clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

NBA Western 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.

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 Western 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).

Set your DraftKings Millionaire lineups for the six-game Friday slate here: NBA $3M Millionaire [$1M to 1st! + ToC Entry]


With the NBA returning on Thursday, DraftKings is hosting a Millionaire contest that pays out $3 million in total prizes, including $1 million to first place. Set your DraftKings Millionaire lineups here: NBA $3M Return Millionaire [$1M to 1st! + ToC Entry].


Dallas Mavericks

IN

Trey Burke (replacement player)

OUT

Dwight Powell (Achiles)

Jalen Brunson (Shoulder)

Courtney Lee (calf)

Willie Cauley-Stein (Opt-out)

ANALYSIS

The Mavericks are missing some helpful depth pieces heading into the restart. While I don’t expect it to make much of an impact on the team, it does open up some minutes. Seth Curry and Boban Marjanovic jump out as two role players that could see increased opportunities.


Denver Nuggets

IN

Bol Bol (injury management)

ANALYSIS

After stealing Bol in the second round of the draft, Denver was essentially going to stash him this season, aside from scattered minutes in the G-League. But the break gave the Nuggets a chance to work Bol’s unique talent into the rotation. Bol made headlines in his first scrimmage, dropping 16 points with 10 boards and six rejections. He should be a welcomed bench piece for Denver and potentially a DFS value in the early going.


Houston Rockets

IN

Luc Mbah a Moute (replacement player)

OUT

Eric Gordon (ankle) will miss 1-2 weeks

Thabo Sefolosha (Opt-out)

ANALYSIS

With Eric Gordon out, Danuel House will start for Houston. Austin Rivers and Ben McLemore could see some extra run.


Los Angeles Clippers

IN

Joakim Noah (signed)

NOTES

Montrezl Harrell left the bubble to tend to a family matter. His status is in question after missing the game versus the Lakers.

Lou Williams left the bubble on an excused absence, but broke protocol and is in a 10-day quarantine which will cause him to miss the Clippers’ first two games (vs. LAL and NO).

ANALYSIS

The Clippers have been making the most news when it comes to players departing the bubble or showing up late to the bubble. It looks like they could wind up without two of the top bench pieces in the league against the Lakers. What we do know is that Williams will miss two games, making Reggie Jackson and Patrick Beverley stronger plays in the early going. Noah could play a larger role than expected for as long as Harrell is out.


Los Angeles Lakers

IN

JR Smith (replacement player)

Dion Waiters (replacement player)

OUT

Rajon Rondo (thumb) — is expected to be out until September after suffering an injury in Orlando

Avery Bradley (Opt-out)

ANALYSIS

The rotation doesn’t change all that much with two guards in and two guards out, so no player really needs to step in and fill an open role. The Lakers are running away with the top seed in the west, so these eight games are more about incorporating the new guys. Smith and Waiters clearly come with reputations — shooters with low basketball IQ. LeBron needs some time to get them into shape for a championship run.


Memphis Grizzlies

IN

Jaren Jackson Jr. (knee)

Brandon Clarke (quad)

OUT

Justise Winslow (hip) — was going to make his Memphis debut before being injured in Orlando

ANALYSIS

Winslow was going to be a nice boost for Memphis, but getting JJJ and Clarke back in the frontcourt is good enough. The Grizzlies are favored to hang onto the No. 8 seed in the West and the team has a huge game to start the seeding games against Portland. All of the previous Memphis frontcourt value should now disappear. Jackson and Clarke are the plays to target.


New Orleans Pelicans

IN

Sindarius Thornwell (replacement player)

OUT

Darius Miller (Achilles)

NOTES

Zion Williamson did play in the Pelican’s first game on Thursday, but was limited to short bursts of minutes.

ANALYSIS

It looked for a moment like Zion might not be ready for the restart, but he’s back in the bubble and ready to go. Essentially no news on the Pelicans’ side of things. Expect to see a similar rotation as from before the shutdown, potentially with Zion’s minuted limited at times.


