Yahoo Sports AM: Joel Embiid is unstoppable

By | December 21, 2023

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πŸ€ College hoops scoreboard: Seton Hall upset No. 5 UConn, No. 21 Duke defeated No. 10 Baylor, Villanova knocked off No. 12 Creighton and No. 11 UNC handed No. 7 Oklahoma its first loss. Full scoreboard.

πŸ’ 36th season: 51-year-old Jaromir Jagr began his 36th professional hockey season on Wednesday, recording an assist for his hometown Kladno Knights in the Czech league.

🏈 “Deflategate” flashback: Certain footballs during the Chiefs’ win over the Patriots were underinflated by two pounds. The balls weighed 11 pounds per square inch; according to the rules they should be 12.5-13.5 PSI.

πŸ€ Comanche admits murder: NBA G League player Chance Comanche has admitted to fatally strangling a woman in Las Vegas earlier this month, a day before his team’s game.

πŸŽ“ Pac-12 to WCC: Oregon State and Washington State, the two remaining Pac-12 schools, are working on an agreement to join the West Coast Conference for non-football sports.

πŸ€ Joel Embiid is unstoppable

Good luck guarding this guy.  (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Good luck guarding this guy. (Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Joel Embiid does he’s having one of the best scoring seasons in NBA history, and the 29-year-old is starting to build his case as perhaps the most prolific scorer we’ve ever seen.

His latest achievement: The reigning MVP scored a season-high points against the NBA’s top-ranked defense on Wednesday, lifting the 76ers to a 127-113 victory over three-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and the Timberwolves.

  • To score: He has now scored more than 30 points in thirteen straight games and more than 40 points in three straight games. This was his second 50-point game this month.

  • Scoring + rebounding: Embiid joins Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor and Walt Bellamy as the only players with 12 straight games of 30+ points and 10+ rebounds.

Crazy numbers: Embiid is scoring a league-best 35.1 points per game, which would rank 10th all-time. And he does it while playing just 34.1 minutes per night and often sitting out the fourth quarter. He also ranks sixth in rebounds (11.8).

Consider this: In 1962, Chamberlain became the only NBA player to average more points per game than minutes per game in a season. Embiid is on his way to join him.

His numbers so far:

The big picture: Is Embiid the greatest scorer in NBA history? It sounds crazy, but it just might be true. No player has ever averaged more points per 36 minutes (31.19), and his career points per game (27.66) trails only Chamberlain (30.07) and Michael Jordan (30.12).

The last word: β€œHe’s getting better and better, and that’s scary,” teammate Tyrese Maxey said after a recent win. β€œHe did a layup today…a Eurostep high glass, touch layup. I looked at Pat Bev[erley] and said, “He’s 6 feet tall and he just ran full speed and did the same layup I just did.” And that’s scary. Just kudos to him, man. We appreciate him.”

🏈 National Signing Day: Top Classes

Jeremiah Smith is on his way to Columbus.  (Yahoo Sports)Jeremiah Smith is on his way to Columbus.  (Yahoo Sports)

Jeremiah Smith is on his way to Columbus. (Yahoo Sports)

It was a busy National Signing Day, with Georgia throwing away a five-star from FSU to close out their No. 1 class and Ohio State breathing a sigh of relief after retaining the No. 1 overall recruit, WR Jeremiah Smith.

Top 10 Recruiting Classes, per rivals:

  1. Georgia

  2. Texas

  3. Alabama

  4. Miami

  5. State of Ohio

  6. Oklahoma

  7. Oregon

  8. Chestnut brown

  9. Notre Dame

  10. Clemson

Team with all names: OL King Large (SMU), QB Air Noland (Ohio State), WR Sanfrisco Magee (Mississippi State), WR Exodus Ayers (Oregon State), TE Decker DeGraaf (Washington), DT Legend Journey (Cal), DE Tycoolhill Luman (Rutgers ), LB Crews Law (UNC) and DT Commandre Cole (Memphis) are the leaders of our All-Name Team.

🏈 Redrafting the QBs from the past five years

(Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)(Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)

(Henry Russell/Yahoo Sports)

We’ve redrafted the NFL QBs who have joined the league over the past five years based on performance and potential. Here’s our draft order, courtesy of Jay Busbee of Yahoo Sports:

  1. Joe Burrow (original selection: No. 1 in 2020)

  2. Brock Purdy (no. 262 in 2022)

  3. Jalen hurts (no. 53 in 2020)

  4. Tua Tagovailoa (no. 5 in 2020)

  5. Trevor Lawrence (No. 1 in 2021)

  6. Justin Herbert (no. 6 in 2020)

  7. C.J. Stroud (No. 2 in 2023)

  8. Kyler Murray (No. 1 in 2019)

  9. Anthony Richardson (No. 4 in 2023)

  10. Justin Fields (no. 11 in 2021)

11-25: 11. Bryce Young (No. 1 in 2023)12. Jordan Love (no. 26 in 2020)13. Sam Howell (no. 144 in 2022)14.Daniel Jones (no. 6 in 2019)15. Will Levis (no. 33 in 2023), 16.Gardner Minshew (no. 178 in 2019)17.Kenny Pickett (no. 20 in 2022)18. Aidan O’Connell (no. 135 in 2023)19. MacJones (no. 15 in 2021)20. Desmond Knight (no. 74 in 2022), 21. Zach Wilson (No. 2 in 2021)22. Bailey Zappe (no. 137 in 2022)23. Jake Browning (Not prepared in 2019)24. Trey Lance (No. 3 in 2021)25. Tommy DeVito (Not drafted in 2023)

