Another week, another big NBA slate! 12 teams are in action for tonight’s contests on Super Draft, with $7,000 in cash going to the winner of tonight’s NBA Jump Shot. Last week, we looked at the top intriguing players by position so let’s shake it up a bit and preview each game and highlight not only the players you want in your lineup, but also a few ones to avoid.
Celtics @ Cavs
First up we have the 20-19 Celtics taking on the 14-25 Cavs. Last week, I said Jayson Tatum didn’t look quite like himself post COVID, and he’s done nothing but prove me wrong since. Over his last four games he’s scored at least 23 points on 50% shooting and 42% from three. Aside from scoring, he’s contributing on the boards and dished out at least three assists in that span. Look for him to continue his stellar play tonight against the Cavs with a multiplier of 1.2X.
The Celtics lost Tristan Thompson to the league’s health and safety protocols last night, which has opened up a bigger role for the Time Lord himself, Robert Williams III. If we based multipliers on nicknames, Time Lord would definitely be a 1X multiplier. Williams has been almost splitting minutes at center with Theis, and while he doesn’t have the shooting range of Theis, he’s a bouncy, athletic big, and with a good multiplier of 1.75X. He has great breakout potential while Thompson is out. Theis is also an interesting play with a multiplier of 1.65X, but his minutes haven’t been consistent. Over his last four games he’s went from playing 26-28 minutes in two and 6-7 minutes in the other two. Don’t risk it quite yet and keep Theis out of your lineup.
After a great start to the year, the Cav’s momentum has slowed down and they have lost four in a row. It’s common for a lot of young players to hit a wall at this point in the season and well, the Cavs have a ton of young players. Kevin Love is back in the lineup, but don’t fool yourself into thinking he’s Kevin Love from the 2016 title team. There has been a rift between Love and Colin Sexton going back to last season, so Love probably isn’t a great pick for your lineup when the person who is supposed to give him the ball to score doesn’t like him.
Sexton has been having a great season so far averaging 24.1 points, 4.5 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals. He’s been the driving force of the Cavs offense, and with Jarrett Allen playing mediocre the last couple of games, the Cavs need Sexton to step up. The Celtics have a lot of great options to throw at Sexton defensively, but that doesn’t matter to me. He gets buckets. If you doubt me just go watch the game he played in college against Minnesota, when he nearly won with his team finishing the game playing three against five.
Best picks: Jayson Tatum (1.2x), Robert “Time Lord” Williams (1.75x), Colin Sexton (1.55x)
Spurs @ Bulls
Next game we have the 20-16 Spurs facing off against the 18-20 Bulls. Good news for Bulls fans, Lauri Markkanen has been very solid for them recently. Lauri has posted at least 20 points in three out of the last four games the Bulls have played. Combine that with his high multiplier of 1.65X and the lack of defense and size from the Spurs at the Power Forward spot, Lauri should easily be able to get his shot off over the top of smaller defenders. I like Lauri for this game, especially since Zach Lavine will still get most of the defensive focus.
Lavine has been so up and down, and with an average multiplier of 1.25X, he’s still a solid pick for your lineup, but I think there are better options for your lineup at guard or forward. Another player to avoid is Coby White, who has recently been moved to the bench by Billy Donovan. It seems like this is a play to make Coby “earn” his minutes, so stay away from him until he has a few good performances in a row.
Trending up for the Bulls however, is Thaddeus Young with a great multiplier of 1.55X. Young has started the last two games at center, and posted totals of 27 points, 16 rebounds, 13 assists and 2 steals in those games. I’d expect Donovan to keep using the same rotation, especially since Chicago has won both of those games, so Young is a good play tonight.
Looking at the Spurs it’s difficult to determine who exactly will be the best player for your lineup. With DeRozan out while mourning the loss of his dad, they are leaning on a balanced scoring attack and tough defense. If you want to take a member of the Spurs, look at Dejounte Murray (1.4X) or Jakob Poeltl (1.65X), but skip past the rest of the squad.
