Yahoo Sports AM: How to fix the NBA All-Star Game

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🚨 Headlines

💔 Parade shooting arrests: Two adults have been charged with murder in the shooting that killed one person and injured 22 others at the Chiefs' Super Bowl parade.

🏀 Upset alert: No. 15 Creighton handed No. 1 UConn a stunning 85-66 defeat, snapping the Huskies' 14-game winning streak and dropping them to 0-21 in their last 21 road games against ranked teams.

⚽️ Trio makes history: Americans Sergiño Dest, Ricardo Pepi, and Malik Tillman all played for PSV in Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Dortmund, marking the first time three USMNT players featured in the same Champions League knockout-stage game.

📺 Streaming wars: FuboTV has filed a lawsuit to block the upcoming sports streaming bundle from ESPN, Fox and WBD.

⚽️ USWNT cruises: 18-year-old Olivia Moultrie (two goals) led the USWNT to a 5-0 victory over the Dominican Republic in the team's CONCACAF W Gold Cup debut.

🏀 How to fix the NBA All-Star Game

The NBA All-Star Game is broken. That was the general consensus following another lackluster performance on Sunday.

ICYMI: The East won 211-186 in a game that featured 168 attempted threes (!!) and virtually zero defense.

The Athletic's David Aldridge called it "dreadful." Veteran sportswriter Bob Ryan called it a "waste of time."

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith called it "an absolute travesty" and said the NBA should get rid of the game altogether.

What's the solution? Commissioner Adam Silver spent months stressing the importance of a more competitive All-Star Game, and NBA greats reportedly went to the locker rooms before the game to echo that message. It didn't work.

The All-Star Game is, after all, a fairly meaningless exhibition. Players are there to have fun, enjoy the break, and ideally avoid injury, so to expect them to go all-out is absurd.

But there has to be a better solution than the current format, which inevitably descends into a 3-point shootout/dunk contest — the equivalent of watching golfers on the driving range.

Four ideas:

USA vs. World: This would inject national pride into the game, and there's enough international talent to field a strong team. Silver sounds open to the idea: "People are talking about a Ryder Cup-type format," he said in November after announcing San Francisco as the 2025 host. "Stay tuned."

Prize money: Players have privately discussed their desire to get paid, per The Athletic ($). Prize money for the winning team would instantly add some juice to the competition — even if NBA All-Stars are already among the richest athletes in sports.

1-on-1 tournament: LeBron James vs. Kevin Durant? Nikola Jokić vs. Joel Embiid? Yeah, that might draw some eyeballs. OKC's Jalen Williams digs it: "We play a lot of 1-on-1 in the summer, which no one really sees."

3-on-3 tournament: Half-court, first to 15 points, round-robin format to crown a champion. Since it's not 5-on-5, there would be no expectation of "real basketball," giving players (and viewers) full license to simply have fun.

How would you fix the NBA All-Star Game? Email me your best ideas and I'll share my favorites tomorrow.

🏈 Did the 49ers get it right?

The 49ers' decision to receive the ball first in overtime of Super Bowl LVIII has been largely panned, but the data suggests it was the "correct" call, Jeff writes.

By the numbers: Simulations of the NFL's new playoff OT rules, which ensure both teams get at least one possession, result in the receiving team winning the game slightly more often (50.3%) than the kicking team (49.7%) under certain parameters.

The simulations assume that if the first team scores a TD, they'll kick an extra point because going for two would result in a loss in more than half of their opponents' responding TD drives.

They also assume that if the second team scores when they're down seven, they'll go for two (as Patrick Mahomes later said the Chiefs would have) because they have a greater chance of winning on that play (50%) than if the game goes to sudden death (41%).

Data isn't everything, though: Raw numbers can't account for the feel of the game (the 49ers defense was tired, which factored into head coach Kyle Shanahan's decision) or personnel (maybe it's best to ignore the data when it says to give Mahomes the ball last).

Explore the data: After the new OT rules were announced in 2022, ESPN senior analytics specialist Brian Burke ran simulations using the parameters outlined above. Yankees analyst Walker Harrison did the same after this month's Super Bowl.

🎓 The Pac-2's new boss

The Pac-12 has hired Teresa Gouldas its new commissioner. She'll take over for George Kliavkoff on March 1, Jeff writes.

Where it stands: Gould, who previously served as deputy commissioner, inherits a league with only two schools, and two years left to figure out how the 109-year-old conference survives into the future.

Departures: 10 members of the Pac-12 are leaving for new conferences this summer, leaving behind a "Pac-2" of Oregon State and Washington State.

Big Ten: Oregon, Washington UCLA, USC

Big 12: Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah

ACC: Cal, Stanford

The countdown is on: NCAA rules state that leagues must have at least eight members to remain in the Football Bowl Subdivision, but conferences get a two-year grace period to figure out their next steps.

In the meantime, Oregon State and Washington State will fill out their football schedules with teams in the Mountain West (Boise State, Nevada, etc), as well as non-conference games.

In basketball and other sports, they'll compete as affiliate members of the West Coast Conference (Gonzaga, Saint Mary's, etc).

In related news… The 12-team College Football Playoff was originally set to feature the six highest-ranked conference champions and the next six highest-ranked teams (6+6 model). But due to the demise of the Pac-12, the CFP will now use a 5+7 model: the five highest-ranked conference champs and the next seven highest-ranked teams.

🥍 Lacrosse, but even faster

Premier Lacrosse League games typically feature 10 players per side — three defenders, three midfielders, three attackmen and one goalie. But this past week in Virginia, the league's second annual Championship Series saw teams play 6-on-6.

Lacrosse, but even faster: Lacrosse is already one of the fastest games on two feet. "Sixes" is even faster, and will be the format used at the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles, when lacrosse returns to the Olympics for the first time since 1908.

