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Kings vs. Timberwolves prediction and odds for Monday, January 30

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The Sacramento Kings and Minnesota Timberwolves face off for the second time in as many games on Monday night in Minnesota.

The Timberwolves won Saturday’s matchup by seven points, their third straight win and seventh in their last 10 games. Minnesota is now the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference, which is extremely impressive given how much time Karl-Anthony Towns has missed this season.

The Kings, who have also won seven of their last 10 games, are the No. 3 seed in the West, two games ahead of Minnesota.

This should be an uptempo game, as both teams rank in the top seven in the NBA in pace, but these teams did combine for just 227 points in their meeting on Saturday.

Does Minnesota sweep this two-game stretch at home? Or can the Kings improve on their 11-10 road record?

Let’s dive into the odds and a pick for this game:

Kings vs. Timberwolves odds, spread and total

Kings vs. Timberwolves prediction and pick

The Timberwolves are really playing terrific basketball as of late, and they’ve been one of the best teams in the NBA as home underdogs this season, going 9-3 against the spread.

Now, I don’t want to discount the Kings record as road favorites (5-2 ATS), but they came up short in this spot on Saturday.

The Kings have the best net rating in the NBA over their last 10 games, but they’ve started to come back to earth, losing badly at home to the Toronto Raptors before dropping Saturday’s game to Minnesota.

The other impressive part about Minnesota’s record as home dogs is the fact that the team has won all nine games that it has covered.

So, if you want to sprinkle on the moneyline, I don’t mind it. I’ll gladly take the points with the Wolves at home.

Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record here.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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3 moves that got the Philadelphia Eagles to Super Bowl 57

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A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles

WR A.J. Brown, Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

The Philadelphia Eagles are headed back to the Super Bowl for the first time in five years and these three moves set the stage for their run at glory.

The city of Philadelphia is rejoicing this morning as the Eagles are headed back to the Super Bowl for the first time since Nick Foles out-dueled Tom Brady to hoist the team’s first Lombardi Trophy in 2017. A lot has changed since then as the foundation of that title-winner unraveled quickly, but Eagles’ GM Howie Roseman has done a masterful job rebuilding his roster as Philadelphia is now set to square off with the Kansas City Chiefs in an epic Super Bowl showdown on Feb. 12.

Roseman has made a lot of bold choices, such as hiring Nick Sirianni to be the successor to Doug Pederson as head coach and moving on from one-time franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, and those moves have helped send Philadelphia back to the promised land. Let’s take a look at the three biggest moves that Roseman made to put the Eagles in position to win another Super Bowl.

3. The A.J. Brown trade finally gave the Eagles a No. 1 receiver

One of the key areas where the Eagles have been trying to upgrade for a long time is at wide receiver, investing numerous first-round picks and free agent dollars at the position. There were some big whiffs in there, notably when Philadelphia picked Jalen Reagor one pick ahead of Justin Jefferson in the 2020 draft, but Roseman righted that wrong this past offseason when he swung a big trade with the Tennessee Titans to acquire A.J. Brown.

The move was a master stroke as Brown was a proven commodity with Tennessee looking for a new contract the Titans didn’t want to pay him. Flipping first and third-round picks for Brown, who then inked a four-year deal worth $100 million, gave the Eagles the No. 1 receiver they had desperately been searching for over the past five years.

Brown was a perfect fit in the Eagles’ offense, setting career highs with 88 receptions for 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns as Hurts’ top target. The move also helped deepen Philadelphia’s receiving corps as Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert slid down the target list by a slot, giving the unit a more well-rounded feel that made it nearly impossible for opponents to defend.

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Every NBA team’s most prolific 3-point shooters ever

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The spread of the 3-pointer means a lot of unusual names are going to be near the top of all-time 3-point leaderboards for many NBA teams.

Cedi Osman celebrated a milestone Sunday, going 7-for-7 from beyond the arc and moving into the No. 6 spot on the Cleveland Cavaliers all-time 3-point leaderboard. It’s a great achievement for Osman but it’s also reflective of how strange the NBA’s 3-point leaderboards are, particularly at a team level.

After all, Osman in his sixth season with the Cavs and he’s played 377 games but he’s also started less than half of those games, averaged more than 30 minutes per game just once and he’s a career 35.1 percent 3-point shooter. Because of the proliferation of the 3-point shot in today’s game, it doesn’t take much for a solid but unspectacular role player like Osman to make his way into the franchise record books.

Even if you narrow the 3-point leaderboard for every NBA team to just the top two slots, you got a weird mix of all-time greats, early adopters and role players who just hung around long enough to etch their names in the franchise record books (even if it won’t last).

Who made the most 3-pointers for every NBA team?

