Yahoo Sports AM: Chet and Wemby's rookie seasons for the ages

In today's edition: Chet and Wemby round three, Ohtani gets married, NFL players grade their teams, LeBron goes nuclear in the Hallway Series finale, and more.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Yahoo Sports AM, our daily newsletter that keeps you up to date on all things sports. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.

🚨 Headlines

🏀 Clark passes Woodard: Caitlin Clark posted a 33-point triple-double to surpass Lynette Woodard's 3,649 career points and move within 18 points of Pete Maravich's all-time NCAA mark.

🏈 $10M in NIL: Potential No. 1 pick Caleb Williams reportedly made in the neighborhood of $10 million in endorsement deals during his final two seasons at USC.

⚽️ Spain wins again: Reigning world champions Spain beat France, 2-0, to win the inaugural Women's Nations League.

🏈 Wilson can seek trade: Zach Wilson has been given permission to a seek a trade out of New York, Jets GM Joe Douglas told reporters Wednesday.

🏁 Horner cleared: On the eve of the 2024 F1 season, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has been cleared of misconduct following allegations of inappropriate behavior toward a female employee.

🏀 Two rookie supernovas

(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)
(Taylar Sievert/Yahoo Sports)

Two of the greatest rookie seasons ever collide tonight in San Antonio, where Victor Wembanyama's Spurs host Chet Holmgren's Thunder in their third matchup of the season, Jeff writes.

Tale of the tape: Holmgren leads the season series, 2-0, over Wembanyama, but it's the 7-foot-4 French prodigy who's taken a commanding lead in the Rookie of the Year race (-650 at BetMGM) over the 7-foot-1 Minneapolis native (+500). Don't let that fool you, though: Chet's numbers are nearly as staggering as Wemby's.

Making history: It took just 48 games for Wembanyama to become the first player in NBA history with 150 blocks, 150 assists and 75 three-pointers in a season — and Holmgren has since joined him as the second, doing so in 57 games. And that's not where their similarities end.

  • Take those blocks, for example. They're not just good for rookies: Wemby leads the league with 3.3 per game and Holmgren is tied for second, with 2.7.

  • Their overall defense is also elite: Among the 200 players averaging at least 20 minutes per game, they're tied for the fourth-best defensive rating.

Where Wembanyama has the edge: I mean, have you seen him play? He looks like a different species. How does the same player who makes this effortless block also do this from behind the arc? And then there are the eye-popping stat lines.

  • His first career triple-double was among the fastest ever (21 minutes), and his second was of the rare variety that featured 10 blocks.

  • Last weekend he one-upped himself with 27 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals and 5 blocks, becoming the 15th player in NBA history with a "5x5" game. He also became the second ever with consecutive games of 5 steals and 5 blocks. The other? Michael Jordan.

Where Holmgren has the edge: While Wemby's Spurs (11-48) are in dead last, Chet's Thunder (41-17) are 0.5 games out of first. It's one thing to put up stats on a cellar-dweller, but Holmgren has fit seamlessly into — and indeed helped fuel — a legitimate championship contender.

  • His 6.8 win shares are tied for 12th in the NBA, and if he maintains this pace he'll end the season with the third-best rookie mark this century, behind only Chris Paul and Blake Griffin.

  • He's also been the much better shooter, with significantly higher percentages from both the field (54.2%) and behind the arc (40.1%) than Wembanyama (46.6%; 31.7%).

The bottom line: It will still take a herculean effort by Holmgren to wrest the ROY award away from Wembanyama, but don't let that distract you from the fact that both of these rookie supernovas are having seasons for the ages.

⚾️ Ohtani announces marriage

(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Shohei Ohtani announced he is now married via Instagram late last night, which was afternoon in Japan, where the 29-year-old is the country's biggest celebrity.

  • The Dodgers superstar, who is famously private about his personal life, disclosed no details beyond that his wife is Japanese.

  • He asked the media to refrain from "conducting unauthorized interviews" and said he would reveal more in an interview Friday.

Ohtani: "I began a new chapter in my career with the Dodgers, but I also have started a new life with someone from my native country of Japan who is very special to me," he wrote in a post featuring his dog, Decoy (or Dekopin in Japanese). "We hope the two of us — and one animal — will work together."

🏈 NFL report cards: Dolphins lead the way

(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)
(Amber Matsumoto/Yahoo Sports)

The NFLPA released its annual report cards on Wednesday, surveying 1,706 players about their teams and the facilities/services they offer.

Details: Teams were graded across 11 categories, including head coaches, team owners and locker rooms.

  • Head coaches: Andy Reid (Chiefs), Kevin O'Connell (Vikings) and Dan Campbell (Lions) all received A+ grades, while Josh McDaniels (Raiders) received an F.

  • Team owners: Stephen Ross (Dolphins) and Zygi Wilf (Vikings) received A+ grades, while Michael Bidwill (Cardinals), Art Rooney II (Steelers) and Clark Hunt (Chiefs) received Fs. In fact, Hunt — fresh off a third Super Bowl win in five years — received an F-.

  • Locker rooms: The Vikings (A), Cowboys (A), Dolphins (A), Bears (A-) and Raiders (A-) led the way, while the Cardinals (F), Steelers (F), Falcons (F), Chiefs (F) and Commanders (F-) brought up the rear.

