Plays of the Day
Value: Kyle Kuzma is one of several impressive young Lakers that comes at a relative discount tonight. This team is playing great defense all of a sudden and managed to beat the Pistons by 20 on Tuesday, so perhaps they give the Blazers (-7) a game in Portland this evening.
Fade: LaMarcus Aldridge is slowing down as opposing defenses key in on him and he faces a premier individual defender tonight in Draymond Green. He did average 21.5 PPG and 10.5 RPG over two regular season meetings with Golden State last year, but struggled mightily in three playoff games against the Dubs after Kawhi Leonard went down due to injury.
Damian Lillard – (9,300 DK/9,800 FD)
After a horrendous shooting night in a win over the Pelicans, Dame Dollar has regained his stroke, culminating in a 12-for-23 performance to drop 36 points on Kyle Lowry and the Raptors. Now he faces the young PG that has everyone motivated in Lonzo Ball and a Lakers team that ranks 4th in pace and is giving up the ninth-most FPPG (48.44) to opposing PGs so far this season. With his standard 30% usage rate on the year and a consistent approach offensively, he’s an easy choice for the top guard to pay up for on this short slate.
Dejounte Murray – (5,500 DK/4,600 FD)
Murray could benefit from the fast pace in a home tilt against the Warriors, as he’s an excellent rebounding guard. He’s also a decent reason to fade Steph Curry if forced to choose between Curry and Dame Lillard tonight.
Steph Curry – (9,000 DK/9,500 FD)
You may build lineups on this short slate and find that there’s salary left over, so why not pay up for the former two-time MVP?
Evan Turner – (4,400 DK/4,900 FD)
Here’s where you can find some value on a 2-game slate, although Turner doesn’t ooze with upside either. Yet he’s averaging 10.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 3.3 APG despite logging just 27.3 MPG because he’s seeing increased usage as the point forward of the Blazers strong second unit. Portland’s been excellent at home and there is some risk of a blowout in this matchup, so if that’s the case, ET would serve as a way to hedge your bets after using Lillard and/or C.J. McCollum, or as a way to go contrarian along with a couple other bench players.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – (5,100 DK/5,000 FD)
KCP remains a solid cash game play and an important veteran presence at SG for the young Lakers.
Klay Thompson – (6,700 DK/6,800 FD)
The Warriors offense is struggling in relative terms, which has forced Klay to force and hit more shots.
Kevin Durant – (9,700 DK/9,900 FD)
No one will be happier than Durant to see the Spurs take the floor without two-time Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard. One of the few wings capable of containing KD, Kawhi is still without a timetable and apparently has “no possibility” of taking the floor for this early-season matchup. Even with Leonard in the lineup, Durant dropped 27 points with 10 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks in a meeting with the Spurs last year and while he hasn’t been lighting it up necessarily on the offensive end this year, he’s averaging a career-best 2.4 blocks per game and is efficient with best true shooting percentage (.657%) to date.
Maurice Harkless – (3,800 DK/4,800 FD)
Harkless is a low-upside value to consider and might see a little more playing time if Al-Farouq Aminu (ankle) can’t go tonight.
Kyle Kuzma – (4,800 DK/4,600 FD)
Kuzma is starting to see steady run for the Lakers and that makes him a candidate to exceed value, even in a tough matchup against the Blazers solid wing defense.
Draymond Green – (7,200 DK/7,700 FD)
Green is a superior option to LaMarcus Aldridge, at least in cash games, because opposing defenses are starting to lock in on LMA with Kawhi Leonard out and his production is dropping fast. Green will likely guard the Spurs best player right now and that always motivates the Human Volcano on both ends of the floor, as it did on Monday when he dropped 16 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists over 31 minutes against Blake Griffin and the Clippers. There are essentially two scenarios here: The Warriors win big, in which case their big four would be solid cash game plays, or get into a close contest down the stretch, which would allow Draymond and others to flash their upside.
Larry Nance Jr. – (5,200 DK/5,200 FD)
Nance is part of a crowded Lakers rotation at forward but should keep starting and is therefore the safest play of the bunch.
Julius Randle – (4,700 DK/4,700 FD)
While Nance Jr. is the safer play, Randle has more upside on a per-dollar basis and he could wind up as the superior play if the Lakers fall behind big in Portland.
Jusuf Nurkic – (5,900 DK/7,400 FD)
A Nurk-Bomb was building and it more or less exploded on Wednesday, as Nurkic managed to post a 19-point, 11-rebound, full line to produce 44.25 DK points in a brutal matchup against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz. He logged a season-high 35 minutes in that contest and will now face a weak individual defender in Brook Lopez and a Lakers team that’s giving up the fifth-most RPG (18.43) and 12th-most BPG (2.14) to opposing centers this year. Despite his early struggles, he’s averaging 17.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per 36 minutes, so The Bosnian Beast is a great per-dollar option on DK as long as he’s slated to get close to that amount of run.
Ed Davis – (3,900 DK/4,600 FD)
Davis is a good source of salary relief as a high-energy big man off the Blazers bench.