Scouting The NBA by Nate Weitzer - 11/27/17

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Plays of the Day

Value: Kyle O’Quinn could serve as a great value if Kristaps Porzingis (back) and/or Enes Kanter (back) remains sidelined for the Knicks tonigh.. The bruising center tallied a season-high 20 points with 15 rebounds with both The Zinger and Kanter out on Saturday and needed just 26 minutes of run to provided 10x value on his salary.

Fade: Steph Curry might sit out tonight’s tilt, although he might play while Kevin Durant (ankle) sits. If both players are active, Curry makes for a good fade in what should be an easy win for the Warriors, while he draws a relatively tough matchup against lively young defender De’Aaron Fox.

Point Guards

Lonzo Ball - (7,100 DK/7,200 FD)

Lonzo really struggled in his NBA debut against the Clippers last month while facing a highly motivated and elite defender in Patrick Beverley. Yet he’s improved drastically since that showing to the point that he’s averaging 9 PPG, 10.5 RPG and 8 APG over his last four appearances. Beverley (knee) is done for the season and the Clippers defense is reeling without him, coughing up 104 PPG while dropping 11 of their last 14 contests. Ball has a solid floor because of his ability to pile up peripheral stats and his upside is tangible in this rematch.

T.J. McConnell - (4,700 DK/5,400 FD)

Ben Simmons (elbow) could return tonight after a two-game absence and take away from T.J. McConnell’s upside, but the pass-first PG is still worth a look as a source of salary relief. Cleveland ranks dead last in defensive rating and gives up the third-most APG (25.4) in the NBA this season. The Cavs allow the seventh-most FPPG (48.64) and second-most APG (10.32) to opposing PGs this season, while McConnell is coming off a career-high 13-assist game against Orlando. He’s averaging 26.4 DK PPG while shooting 53 percent from the floor over eight home games this year and should see plenty of run even if Simmons returns as a way to match up with the small-ball Cavs.

Potential Value

De’Aaron Fox - (4,600 DK/4,800 FD)

A high-risk value at the Warriors, but Fox has been known to step up his game against the toughest competition.


Chris Paul - (7,900 DK/9,100 FD)

Paul should eat young Spencer Dinwiddie for breakfast and pile up dimes in a fast-paced meeting with Brooklyn.

Shooting Guards

Klay Thompson - (7,000 DK/7,000 FD)

With Steph Curry (hand), Kevin Durant (ankle) and Draymond Green (foot) all listed as questionable tonight, it’s quite possible that one or two of them sit in a very winnable home game against the lowly Kings. Thompson sees a 3.3 percent rise in usage rate when either Durant or Curry is off the floor and a 5.4 percent rise when both are off the floor. He’s 13-for-26 from deep over his last four appearances and faces a Kings team that ranks 29th in opponents 3PT shooting (.392%) this year, while Sacramento happened to be the victim of Klay’s record-breaking 37-point quarter two seasons ago.

Lance Stephenson - (4,100 DK/4,600 FD)

If Victor Oladipo (knee) returns after missing Saturday’s tilt against the Celtics, Stephenson will likely come off the bench, but he was productive with a combined 21 points, 17 rebounds and 6 assists over two appearances a reserve before burning the Celtics elite defense for 16 points on 5-of-9 FG shooting. Orlando’s giving up the third-most PPG (110.5) and a whopping 117 PPG during a current 8-game losing streak, so you’re going to want to grab a piece of the Pacers offense whether it’s with a value in Stephenson or a stud Oladipo if active.

Potential Value

Austin Rivers - (4,900 DK/5,500 FD)

Rivers is playing big minutes for his father and coach and that often translates into a solid floor, especially against an inexperienced Lakers team.


Dwyane Wade - (5,400 DK/5,400 FD)

Wade has been up and down over the past couple of weeks, but could flash his surprising upside in a high-scoring bout at the Sixers tonight.

Small Forwards

LeBron James – (11,400 DK/12,000 FD)

LeBron definitely pays attention to what’s happening around the league and often comes up with his biggest efforts against up-and-coming teams such as the Sixers. He’ll look to take Ben Simmons (if active) to school tonight and follow up his monstrous triple double against the Hornets with a big line against a Philadelphia team that gives up an above average 41.38 FPPG to opposing SFs this season. LBJ is rocking a career-high 42.6 percent assist rate and true shooting percentage (.661%) to carry Cleveland through some early-season struggles.