Atlanta Hawks:

  1. Mookie Blaylock — 1050
  2. Joe Johnson — 908

Boston Celtics:

  1. Paul Pierce — 1823
  2. Jayson Tatum — 984

Brooklyn Nets:

  1. Joe Harris — 922
  2. Jason Kidd — 813

Charlotte Hornets

  1. Kemba Walker — 1283
  2. Dell Curry — 929

Chicago Bulls

  1. Kirk Hinrich — 1049
  2. Zach LaVine — 860

Cleveland Cavaliers

  1. LeBron James — 1251
  2. Kevin Love — 1096

Dallas Mavericks

  1. Dirk Nowitzki — 1980
  2. Jason Terry — 1140

Denver Nuggets

  1. Will Barton — 804
  2. J.R. Smith — 768

Detroit Pistons

  1. Joe Dumars — 990
  2. Chancey Billups — 890

Golden State Warriors

  1. Steph Curry — 3282
  2. Klay Thompson — 2066

Houston Rockets

  1. James Harden — 2029
  2. Eric Gordon — 1045

Indiana Pacers

  1. Reggie Miller — 2560
  2. Danny Granger — 964

Los Angeles Clippers

  1. Eric Piatkowski — 731
  2. J.J. Redick — 674

Los Angeles Lakers

  1. Kobe Bryant — 1827
  2. Derek Fisher — 846

Memphis Grizzlies

  1. Mike Conley — 1086
  2. Mike Miller — 844

Miami Heat

  1. Duncan Robinson — 808
  2. Tim Hardaway — 806

Milwaukee Bucks

  1. Khris Middleton — 1218
  2. Ray Allen — 1051

Minnesota Timberwolves

  1. Karl-Anthony Towns — 817
  2. Anthony Edwards — 530

New Orleans Pelicans

  1. Jrue Holiday — 628
  2. Peja Stojakovic — 553

New York Knicks

  1. John Starks — 982
  2. Allan Houston — 921

Oklahoma City Thunder

  1. Kevin Durant — 1143
  2. Rashard Lewis — 973

Orlando Magic

  1. Dennis Scott — 981
  2. Nick Anderson — 900

Philadelphia 76ers:

  1. Allen Iverson — 885
  2. Robert Covington — 707

Phoenix Suns

  1. Steve Nash — 1051
  2. Devin Booker — 1045

Portland Trail Blazers

  1. Damian Lillard — 2294
  2. CJ McCollum — 1297

Sacramento Kings

  1. Buddy Hield — 1248
  2. Peja Stojakovic — 1070

San Antonio Spurs

  1. Manu Ginobili — 1495
  2. Patty Mills — 1171

Toronto Raptors

  1. Kyle Lowry — 1518
  2. Fred VanVleet — 917

Utah Jazz 

  1. Joe Ingles — 1071
  2. Donovan Mitchell — 958

Washington Wizards

  1. Bradley Beal — 1477
  2. Gilbert Arenas — 868

I mean, Duncan Robinson had one great season and then has been a permanent fixture in trade rumors and he’s already the Heat’s all-time leading 3-point shooter. Anthony Edwards in his third season and he’s already No. 2 all-time for the Timberwolves. Coby White didn’t make the list here but there’s a good chance he could pass Michael Jordan on the Bulls’ 3-point leaderboard before the end of this year.

Of the 60 players who rank first or second on the 3-point leaderboard for an individual team, 28 are currently active (not counting Kemba Walker). And of those 28, 15 are still playing for the teams on whose leaderboards they hold top spots for. Only nine teams (Magic, Hawks, Hornets, Mavs, Pistons, Knicks, Pacers, Clippers, Lakers) do not have an active player in one of the top two spots on their franchise 3-point leaderboard.

Everything is tilted toward the modern players.

Osman’s contract is only partially guaranteed for next season but there’s a good chance he’ll be back in a Cavs uniform. He only needs two more 3s to pass J.R. Smith for fifth and 141 to pass Kyrie Irving for fourth. Passing Kyrie might be a stretch in the time he has left as a Cav but it’s more than possible he gets there. Either way, he’ll be far from the only unexpected name to be found on team 3-point leaderboards five years from now.


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Latest NBA Trade Rumors

With the NBA Trade Deadline a little over a week away, it seems like we’re getting daily dispatches from NBA insiders like Shams Charania, Michael Scotto and more. Here’s what’s new today:

  • Raptors: “Rival teams have been informed that the franchise will make a decision about being a buyer or seller – or standing pat – near deadline day, according to league sources who were granted anonymity so that they would be able to speak freely.” (per Shams).
  • Bucks: “In a new development, the Suns have given permission to the Bucks to meet with Crowder, league sources tell The Athletic. The Bucks are believed to be the only team that has received permission to visit one-on-one with Crowder.” (per Shams)
  • Mavs: “The Jazz are expressing strong interest in Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith, as teams have gotten the impression that Dallas would be open to moving the 29-year-old in the right deal for a star-caliber player.” (per Shams)
  • Nuggets: “The Nuggets are in active trade conversations around guard Bones Hyland, with teams such as Minnesota expressing interest, according to sources. ” (per Shams)
  • Knicks: “The Knicks and Suns are among the interested suitors in Raptors forward O.G. Anunoby, sources say. New York has shown a willingness to offer multiple first-round picks for Anunoby, according to those sources.” (per Shams)
  • Pistons: “However, the veteran forward [Bogdanovic] has been told by Detroit’s ownership and management that he’s considered a core member of the team’s future and what the offseason plans are to compete next season.” (per Scotto)



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3 Cincinnati Bengals who won’t be back next season and why

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Zac Taylor, Bengals

Jan 22, 2023; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Cincinnati Bengals head coach Zac Taylor looks toward the scoreboard in the second quarter during an AFC divisional round game at Highmark Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar-USA TODAY Sports

After coming up one game short of the Super Bowl this season, the Cincinnati Bengals have to reconfigure their plans heading into a critical 2023-24 campaign.

