NBA Deep Dive – 1/14/17

High Priced ($8,500+)


Anthony Davis is questionable to play tonight, but sounds like he thinks that he will play.  If he does suit up, he will face a Chicago frontcourt that is going to have trouble stopping him.  With Davis’s injury history, you have to assume that he is good to go if they let him play and he has been very aggressive recently, averaging 22.75 field goal attempts per game over his last four, after seemingly taking some time to adjust to more time at the center position and more time alongside Tyreke Evans.  There is not much to pay up for on this slate, which will likely make Davis popular, but he is still a very strong play.


John Wall is probable to play against the Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia 76ers tonight.  The Sixers defense has been very good with Embiid lately, with the 5th best defensive rating in the league since the beginning of December.  As you can see in the table below, almost everyone on the team (Okafor being the expected, notable exception) sees a massive boost in defensive rating when they are on the floor with Embiid.  Wall has a very high ceiling in this matchup, if he is healthy, but there is reason to be concerned.  He is dealing with wrist and finger injuries, and shot just 4-21 in his last game against Boston.  He has an expensive price tag across the industry and makes for a high risk/high reward option this evening.


PlayerDefensive Rating w/o EmbiidDefensive Rating w/ Embiid


Kawhi Leonard gets a juicy matchup with the Phoenix Suns.  Leonard missed the Spurs most recent game against Phoenix, but is in line for a nice performance tonight.  He will likely have to deal with P.J. Tucker’s defense a fair amount, which is not ideal, but the increased pace should help overcome any inefficiencies.  Leonard’s price is up across the industry, making him more of a cash option than a GPP option assuming all of the Spurs suit up.


Core: Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard

Secondary: John Wall


Mid-Range ($5,800-$8,400)


Gordon Hayward has been playing better of late, shooting 63 percent from the field over his last three.  This can be looked at in two ways, since he will regress back to his season average of 46 percent but he is clearly shooting the ball well lately.  It is worth noting that his true shooting percentage increases from 58.8 percent without George Hill on the floor to 64.4 percent when Hayward plays alongside Hill, so we should continue to see Hayward be more efficient.  The Magic are quietly playing at the 12th fastest pace in the league since the start of December, with the 5th worst defensive rating over that span.  Hayward only played 26 minutes last night and should have another productive game tonight.


Dwyane Wade is a core play if Butler is sidelined again, despite his poor performance against the Knicks.  Wade has a 38.3 usage percentage and 32.3 assist percentage without Butler on the floor this season and the Pelicans are playing at the 8th fastest pace over the last month and a half.  They have been playing good defense over that time, but the increase in possessions and usage is more than enough to make Wade a top option if Butler is out.


Ersan Ilyasova’s usage percentage and assist percentage both increase by 2.3 percent when Embiid is not on the floor.  The Wizards are playing at the 10th fastest pace since the start of December and are allowing opponents the 10th highest three-point percentage over that span- with the fifth highest three- point percentage allowed to opposing forwards specifically. Ilyasova’s price is high on DraftKings, making him less appealing there, but he is too cheap on FanDuel.


Nikola Vucevic is a tournament option that could go overlooked because of his matchup with Utah.  His price is down, especially on DraftKings, as a result of the matchup and opposing bigs have really not struggled against Utah since Derrick Favors’ return.  Utah is allowing the third most points and rebounds to opposing centers since the start of December and the most offensive rebounds.  We saw Drummond have a great rebounding night last night and we could see another productive game from Vucevic tonight.  He will also be able to pull Gobert away from the basket, where he is not quite as strong of a defender.


Serge Ibaka also got a massive price decrease on DraftKings and is firmly in play there as well since he will likely be low-owned despite the price accounting for his difficult matchup.  Ibaka shot 4-10 in 29 minutes in his return to the lineup last night and recorded at least 10 rebounds for his 4th consecutive game.  He is also a likely beneficiary of the poor Utah frontcourt play that we have seen of late.


Rudy Gobert is way too cheap on DraftKings in a pace-up game that will afford him more opportunities for rebounds and blocks.  Orlando is allowing opposing centers the 9th most rebounds and 9th most blocks since December 1, and inserting Vucevic into the starting lineup should only make the matchup more appealing for opposing bigs.


Core: Gordon Hayward, Ersan Ilyasova, Dwyane Wade (if Butler out), Jrue Holiday (if Davis out)

Secondary: Eric Bledsoe, Jrue Holiday (if Davis in), Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris, Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat, George Hill, Serge Ibaka


Value ($3,000-$5,700)


Tony Parker keeps outperforming expectations and gets a dream matchup against Phoenix tonight.  Parker’s minutes continue to be all over the place, but he gets his shots up regardless of how long he is out there, attempting at least 10 field goals in 7 of his last 10 games.  Phoenix just got torched by another old point guard in Deron Williams, and Parker scored 20 real-life points on this team in late December- albeit without Kawhi Leonard.  Phoenix is the perfect combination of fast pace and poor defense and Parker should be able to take advantage at his price tag.


T.J. McConnell, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, and Dario Saric all get boosts today with Embiid out, whether it is in usage, playing time, or both.  In the last game that Embiid missed, Saric saw 25.4 minutes, Noel 22.2, Ilyasova 24.3 and Okafor 24.1.  Hollis Thompson played 21.1 minutes in that game, however, which means that there should be even more minutes to go around in the frontcourt by extension of Saric seeing more time at the three.  Stacking Philadelphia is a very strong strategy tonight since they are almost all underpriced for their situation tonight.


Derrick Favors played 27 minutes last night and is a strong option tonight against a weak Orlando defensive team that has true bigs in Ibaka, Vucevic and Biyombo.  Favors will be needed on the floor and can certainly produce in this matchup.  He is still struggling to get into a consistent rhythm, but is firmly in play as a tournament option.


Tyreke Evans played an extremely productive 28 minutes against the Nets.  Anthony Davis will cut into Evans’ workload if he is back, and the Bulls are not the Nets, but if Evans is going to continue playing 25+ minutes per game, he is way too inexpensive.  Evans has a 27.4 usage percentage and 41.1 assist percentage in his 201 minutes this season, and a respectable 23.7 usage percentage in 70 minutes alongside Davis to go along with a phenomenal 42.5 assist percentage.  It may feel like chasing points because of his huge outing last time, but his price is still way too low.


Core: Tony Parker, Tyreke Evans, T.J. McConnell, Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric, Jahlil Okafor

Secondary:  Tyson Chandler, Derrick Favors, Rodney Hood, Gerald Henderson, Nik Stauskas