J.J. McCarthy

Today, let’s sort through some NFL draft chatter.

We’ll also marvel at what the NBA gave us last night, and anticipate what it has in store tonight.

J.J. McCarthy, Revisited

What Happened: It wasn’t too long ago that the J.J. McCarthy locomotive was full steam ahead. The Michigan product somehow went from “Day 2 project” to “this guy is a top-two pick” in the blink of an eye. Despite, you know, no football currently being played.

With three weeks until the actual picks are made, the draft odds reflect the buzz around McCarthy, but the hysteria has been tempered a bit.

Why It Matters: Sportsbooks are treating the McCarthy hype as legit, to an extent.

The 21-year old is unlikely to be the draft’s second player taken; fellow QBs Drake Maye (+105, via FanDuel) and Jayden Daniels (+115) are still heavy favorites for that honor.

But McCarthy coming off the board early is very much in play. So much that his odds to be a top-five pick now sit at -280, besting players with more production to their names such as Malik Nabers (+170) and Rome Odunze (+1000).

There’s still time for smoke and mirrors of course, as teams get desperate for even the chance at a franchise QB on a rookie contract. Keep your eye on the draft chatter this month.

How We’re Feeling Today

Victor Wembanyama

Destabilized by the video game numbers Spurs rookie Victor Wembanyama put up last night.

Seriously, is this stat line a typo: 23 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists, and…nine blocks?! Dude is not even of legal drinking age, and he’s already putting up numbers that compare to Wilt Chamberlain and…uh yeah, that’s the list. Welcome our new NBA overlord we guess.

Also, let’s appreciate the fact that Nikola Jokic went off for 42 points and 16 boards to push his team back into the West’s top spot, and he can only get half of the shine.

The Look Ahead

D'Angelo Russell

D’Angelo Russell POINTS + ASSISTS Russell has bested his line for tonight (23.5) in four of his last five games, twice on points alone. The Wizards have the NBA’s third-worst defensive rating, and the Lakers are still very much motivated to make up ground on the Suns and Kings while holding off the Warriors in the standings.

Deandre Ayton POINTS Portland’s center is working back from an elbow injury, dropping 18 points in his return and 20 the next game. In late February, Ayton poured in 26 points against the Hornets, and while Charlotte is just 22nd in scoring defense, their defensive rating is second-worst in the association. Ayton has a 23.5-point line tonight.

Joe Pavelski SOG The Stars are three points clear of every other Western Conference team in the standings, but we don’t expect them to take their foot off the gas. That includes top-liner Pavelski, who has multiple shots on goal in five straight games. He should be able to clear the 1.5 mark that books have set for him tonight, just like he’s done in both games he’s faced the Oilers this season.