After numerous NBA teams kicked off their season yesterday, we have a mere four squads in action tonight. However, the stars are plentiful and two marquee matchups await us. Two perennial MVP candidates face off in a battle of two Eastern Conference powerhouses, while the battle of LA closes out the slate. It’s a Thirsty Thursday edition of the Gems – let’s ride.
As previously mentioned in articles and in Discord, the rate at which news breaks in the NBA is unlike any other sport. This not only makes every slate different, but it emphasizes how crucial it is to use our proprietary NBA projections and cheat sheet to build your lineups. Be sure to join the Win Daily Discord to get the insight you need to win NBA DFS tournaments.
With Khris Middleton (wrist) ruled out for the first few weeks of the NBA season, Giannis Antetokounmpo will have to carry this Bucks offense. In addition, not only is Donte DiVincenzo now in Golden State, but Pat Connaughton (calf) is also missing for the opening month of action. The Bucks are suddenly thin on offense, and it will be up to Giannis and Jrue Holiday to carry the load. The former ended last season with a 29.9/11.6/5.8 scoring line on 55.3% shooting while leading his team with a 34.6% usage rate. Tonight, at the top of the pricing grid, he is far and away the premier option.
Despite James Harden stealing the show in a season opening loss for the 76ers, it was Joel Embiid who saw the most action on offense, as he did for the majority of last year’s NBA season. Pacing his squad with a 33% usage rate, Embiid failed to take advantage of early foul trouble for Al Horford and Noah Vonleh, but still led the team in field goal attempts and rebounds, while also getting to the charity stripe nine times.
Debating between the two Philadelphia stars tonight is an issue given their individual matchups. Embiid has to deal with Giannis and Lopez in the paint, while Harden sees a far more elite defender in Holiday than he did on opening night in Marcus Smart. Thus, I’ll be going back to the well with Tyrese Maxey. Despite a slow start, Maxey scored 21 points on 50% shooting, where 15 of his 21 points came in the second and fourth quarters. Not only did he play every second of those frames, but he was the go-to option on offense. Lining up against the likes of Wes Matthews and Grayson Allen, Maxey is one of the best Point/$ options on tonight’s NBA slate, let alone this Philadelphia offense.
The return of Kawhi Leonard is one of the best storylines this NBA season has to offer. After missing all of last year, Leonard looks to form a formidable duo with Paul George in the quest for a championship. Despite 2016-2017 being the last time he played over 70 games, Kawhi remains a top 10 talent in this league. In over 100 games played, Leonard sports a 30.8% usage rate during his Clippers tenure, averaging a 26/6/5.8 scoring line. Unless he is on a hard minutes limit, both he and George make for excellent tournament plays.
We can talk about Russell Westbrook and the Lakers’ shooting woes all we want, but truthfully, that isn’t where the issue lies. Yes, the Lakers shot an abysmal 10-for-40 from behind the arc on opening night, but it was Anthony Davis’ lack of aggressiveness in the paint the caught my eye. Despite playing against much weaker and smaller big men in the paint, Davis grabbed a mere six rebounds, while LeBron took down fifteen. Finishing second on the Lakers with 22 field goal attempts, in addition to nine free throws, Davis has the ceiling to be an elite target on any NBA slate, but remains to regain true form.
Firstly, the trio of Laker guards is a question mark tonight, as is what to do with LeBron James. You simply cannot fit James while playing one of George or Leonard alongside Giannis, so a decision has to be made. The public can say what they want about Westbrook, but he was efficient on opening night, dropping 19/11/3 on only twelve shots. He was pushing the pace and attacking the glass for rebounds. Kendrick Nunn remains an x-factor on offense in a supporting role off the bench, but his shot needs to drop for him to produce in NBA DFS. Lastly, Patrick Beverley will always be a wild card given his tenacity, but a game environment like this screams decent production. The usage will be modest throughout the season, but if he can stay out of foul trouble, the assists and rebounds will be there.
You can find me on Twitter @BetsByGhost and in the Win Daily Discord
Ghost has been playing daily fantasy sports everyday for the past five years, in addition to his season-long expertise across various sports. He has since set out to combine his passions of finance and sports to successfully become a professional DFS player. Having multiple GPP wins over the course of the last year (2019), the Canadian known as “Ghost” is seeking bigger and better things in the future. Ghost loves a healthy balance of both cash games and tournament play, but prefers the latter, especially in NFL and NBA, where he mostly plays single entry GPPs and 3-max tournaments. The Montreal, Canada native is looking to put Win Daily Sports on the map by representing the North of the border in all fields, specifically NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB, and eSports.
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