The Spurs need to start winning games. Like, immediately. It’s been almost a month since San Antonio dropped out of a playoff seed in the Western Conference and, since that point, the squad has been falling like a stone. The Spurs are a putrid 3-8 since Jan. 23, leaving the team eight games under .500 and 4.5 games back of the surprising Memphis Grizzlies. If they’re going to turn things around they have to do it quickly. Unfortunately, the level of competition isn’t getting easier.
San Antonio will square-off with Utah this evening, the current inhabiters of the West’s fourth-seed. Can the Spurs rebound after taking a week’s rest at the All-Star Break? Let’s break it all down from a Showdown perspective.
Who should you play in the Captain’s slot?
Donovan Mitchell ($15,600 CP)
Let’s be honest, there isn’t exactly one single player that clearly stands out above the rest in this matchup. Still, Mitchell might possess the highest ceiling of anyone and he’s not the most expensive player on the slate. That’s always a tantalizing combination of factors. The All-Star owns a team-high 29.9% usage rate going back to the beginning of January and his assist rate has consistently been higher with Mike Conley (rest) off the court in 2019-20. Plus, if someone is dropping 35 points on either one of these rosters, it’s Mitchell.
Who should I stack with Mitchell?
Jordan Clarkson ($7,600)
No Conley means a lot of extra run for Clarkson, which easily converts into more shot volume. The veteran has never been shy about his quick trigger approach and Clarkson’s 24.5 field goal attempts per 100 possessions rank him second on the Jazz behind only the aforementioned Mitchell (27.8). It’s also not as if we haven’t seen this exact script work out many times before. To wit, in the last three contests Conley’s missed, Clarkson’s averaged a whopping 42.1 DKFP on the strength of 27.7 points. Ignore him at your own risk.
Where can I find value in the contest?
Jakob Poeltl ($1,600)
There are actually two different bargain-basement value options suiting up for San Antonio this evening in the form of Poeltl and Rudy Gay ($1,400). It almost doesn’t make any sense. Both a guaranteed minutes and both are averaging exactly 0.95 DKFP per 60 seconds of action - a more than respectable ratio. However, Poeltl gets the slight nod due to matchup. The former lottery pick has been lauded for his interior defense this season and his 7.3% block rate would be good for fourth in the NBA had he the minutes to qualify. With the imposing frame of Rudy Gobert ($11,600) lurking, I could see Poeltl getting a few more possessions than usual.
Who should I fade?
LaMarcus Aldridge ($10,600)
Aldridge looked fantastic in the Spurs’ final two games prior to the All-Star Break, averaging 29.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 51.0 DKFP. One might anticipate the veteran being able to build on the success after a week of rest, yet I’d have my doubts with DeMar DeRozan ($10,000) returning to the fold. For the season, Aldridge goes from producing 1.28 DKFP per minute with DeRozan off the floor to just 0.98 DKFP when his teammate is out there with him. Being opposed by the Stifle Tower doesn’t help, either.
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