potent one-two combo.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
South Dakota State's Mike Daum (pictured) scored an NCAA season high 51 points as the Jackrabbits beat Fort Wayne (not pictured as this picture was against Wichita State) 87-89. Daum also grabbed 15 rebounds. It was an amazing performance rarely seen in college basketball.
Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Stack is back on this Monday after a nice few days off on vacation, but we are back with a few headlines to discuss. Darrelle Revis is facing four felony charges so that’s interesting, but the case is far from a slam dunk.  What else do we have in store?  Let’s get right to “the stack” for today, Monday, February 20th:

 

DeMarcus Cousins traded to New Orleans

 

There was a lot of basketball related news and activities going on in New Orleans this weekend (more on the all-star game shortly).  Big news broke after the all-star game that the New Orleans Pelicans acquired DeMarcus (Boogie) Cousins from the Sacramento Kings for Buddy Hield, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway and both a first and second round pick in the 2017 NBA Draft.  That may sound like a steep price, but Cousins is a huge presence and pairing him with Anthony Davis is such an interesting combo.  They routinely get double-doubles.  You wonder if having both of them though will help the other shooters on the court.  The Kings really don’t have a whole lot now.  Evans is a good player when healthy, but Cousins was the reason why this franchise was even remotely relevant and that may be putting it kindly.  What are fans going out to see now?  The Kings had said Cousins was off the trade market a couple of weeks ago and now this happens?  It’s an interesting move.  I am curious to see if it will truly work for the Pelicans.  It just seems like with these two players that the Pelicans can be dominant, but will this help the rest of the team or will these guys be responsible for doing everything to help the team get to the playoffs?  I have some reservations on this trade, but will let others with better NBA minds than me tell me if this is a good trade or not for both teams.

 

NBA All-Star festivities

 

The NBA All-Star weekend took place in New Orleans and from the celebrity game to the future’s game to the skills competition to the overall all-star game, it was a good weekend.  The dunk contest Saturday night left much to be desired and only affirmed many people’s minds that Zach Lavine from the Minnesota Timberwolves needs to be back next year to participate (only if his ACL allows) and if LeBron James wants to give it a try that that would certainly help things as well.  Glenn Robinson III from the Indiana Pacers won the event.  New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis, the only good thing the Knicks have going for them as of late, won the skills competition over Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz and Eric Gordon won the three-point competition.  Then we got to the actual all-star game Sunday night and once again defense was absent in this meaningless and painful exhibition game.  The Western Conference took down the Eastern Conference 192-182 and hometown hero Anthony Davis took home MPV honors with 52 points.  Quite ridiculous.  The NBA will resume play later this week.  The all-star game is a joke, but at least Saturday’s events were okay.

 

College basketball weekend thoughts

 

I have a lot of reservations on Baylor and some reservations on Kansas come NCAA Tournament time, but there is no denying that that was some game on Saturday between the two teams.  Baylor had a double-digit first half lead only to see Kansas roar back in the second half and come back to win the game on a couple of free throws with eleven seconds left.  Frank Mason III led the way with 23 points.  He may be the player of the year at this point in college basketball.  Kansas was trailing on Monday against West Virginia and came back and won.  That’s a dangerous way to live come March and the tournament, but for now Kansas should be considered among the handful of teams that can win it all.  Baylor showed me a lot on Saturday, but I still need them to win these games if I plan on taking them deep in the tournament.

 

#9 West Virginia got by Texas Tech 83-74 in double overtime despite not making a field goal in the first overtime.  There is something going on with West Virginia and it isn’t good.  If their press defense isn’t working this is a team that will be bounced early.

 

#15 Florida scored 114 points against Auburn earlier in the week.  They scored exactly half that many points against Mississippi State on Saturday yet still hung on to win 57-52.  Florida has been very good offensively lately.  Hopefully Saturday is just a mirage. 

 

#12 Duke survived to beat Wake Forest 99-94.  That’s twice now this season it looked like Wake Forest was going to beat Duke only to come up empty on both opportunities. Georgia should feel the same way that Wake Forest does after losing 82-77 to #13 Kentucky.  That’s twice now that they should have beat Kentucky and they won neither of their meetings.

 

#14 Florida State is really sliding lately.  They lost to Pittsburgh 80-66.  They were looking like a #2 seed for much of the season, but now they may be lucky to get a #4 seed and may even drop to a #5 or #6 seed if they don’t figure out how to turn things around here quickly.

 

#10 UNC put together a statement win over struggling #14 Virginia with a 65-41 win.  Justin Jackson has been superb all season long.  Virginia is trending downward over the last couple of weeks.  #1 Gonzaga also won easily 82-61 over Pacific to remain undefeated.

