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NBA Eastern Conference Bubble Notes: Roster Information and Analysis

Julian Edlow breaks down NBA roster information that has changed since the March shutdown and analyzes the impact it could have when bubble play begins.

Brooklyn Nets v San Antonio Spurs Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA returns on Thursday, but there are still plenty of moving pieces to be aware of before building your DraftKings lineups or locking in your bets at DraftKings Sportsbook.

Here’s a look at the Eastern Conference in terms of which teams will be missing players that were healthy prior to the shutdown, gaining a player since the shutdown, or just some notes on a player’s potential availability.

Keep in mind, these cases can change daily with players getting sent to quarantine or leaving the bubble (excused or unexcused).

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Boston Celtics

NOTES

Kemba Walker will begin play on a 18-20 minute restriction.

ANALYSIS

The Celtics are essentially at full strength in Orlando, with the only cause for concern being Walker’s knee. Kemba was dealing with knee issues since the All-Star game, but it is worrisome that it’s still an issue after four months off. Brad Stevens did say he’d play Kemba his normal rotation minutes until he ran out of minutes, and that it’s possible he could play them all in the first half. So Walker will not be on the floor in crunch time for now.

The break did give Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward a chance to recover from nagging injuries, though. Boston could also rely a bit more on Robert Williams off the bench. Wiiliams missed a lot of time this season with a hip injury, and his combination of size and athleticism is something the roster lacks.


Brooklyn Nets

IN

Jamal Crawford (replacement player)

Justin Anderson (replacement player)

Lance Thomas (replacement player)

Donta Hall (replacement player)

OUT

Kevin Durant (Achilles)

Kyrie Irving (Shoulder)

Spencer Dinwiddie (Opt-out)

DeAndre Jordan (Opt-out)

Taurean Prince (Opt-out)

Wilson Chandler (Opt-out)

Nicolas Claxton (shoulder)

ANALYSIS

The Nets are probably the most notable roster to focus on from a fantasy/player prop perspective. When word of the league resuming surfaced, there were rumors about Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving playing, making the Nets immediate contenders. Welp, not only will they remain sidelined, but four crucial rotation players have opted-out. The fantasy fallout is likely a boost to the better players Brooklyn will feature — Caris LeVert, Garrett Temple, Jarrett Allen, and even Crawford, who scored 51 points as a member of the Suns in his last NBA game.


Indiana Pacers

OUT

Domantas Sabonis (foot)

Jeremy Lamb (knee)

NOTES

Victor Oladipo had been playing prior to the shutdown. He opted-out of the remainder of the season, but reports now indicate he could play when the league resumes.

Malcolm Brogdon will resume play on a minutes restriction.

ANALYSIS

The Pacers became an intriguing team when reports surfaced that Oladipo could wind up playing the rest of the season. However, much of that intrigue disappeared as soon as news of Sabonis’ foot injury surfaced. Sabonis has departed the bubble, and it would be surprising to see him suit up again this season. It leaves the Pacers pretty thin up front, but presents a nice opportunity for a scorer like T.J. Warren to have some strong games.


Miami Heat

ANALYSIS

Miami was without Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn for a while, but they’ve joined the team and are now at full force. The Heat made a lot of moves at the deadline to add pieces to make a run in the east. They’re a team to keep an eye on, but it terms of fantasy value, the crowded lineup doesn’t leave us much to go on.


Milwaukee Bucks

ANALYSIS

Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton both tested positive for COVID-19 and were delayed getting to the bubble. Both will be out against Boston on Friday, so pay attention to their status’ moving forward.


Orlando Magic

IN

Jonathan Isaac (knee)

OUT

Al-Farouq Aminu (knee)

ANALYSIS

Getting Isaac back in the rotation is huge for Orlando. He looked tremendous in limited minutes off the bench in scrimmages and should be good to go when the Magic play their first official game. Isaac hasn’t played since New Year’s Day, but was on fire before suffering a knee injury — scoring over 37 DKFP in three of his last four games prior to going down. His return could mean a little less production from the likes of Aaron Gordon and Terrence Ross.


Philadelphia 76ers

IN

Ben Simmons (back)

Ryan Broekhoff (replacement player) — not yet in Orlando

OUT

Zhaire Smith (knee)

ANALYSIS

The new format in Orlando gives the 76ers some hope. As things stood in March, it was looking like Philly would be playing a first-round series on the road, and Simmons’ health was in question. The time off not only gave Simmons the time to recover, but now road games are no longer a concern when the postseason arrives. The 76ers will also be rolling out a new lineup in Orlando — Simmons will shift to PF with Shake Milton starting at PG. Al Horford will come off the bench.


Toronto Raptors

IN

Fred VanVleet (shoulder)

Marc Gasol (hamstring)

ANALYSIS

FVV and Gasol weren’t going to be out for the season anyway, but the time off only gave them time to recover. Not much to report on Toronto, other than these two pieces of the usual rotation returning to the floor. The Raptors hold a 3.5-game lead over the Celtics for the No. 2 seed in the east, but do play one of the most difficult schedules of any team in the bubble.


Washington Wizards

IN

Jerian Grant (replacement player)

Jarrod Uthoff (replacement player)

OUT

Bradley Beal (shoulder)

Davis Bertains (Opt-out)

John Wall (Achilles)

ANALYSIS

The Wizards didn’t even really need the bubble invite, essentially with no chance of making the postseason. They have the lowest win total on DKSB set at 1.5, with heavy juice on the under. Bertans elected to opt-out and protect himself as an upcoming free agent, while Beal didn’t think it was worth further injuring his shoulder playing in eight meaningless games. The Wizards will call upon others to step up in these seeding games, but salaries have been somewhat adjusted. Rui Hachimura begins bubble play at $7,400 and was $4,900 in his last game. Shabazz Napier is a bit expensive at $5,700, but was averaging 45 DKFP in his last two games before the shutdown.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is jedlow) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.