The Cincinnati Bengals went out with a bang, as they talked their way to the top of the bulletin board in Arrowhead Stadium. As catchy as ‘Burrowhead’ sounded throughout the week, it was bound to get the best of a Cincinnati team which went up against a gauntlet in the Kansas City Chiefs.

Even with Patrick Mahomes suffering a high ankle sprain against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City’s offense looked capable, and made the necessary adjustments. Some controversial calls in the fourth quarter put the Bengals behind the eight ball, and despite one final chance to pull off a memorable upset, Joe Burrow could not lead a game-winning drive this time around, as he has so many times before.

Entering a critical offseason, the Bengals must decide which players they want to prioritize, and who they can afford to lose. Jessie Bates, their All-Pro safety, is at the top of that list.

Cincinnati Bengals who won’t be back: Lou Anarumo

Lou Anarumo is the mad scientist behind the Bengals defensive improvement over the past few seasons, and it’s about time he receives a head coaching gig. If it’s not this offseason, then perhaps next.

Anarumo specializes in creative blitz packages. While he was receiving very little head coaching interest around the league prior to the Bengals game against the Chiefs on Sunday, his scheme exploited Kansas City’s offense at times, and perhaps earned him a second look. With a distinct lack of capable head coaching candidates on the market right now, Anarumo could be the next big name. Just ask Zac Taylor:

“He’s constantly evolving [the scheme] to make sure we put our guys in position to do things that hit their strengths,” Taylor said of Anarumo. “He does a great job adjusting over the course of the week, over the course of the game. It’s not fun being a defensive coordinator in the AFC. Every week is a challenge. He never blinks. I think the players feel that from him. I feel that from him. He’s always going to give our guys a chance to go play well.”

The Bengals players love playing for Anarumo, as well, which speaks volumes. As of this writing, the Arizona Cardinals have already requested an interview. There’s more to come.

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Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes favored

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The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs punched their ticket to Super Bowl LVII on Sunday setting up a matchup between the No. 1 seed in each respective conference.

As is tradition, the Super Bowl MVP odds highlight the likelihood that one of Jalen Hurts or Patrick Mahomes will receive the recognition as it’s a historically quarterback driven award, but there are playmakers on both sides of the ball that can make worthy cases.

Not to mention, just last year Cooper Kupp won Super Bowl MVP, so be careful blindly betting either quarterback to win Super Bowl MVP.

Here are the early odds for Super Bowl MVP from DraftKings Sportsbook:

Super Bowl LVII Odds

Jalen Hurts, Patrick Mahomes Favored to Win Super Bowl MVP

Hurts and Mahomes top the odds board and for good reason, this award is dominated by quarterbacks. 31 of the 56 MVP’s have been quarterback and six of the last ten have go to the winning team’s signal caller. Given the fact that Hurts and Mahomes are the engine to each team, it makes sense that their odds are tied to the team’s moneyline.

However, we have seen twice in the past five years wide receivers take home the honors behind outstanding play and a few turnovers from the winning team’s quarterback. Julian Edelman of the Patriots and Cooper Kupp of the Rams were the consistent top weapon for their respective teams and outshined their quarterback’s underwhelming stat lines, propelling them to Super Bowl MVP.

This year, Travis Kelce of the Chiefs is the third choice to win the honor. He is Mahomes’ favorite target by a wide margin and Mahomes will still likely to be effected by his high ankle sprain to some degree. Can the Eagles defense make enough plays to slow down Mahomes stat line so that Kelce shines?

What about for the Eagles, who saw the likes of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins take the top off the Kansas City secondary in the AFC Championship Game, will A.J. Brown be in for a big game in the Super Bowl?

Lastly, it’s tough for defenders to get the nod for Super Bowl MVP, you likely need to force a turnover or two and potentially even score a touchdown, but there are some fearsome pass rushers on the field like Chris Jones of the Chiefs, who had two sacks in the AFC title game, and Haason Reddick for the Eagles, who also had a pair of sacks and forced a fumble against the 49ers.

Who will get the nod come Super Bowl Sunday? Place your bets by opting into these sportsbooks promo offers!

Odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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Jason Kelce reacts to facing brother Travis, Chiefs in Super Bowl

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Jason Kelce reacted after seeing his little brother Travis Kelce will play him in the Super Bowl.

No matter how Super Bowl 57 shakes out between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the Kelce Brothers will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for a second time.

Jason Kelce’s Eagles won the NFC earlier in the day by clobbering the San Francisco 49ers at home. A few hours later, Travis Kelce’s Chiefs won a hard-fought battle that went down to the wire with the Cincinnati Bengals. While both brothers are destined for Canton, we all know where Jason Kelce’s allegiances lie. The bigger question is if their parents will be wearing split jerseys…

As expected, Jason Kelce has hopped off the Chiefs Kingdom bandwagon to fly with the Birds.