Wes Johnson – (4,400 DK/5,200 FD)

Pair LeBron with a cheap forward in Johnson, who should be continue to see heavy minutes with Beverley done for the year and Danilo Gallinari (hip) still out. Johnson produced disappointing numbers in his last outing but it’s encouraging to see him play 40 minutes in a close game against the young Kings. He’ll be needed to matchup with an athletic young Lakers squad tonight that plays at the third-fastest pace in the NBA and gives up plenty of production as a result of that style.

Potential Value

Harrison Barnes – (5,500 DK/6,600 FD)

Barnes has been extremely consistent as the primary scorer and rebounder for Dallas and he draws a good matchup against the Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs.


Trevor Ariza – (5,200 DK/5,400 FD)

Ariza is a key cog in the Rockets three-point shooting machine of an offense and faces a weak defensive team in the Nets tonight.

Power Forwards

Kristaps Porzingis – (8,300 DK/9,300 FD)

Porzingis missed Saturday’s game at Houston to rest an ailing back in what might’ve simply been a maintenance day with the Knicks checking in as heavy underdogs against a high-powered Rockets team. If he returns tonight against the Blazers, he’ll serve as a relative value with much more upside at home, where he’s averaging 29 PPG on 49.4 percent FG shooting with a 35.8 percent usage rate this season. Portland is a very good defensive team, but is more vulnerable down low and actually gives up the most BPG (6.1) in the NBA this season with guards that love to attack the basket.

Kyle O’Quinn – (4,000 DK/5,200 FD)

If Porzingis can’t go tonight and/or Enes Kanter (back) remains sidelined, O’Quinn will emerge as an intriguing value play for any format. The bruising center tallied a season-high 20 points with 15 rebounds with both The Zinger and Kanter out on Saturday and that came in a tough matchup against the fast-paced Rockets. He only needed 26 minutes of run to provided 10x value on his salary, as he’s averaging 13.3 points, 13.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per 36 minutes this year, so keep him in mind in case either Knicks big man is ruled out again.

Potential Value

Trevor Booker – (4,600 DK/4,800 FD)

Booker is a boom-bust value option to consider depending on how the Nets decide to use him against the three-happy Rockets.


LaMarcus Aldridge – (7,700 DK/8,300 FD)

Aldridge represents a brutal matchup for the Mavericks and he could torch them while leading the Spurs to a home win tonight.


Joel Embiid – (10,400 DK/9,700 FD)

Embiid rocks a 38.8 percent usage rate and is averaging an impressive 1.62 FPs per minute with Ben Simmons off the floor this year, but still averages 1.49 FPs per minute with a 35.2 percent usage rate with Simmons on the floor. The point is, Embiid will remain a premier center play on this slate against a Cleveland team that gives up the ninth-most PPG (22.5) to the position and fourth-most PPG (110.1) overall this season, regardless of whether Simmons is able to return for the Sixers.

Clint Capela – (7,000 DK/7,300 FD)

There’s certainly some risk here with using Rockets starters since Houston (-16) is a heavy favorite at home tonight, but the Nets have surprisingly remained competitive with D’Angelo Russell (knee) on the shelf, as their last loss of over 10 points came back on November 3. Without a true center playing meaningful minutes, Brooklyn’s allowing the most PPG (28.79) and FPPG (63.17) to the position while playing at the fastest pace in the NBA and coughing up the sixth-most defensive rebounds (38.1) per game. Capela’s defensive rebounding rate has skyrocketed to 35.3 percent this year and he’s feasting on lobs with James Harden and Chris Paul feeding him.

Potential Value

Pau Gasol – (6,000 DK/6,000 FD)

A versatile big man thriving in the Spurs positionless offense, Gasol could have another solid game against Dallas tonight.


Jusuf Nurkic – (6,800 DK/7,400 FD)

You could roll with Nurkic in any format if the Knicks are shorthanded down low tonight, as he’s been red hot over the past week.

Plays of the Day

Value: Kyle O’Quinn could serve as a great value if Kristaps Porzingis (back) and/or Enes Kanter (back) remains sidelined for the Knicks tonigh.. The bruising center tallied a season-high 20 points with 15 rebounds with both The Zinger and Kanter out on Saturday and needed just 26 minutes of run to provided 10x value on his salary.

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