Good morning to everyone but especially to...
RUI HACHIMURA AND THE LOS ANGELES LAKERS
With the trade deadline just over two weeks away, the Lakers made the first significant move, acquiring Rui Hachimura from the Wizards in exchange for Kendrick Nunn and three second-round picks (2023, 2028 and 2029).
- Hachimura, 24, was the ninth pick in the 2019 draft. He has averaged double-digit points each of his four seasons and shot a respectable 35.6 percent from three, though that's down this year.
- However, he struggled to find consistent minutes thanks to Washington's logjam at forward and several health issues. He has not played more than 57 games in a season.
- In his final game with the Wizards on Saturday, he tied his career-high with 30 points and declared afterward, "I can help teams."
The Lakers desperately need his help. The 6'8" Hachimura can fill a key role in both small and big lineups, and even if the shooting never returns to last season's level (47 percent on catch-and-shoot 3-pointers), things should be easier playing alongside LeBron James.
Our Sam Quinn gave the Lakers an "A-" grade for the buy-low move while acknowledging there's work to be done.
- Quinn: "Lakers: A- | The Lakers do well with young athletes who can shoot. That broadly describes Hachimura. The Lakers have spent months trying to find a way to land such a player without including their 2027 or 2029 first-round picks. They've now done so. ... This is a good trade. The Lakers need a great trade to get into the championship picture."
The Wizards, meanwhile, earned a D-, and it's totally deserved. They haven't signed their first-round pick to an extension since Otto Porter Jr. (drafted in 2013), and as Sam writes, "Yet again, the Wizards have proven either unwilling or unable to properly develop young players."
Oh, and as for those second-round picks? No Wizards second-rounder from the past 10 drafts has even played for the team. Washington also announced that Kristaps Porzingis (ankle) is week-to-week. Sigh.
- Jimmy Garoppolo is nearing a return, though it probably won't come this week.
- Paolo Banchero turned in another huge performance.
- Michael A. Taylor got traded to the Twins.
And not such a good morning for...
THE KANSAS JAYHAWKS AND DUKE BLUE DEVILS
Kansas has tied history, and not in a good way. The No. 9 Jayhawks fell, 75-69, at No. 17 Baylor for their third straight loss. That matches their longest losing streak under Bill Self (since 2003-04).
Baylor's guards dominated: LJ Cryer had 22 points (19 in the first half), Adam Flagler added 17, and Langston Love scored 11. The Bears finished with an 17-8 advantage in second-chance points, a 19-8 advantage in points off turnovers and a 13-2 edge in bench points.
Those issues likely aren't going away for Kansas:
- The Jayhawks' lead guard, Dajuan Harris Jr. has more turnovers (13) than points (five) over his past four games.
- After Gradey Dick (24 points) and potential first-team All-America selection Jalen Wilson (23 points), there's not a ton of shot creation. Kansas is also dead last in the Big 12 in bench points per game.
- Unlike years past, the Jayhawks don't have a standout center. They've been out-rebounded in each of their three straight losses.
Our Kyle Boone has more thoughts on the game here.
Elsewhere in a bad night for blue bloods, Duke fell at Virginia Tech, 78-75, in a game marred by controversy and injury.
- After Tyrese Proctor tied the game at 75-75, Michael Collins Jr. hit a go-ahead midrange jumper with 13.6 seconds remaining.
- Collins fist-pumped to celebrate but ended up punching Kyle Filipowski in the throat. No foul was called, even after a review, and Proctor missed a 3-pointer seconds later. Filipowski said he was fine... after puking. It easily could have been a Flagrant 1 or Flagrant 2.
- The Hokies snapped a seven-game losing streak. Duke fell to just 5-4 in a thus-far-underwhelming ACC.
Making matters worse for Duke, Filipowski's fellow star freshman Dariq Whitehead left the game early with a left leg injury and did not return. He watched the end of the contest on crutches. It's his second lower-body injury this season, and an extended absence would not only really hurt Duke, but also Whitehead's NBA Draft stock, Kyle notes.
Elsewhere from Monday...
- Purdue jumped to No. 1 in the AP Poll, the Coaches Poll and Gary Parrish's Top 25 And 1.
- Jerry Palm dropped a new Bracketology.
- This feature by Dennis Dodd on Jerome Tang is well worth your time.
Not so honorable mentions
- Mike McCarthy tried to explain the Cowboys' final play of the season. Like the play itself, it went poorly.
- Rara Thomas, a wide receiver who transferred from Mississippi State to Georgia, was arrested.
- There are no teams from the state of Texas in the women's AP Top 25 for the first time ever.
What we learned from the divisional round, plus a Mahomes injury update 🏈
And then there were four: the Eagles, 49ers, Chiefs and Bengals.
We learned a lot over the weekend, but I think the biggest takeaway is how dangerous the Bengals are. They didn't just go to Buffalo and beat the Bills. They went to Buffalo and dominated the Bills. It starts with Joe Burrow, who joined some select company with the win.
But Burrow said something following the game that stands out: "I think we're a more complete team [than last year]." He's not wrong:
- The offense is better at protecting Burrow and not turning the ball over.
- The defense is better at total defense, red zone defense and turnovers.
- The team is better at expected points added on both offense and defense.
But don't worry, Bengals fans: Your team still feels disrespected and is using that as motivation. As for the team they'll face, the Chiefs are closely monitoring Patrick Mahomes' ankle. Andy Reid issued an update Monday, saying they'll take a "wait-and-see" approach regarding his practice reps and that this ankle injury isn't as bad as the one Mahomes suffered in 2019. Tackle Orlando Brown Jr. says the team will rally around Mahomes and play even harder for their star quarterback.
The Burrow-vs.-Mahomes history is well-documented, but over in the NFC, Brock Purdy and Jalen Hurts have some history, too: an absolute thriller back in their college days of 2019. They're set to make some history as well.
You can check out our championship game primers here.
What will the Baseball Hall of Fame class of 2023 look like? ⚾
The 2023 Baseball Hall of Fame class will be announced tonight, and there are plenty of storylines to go around. You can see the entire ballot here.
The top question mark is Scott Rolen, who's in his sixth year on the ballot and trending in the right direction. But the margins are thin, and getting the requisite 75 percent of votes isn't easy.
Is this Rolen's year? Here's what our Matt Snyder says.
- Snyder: "It still matters if it is this year or next or the year after, though. First off, from a human perspective, surely Rolen is excited to get in and if he just misses the cut, it's another year of waiting. In terms of big picture Hall of Fame voting, it's a spot on the ballot and clearing them helps every other legitimate candidate. ... He was polling at 71 percent last year and the actual vote revealed him at 63.2 percent. Right now, he sits at 79.2 percent in polling and if there's a similar shortfall in private ballots, he'll be just a few percent shy of making it."
That's one of the six things to watch for tonight that Matt highlighted.
What we're watching Tuesday 📺
⚽ Lazio vs. AC Milan, 2:45 p.m. on Paramount+
⚾ Baseball Hall of Fame announcement, 6 p.m. on MLB Network
🏀 Celtics at Heat, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
🏀 No. 5 Kansas State at No. 12 Iowa State, 9 p.m. on ESPNU
🏀 Clippers at Lakers, 10 p.m. on TNT