Best picks: Lauri Markkanen (1.65X), Thaddeus Young (1.55X)
Warriors @ Rockets
This matchup would be a lot more fun three seasons ago, as the 20-20 Warriors take on the free falling 11-27 Rockets. Good news for Rockets fans, as Christian Wood looks to return to the lineup after an ankle injury has kept him out of the last 17 games. In those games Wood has missed, the Rockets have went defeated, losing all 17. I’d keep Wood out of your lineup though, since Rocket’s coach Stephen Silas has already stated he’ll be on a minutes restriction. In his stead, take a look at Kevin Porter Jr (1.4X) or Ja’Sean Tate (1.7X) for your lineup.
Kevin Martin Jr has been good as well, but his minutes should be reduced with the return of Wood. Porter is a strictly a boom or bust player, but he’s been getting heavy minutes with Wall out, and I don’t expect that to change. Ja’Sean Tate has been trending up recently, and I really like his multiplier of 1.7X. Hopefully with Wood returning the defense will be more focused on Wood with Tate getting some easy looks. Oladipo is out for tonight’s game, so that will also improve Tate’s chances of having a big game.
Looking at the Warriors, it’s a pretty easy decision of who to pick. Stick with Stephen Curry (1.1X) or Draymond Green (1.4X). Curry is currently playing the second highest minute average for his career, and the two-time MVP is doing all he can to keep the Warriors in contention for the play-in tournament. He was visibly frustrated at his team during their loss to the defending champs, so expect him to step up his play to help motivate his team. Draymond at 1.4X is interesting because of how he fills up the stat sheet. He won’t lead the Warriors in points, but he’s had two triple doubles over his last five games. That impact adds up quickly. I’d look to avoid Oubre and Wiggins due to inconsistency, and keep Wiseman out of your lineup since he’s been in Kerr’s doghouse and I don’t know how long it will take him to dig himself out.
Best picks: Steph Curry (1.1X), Kevin Porter Jr (1.4X), Draymond Green (1.4X), Ja’Sean Tate (1.7X)
Heat @ Grizzlies
This is a game between two teams who have had disappointing starts to their seasons as the 22-18 Heat travel to Memphis and take on the 17-19 Grizzlies. Although their start was slow, the Heat have been on fire (another bad pun, I’m sorry) going 9-1 in their last 10 games. This coincides with Jimmy Butler’s return to form post COVID. He’s got a multiplier of 1.15X and while that’s not a super high multiplier, Jimmy has impacting the game across the entire stat sheet. Over his last five games, he’s been averaging 28.2 points, 6.6 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 3.4 steals. Avery Bradley continues to be out, so the Heat will supplement his minutes with a combo of Kendrick Nunn and Tyler Herro. Both have been a little down over their last stretch of games with Nunn in a shooting slump and Herro coming off an injury. Play it safe and keep those two out of your lineups for tonight, as neither are useful to your lineup if they aren’t scoring.
A surprising player for the Heat has been Kelly Olynyk with a 1.4X multiplier. His numbers and minutes continue to trend positively, even with Bam returning to the lineup. He’s a solid play thanks to his three-point shooting, touch around the rim and rebounding.
The former rookie of the year, Ja Morant, has been having a bit of a sophomore slump. He’ll always be a popular choice for your lineup with a good multiplier of 1.4X and all of the opportunities to put in a 40-point game, however, he’s just been too inconsistent. The Heat are one of the most prepared teams in the league, so know they’ll have a great game plan to use against him. I’d keep him off my lineup until he proves he can be a bit more consistent or unless he’s playing the Wolves.
A bright spot on the Griz however, has been Jonas Valanciunas. With a multiplier of 1.4X, Jonas has been abusing teams in the post as of late. He’ll have a tough matchup against Bam here, but Jonas has proven this season he’s a safe pick regardless of matchup. He finished his last game against the Suns with 24 points, 17 rebounds, and two steals. He’s been a double-double machine and the Grizzlies seem to have made it part of their offense to feed him with dump off passes on drives.
Best picks: Jimmy Butler (1.15X), Jonas Valanciunas (1.4X), Kelly Olynyk (1.4X)
Hornets @ Denver
The Hornets have become a league pass favorite of mine thanks to LaMelo Ball. He leads the 20-18 Hornets against the 23-16 Nuggets in what should be a fast paced, offensive only game. LaMelo is an interesting player here with a 1.35X multiplier. He’s been streaky when it comes to his own shot falling but is starting to become a nightly triple double threat due to his incredible passing and natural ability to rebound the ball. This is the type of back-and-forth game that he really excels in, so expect another good game from the potential Rookie of the Year.
