While it doesn’t appear that there are many trade deadline “sellers” on tonight’s five-game NBA slate, you’ll nonetheless have to keep your eye on news breaking throughout the day. Miami, Philadelphia, New York, San Antonio and both teams from Los Angeles expect to be somewhat active, so conditions for Thursday’s scheduled contests could change in an instant.
With that caveat in mind, let’s break down this evening’s action position-by-position.
De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings vs. Golden State Warriors, $8,700 - Fox has been playing some of the best basketball of his career in March, averaging 1.28 DKFP per minute thanks primarily to a massive 31.7% usage rate. Yet, for whatever reason, the former lottery pick’s price tag is down below $9K for the first time in over three weeks. Fox has registered at least 45.0 DKFP in seven of his last nine starts. His ceiling is high and he might be in line for a very extra possessions with Cory Joseph having been traded last night.
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat vs. Portland Trail Blazers, $5,400 - While this is obviously a great matchup — Portland bleeds DKFP to opposing guards — there’s more at play in Herro’s potential viability than opponent. The sophomore has been struggling over Miami’s past five games, shooting a paltry 28.8% from the field, but there’s a chance he’ll be asked to log a heavy workload this evening if the Heat make a multi-player trade. Considering Miami’s been linked to both Kyle Lowry and Victor Oladipo, I would be shocked if they don’t get something done and that could mean shipping out the likes of Duncan Robinson ($4,500) or Kendrick Nunn ($4,600). Be aware.
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers at Miami Heat, $7,200 - This one’s pretty simple. After logging over 38 minutes of work in the Blazers’ 116-112 loss to the Nets on Tuesday, I think it’s safe to assume McCollum is no longer restricted. Though it only led to 28.75 DKFP, the guard took 19 field goal attempts, which means McCollum’s usage rate since returning to the lineup on Mar. 16 now stands at an impressive 30.1%. The last time he’d played at least 35 minutes in 2020-21 was back on Jan. 13. He scored 55.75 DKFP and carried an $8.6K salary. He’s too cheap for this kind of volume.
Shake Milton, Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers, $5,200 - There are similar vibes to the Herro situation with Milton’s viability on Thursday, though I think Philadelphia’s young guard can be considered regardless of whether or not the 76ers move Danny Green ($4,700; hip), Matisse Thybulle ($3,300) or Tyrese Maxey ($3,000). Milton’s done his best to pick up the scoring slack with Joel Embiid (knee) sidelined, averaging 19.3 points per game dating back to Mar. 17. In that same span of time, Milton possesses a team-high 31.6% usage rate. The whole trick is figuring out if this is a night he plays 20 minutes or 30 minutes. Well, if the 76ers’ roster is depleted, it’s going to be the latter.
Andrew Wiggins, Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings, $6,700 - Clearly I have a problem. After being let down by Wiggins on Tuesday — believe me, it wasn’t the first time — I’m actually willing to go back to the former first-overall pick at a higher price this evening. It might just be that I’m a glutton for punishment, but on a slate with few great on-paper matchups, Wiggins draws a fantastic one against a Kings squad that sports the league’s worst defensive rating (117.9). While Jimmy Butler ($9,000) and Kawhi Leonard ($8,800) present safer options at the position, Wiggins has showcased 60.0 DKFP upside within the past week. As long as Stephen Curry (tailbone) is sidelined, he’s a legitimate option.
Trevor Ariza, Miami Heat vs. Portland Trail Blazers, $3,100 - I don’t believe Ariza has an incredible amount of upside on this slate, but he did log 23.5 minutes in Tuesday’s loss to Phoenix, attempting nine field goals and grabbing six rebounds. That type of playing time is always going to be intriguing for an asset priced this close to the minimum, especially if the Heat end up a few men down this evening due to a trade. Ariza brings a surprisingly high floor.
Julius Randle, New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards, $10,200 - What’s really left to say about Randle? The All-Star made easy work in this same matchup on Tuesday, finishing the Knicks’ blowout win with 37 points on 13-for-24 shooting. Washington simply doesn’t possess a player that can defend Randle’s mix of size and skill, which is a serious problem because the forward hardly ever leaves the court. Randle is logging an NBA-high 40.7 minutes per contest going back to Mar. 13, a span where he’s also averaging 56.7 DKFP. He’s truly one of the best places to spend up on this slate, even with Derrick Rose ($5,300; conditioning) expected back this evening.
Rui Hachimura, Washington Wizards at New York Knicks, $5,800 - This is likely a spot where we’ll have to wait for some value to present itself closer to lock, but in the meantime, you could do worse than Hachimura. Across the Wizards’ past six games, it’s the sophomore, not Russell Westbrook ($10,900) or Bradley Beal ($9,200), that leads the team in minutes played per contest (37.7). That volume hasn’t been empty, either. Hachimura’s registered at least 30.0 DKFP in four of those six starts.
Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors at Sacramento Kings, $7,700 - There’s a reason this game has the highest implied total on the slate: The Kings can’t play defense. Yes, if we’re being fair, “Draymond can’t shoot” is an accurate counter-point, but you don’t need Green to score this evening, you need those around him to. The last seven times the veteran has dished out at least 10 assists, he’s averaging a whopping 48.8 DKFP. Considering Sacramento gives out opponent buckets like candy on Halloween, I think he gets there on Thursday.
Ivica Zubac, Los Angeles Clippers at San Antonio Spurs, $5,600 - Serge Ibaka (back) will miss his sixth-straight game this evening. In the prior five, Zubac is averaging 30.3 minutes and 13.0 points per contest. He’s also managed to exceed 30.0 DKFP in four of those five starts. Zubac isn’t someone that’s likely to break 40.0 DKFP on any given slate, but you know exactly what you’re getting from him each and every night.
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