March 23, 2017, 9:52 pm
Ten games are on the slate for tonight with many fast paced teams in action. As injury news breaks, I would expect there to be a few must plays since several of these match-ups should be high scoring. Point guard and center are fairly deep tonight, but finding value in the other three positions is not the easiest task. I have highlighted a few plays below for your consideration who should be valuable DraftKings performers. Let’s dig in.
Isaiah Thomas ($8,200)
This price tag is downright puzzling. IT has been an elite DraftKings option all season and takes on Phoenix tonight. Barring foul trouble or a terrible shooting performance, he should blow past 40 DraftKings points. Since he was injured recently, I could understand if he was priced down due to potentially limited minutes. However, he has played 33+ minutes in both games following the injury.
Against the Pacers last game, IT shot 9/21 (4/10 from three) en route to 37.5 DraftKings points in what was a very slow game. Phoenix is one of the league’s fastest teams, so if Isaiah has a similar game to last game, he’ll cruise to 40-45 DraftKings points. Almost half of his shots come from deep and he has a 32.7% usage rate over his last ten games. He’s taking a lot of shots and many of his shots turn into 3.5 DraftKings points.
Outside of scoring, Isaiah is not too much of a fantasy threat which restricts his production to some extent. In his last ten games, he is averaging 4.6 assists. Due to the pace uptick tonight, I’d expect six or seven assists. Something like a 25-7-2 line with a couple steals is reasonable tonight. At $8,200, that’ll work. Fire him up in cash games and own a few tournament shares.
Eric Gordon ($4,900)
Similar to Isaiah Thomas, Gordon is another high floor shooter. The addition of Lou Williams has not been helpful for Gordon’s production, but he has scored in double digits in all but two games since All-Star Break. A major factor in his consistency is that 2/3 of his shots come from behind the arc. Even on a poor shooting night, he tends to be reasonably valuable.
Gordon has been a key ingredient in the success of the Rockets this season, and his minutes are stable as a result. Following the break, he has still averaged 31.1 minutes per game despite the addition of fellow scorer Lou Williams. Houston plays the struggling New Orleans Pelicans tonight at home.
The Pelicans are decent defensively, but Gordon’s game is tough for anybody to match up against. He can drive and finish at the rim or hit a quick three off a James Harden pass. Gordon was a Pelican last season, so perhaps a little bit of extra motivation will propel Gordon to a big night.
Paul George ($8,900)
Man, it feels really good to watch Paul George play at a high level again. He torched Boston last time out for 37 points in 42 minutes. Yeah, 42 minutes. The Pacers need Paul George on the floor as much as possible as they try to find a rhythm before playoffs begin. To stimulate the offense, PG has been letting it fly lately, averaging 32.4% usage in his last ten games.
He is shooting about as often as Isaiah Thomas, assisting less, and rebounding significantly more. The problem with Paul George is that the Pacers have been playing at such a slow pace. However, tonight they face the Denver Nuggets, one of the league’s fastest teams. Additionally, the Nuggets are one of the league’s worst defenses.
George was taking Jae Crowder to school on Wednesday, and no Denver wing can defend like Crowder. Expect Paul to continue his hot streak as the Pacers get a rare quick-tempo game. I’m optimistic that a signature PG game could be in store.
Nikola Mirotic ($5,400)
So far, the theme of this post is three-point shooting. Mirotic likewise is a three-point shooter. The Bulls are a wildly inconsistent, terrible shooting team without much fluidity on the offensive end. Mirotic’s performance against Detroit was a refreshing departure from the bad brand of basketball we’ve seen from the Bulls throughout the year.
Mirotic shot 12/15 including 4/6 from three in 39 minutes to help bring down the Pistons. He also had a +22 rating. Although Lopez will be back from his suspension, the Bulls are still going to need Mirotic’s minutes as Chicago looks to beat the Sixers. Without Nikola, the Bulls’ three point shooting is almost nonexistent.
Shockingly, Jimmy Butler had an 11.1% usage rate last game. If Jimmy isn’t aggressively looking to score, the Bulls need somebody else to step up and hit shots. It was Mirotic last game and could be Mirotic again tonight against a lackluster 76ers defense.
Marcin Gortat ($4,300)
Marcin Gortat is a low risk cash game option in what should be a DFS-friendly matchup with the Brooklyn Nets. Jason Smith and Ian Mahinmi are taking on bigger roles in the Wizards rotation, and Gortat’s minutes have suffered as a result. Thus, the Wizards center’s price has steadily fallen over the past few weeks, but this is about as low as it should drop.
Gortat should play about 24 minutes tonight which is ample time to be valuable. Since All-Star Break, Marcin has a 20.3% rebounding rate and a 16.2% usage rate. At those rates and a pace like tonight’s, he does not need many minutes to hit value. I think tonight’s game should look similar to his game against Chicago four games ago. In that game, Marcin had a 17.1% usage rate and a 19% rebound rate in 21:45 minutes of game time. He shot 4/9 and scored 19.5 DraftKings points without a block or a steal.
Tonight, Gortat should rack up a couple blocks or steals given how many possessions there will be in this game and Brooklyn’s sloppy play. His ceiling is not high, but his floor is high (about 16 tonight in my projections). Getting to 5x will not be much of a challenge, so I am rolling with him in cash.
July 4, 2020, 2:39 pmJimmy ButlerSG, Miami Heat
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald is reporting that a third Heat player has tested positive for COVID-19.
Derrick Jones Jr. is the only known player, though Jackson adds that the two latest cases are both rotation players. Florida is in terrible shape at the moment and the Heat may need to enter the bubble without three of their rotation options — those players may still join the team later but will miss out on valuable practice time. The NBA is going full steam ahead on their restart plans but the virus is going to determine whether or not things actually unfold according to plan.