Jason Kelce hopes to beat his little brother Travis Kelce’s team in the Super Bowl

Roughly a decade ago, we had the Harbaugh Bowl between brothers Jim and John in New Orleans. The lights went out at halftime, which propelled John Harbaugh’s Baltimore Ravens over Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines. While Jason Kelce won his first Super Bowl first in 2017 with the Eagles, his younger brother Travis matched him in the Lombardi department with the 2019 Chiefs.

Given that the Kelce Brothers are firmly in their 30s, they have to take advantage of every last opportunity they have left in the postseason. Jason may be a tad older than Travis, but he seems to play in the easier of the NFL‘s two conference at this point in time. Travis is fortunate to have arguably the greatest quarterback talent of his generation in Patrick Mahomes throwing to him.

Overall, we will have two weeks to mull over all things Kelce, and all things Super Bowl. A second Super Bowl would even further cement the legacies of notable Chiefs such as Kelce, Mahomes and head coach Andy Reid. Should the Eagles win, it will be a coronation of sorts for quarterback Jalen Hurts and head coach Nick Sirianni. As for Jason Kelce, his spot in Canton will be a complete lock.

After this game, hopefully they can still be friends, but at the very worst, they are still brothers.



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2023 NBA Draft scouting report: Ausar Thompson

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A top-shelf athlete who contributes amply on both sides of the ball, Ausar Thompson is bound to outperform expectations for whichever team drafts him. 

The NBA Draft is often much more of a guessing game than NBA scouts would probably like to admit. There are so many unknown variables at play, no matter how deeply researched and studied a prospect might be.

Ausar Thompson is one of the more fascinating individual prospects in a while. First off, he’s not playing in college, nor is he playing high school ball. He’s not playing overseas either. He’s playing for the Overtime City Reapers, a small-time pro team local to Atlanta, Georgia. He’s facing a low level of competition in a league that very few regular hoop-heads are watching.

To make matters more interesting, he’s sharing the floor with Amen Thompson, his even more highly touted identical twin. They look very similar watching from a distance and it has been cited by the best in the business as a legitimate complicating factor for talent evaluators.

Despite his unique circumstances, Thompson projects as a lottery pick — maybe even a top-five pick if the right team latches on. A mystifying athlete who can appear to bend space and time, Thompson’s blend of physical gifts and basketball intellect is fairly uncommon at 20 years old.

Ausar Thompson NBA Draft bio

Height: 6-foot-7
Weight: 204 pounds
Birthdate: Jan. 30, 2023
Position: Shooting Guard/Small Forward
Offensive Role: Slasher, connective playmaker
Defensive Role: Switchable stopper, off-ball disruptor
Projected Draft Range: Top 10

NBA Draft highlights

Strengths

Ausar Thompson is on the shortlist of best athletes in the draft, right neck-and-neck with his brother. The dude floats. He can detonate above the rim, or stay suspended in midair for a difficult finesse finish around traffic. He explodes downhill with an unstoppable first step and he can change up speeds just as fast, frequently keeping his defender off-balance.

He’s commonly pitched as a wing, but Thompson should receive no shortage of playmaking opportunities wherever he lands in the NBA. He’s one of the draft’s fastest processors, making lightning-quick reads and rocketing impressive passes from all over the court. He’s great at crashing the glass and leading the charge in transition with quick hit-ahead passes, or simply by out-running the defense going the other way.

Thompson should be comfortable working out of the pick-and-roll at the next level. He’s maybe not ready to be a full-time point guard, but he can definitely complement and accentuate other playmakers.

What should make NBA teams salivate, however, is Thompson’s ability to contribute on both ends. He looks like a game-changing wing defender — a legitimate stopper at the point of attack who can also roam and use his athleticism to blow up passing lanes or protect the rim’s weak side.

Weaknesses

Thompson has made noticeable strides as a jump shooter, especially spotting up, but he’s not going to reach his NBA ceiling if the jumper wavers. Teams will have to respect Thompson’s pull-up jumper eventually, especially if he wants to become a go-to option. For the season in OTE, he shot 66.7 percent from the charity stripe, which is not the greatest indicator.

While he has played more wing possessions than his brother, Ausar will likely experience similar struggles with his adjustment from OTE basketball to NBA basketball. He will need to polish his off-ball offense and he will have to adjust to better-prepared defenses and more athletically approximate defenders.

Ausar has spent the past year flying above just about everyone in his orbit. The NBA is a different ballgame, and it will fascinating to see how quickly he can make the necessary changes. That said, we are talking about a seriously intelligent player who still, even by NBA standards, will pop off the screen athletically. So consider me optimistic.

Final summary

Thompson appears to be floating around the third tier of lottery prospects on most big boards right now. Wembanyama is the only logical resident of tier one, and frankly, most talent evaluators seem to have settled on Scoot Henderson as the sole resident of tier two.

Comparisons to his twin will be impossible to avoid, and right now, Amen is definitely the more favored prospect. The gap isn’t huge, however, and individual teams could always be swayed by Ausar, a more proven defender with slightly better shooting numbers.

Given the combined appeal of his athleticism, basketball I.Q., and obvious two-way potential, it’s hard not to place Ausar in the top end of tier three (maybe even on the precipice of tier two). He’s harder to watch than his collegiate counterparts and he won’t have the big, storybook tournament games to brag about, but we are talking about the OTE Finals MVP. Not sure that matters, but Thompson excelled against the competition in front of him.

