After a small slate yesterday, the NBA returns tonight with an eight-game slate that has a handful of notable storylines. One of them being the injuries we have to the top tier guards. Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and Kemba Walker are all expected to be out tonight making our top tier of guards very thin. Meanwhile, we are loaded tonight at the center position with Nikola Jokic, Karl Anthony Towns, Rudy Gobert, Kristaps Porzingus and Nikola Vucevic all in action tonight. Before we discuss which center you should play, let’s get to my picks for the guard position!
D’Angelo Russell (1.3X) Atlanta at Minnesota
Due to the injuries of the three aforementioned guards, the only guards in the top tier tonight are Trae Young and D’Angelo Russell. Young is the safer pick here as he is averaging 49.6 FPPG to Russell’s 40.2. However, circumstances point towards Russell having one of the explosive games he is known to have. Russell had a breakout season for the Nets last year which is a big reason why they made the playoffs for the first time in six years. The Nets were one of the feel-good stories of 2018-19, Russell in particular. However, he was cast aside when the Nets had the chance to sign Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
After how all of that went down in the off-season, you know that Russell had this game marked on his calendar. You can expect him to come out and be extremely aggressive and to show the Nets what they gave up on. Russell has proven he can have big fantasy nights as he has scored 50 or more fantasy points seven times. The Nets are ranked 24th in fantasy points allowed to opposing points guards. Given this and the motivation he has, Russell feels like a great bet to score at least 60 fantasy points with his 1.3X multiplier.
Spencer Dinwiddie (1.45X) Brooklyn vs Golden State
With Russell not known for his defense, his counterpart Spencer Dinwiddie is in a position to have a big night as well. In the 34 games Dinwiddie has started this season, he averaged 22.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. He is the focal point of the Nets offense when he starts as his usage rate is 31.6% as opposed to 28% when he comes off the bench. In 14 of those games, Dinwiddie scored 40 fantasy points or more.
With this match-up against the Warriors, he is poised to score at least 40 fantasy points. The Warriors are ranked 24th in the NBA in defensive efficiency and they are ranked 28th in fantasy points allowed to opposing point guards. Dinwiddie should provide excellent value at 1.45X in this duel with his former teammate.
Jalen Brunson (1.95X) Dallas vs Memphis
In the first game after Luka Doncic was sidelined with an injury, I selected Brunson as my 3rd tier guard pick for Saturday night’s games. That could not have worked out any better as Brunson put up 27 points, 8 assists, 4 rebounds, and 44 fantasy points against the Hawks. Factor in his multiplier, and that gives him 85.8 fantasy points. This is as good of a pick you are going to get in this multiplier tier. He was underwhelming in the next game only putting up 9 points, 3 assists, 4 rebounds, and 14.5 fantasy points in 30 minutes.
What makes him appealing again today is the potential he showed off on Saturday. There is nobody in this tier that has the potential that Brunson does; Not even his own teammates Seth Curry and Delon Wright. In the 8 games Doncic has missed, Brunson averaged 16.4 points, 7.6 assists, 4.8 rebounds and 31.9 fantasy points per game. When you factor in his multiplier, his average is 62.5 fantasy points per game. With showing the ability to go beyond that number, he is no doubt the guy you should pick if you are looking for a high multiplier guard.
Kawhi Leonard (1.15X) LA Clippers vs Miami
In the last 10 games, Kawhi Leonard has played at a ridiculously high level. He averaged 33.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, 2.1 steals, 1 block and 59.4 fantasy points per game. With no Lebron James, Anthony Davis or Giannis Antetokounmpo in this slate, Leonard is an easy pick. Even if Leonard was playing at a normal level, he is a much more consistent player than any of the other choices in this tier. Nevermind the fact that he is playing some of the best basketball in his career.
This stretch of games included a match-up with the Miami Heat. In that game, Leonard put up 33 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, and 72.5 fantasy points. With the way he is going right now, you are extremely lucky to get him at a multiplier of 1.15X. Kawhi should be a lock-in everyone’s lineup.
