It is once again Friday. Let us all rejoice — and give a half-assed effort at work — as Saturday draws ever closer. Let’s also remember that awaiting us at the end of the day to get the weekend started is a 10-game NBA slate.
Allow me to point out a few of my favorite values on said slate.
PF/C Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors at Philadelphia 76ers, $4,900
Things are not exactly peachy in Golden State at the moment. Andrew Wiggins (groin) is in the midst of a two-week absence, Draymond Green ($6,000; quad) is questionable to play on Friday evening and, most concerning of all, Steph Curry (shoulder) is set to miss multiple weeks after suffering an injury on Wednesday. Though Jordan Poole ($8,200) and Donte DiVincenzo ($5,700) will be the main beneficiaries of Curry’s prolonged spell on the sideline, let’s not discount Kuminga. The sophomore forward is already seeing extended minutes with Wiggins unavailable, and a 21.7% career usage rate illustrates just how willing Kuminga is to expand his role. Heck, Kuminga led the Warriors’ reserves in minutes against the Pacers (24.3), all while sporting a healthy 27.3% usage rate. If Green is eventually ruled out and Kuminga starts? Fire him up without a second thought.
PG/SG Jaylen Nowell, Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder, $4,600
We’re at the point where it almost doesn’t matter who is missing for the Timberwolves; but as long as someone is out, it’s going to mean more shots for Nowell. The man just does not have a conscious. For the season as a whole, the guard is averaging an eye-popping 25.9 field goal attempts per 100 possessions. That’s tied with Paul George. It’s a slightly higher rate that Kevin Durant. We saw this phenomenon on display once again on Wednesday, as Nowell posted a 36.6% usage rate in his 25.2 minutes versus the Clippers. That was with Minnesota down Karl-Anthony Towns (calf) and D’Angelo Russell ($7,600; knee), who is questionable for Friday’s festivities. If Russell is out for a second straight contest, Nowell is viable, as he’s scored 1.17 DKFP per minute with his two teammates off the floor in 2022-23. Also keep tabs on Rudy Gobert ($7,600; ankle). If the big man sits, Naz Reid ($4,000) will have to be considered.
C Onyeka Okongwu, Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets, $4,700
With the news that Clint Capela (calf) will be sidelined for a couple of weeks breaking on Thursday afternoon, Okongwu is going to be a popular option on Friday’s slate. Still, I’m here to say I’ll eat the chalk. Okongwu hasn’t been amazing when given the opportunity to start in 2022-23 — he’s averaging just 23.1 DKFP in his three chances — but the former lottery pick is also registering a perfectly reasonable 0.94 DKFP per minute overall. He’s been fine. This price is fine. The differentiating factor is the matchup. Charlotte has been killed by virtually every opponent this season, yet it’s centers who have done the most damage. In fact, the Hornets are allowing the most DKFP per game to the position. In December, Charlotte just happens to own the league’s worst defensive rating (121.3) while simultaneously surrendering the most opponent rebounds per 100 possessions (46.7). It’s a big man’s dream scenario.
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