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2023 NBA Draft scouting report: Nick Smith Jr.

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Injuries might be the only thing holding Nick Smith Jr. back from emerging as the best NBA Draft prospect in college basketball. 

Nick Smith Jr. has played five games (119 total minutes) for the Arkansas Razorbacks. For reasons termed “right knee management,” Smith has been out indefinitely with no clear return date. Whether he returns to full-time action or not, his NBA Draft fate could ultimately be determined just as much by NBA medical staffs as by NBA scouting departments.

The talent is undeniable. Smith has all the trademarks NBA teams look for in high-level guard prospects: size, touch, daring. But the injury shadow looms large, and the more time he misses, the less time he’ll have to establish a rhythm and build up a résumé at the collegiate level.

Plenty of players have transitioned successfully to the NBA with minimal or no playing time accrued in college, of course. Smith’s impressive track record extends back to his high school days. We’re talking about a five-star recruit and the most highly touted guard prospect to join the NCAA ranks. There will be buzz even if he misses the rest of the season. If he does return, he might just get the chance to save Arkansas from a disappointing season.

Nick Smith Jr. NBA Draft bio

Height: 6-foot-5
Weight: 185 pounds
Birthdate: April 18, 2004
Position: Point Guard/Shooting Guard
Offensive Role: Lead or secondary ball-handler
Defensive Role: Point of attack perimeter defender
Projected Draft Range: 5-20

NBA Draft highlights

Strengths

Let’s start with the basics: at 6-foot-5, Smith has tremendous size for his position. We’ve already seen comparisons to Tyler Herro, for example, but Smith’s height and lanky 6-foot-8 wingspan give him a much higher defensive ceiling than most score-first guards in that vein.

Offensively, Smith should receive ample on-ball reps from day one. He’s a wizard scoring the ball, slicing the defense apart with a breakneck first step and twitchy handles. Perhaps the most exciting skill in Smith’s arsenal is his touch. He’s great at shaking free from his defender and then striking with gorgeous high-arcing floaters or feather-soft pull-up J’s. Very few prospects can drop the ball more pristinely through the net than Smith.

He can feast on mid-range jumpers or finishes in the paint. He also displays impressive court vision, operating comfortably out of the pick-and-roll and locating teammates before threading the needle. He’s not the most advanced passer on the board, but Smith keeps his head on a swivel and has flashed some fairly impressive dime-dropping.

Smith also backs up his scoring on the defensive end. He competes hard and is by no means a one-way player. He has the chance to impact winning on both sides of the ball.

Weaknesses

Smith’s shot selection can get away from him. That gorgeous floater of his can become a little bit too familiar at times. Rather than fall back on floaters and jumpers, Smith needs to learn to attack the rim more forcefully and draw contact inside.

That is complicated somewhat by his skinny frame. Smith isn’t very strong and his efficiency in the paint will be naturally inhibited until he bulks up and learns to absorb bumps en route to the basket. His special touch can offset a lot of these concerns, but Smith probably won’t get by on such a floater-heavy diet in the NBA.

He’s also not the most natural “point guard.” His size will allow him to share the floor with other playmakers, as will his quality defense, but Smith will need to learn to balance out his shot-pass diet more evenly in order to impact winning in the NBA consistently.

It’s also prudent to mention Smith’s at times lackluster efficiency. Shot selection is part of it, but Smith’s 3-point jumper especially has never been as reliable as NBA teams might want it to be. There’s plenty of reason for optimism — just look at his touch inside the arc, or his 84.2 percent free throw rate — but Smith will have to prove to NBA teams that his scoring isn’t hamstrung outside of 15 feet.

Final summary

Smith’s draft range is particularly hard to nail down right now because of the injury. Even in his very limited exposure for the Razorbacks, Smith’s talent leaped off the screen. And that’s a loaded roster. But if he doesn’t play as much as his lottery-bound counterparts, it’s only natural for doubt to creep into the equation.

A lot of people will keep Smith nailed to the front end of the lottery. Some will question the knee and drop him back. Others will sidestep the upside conversation to paint a more pessimistic picture of him as a prospect: a score-first, pass-later guard with efficiency problems. There’s a real chance Smith becomes one of the more hotly debated prospects in the class.

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Eagles Instagram absolutely murked the Dallas Cowboys

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The Philadelphia Eagles took down the San Francisco 49ers to advance to the Super Bowl while taking a dig at their hated rival.

The Philadelphia Eagles cruised to the Super Bowl with a 31-7 thrashing against the San Francisco 49ers Sunday afternoon. With little room for error, the Eagles dominated the game from start to finish, leaving the West Coast visitors confused as to what exactly hit them.

Behind two touchdowns from Miles Sanders and a three-sack performance from the Eagle defense, the game was decided long before the final whistle. And what happened after the final whistle proves that Philadelphia takes its rivals very seriously, especially long-time NFC East foe, the Dallas Cowboys.

For 27 years, Dallas has yet to return to the big game, while the Eagles, led by MVP contender Jalen Hurts, advanced to their fourth Super Bowl in franchise history and will play the Kansas City Chiefs in Arizona at Super Bowl LVII.