Pascal Siakam (1.4X) Toronto vs Indiana
Siakam has been one of the best stories of the season this year as he has taken a massive leap. In the first 27 games of the season, Siakam averaged 25.1 points, 8 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1 steal and 1 block per game. He vaulted himself into being one of the best fantasy options at forward. However, his stock has dropped a bit after getting hurt and missing 11 games. He got off to a very slow start when he came back. In his first five games, he averaged 16 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 1.2 blocks and 30.8 fantasy points per game. This is why the multiplier is at 1.4X.
However, Siakam has regained his early-season form in the last seven games. In this stretch, he averaged 23.7 points, 8.6 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1 steal and 42.9 fantasy points per game. If you factor in his multiplier, he is averaging 60 fantasy points per game. With Siakam expected to get closer to his early-season form, it would not be shocking at all if he gets into the 50s. With him at a 1.4X multiplier, Siakam is a very safe pick to make while also having high potential.
Jerami Grant (1.7X) Denver at Utah
I have been giving this spot to the other Denver forward Michael Porter Jr. recently but you can’t ignore what Jerami Grant has been doing recently. Like Porter, Grant has benefited greatly fantasy-wise due to the knee injury of Paul Millsap. In his last 9 games, Grant has played 35 minutes per game and has averaged 16.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1.8 blocks, and 35.9 fantasy points per game. When you factor in his multiplier, he averaged 61 fantasy points per game in that stretch.
Grant is facing a tough match-up in the Utah Jazz but with how good he has been recently, he is still a great option if you want to take a risk at forward.
Kristaps Porzingis (1.3X) Dallas vs Memphis
It is rare on a night where you have a choice of the usual suspects in this center tier of Towns, Jokic, and Gobert that I will be going with a guy who has a multiplier of 1.3X. Kristaps Porzingis is 100% the guy you have to go with here. Porzingis turns into a different player when Doncic is not in the lineup. In the eight games Luka has missed, Porzingis averaged 26.4 points, 13.3 rebounds, 1 steal, 2 blocks and 54.9 fantasy points per game. This is an insane increase of 16.6 fantasy points from his season average of 38.3.
It doesn’t even matter who the opponent is because he has been remarkably consistent in all seven of the games. He scored in the 50s in 6 of the 7 games and in the only game he didn’t he scored 48. When you factor in his multiplier of 1.3X Porzingis is a lock to get at the very least 60 fantasy points. It is more likely he scores in the 70s.
Jonas Valanciunas (1.45X) Memphis at Dallas
While rookie sensation JA Morant has gotten all of the love for this surprisingly good Grizzlies team, Valanciunas has quietly had a terrific season and has played a big role for Memphis. He is averaging 15.2 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.1 blocks and 34.3 fantasy points per game. In his last four games, he has been a force. In that span, he averaged 19.8 points, 12.5 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 48.5 fantasy points per game. When you factor in his 1.45X multiplier, he averaged 70.3 fantasy points per game in that time period.
Tonight he faces off against a Mavs team that is ranked 19th in defensive efficiency and Porzingis will be the main defender on Valanciunas. With the way JV is going right now, I think this is a solid match-up for him.
Kelly Olynyk (1.95X) Miami at LA Clippers
While Olynyk has been part of an excellent Miami team, he is having probably the worst season of his career. He has not started once and he is averaging a career-low in minutes (19.7) and points per game (7.8). Part of the reason for that is the depth Miami has at the center/forward spot. Tonight is a rare opportunity where Olynyk will get a chance to play extended minutes. He has only played in three games this season in which he has played over 30 minutes. In those three games, he averaged 12 points, 9.7 rebounds, and 30.9 fantasy points per game.
This is the first game all season Meyers Leonard is going to be out. With that being the case, I would fully expect Olynyk to get over 30 minutes tonight. If you factor in his 1.95X multiplier to his average in those three games, he is scoring 60.3 fantasy points per game. While I would strongly recommend going with one of the more reliable guys at center tonight, Olynyk is your guy if you are looking for a high multiplier player here.
This article expresses the personal views of the writer and does not reflect the view(s) of SuperDraft in any way.
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