πŸ“Έ Photo of the week

(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

(Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

I just came across this recording of Sunday’s Chiefs-Patriots game and can confidently say it belongs in the Louvre. Awesome.

πŸ“† December 21, 1891: The first basketball game

James Naismith (center, wearing a jacket) and the first basketball team.  (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)James Naismith (center, wearing a jacket) and the first basketball team.  (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

James Naismith (center, wearing a jacket) and the first basketball team. (Bettmann Archive/Getty Images)

132 years ago today, 18 students in Springfield, Massachusetts, played the first game of basketball, a new sport invented by 30-year-old teacher James Naismith.

Origin story: The director of physical education at Springfield College, then known as the International YMCA Training School, commissioned Naismith to create an indoor game to give students an “athletic distraction” during the harsh New England winters.

  • Naismith asked a janitor for some boxes to make goals from, but the janitor returned with peach baskets. That’s why he called his new game ‘basketball’. A year later, Naismith published the 13 original rules and organized the first public game.

  • β€œThe invention of basketball was not an accident,” Naismith said. “It was developed to meet a need. Those guys simply didn’t want to play ‘Drop the Handkerchief’.”

More about this day:

*The first defector: Mogilny was the first NHL draftee to leave the Soviet Union to play in North America.

πŸ“Ί Watchlist: High stakes battle

Big game tonight for Puka Nacua and the Rams.  (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)Big game tonight for Puka Nacua and the Rams.  (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Big game tonight for Puka Nacua and the Rams. (Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

The Rams host the Saints tonight (8:15 p.m., scoop) in a high-stakes battle between NFC playoff contenders.

Where it says: The Rams (7-7) are currently the NFC’s No. 7 seed, while the Saints (7-7) are in the bubble while still fighting for the NFC South title. Whoever wins tonight will earn a huge lead in the play-off race.*

More to watch:

  • 🏈 NCAAF: USF vs. Syracuse (8 p.m., ESPN) … Boca Raton Bowl.

  • πŸ€ NBA: Lakers at Timberwolves (9 p.m., NBA)

*NFC Playoff Photo: 1. 49ers, 2. Cowboys, 3. Lions, 4. Buccaneers, 5. Eagles, 6. Vikings, 7. Rams, 8. Seahawks

πŸ€ NBA trivia

(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

(Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)

Joel Embiid’s 35.1 points per game would be the third highest in a season this century.

Answer below.

🏈 Good read: 9 to 5 to the NFL

(Amy Monks/Yahoo Sports)(Amy Monks/Yahoo Sports)

(Amy Monks/Yahoo Sports)

Cowboys rookie Brandon Aubrey is 31-for-31 on his field goal attempts this season, including 8-for-8 from beyond 50 yards. Not bad for a former software engineer who never played high school or college football.

From Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo Sports:

On a warm September day in 2019, Brian Egan pulled up to a sprawling sports complex in suburban Dallas. The part-time kicking coach had organized a free clinic for aspiring kickers who lived in the area.

As the participants arrived, Egan quickly realized that one stood out from his usual teenage clientele. Standing next to more than a dozen middle school and high school students was a tall, strapping newcomer with the face and physique of a grown man.

β€œThat guy doesn’t look like he’s in high school,” Egan remembers thinking. So Egan introduced himself and asked the newcomer about himself.

Brandon Aubrey told Egan that he played college football at Notre Dame, that Toronto FC drafted him 21st overall in 2017 and that his pro career had stalled after two disappointing seasons in an MLS feeder league.

Although Aubrey had recently taken a 9-to-5 job as a software engineer, the 24-year-old couldn’t shake the lingering suspicion that he was meant to do something else. Lately he began to wonder if kicking a football might be his calling. He had searched Google for kicking coaches in the Dallas area, and Egan was the top result.

Egan only had to watch Aubrey kick a football a few times that day to realize that the former professional football player had unusual talent. The ball exploded off Aubrey’s foot. He had, as Egan puts it, β€œa natural ball-striking ability.”

Egan didn’t know how far his strong-legged new student would go. Just four years later, Aubrey has broken the record for consecutive field goals made to start an NFL career and he is on the cusp of breaking the record for most touchbacks in a season.

β€œEveryone has their own unique story,” Aubrey told reporters earlier this season. Few NFL players have one as remarkable as his.

Keep reading.

Trivia answer: Kobe Bryant (35.4 ppg) and James Harden (36.1 ppg)

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