Of course, in typical Eagles fashion, the ‘Birds wanted to soak in the victory, their 16th of the season. But also, like most modern-day social media teams, have a little bit of fun in the process.

In an Instagram post from the team’s official account, Philly got the last laugh against the Cowboys with one of the greatest trolling jobs of 2023 so far.

“Dallas IS HEADED TO THE SUPER BOWL. #ItsaPhillyThing #FlyEaglesFly,” the caption for the photo of tight end Dallas Goedert read.

For Cowboys fans everywhere, especially after a letdown performance in San Francisco exactly a week ago, this is the last thing their fanbase wanted to have nightmares about. Unfortunately for them, the Philly did them in. Did they do them dirty? It depends on who you ask, but sports are meant to be fun, right?

The “Andy Reid” bowl is official with Eagles vs. Chiefs

The 57th Super Bowl will see Andy Reid face his former Eagles, who he coached for over two decades and led them to the big game during the 2004 season before losing to the dynasty-driven New England Patriots.

The Chiefs won the Super Bowl against the 49ers to cap off the 2019-2020 season, while the Eagles exacted revenge by beating the Patriots to close out the 2017-2018 season.

Kickoff is set for Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. on FOX.

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Super Bowl 57 preview, AFC-NFC title game reactions and more

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Super Bowl 57 is set. The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs will meet, and they won’t be hurting for storylines over the next two weeks.

The Super Bowl doesn’t often match the NFL’s two best teams against one another.

Super Bowl LVII has done exactly that.

Only the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs went 14-3 this season. At quarterback, Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts. The former made First-Team All-Pro, the latter made Second-Team. The Eagles have seven Pro Bowlers. The Chiefs have six. Both teams had six All-Pros.

In short, the game won’t be lacking for star power. It also won’t be lacking for headlines.

While the media narratives will be about Andy Reid and his connections to both franchises, and the Kelce Bowl with Jason and Travis being prominent stars on each side, the reality is somehow juicier.

Both Philadelphia and Kansas City are here because they’ve survived and thrived, enduring injuries to their quarterbacks along the way. Now, they square off in Glendale, Ariz., hoping to find one more victory and a Vince Lombardi Trophy along with it.

There will be ample chatter about Mahomes and Hurts, but the ultimate decider of Super Bowl LVII will be happening in front of them. No teams were better up front than the Eagles and Chiefs, with Philadelphia leading the NFL with an absurd 70 sacks, including four different men finishing in double digits. For its part, Kansas City finished second in the league with 55.

On the offensive lines, both teams are trotting out three Pro Bowlers and two All-Pros. Kansas City only allowed 26 sacks, ranking third-best. This includes a 3.8 percent sack rate, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being the only team better. Philadelphia surprisingly struggled in these areas, surrendering 44 sacks (T-20th) and a sack rate of 7.6 percent (24th).

Another area to focus on? Big plays.

The Chiefs and Eagles were two of the best in this area, with Philadelphia totaling 12.5 yards per completion, second only to the Miami Dolphins this year. Kansas City finished fourth at 12.1. Sirianni’s group also notched 80 explosive plays (20+ yards) while the Chiefs had 83, the two highest totals in football this year.

Both were also fantastic offensively in the red zone and on third down, respectively ranking top-five in both categories. However, the Chiefs have been awful defensively inside their 20-yard line, ranking 31st (67.3 percent) compared to Philadelphia’s 12th-ranked unit. However, Kansas City has improved in the postseason, holding the Cincinnati Bengals and Jacksonville Jaguars to a 3-for-6 clip.

With such evenly-matched teams, the difference will likely come down to who makes a few critical plays in the biggest moments, and who can execute situationally. In this matchup, even more than most, it’ll also be determined by which fronts win more often.

For the Eagles and Chiefs, Super Bowl LVII has been a season-long dream.

Now it’s a reality. An earned reality for both.

Power rankings

Top 10 Super Bowls of all time

1. Super Bowl XXV – Giants 20, Bills 19
2. Super Bowl XLII – Giants 17, Patriots 17
2. Super Bowl XLIX – Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
3. Super Bowl XXXIV – Rams 23, Titans 16
4. Super Bowl XXIII – 49ers 20, Bengals 16
5. Super Bowl XLIII – Steelers 27, Cardinals 23
6. Super Bowl LII – Eagles 41, Patriots 33
7. Super Bowl XXXVIII – Patriots 32, Panthers 29
8. Super Bowl XXXII – Broncos 31, Packers 24
9. Super Bowl XIII – Steelers 35, Cowboys 31
10. Super Bowl III – Jets 16, Colts 7

Quotable

“The sun rose this morning and by the grace of God so did I. I’m disappointed but not defeated. Many people aren’t built for this but I know what it means to persevere and see it through.

“It was an honor for me to coach those men in the Carolina Panthers locker room as the interim head coach. Players, coaches and staff, thank you for your hard work and dedication. I took pride in representing Charlotte, a great city that I love so much. Thank you to my family, friends and the community for your overwhelming support.

“I do wish Frank Reich all the best. I will always be a fan of the Carolina Panthers Football Team.”

– Former Carolina Panthers interim coach Steve Wilks on Twitter upon the news of Frank Reich’s hiring

Reich is a fine choice for the Panthers (more on that below) but Wilks has to be crushed. After inheriting a tanking team, Wilks led his hometown team to a 6-6 record, the team finishing 7-10.