Further reading: Chiefs players roasting their team owner this week is the latest sign of NFL players flexing newfound power

🏀 Hallway Series finale: LeBron goes nuclear

(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

LeBron James scored 19 points in the fourth quarter on Wednesday night to fuel the biggest comeback of his career, helping the Lakers erase a 21-point deficit to beat the Clippers, 116-112.

  • The Clippers took a 98-77 lead early in the fourth, but the Lakers rattled off an unbelievable 34-8 run over the next nine minutes to take a lead they wouldn't relinquish.

  • LeBron ended with 34 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists and a season-high seven 3-pointers.

End of an era: This was the final regular-season game between the Lakers and Clippers as co-tenants of Arena, where their locker rooms are about 100 feet apart in the same corridor. The Clippers move into the brand-new Intuit Dome this fall.

  • The head-to-head series on their mutual home floor began one-sided, with the Lakers going 38-13 against the Clippers from 1999 (the year Staples Center opened) to 2011.

  • But the Clippers have won 37 of the last 47 games and hold a 50-48 advantage in the co-tenant rivalry. (If you count their games pre-Staples Center, the Lakers lead 153-86).

Looking ahead: The two Los Angeles teams could still meet in the playoffs, which would be their first-ever postseason meeting.

📆 Feb. 29, 1996: Gretzky's Blues debut

(Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)
(Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

28 years ago today, Wayne Gretzky made his debut for the Blues, beginning the shortest and least-remembered stint of his career, Jeff writes.

Dynamic duo: The Blues traded for Gretzky in hopes that pairing him with Brett Hull would be enough to make a deep playoff run. It almost worked — and Gretzky unsurprisingly had 37 points in 31 games — but the 5-seed Blues fell one game shy of the West finals. Gretzky left in free agency, signing with the Rangers where he played his final three seasons.

More on this day:

  • ⛳️ 1940: American Jimmy Demaret capped an epic two-week run with a victory at the St. Petersburg Open, his third win in a 12-day span (!!).

  • 🏀 1964: Oscar Robertson scored 43 points and Royals (now Kings) teammate Jerry Lucas grabbed 40 rebounds* in a win over the 76ers, marking the only time in NBA history that teammates combined for a 40-40 game.

*Rare feat: Lucas is one of just four players with a 40-rebound game, joined by Nate Thurmond, Bill Russell (eight times) and Wilt Chamberlain (14). Wilt is the only one with his own 40-40 game, doing so eight times. Of course.

📺 Watchlist: Scouting Combine

(Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)
(Mallory Bielecki/Yahoo Sports)

The NFL Combine begins today in Indianapolis, kicking off the annual four-day event where the nation's top prospects* try to improve their draft stock, Jeff writes.

  • Today: DL/LB (3pm ET, NFL Network)

  • Friday: DB/TE (3pm, NFL)

  • Saturday: QB/WR/RB (1pm, NFL)

  • Sunday: OL (1pm, NFL)

More to watch:

  • 🏀 NBA: Warriors at Knicks (7:30pm, TNT); Heat at Nuggets (10pm, TNT)

  • 🏀 NCAAM: No. 23 Gonzaga at San Francisco (11pm, ESPN2)

  • 🏀 NCAAW: No. 19 Syracuse at No. 12 NC State (7pm, ACC); No. 5 Virginia Tech at No. 17 Notre Dame (7pm, ESPN); No. 4 Stanford at No. 11 Oregon State (10pm, Pac-12)

  • 🏒 NHL: Avalanche at Blackhawks (9pm, ESPN)

  • ⛳️ PGA: Cognizant Classic (6:45am, ESPN+; 2pm, Golf) … The Florida swing tees off at The Palm Beaches.

  • ⚾️ Spring training: Phillies at Blue Jays (1pm, MLB)

*Notably absent: The last two Heisman winners — LSU's Jayden Daniels and USC's Caleb Williams — will attend the Combine for interviews and meetings, but will not participate in passing drills. They'll wait until their pro days in late March to throw for scouts.

🏈 NFL trivia

QB J.J. McCarthy, RB Blake Corum and head coach Jim Harbaugh after winning the Rose Bowl. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
QB J.J. McCarthy, RB Blake Corum and head coach Jim Harbaugh after winning the Rose Bowl. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Michigan has a record 18 prospects at this year's NFL Combine, breaking the record of 16 that was set in 2020 by which school?

Hint: They produced the No. 1 pick that year.

Answer at the bottom.

⚾️ Eight degrees of baseball

Deacon White (seated, second from left) and Cleveland's Forest City Base Ball Club in 1870. (Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)
Deacon White (seated, second from left) and Cleveland's Forest City Base Ball Club in 1870. (Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)

The major leagues date back 153 years, yet baseball statistician Ryan Spaeder traced the entire game's history in just eight short steps:

"Justin Verlander was in the league with Julio Franco, who was intentionally walked by Jim Kaat, who allowed a pair of hits to Ted Williams, who made his big league debut against Lou Gehrig, who hit four home runs off Walter Johnson, who once beaned Cy Young, who debuted in 1890, the final season played by Deacon White, who had the first hit* in MLB history."

*The first hit: On May 4, 1871, while playing for the Cleveland Forest City Base Ball Club, White recorded the first hit in the history of the National Association, recognized as the first major league. White's position at the time? Barehanded catcher!

Trivia answer: LSU

We hope you enjoyed this edition of Yahoo Sports AM, our daily newsletter that keeps you up to date on all things sports. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every weekday morning.