Oklahoma City Thunder

IN

Andre Roberson (knee)

ANALYSIS

Nothing to report on the OKC side, outside of Roberson. Roberson’s a nice story, seeing time on the floor in a scrimmage for his first NBA minutes since January 2018. But he shouldn’t have much of a role in meaningful games. The Thunder have been one of the best road teams in the NBA this season and looked great in scrimmages against top-level competition. Expect them to play very well in Orlando.


Phoenix Suns

IN

Deandre Ayton (ankle)

OUT

Kelly Oubre Jr (knee)

NOTES

Aron Baynes tested positive for COVID-19 and is questionable for Phoenix’s first game. Dario Saric is also questionable for the restart.

ANALYSIS

Oubre was already going to be out long-term for the Suns, which in the early going meant even more Devin Booker, and a larger role for Mikal Bridges. The big news here is the return of Ayton, which downgrades all the value we’d been able to use in the Suns’ frontcourt. Ayton is $7,900 on his first slate against the helpless Wizards, and could burst back onto the scene with a huge game.


Portland Trail Blazers

IN

Jusuf Nurkic (leg)

Zach Collins (shoulder)

Jaylen Adams (replacement player)

OUT

Trevor Ariza (Opt-out)

Caleb Swanigan (Opt-out)

Rodney Hood (Achilles)

ANALYSIS

Ariza was playing about 35 minutes per game when the league shut down and was one of the anchors defensively for Portland. I expect his absence to be felt. At the same time, the Blazers get a huge boost in the frontcourt with the returns of Nurk and Collins. It’s an awkward fit with Hassan Whiteside, but Portland now has a ton of depth when it comes to bigs. Unfortunately, it takes away from being able to identify a strong fantasy play of the bunch.


Sacramento Kings

OUT

Marvin Bagley (foot)

NOTES

The Kings have required the most effort to track due to so many positive COVID-19 tests.

De’Aaron Fox suffered an ankle injury and is expected to play versus the Spurs, but we’ll get an update on his status before play resumes.

ANALYSIS

It’s been a rollercoaster ride following the Kings’ news, but it looks like we’ve finally got some clarity. All the positive tests have quarantined and returned to the floor, and it appears Fox is on track to play on Friday. Bagley’s return was going to be a welcomed boost, but now, after all these moving parts, Sacramento’s rotation should look very similar to when we last saw it.


San Antonio Spurs

IN

Jakob Poeltl (knee)

Tyler Zeller (signed)

OUT

LaMarcus Aldridge (shoulder)

Trey Lyles (appendectomy)

ANALYSIS

The Spurs are trading their two starting bigs for a couple of backups, including Zeller, who wasn’t even on a team. Poeltl and Zeller could have value at times, along with Devin Eubanks, simply due to the lack of bodies. LMA and Lyles were averaging a combined 53 minutes per game this season. Rudy Gay could step in at PF and step up as a scorer. He’s worth keeping an eye on in DFS and player props. Bryn Forbes (groin) will not be ready when the Spurs face the Kings on Friday, but could return soon.


Utah Jazz

OUT

Bogdan Bogdanovic (wrist)

ANALYSIS

Bogdanovic was perhaps the least known 20 PPG scorer in the NBA. His absence opens up 33 minutes per game on the perimeter. Jordan Clarkson, whether starting or coming off the bench, should be called upon to do the most heavy lifting. But it’ll be a team effort here to fill some minutes on the wing. There should be early value here. Donovan Mitchell ($7,200) and Jordan Clarkson ($4,200) standout at those prices on Thursday’s two-game slate.


Set your DraftKings lineups for Friday, July 31st here: NBA $3M Millionaire [$1M to 1st! + ToC Entry]


Put your knowledge to the test. Sign up for DraftKings and experience the game inside the game.


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.