Despite having poor options at quarterback, Wilks rallied the Panthers to respectability, pushing the NFC South until the penultimate week before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers clinched.

In 2018, Wilks was one-and done with the Arizona Cardinals, going 3-13 while being saddled with a horrid roster and rookie quarterback Josh Rosen.

Wilks deserves another chance. A real chance.

Podcast

Random stat

The Los Angeles Chargers and Minnesota Vikings are the only teams to appear in a Super Bowl and lose in each appearance by double-digits.

The Chargers have been only once, while the Vikings have made four empty trip.

Info learned this week

1. Bengals will be reliving a few critical plays in loss to Chiefs

Joseph Ossai will forever be linked to one of the worst moments in Cincinnati sports history.

Yes, it’s a harsh reality, but Ossai’s penalty on Mahomes’ scramble with eight seconds remaining put the Chiefs in field goal range, allowing Harrison Butler to drill a 45-yard field goal with only three ticks on the clock.

But Ossai isn’t the only Bengals player who must wear the defeat.

The patchwork offensive line was exposed in a way Buffalo couldn’t manage a week prior. It gave up five sacks, including 3.5 between Frank Clark and Chris Jones. Quarterback Joe Burrow also threw a pair of interceptions and accounted for only 6.6 yards per attempt on a night where Kansas City essentially started three rookies corners all game, and a first-year safety in Bryan Cook for much of the evening as well.

Burrow was facing an inexperienced secondary with two elite weapons at his disposal. Mahomes was playing much of the game with Noah Gray, Marcus Kemp and Jody Fortson, all while on one ankle. Mahomes and the Chiefs somehow won.

In the coming months, the Bengals have questions to answer. Do they keep running back Joe Mixon or release him to save $7.2 million? Will they bring back safety Jessie Bates and/or linebacker Germaine Pratt, two stars slated for free agency. Will they extend Burrow and receiver Tee Higgins, or will they wait?

Despite a gut-wrenching loss, Cincinnati remains in terrific shape moving forward, but the future isn’t without a few tough questions.

2. Kyle Shanahan must get credit and fault for Niners’ season

Few coaches would have gotten their team to the NFC Championship Game having to start three quarterbacks, including a seventh-round rookie.

It’s also true that few coaches would have left the challenge flag in their pocket on a game-changing play, and then blocked a top-tier pass rusher with tight ends on a long developing pass play.

This is the story of Kyle Shanahan.

Shanahan’s 49ers were drubbed in Philadelphia, but the story lies within the drubbing.

On the game’s opening drive, Philadelphia faced 4th and 3 from San Francisco’s 35-yard line. Jalen Hurts heaved a prayer down the sideline, seemingly caught with one hand by receiver DeVonta Smith. Smith began frantically signaling for his teammates to get up and snap the ball.

Shanahan should have immediately noticed this and thrown the challenge flag. It’s an enormous play, and worst-case scenario, it’s a lost challenge and timeout in the first half. The reward far outweighs the risk. Shanahan did nothing.

Moments later, San Francisco lost quarterback Brock Purdy on the game’s second series when the scheme called for Haason Reddick — he of 16 regular-season sacks — to be blocked by backup tight end Tyler Kroft. The result was predictable. Reddick immediately got pressure, hit Purdy and forced a fumble.

While the Eagles couldn’t capitalize, Purdy was knocked from the game with an elbow injury.

Yes, the 49ers wouldn’t have reached the NFC title game for the third time in four years with Shanahan, who remains a brilliant offensive tactician. He also remains uneven with in-game situational duties, and it has haunted the 49ers time and again.

Now, San Francisco moves forward with real questions. Is the quarterback of the future Purdy or Trey Lance? Is the odd man out traded this offseason? What happens with the defense now that coordinator DeMeco Ryans appears gone for a head-coaching gig?

All questions the Niners hoped to worry about a few weeks from now. Not the case.

3. Frank Reich is good hire, but Panthers need big piece

Carolina is going back to where it all began.

Last week, the Panthers hired Frank Reich to be their head coach, bringing in the man who started their inaugural game at quarterback in 1995. Reich, who spent five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, now finds both a new start and the same problem; no quarterback.

Reich and general manager Scott Fitterer understand the next task. Find a signal-caller at all costs. Carolina has the No. 9 overall pick and could move up with the treasure trove of draft capital amassed in the trade of running back Christian McCaffrey, which netted second-, third- and fourth-round picks this year.

For Reich, this must be heavily weighing on his mind. In Indianapolis, Reich saw Andrew Luck shockingly retire after the coach’s first season with the Colts, and the organization never found his replacement. In short, Reich knows that without a quarterback, he’s sunk regardless of other circumstances.

If the Panthers land the other portion of their battery, the rest of the roster is in good shape to become a favorite in the moribund NFC South.

Carolina found a quality coach. Now for the quarterback.

4. Cowboys, Kellen Moore go separate ways after four years

Well, the Dallas Cowboys are making a coaching change, after all.

While head coach Mike McCarthy is safe, veteran offensive coordinator Kellen Moore and the organization are splitting. Moore, 34, had been in his spot with Dallas since 2019, but after watching quarterback Dak Prescott toss an NFL-worst 15 interceptions in only 12 games, the Cowboys are moving on. McCarthy will call the plays in 2023.