Epic finale: "Sixes" delivered lots of action (and goals). The Boston Cannons prevailed in Monday's title game, beating the Philadelphia Waterdogs, 23-22 (OT), on Matt Kavanagh's clutch goal.

Women's All-Stars: The PLL also held the inaugural Unleashed All-Star Game — a "Sixes" exhibition match featuring some of the best women's players in the world. Watch the highlights.

🏀 Could France go 1-2 in June?

NBA drafts are increasingly filled with international prospects. Some have gone No. 1 (Victor Wembanyama), some have gone No. 2 (Darko Miličić*), but we've yet to see international players go 1-2 in the same draft.

Could this be the year it happens? Two French teenagers, Alex Sarr and Zaccharie Risacher, are projected to go No. 1 and No. 2 in the latest mock draft from Yahoo Sports' Krysten Peek. And it doesn't stop there, with Serbia's Nikola Topić projected to go No. 3.

Projected lottery:

Sarr, C (France)

Risacher, G/F (France)

Topić, G (Serbia)

Cody Williams, F (Colorado)

Ja'Kobe Walter, G (Baylor)

Rob Dillingham, G (Kentucky)

Matas Buzelis, F (G League Ignite)

Reed Sheppard, G (Kentucky)

Ron Holland, G/F (G League Ignite)

Tidjane Salaun, G/F (France)

Kyle Filipowski, C (Duke)

Stephon Castle, G (UConn)

Yves Missi, C (Baylor)

Dalton Knecht, G (Tennessee)

Post-lottery: Two newcomers have cracked the first round: Providence guard Devin Carter and Cal guard Jaylon Tyson.

*Random fact of the day: Miličić (Serbia) is the only international player ever selected No. 2 overall. Three other foreign-born players were No. 2 picks, but they all played in college: Rik Smits in 1988 (Netherlands; Marist), Shawn Bradley in 1993 (Germany; BYU) and Hasheem Thabeet in 2009 (Tanzania; UConn).

📆 Feb. 21, 2018: "Here comes Diggins!"

Six years ago today, Jessie Diggins and Kikkan Randall became the first Americans to win Olympic cross country skiing gold, coming from behind in one of the most exciting Olympic finishes ever, Jeff writes.

Must-see highlight: Color commentator Chad Salmela went absolutely bananas, delivering an iconic call as Diggins made her victorious push in the final seconds: "Here comes Diggins!! Here comes Diggins!!"

More on this day:

🏀 2003: Michael Jordan scored 43 points in a Wizards win over the Nets four days after his 40th birthday, the highest-scoring game ever by a 40-year-old*.

🏁 2016: Denny Hamlin beat Martin Truex Jr. by a nose in the Daytona 500 for the closest finish in the race's history (0.01 seconds).

*30 at 40: Jordan and Dirk Nowitzki are the only NBA players to score 30+ points in their forties. Something tells me LeBron James (24.8 ppg at age 39) will be joining them next year.

📺 Watchlist: MLS kickoff

The 29th MLS season begins tonight(8pm ET, Apple TV) in Fort Lauderdale, where Lionel Messi and preseason title favorite* Inter Miami host Real Salt Lake, Jeff writes.

The replacements: The season will begin with replacement referees after the refs' union overwhelmingly rejected the latest CBA proposal.

More to watch:

⚽️ Champions League: Napoli vs. Barcelona (3pm, CBS); Porto vs. Arsenal (3pm, Paramount+) … Round of 16, first leg.

🏒 NHL: Flyers at Blackhawks (7:30pm, TNT/Max); Bruins at Oilers (10pm, TNT/Max)

🏀 NCAAM: No. 24 Florida at No. 13 Alabama (7pm, ESPN2); No. 8 Duke at Miami (7pm, ESPN); No. 17 Kentucky at LSU (9pm, ESPN)

🏀 NCAAW: No. 22 West Virginia at No. 10 Kansas State (7:30pm, ESPN+)

⚽️ Premier League: Liverpool vs. Luton Town (2:30pm, USA) … The first-place Reds host Luton, who are a point out of the relegation zone.

🏒 PWHL: Ottawa at Boston (7pm, YouTube); Montreal at New York (7pm, YouTube)

*Title odds: Miami is the heavy favorite (+250 at BetMGM), followed by LAFC (+800), Columbus (+900), Cincinnati (+1200) and Philadelphia (+1400).

⚾️ MLB trivia

Shohei Ohtanihomered on Tuesday in his first live BP session, which should come as no surprise given he's hit 124 bombs over the last three seasons, fourth-most in the majors.

Question: Who are the only three players with more homers during that span?

Hint: Two lefties and a righty.

Answer at the bottom.

⭐️ More from Yahoo Sports

⚾️ Russell Dorsey*:The 5 best non-Shohei Ohtani moves of the MLB offseason

The two-way star got the bulk of the attention this winter (rightfully so), but there were several other moves that moved the needle. … Plus: Four moves that should still happen.

🏈 Charles McDonald, Nate Tice:NFL mock draft, pre-combine edition

We're a couple of weeks away from the NFL scouting combine, when our 2024 draft silly season kicks into a higher gear. Here's our latest mock draft.

⚽️ Henry Bushnell:MLS is ready to take off its financial training wheels

Most, if not all of the league's 29 clubs have hired specialists in realms like player identification, analytics, economics and high performance … who are increasingly capable of finding talent in far-flung corners of the soccer world.

*Speaking of offseason moves... Russell joined Yahoo Sports this week as our new National MLB Insider. Great addition to the squad. Welcome to the team, Russell!

Trivia answer: Aaron Judge (138), Matt Olson (127), Kyle Schwarber (125)

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