Source: Barry Jackson on Twitter
July 4, 2020, 1:21 pmLandry ShametSG, Los Angeles Clippers
Shams Charania reports that Landry Shamet has tested positive for COVID-19 and is unlikely to join the Clippers for their trip to Orlando this week.
That leaves the door open for Shamet to rejoin the team closer to the season's restart, assuming he is feeling okay. Just yesterday it was announced that the Clippers closed their facilities after a positive test, so it appears Shamet's case was the culprit. The sharpshooter is averaging 27.5 minutes per game this season so if he's forced to sit out the Orlando restart it could have big ramifications on LA's backcourt rotation.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
July 4, 2020, 12:18 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
The NBA has released its schedule of scrimmages for the Orlando restart, with games beginning on July 22.
The league has tried to match up teams that are unlikely opponents for these scrimmages so nobody gets a really good look at what a potential playoff matchup might want to run. For example, the first day of scrimmages will see the Nuggets face the Wizards, the Nets take on the Pelicans, the Clippers against the Magic and the Kings vs. the Heat. Scrimmages will run through July 28.
Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter
July 4, 2020, 9:35 amCaris LeVertPG-SG, Brooklyn Nets
Caris LeVert embraces challenge of being a leader.
LeVert has been an active participant in the racial inequality protests and admitted that basketball is very minor right now compared to everything else going on in the world but is ready for the NBA restart saying, "For me, it’s just taking on that challenge of being a leader, being the leader of that group, going down there with some of the most experience on the team, playoff experience." In the 16 games since rejoining the starting lineup, LeVert has put up All-Star numbers with 24.1 points, 4.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists, while shooting 41.7 percent from three-point range and leading the Nets to a 9-7 record over that span. The upward trajectory continues for the Nets' 20th overall pick in the 2016 draft.
July 4, 2020, 9:16 amJordan CrawfordSG, Free Agent
Jordan Crawford has agreed to a deal with Russia's Lokomotiv Kuban.
Crawford last played in the NBA for the Pelicans in 2018 with career averages of 12.2 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 24.4 minutes. The career journeyman has played for five NBA teams since 2010 with a few stints with China in between. Since the beginning of 2019, he has played in Israel, China, Germany and now we can add Russia to that list.
July 4, 2020, 8:13 amLance StephensonSG, Free Agent
Lance Stephenson is ineligible to sign with the Pacers according to Scott Agness.
Stephenson to the Pacers was being discussed in early March and made sense now with Victor Oladipo choosing to sit out the remainder of the season but this move apparently will not happen. The 29-year old Stephenson spent this past season in China where he averaged 26.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.8 assists for the CBA's Flying Leopards.
Source: Scott Agness on Twitter
July 3, 2020, 10:10 pmAnthony DavisPF-C, Los Angeles Lakers
Anthony Davis has high expectations for the Lakers when they resume play later in July in Orlando, citing the long layoff as a favorable development for his squad.
As if the Lakers weren't already squarely in the hunt for an NBA championship. When speaking to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, Davis said that he believes their "chances are higher just because we’re all rested and we’re all ready to go.” Depth seems to be the most glaring issue potentially facing the Lakers as they prepare to make the trip to Disney World, as defensive stalwart Avery Bradley recently opted out of the remainder of the season. Bradley was subsequently replaced by well-traveled veteran guard J.R. Smith (who has a long history of playoff runs alongside LeBron James with the Cavs), but the team is still unsure of veteran center Dwight Howard's status the rest of the way. Other than Howard, the Lakers' roster is seemingly set for Orlando. Davis sounds like he's ready to rock, however.
July 3, 2020, 8:28 pmDeng AdelPF, Brooklyn Nets
Deng Adel, who played 19 games for the Cavs last season as a two-way player, is being pursued by the Illawara Hawks of Australia's NBL, which, notably was the team 18-year-old LaMelo Ball played for last season (and has attempted to purchase).
Adel had two short stints before last season with the Rockets and Nets in the Summer League and the preseason, respectively. He was originally a standout at Louisville but went undrafted in 2018 before hitching on with the Cavs on a two-way pact. This season he had been playing for the Long Island Nets, the Nets' G League affiliate, prior to the pause and ultimately the end of the G League season. Adel had registered averages of 11.1 points, 4.2 boards and 2.6 assists to that point. Also of note, Adel spent the lion's share of his childhood in Australia after his family moved from South Sudan around the time he was eight.
July 3, 2020, 4:35 pmDarius MillerSF, New Orleans Pelicans
Darius Miller is unsure if he will be able to play in Orlando, as he continues to recover from a torn a ruptured right Achillies.
Due to the lockdown, Miller has been unable to participate in any live-action, or else he would have played in 3-on-3 or 5-on-5 by now. At this point, it would be surprising for the Pelicans to risk his health by pushing for him to participate in the eight-game regular season.
Source: Will Guillory on Twitter
July 3, 2020, 4:26 pmJJ RedickSG, New Orleans Pelicans
J.J. Redick has intentionally lost 10 pounds since the quarantine began.
Redick's goal was to get back to his playing weight during his college days at Duke, and it's not a surprise that one of the most dedicated workers in the league was able to drop weight during the coronavirus pandemic. Redick's shooting will be sorely needed when the Pelicans try to chase down the Grizzlies for a playoff spot, but if he does not come out of the gates making an impact the Pelicans are likely to shift to another hot hand on their deep roster. Redick has only seen 26.4 minutes per game this season, and that is going to limit his impact to strictly 3-pointers (2.9 per game).
Source: Daniel Sallerson on Twitter