While it might have been looked at as an overpay this offseason, Gordon Hayward has backed up his contract with his play this season and has a multiplier of 1.45X for tonight’s game. Same goes for Terry Rozier, who has the ability to put up a lot of points in a short amount of time and also has a multiplier of 1.45X. It’s a toss-up on who I would play between Hayward or Rozier, but Hayward will be matched up against Denver’s Michael Porter Jr, and let’s just say he’s still learning defense, so go with Hayward.
Speaking of Michael Porter Jr, I’d be careful with having him in my lineup. He’s been good as of late, scoring in double digits the past 12 games he’s played and has a multiplier of 1.45X. He brings almost no value to your lineup when it comes to assists or defensive stats such as blocks or steals and I think there are multiple other forwards who you can get the same points/rebounds from, with more assists on the same multiplier (like Gordon Hayward). Will Barton is another Denver player I like and has a great multiplier of 1.65X. He’s been trending up recently with three games of 20+ points in a row.
Let’s be real here, when it comes to Denver, they have the best fantasy player on their team in Nikola Jokic. He’s a constant triple-double threat averaging 28.1 points, 11 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.6 steals. The two-man game he has with Jamal Murray continues to be one of the NBA’s best, and I don’t see anyone on Charlotte stopping Jokic’s momentum as he continues his bid for this year’s MVP. Speaking of Murray, it looks as he is over his recent shooting slump but continues to be streaky. He’s always going to get buckets, but can he improve his assist numbers? He’s got a good multiplier of 1.4X and as mentioned, there will be a lot of offense in this game so he should be a safe pick, but probably not one that propels your lineup to the top.
Best picks: Nikola Jokic (1X), Barton (1.65X), Gordon Hayward (1.4X), LaMelo Ball (1.35X)
Clippers @ Mavs
Last but not least we have the 26-15 Clippers against the surging 20-18 Mavericks in a repeat of their game on Monday which the Clippers pulled out with the win. Going back to last season’s bubble playoffs, it seems like there is a bit of a rivalry growing here, so expect things to get chippy. Luka Doncic has been great recently, and his multiplier of 1X only proves it. He’s a solid pick any night, but he especially seems to take these Clipper games personally, so expect him to be aggressive early on. In the last game against the Clippers, Luka had a triple-double with 25 points, 16 assists, and 10 rebounds.
Looking at the rest of the Mavs the only other players I’d consider for my lineup are Tim Hardaway or Kristaps Porzingis. Hardaway’s been moved to the bench as of late and is really growing into his role as leader of the second unit. He’s got a great multiplier of 1.75X, and the Mavs will need him to produce if they want to win this game. He was awesome in the last game and was the leading scorer of the bench. Porzingis has been good as of late too, and with a multiplier of 1.35X and a constant threat from behind the arc. With Ibaka potentially missing tonight’s game, Porzingis should be able to pick and pop with Luka all game.
The Clippers have been in a bit of a slump themselves, only going 4-6 in their last ten games. Kawhi spoke out about the team’s lack of consistency so I expect Kawhi to really take the team on his shoulders for the stretch. It’s unusual for him to speak out like this, but even more unusual for him to play in a back-to-back which he did on Monday against the Mavs. He has a lower multiplier of 1.2X, but if he plays anything like he did in Monday’s matchup, he’s a great addition to your lineup.
I’d be weary of the rest of the Clippers roster though. Paul George has been underperforming as of late and tends to play his best basketball at the start of the season vs the final stretch. Pat Beverly will also miss tonight’s game with an injury so Lou Williams (1.65X), Reggie Jackson (1.8X), and Luke Kennard (1.95X) should continue to see increased minutes. While they all have great multipliers, I wouldn’t bet on any of them winning the contest for you. If you want to play another Clipper, give Ivica Zubac a look. He has the best multiplier of anyone I’ve mentioned (2X) and had a great game on Monday against Dallas with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Zubac is only a play if Ibaka is out, so if you want to roll with Zu, be careful, this is the last game of the night so if Ibaka plays, you don’t have a lot of options to switch out Zubac.
Best picks: Luka Doncic (1X), Kristaps Porzingis (1.35X), Tim Hardaway (1.75X), Kawhi Leonard (1.2X)
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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