NBA Thoughts 12/30/16

 

Happy Friday and welcome to what has the makings of a fantastic NBA slate with a ton of value. Let’s jump right into some of my favorite plays for tonight.

 

TJ McConnell — The 76ers have lost Jerryd Bayless, Sergio Rodriguez, and Gerald Henderson to injury, leaving TJ McConnell as the only point guard on the roster. He falls right into a nice matchup against the Nuggets and Emmanuel Mudiay, and unless this game gets quickly out of hand (which it shouldn’t, with Joel Embiid playing), McConnell should easily see 35+ minutes and quite possibly exceed 40. McConnell is not a fantastic per-minute player, but point guards are generally productive in Brett Brown’s system, and the matchup and very likely heavy minutes but him firmly in play at every site across the industry at near minimum price.

 

Nik Stauskas — Specifically on DraftKings where Stauskas is stone-minimum price and we get a three-point bonus, Stauskas is very much in play as a punt option. Last night he saw 34 minutes against the Jazz and should see similar run in a good matchup against the Nuggets and Gary Harris, who this season is allowing the player he is guarding to shoot 9% better on their field goal attempts than that player’s season average. Harris has somewhat of a reputation as a good defender but the numbers simply do not bear that out. This is a good matchup for Stauskas who has been decent this season and should see 30+ minutes for the shorthanded 76ers.

 

Giannis Antetokounmpo — Giannis is in a truly tremendous spot tonight. The Timberwolves have been one of the very worst teams in the league at both preventing transition opportunities and are among the worst in points-per-possession allowed per transition opportunity. Greek Freak should run the show tonight and get into the paint early and often where he does the majority of his scoring. Additionally, Matthew Dellavedova who does take on some of the ball handling duties when he is on the floor with Giannis will miss this game, further increasing Giannis’ already significant role in the offense. He’s going to eat this Timberwolves “defense” for breakfast.

 

Malcolm Brogdon — Affectionally known as “Broggy Pants” in our Fanvice Premium Chat (I have no idea why, but it is kind of catchy), Brogdon will step into the starting lineup for the Bucks with Dellavedova missing out due to injury. Brogdon has been impressive this season for the Bucks, averaging 17.6 DK points in just 22 minutes on the season, but 23.5 DK Points on 25.3 minutes per game over his last 5 games. Now starting and with Delly’s minutes up for grabs, Brogdon should exceed 30 minutes in this game in a great matchup vs. the Wolves where he should see a lot of Rubio and Lavine defense, certainly nothing to fear. Brogdon is cheap and carries a bit of upside with his ability to get out in transition and knock down three pointers.

 

Marcin Gortat — All of the Wizards are in a great situation with the woeful, fast paced Nets traveling to Washington and Bradley Beal possibly missing out, leaving a bigger offensive role for the remaining Wizards’ starters. When we take pricing into consideration, Gortat is my favorite of the bunch. He has played over 40 minutes in each of the last two games and is consistently seeing 35+ minutes. It is also a fantastic matchup against a Nets team which gives up among the most fantasy points of any team in the NBA to the center position. A ton of Gortat’s production comes from rebounding, and he should thrive in this matchup as the Nets struggle immensely on the boards. Gortat is one of the safest options on the board tonight with significant upside as well.