For Moore, it’s an interesting moment in his career. He’s long been seen by many in the NFL as a future head coach. Ian Rapoport of NFL media reported Moore is interviewing for Los Angeles Chargers’ coordinator opening, where he can work with Justin Herbert. That would be an ideal fit, and with a great season, could get him in a big chair at a very young age.

As for the Cowboys, it’s a chance for McCarthy to become more involved with the offense, but does it serve as a detriment to his already questionable game management duties? The defense will be run by coordinator Dan Quinn, so no concerns there, but what of the sideline minutia that can become game-deciding? We shall see.

5. Aaron Rodgers is the trade rumor that won’t die

If you’re sick of the Aaron Rodgers drama come every offseason, know two things:

You aren’t alone, but you’re going to deal with it like the rest of us.

Rodgers and his Packers are once again at a potential breaking point, with Green Bay having gone 8-9 including a Week 18 loss at home against the Detroit Lions which kept it from the postseason. Rodgers has $110 million in guaranteed money coming to him over the next two years, and the Packers understandably might be happy to alleviate themselves of that bill while seeing what backup quarterback Jordan Love has before his rookie deal expires.

As for the 39-year-old Rodgers, it’s time to leave if he wants to contend for one more title. The Packers are capped out, and about to lose some key contributors, potentially including running back Aaron Jones, left tackle David Bakhtiari, safety Adrian Amos, and receivers Randall Cobb and Allen Lazard among others.

For both sides, a trade makes the most sense. Now for a suitor willing to pay the right price.

Two cents

This hasn’t been a last few weeks to remember for the Denver Broncos and their beleaguered quarterback.

In the midst of their coaching search, the Broncos have twice been rebuffed by University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh. They also saw a top candidate in Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn announce he’ll stay at his post, while Niners defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans appears likely to be taking the head-coaching job with his former team, the Houston Texans.

While all these misses aren’t only on Russell Wilson, he’s easily the biggest stumbling block for anybody taking the job. Can’t fix him? You’d better be renting.

Beyond the aforementioned trio, there’s also Sean Payton. Payton was reportedly the favorite in Denver, with ownership’s deep pockets and the Broncos’ infrastructure exciting to the 59-year-old. However, that talk has cooled somewhat, and the realist remains Denver would need to send significant draft capital to the New Orleans Saints for Payton’s services, as he’s under contract there through the 2024 season.

If Payton stays away and Ryan lands in Houston as many within the league expect, then what?

The Broncos could offer the job to defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, who did a terrific job with his unit this season. At 42 years old, Evero has NFL been an assistant coach since 2007 with five teams, including 2022 with Denver.

Denver could also consider one of Philadelphia’s coordinators in Jonathan Gannon (defense) and Shane Steichen (offense). Steichen, 37, is particularly interesting after watching Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts blossom from a question into Second-Team All-Pro status. Could he revive Wilson’s career?

The Broncos might ultimately find someone terrific to fill their vacancy. But the sign has been up for more than a month, and Denver is struggling to rent the room.

Inside the league

While we wait for Super Bowl LVII, the NFL world sets its eyes on Mobile.

Down in Alabama, the Reese’s Senior Bowl will be taking place this week, with FanSided there to provide coverage. It’s always a showcase for the best upperclassmen in the country.

It’s also a week where the league starts ramping off for the offseason.

There are considerable on-field talents to watch, as the draft process begins in full swing. This is the week where stocks begin rising and falling, with scouts, general managers and other personnel men watching every move on the field at South Alabama University.

And, while free agency largely gets going at the Scouting Combine at the conclusion of February, talks will start in quiet corners of southern bars.

One player to watch? TCU quarterback Max Duggan. Duggan led the Horned Frogs to the National Championship Game, throwing for 3,698 yards with 32 touchdowns against eight interceptions, while also notching 423 rushing yards and nine additional scores.

If Duggan throws really well, he’ll earn some attention in a quarterback class largely defined by Will Levis, Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson.

History lesson

The Orange Bowl is the only stadium to ever host consecutive Super Bowls.

In Super Bowl II, Miami was the host city when the Green Bay Packers throttled the AFL-champion Oakland Raiders, winning 33-14 in head coach Vince Lombardi’s final game as head coach of the club.

The following year, it was Joe Namath and his New York Jets stunning the Baltimore Colts, beating them 16-7 in front of a capacity crowd.

Parting shot

Vic Fangio is a home-run hire for the Miami Dolphins.

This season, Miami ranked 24thin scoring defense, allowing 23.5 points per game. In Fangio’s last 11 seasons as either a head coach or defensive coordinator with the Broncos, Bears and 49ers, his defenses have ranked top-10 in eight of those campaigns, including five times in the top three.

Pairing the 64-year-old Fangio with a top, young offensive mind in Mike McDaniel is a coup for the Dolphins, who were limited by their defense all year. Now, expect Fangio to spin his dial with a multitude of subtle adjustments in coverage throughout the year, giving fits to the other AFC East quarterbacks.

Fangio’s hire won’t get a ton of national attention, but it should. It could be the hire of the year.

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