 

Finally, the best performance of the weekend took place in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where South Dakota State’s Mike Daum scored 51 points, an NCAA high this season in the Jackrabbits’ 87-89 victory over Fort Wayne and the Mastadons.  Daum is an incredible player who may end up being the best player in Jackrabbit history surpassing the great Nate Wolters who once scored 53 points in a game at Fort Wayne against the Dons.  Daum’s 51 points and 15 rebound stat line is very rare.  Only one other time has this happened in the last seven years.  Daum is a player to watch for potentially at the next level.

 

Coming up later this week: Reaction to top stories in sports


"The Stack" 2-14-17

Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies have won 100 consecutive games. They beat South Carolina 66-55 in a pretty hard fought game to accomplish the unthinkable. This is one record that will probably never be broken unless it's Auriemma himself winning 100 straight again. David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies have won 100 consecutive games. They beat South Carolina 66-55 in a pretty hard fought game to accomplish the unthinkable. This is one record that will probably never be broken unless it's Auriemma himself winning 100 straight again.
David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

The Stack is back on this Tuesday and love is in the air. Ugh!  OK, enough of that.  We don’t have a whole lot to discuss.  We are as I’m sure you know by now big into college basketball so that is where the majority of the headlines will be coming from here over the next month-and-a-half or so.  We’ll sprinkle other sports in there as well of course, but today is another heavy dose of college basketball so let’s get right to it and see what’s in “the stack” for today, Tuesday, February 14th:

 

UConn wins 100th straight game

 

The UConn Huskies women’s basketball team has added another impressive feat to an already extensive and accomplished resume.  They have now won one hundred straight games.  They beat South Carolina 66-55 Monday night, but it wasn’t easy.  South Carolina came to play and led in the first half and into the second half, but plenty of easy missed shots doomed them.  That and UConn just knows how to turn it on when they need to and they make clutch shots.  Gabby Williams was sensational putting up a double-double with 26 points and 14 rebounds.  There will be plenty of people out there that dismiss this accomplishment winning one hundred games in a row, but in a sport in which the competition is getting better and the recruiting is getting more difficult, UConn finds ways to keep winning.  That is a major credit to head coach Geno Auriemma and the culture he has instilled at UConn.  He is a winner.  No one else has ever done something like this before.  The target is squarely on their backs, but that doesn’t seem to bother them.  Even as South Carolina stayed within striking distance late into the third quarter, you knew UConn was going to go on a little run and stretch the lead out.  They did just that.  One hundred straight victories is quite the accomplishment.  Congrats to UConn.  Well deserved!

 

Baylor upset, Kansas survives

 

Baylor and Kansas both received one seeds Saturday from the selection committee.  That may not last long.  Baylor got bounced by Texas Tech in Lubbock Monday night 84-78.  After coming so close to beating Kansas on Saturday, Texas Tech needed this one badly in hopes of getting a possible at-large selection.  This was a good win for them and is just the type of loss that those of us who don’t believe in Baylor have been waiting for.  I’m very dismissive of them being a one seed.  They are bound to disappoint in the tournament.  They could still be a one seed, but I don’t think I will be picking them to go very far.

 

Kansas also nearly lost for a second time at home this season, but made a New England Patriots-esque comeback over West Virginia who had an Atlanta Falcons-like meltdown.  They were up by 14 points on the road with two-and-a-half minutes to play in the game and somehow found a way to lose the lead and go to overtime where Kansas would eventually win 84-80.  The Mountaineers offense or lack thereof couldn’t do anything the final couple of minutes.  They couldn’t inbound the ball.  They couldn’t dribble.  They couldn’t make free throws.  All of these things contributed to this awful loss.  Kansas did everything correctly down the stretch to force overtime and win the game.  They should be commended for that.  This game does nothing to change my mind on Kansas, but perhaps further strengthens my thoughts on West Virginia that they are poised for another early exit in the tournament this year.  What a game this one was in Lawrence last night.

 

Jerry Sandusky’s son charged with child sexual abuse

 

From the “We should have seen this coming, but am still stunned it happened” section, former Penn State assistant coach and scum of the earth Jerry Sandusky, his son Jeffrey, age 41, was charged on Monday with sex crimes involving two underage girls.  The details of the story are disgusting and can be found here if you feel so inclined to read them.  Shouldn’t this guy have known any better?  I guess like father, like son.  Now this piece of scum can go rot in jail for an extremely long time.  Obviously the Sandusky family has some members that can’t be trusted.  What an awful thing to have happen.  When you first read the headline you think to yourself, “No way, that can’t be right.  He wouldn’t be that stupid would he?”  Yes, Jeffrey Sandusky apparently was and now he will be doing time once a trial happens and a jury finds him guilty.  It would be hard at this point to believe anyone will find him innocent.  It just makes you shake your head and almost laugh out loud that this happened again within the Sandusky family.  This is not a funny matter, but how in the heck can this guy be so dumb?  He’s probably very sick.  You have to be what he did to these two girls just like what his father did to all of those boys.  Still, you almost can’t believe it happened.  It did though.

 

Coming up later this week: Reaction to top headlines in the sports world


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