NBA Deep Dive – 1/16/17 Late
High Priced ($8,500+)
Russell Westbrook is the most expensive option on the slate on the second leg of a back-to-back, facing the Los Angeles Clippers. Westbrook has a very high ceiling regardless of matchup since he is basically the entire Oklahoma City offense, but he is unlikely to be very efficient in this matchup against Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, one of the best on-ball defenders in the league. Westbrook has struggled (by his standards) against long defenders this season and that is what he will be facing tonight with Mbah a Moute. While he is always in play, there is reason to be hesitant to pay his price tag in a difficult matchup.
Kevin Durant played very well in his first meeting against LeBron James as a member of the Warriors. He had 36 points, 15 rebounds and 3 assists on 23 field goal attempts. The 23 field goal attempts are tied for his third-most this season. Durant is a strong option at a small forward position that drops off quickly after the top tier.
LeBron James is another top small forward option on this slate in a rematch of last year’s finals against Golden State. He has ranged from very good games to monster games in his matchups with Golden State over the past couple of seasons, including a 60 DraftKings point performance on Christmas Day this season. LeBron will likely be a very popular play on this slate, but there are not many good alternatives, especially on FanDuel where you have to roster two small forwards.
Chris Paul gets a friendly matchup against the Thunder with Blake Griffin still sidelined. Paul has a 27.8 usage percentage, 55.3 assist percentage and 11.6 rebound percentage when he is on the floor with DeAndre Jordan minus Blake Griffin this season. He has had success against Westbrook-led Thunder teams in the past, recording at least 50 DraftKings points in four of his last five games against Westbrook.
Core: Kevin Durant, LeBron James
Secondary: Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Isaiah Thomas (if Bradley out)
Kyrie Irving has been in a bit of a shooting slump lately, but he has the opportunity for a big game tonight against Golden State. He had a monster game against them on Christmas, but we should not expect quite the same performance tonight since he had 7 steals in that game. That being said, the pace that the Warriors play at will afford Irving plenty of opportunities to pile up points and assists and he has had plenty of success in the matchup going back to last year’s finals. His price is towards the middle of his salary range and he makes for a very strong play tonight.
Rudy Gobert faces a Phoenix team that almost never goes small at center, meaning he should not have trouble finding minutes tonight. Gobert is averaging 33.3 minutes per game this season, but has played 37.4 and 38.3 in his two matchups with Phoenix this season. He has produced double-doubles in each game and should do very well again tonight. Eric Bledsoe attacks the basket often, which will allow Gobert plenty of opportunities for blocks, and the Suns plays at one of the fastest paces in the league and are in the bottom third of the league in true shooting percentage so there should be plenty of rebounds to go around.
George Hill has not quite been clicking lately but a matchup with Phoenix should help right the ship. Phoenix has been unable to defend opposing backcourts all season long and Hill is a key part of the Utah offense. Rodney Hood is out for Utah which should increase Hill’s usage, although it is unclear by how much since Hill has barely played alongside Favors, Hayward and Gobert without Hood yet this season. Phoenix is playing at the fifth fastest pace since the beginning of December, while Utah plays at the second slowest, so Hill should see a nice boost tonight.
Enes Kanter has been very productive lately as the Thunder have started playing him alongside Steven Adams more often. Adams is questionable to play tonight, so Kanter could be in line to see even more minutes. He is averaging over 1.2 DraftKings points per minute this season, his playing time has just been the issue from game to game. Now that his minutes are more stable, he is a very high upside play even as his price increases.
Devin Booker has another difficult matchup tonight, but his price is still low as a result. He has been very aggressive recently, taking at least 20 field goal attempts in his last 3 games. He scored 39 real-life points against Dallas and San Antonio, both of whom play at slow paces and the latter is a strong defensive team. There is still risk with Booker because he is incredibly scoring dependent, but he has upside because of his shot volume regardless of defensive matchup.
Core: Kyrie Irving, Rudy Gobert, George Hill, Enes Kanter
Secondary: Kemba Walker, Gordon Hayward, DeAndre Jordan, Devin Booker, Draymond Green, Kevin Love, Nicolas Batum, Eric Bledsoe, Al Horford
Tyson Chandler has played heavy minutes lately, with at least 28 in five consecutive games. He has a sneaky good matchup against Utah tonight. Utah is allowing the third most points per game and rebounds per game, and the most offensive rebounds per game to opposing centers over the last month and a half. Chandler could have some trouble scoring since he cannot play away from the basket, but he will have the opportunity for putbacks off offensive rebounds. He should go overlooked since people shy away from players against the Utah frontcourt, which makes him a strong tournament option. Chandler has struggled in both of his previous matchups with Gobert this season, so there is certainly some risk.
Cody Zeller appears to be fully healthy after playing 35.6 minutes in his first game back from injury against Philadelphia and tonight he gets a friendly matchup with the Boston frontcourt. The Celtics have struggled to rebound all season and Zeller has a decent chance for a double-double tonight.
Joe Ingles is a very strong value option, especially because he is small forward eligible on some sites. Ingles is averaging 33.5 minutes per game without Hood this season, and has recorded at least 26.5 DraftKings points in each of those five games. In addition, he has a favorable matchup against the Suns in a pace up game against a team that struggles mightily to defend the three-point line. Small forward is a wasteland after the top few options, so Ingles can provide some much needed value.
Core: Joe Ingles, Cody Zeller
Secondary: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Derrick Favors, Tyson Chandler, Tristan Thompson, Amir Johnson