Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) shoots against Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) as the Utah Jazz and the Philadelphia 76ers play an NBA basketball game at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2018.

Who is the best second-year NBA player to build a team around?

Is it Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Boston’s Jayson Tatum or Sacramento’s De'Aaron Fox?

That was the question that ESPNs Tim Bontemps set out to answer in his recent piece, Fox, Mitchell, Simmons or Tatum: Which super soph would NBA execs build around?

Bontemps and ESPN interviewed 18 coaches and executives in an attempt to determine which sophomore has the best centerpiece potential, and the result was interesting to say the least.

Per Bontemps, “it was a question that sparked lively debates, painful choices and, ultimately, a range of opinions.”

In the final tally it was Simmons who came out ahead, powered by nine first-place votes. Mitchell came in second amongst the quartet and it is his readiness and current and past contributions to the Jazz that gave him an edge over Tatum and Fox.

“Mitchell finished with an even distribution of first-, second- and third-place votes, demonstrating the belief around the league that the Utah Jazz star has established himself as a go-to scorer and lead guard, both in the regular season and the playoffs,” Bontemps said.

A simpler and stronger endorsement came courtesy of a Western Conference coach.

"Mitchell can carry a team. He's done it already."

Alliance of American Football on the verge of collapse?

The inaugural campaign of the AAF has not been without difficulty, but the league has made it through seven of the 10 weeks that will make up the AAF’s first season.

According to a report by USA Today’s Kevin Allen and Mike Jones, however, the Alliance is on the verge of extinction.

League majority owner Tom Dundon told USA Today that the AAF is in danger of folding, even after his commitment of $250 million in February.

The blame falls largely on the lack of cooperation between the AAF and the NFL Players’ Association, according to Dundon.

Per the report, “the AAF was hoping to get permission to use practice squad players, particularly No. 3 quarterbacks and young linemen starting next season. The AAF's game plan was to be to the NFL what Class AAA baseball is to Major League Baseball.”

That has not happened.

The NFL Players Association has been reluctant to make players available to the upstart league for a variety of reasons, including injury and potentially the loss of “a year of accrued experience, which carries financial ramifications for players.”

Bobby Wagner a Seahawk for life

Former Utah State standout and four-time All-Pro linebacker Bobby Wagner is entering the final year of his contract with the Seattle Seahawks, but according to a report by NFL writer Herbie Teope, the chances Wagner leaves Seattle are slim to none.

At least, that was Seahawks' head coach Pete Carroll’s response to questions regarding Wagner’s future with the team.

"He's an incredible player and been an incredible part of our program and the community and all that," Carroll said, per Teope’s report. "Bobby's going to be a Seahawk."

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The Seahawks are already in discussions with Wagner, as well as with linebacker K.J. Wright.

Other links

Marking Minors' momentous '19 milestones, including the Salt Lake Bees’ 25 anniversary season (MILB)

3-star linebacker Josh Wilson, aka Zach’s younger brother, commits to BYU (Twitter)

Eric Weddle spoke to Utah’s outgoing seniors on the eve of the Utes’ Pro Day (Twitter)

And finally…

Rudy Gobert entered Vivint Arena in style Wednesday night, ahead of the Utah Jazz’s 115-100 win over the Lakers.

If only he were an MLB relief pitcher.