Golden State’s uber premium Stephen Curry is listed as questionable ahead of Friday’s slate of NBA games, which creates a list of trickle-on dilemmas for Draftstars players.
Curry and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic are the standout premium options for this slate, while Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Ja Morant lead the next echelon more than $4k cheaper than the big Serbian and around $2k less expensive than the Warriors in-form guard.
Structurally, that could be a major game-changer for Friday’s slate, which poses the possibility of a variety of approaches.
LAST GAME LEARNINGS
Jimmy Butler (SF $18,290) shook off any injury concerns after his ankle issue with a triple-double with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the Miami Heat’s win over the New Orleans Pelicans, equating to a season-high 62.5 DS points. He may have benefitted from the time out with a freshen up.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Paul George (SF $18,530) is uber consistent this season, with his 34 points in the win over the San Antonio Spurs leading to a DS score of 53.3, bumping up his season average of 50.1.
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (PG $17,840) isn’t far behind George, but his four-game run of DS scores in the 50s ended with 44 in the emphatic win over the Houston Rockets. Don’t be too worried as the Grizzlies’ rotation meant Morant’s minutes were well down on the norm.
Spurs guard Dejounte Murray (PG $17,730) has posted back-to-back premium DS scores of 60.5 and 60, while Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (SG(PG) $15,910) had a season-low DS score of 25.8 against the Philadelphia 76ers on reduced minutes with Bojan Bogdanovic (SF(PF) $9,860) picking up the slack with successive season-high DS scores of 39.5.
Stephen Curry (PG $21,000) is listed as questionable ahead of the Golden State Warriors’ meeting with the Cleveland Cavaliers due to a left hip contusion. He was benched late in Wednesday’s win over the Brooklyn Nets, but that was perceived as due to foul trouble.
Warriors’ teammate Andre Igoudala (SF $6,230) is out with a hip injury too. The Cavs have injury troubles with Evan Mobley (C(PF) $12,950) joining Collin Sexton (SG(PG) $11,480) on the sidelines with a sprained right elbow, opening up opportunities for some value options.
Kyle Lowry (PG $13,680) was rested from the Heat’s triumph over the Pelicans so should return, while Bam Adebayo (C $15,430) is listed as day-to-day with a left knee bruise.
The Clippers have listed Nicolas Batum (SF(PF) $8,850) as doubtful for Friday’s clash with the Grizzlies due to an Achilles injury which limited him to 14 minutes in the win over the Spurs on Wednesday. Terance Mann (SG(SF) $8,800) is questionable due to a left ankle sprain too.
The Denver Nuggets are set to be without Michael Porter (SF $12,440) with a back injury for the “foreseeable future” although Friday’s opponents Philadelphia have several issues, with Joel Embiid (C $17,490) and Matisse Thybulle (SF $7,410) still out with COVID-19 and Danny Green (SF $7,480) absent with a hamstring injury.
Heat center Adebayo (C $15,430) had been in good form prior to his knee issue, posting a season-high DS score of 58 last week, so monitor his status ahead of lockout as one of the cheaper premium options. If he doesn’t get up, Murray (PG $17,730) offers good value around the same price point in light of his past two games for the Spurs.
Raptors guard Gary Trent (SG(SF) $11,380) seems to have benefitted from the absence of Precious Achiuwa and Chris Boucher with a good run of form, averaging 35.6 DS points across the past three games.
We’re also liking Jazz forward Bogdanovic’s (SF(PF) $9,860) value in light of his recent run as mentioned above.
If Curry is ruled out, Draymond Green (PF(C) $11,910) looms as an option as it’s reasonable to expect his scoring opportunities to increase in the guard’s absence. Likewise guard Jordan Poole (SG(PG) $11,090), who would probably get more minutes in Curry’s absence, along with Gary Payton III (PG(SG) $6,660).
Down the basement, 2021 NBA Draft pick seven Jonathan Kuminga (PF $6,000) has been getting on-court time for Golden State lately, while Brandon Boston (SG $6,750) broke out for the Clippers against the Spurs earlier this week.
Nuggets center and reigning MVP Nikola Jokic (C $22,930) along with Curry (PG $21,000) are the two most expensive available players for this slate. The injury cloud over Curry is a major turn-off but a decision will need to be made if he’s declared fit.
Jokic has a higher DS season average and better recent form line but is almost $2k more expensive. But even if Curry plays, his minutes may be impacted as he manages his hip concern. The Cavs have been competitive against the top sides, so that may not be possible either. Tough call and it might be safer to opt for a combination of the cheaper and relatively reliable George (SF $18,530) and Butler (SF $18,290) instead.
George is more than $4k cheaper than Jokic and averaging approximately 8.0 DS points less per game. That points differential can be made up elsewhere with the $4k saving.
For the aforementioned reasons, chiefly due to his astronomical price, fading Jokic will open up numerous possibilities.
Karl-Anthony Towns’ (C $18,130) recent form has dipped with two sub-40 DS scores.