Thursday brings another busy night in the NBA with nine games on the schedule. One of them has playoff seeding implications with the Phoenix Suns hosting the Portland Trail Blazers. That matchup is also the featured Showdown contest on DraftKings, so let’s highlight some players to consider as you build your lineups.
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Devin Booker ($14,700 CP): The Blazers have the second-worst defensive rating in the league, so this could be a high-scoring affair for the Suns. Enter Booker, who is averaging 25.6 points per game and leads the team with a 32.7 percent usage rate. He leads the team by a wide margin, too, with Chris Paul (22.6 percent) having the second-highest mark. In two previous meetings with the Blazers, Booker scored 45.5 and 52.3 DKFP, respectively.
Jusuf Nurkic ($12,900 CP): It was a fun big-man battle Wednesday when Nurkic took on Rudy Gobert. The Blazers emerged with the win, in part, because Nurkic thrived with 11 points, 15 rebounds, six assists, three steals and four blocks. He’s scored at least 35.3 DKFP in seven of his last eight games and is an appealing option for the Captain’s spot if you’re looking to deploy a more well-rounded lineup.
Chris Paul ($9,400): Paul has been everything that the Suns could have hoped for after acquiring him from the Thunder, and then some. He has them fighting for the top spot in the Western Conference thanks to his averages of 16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 8.9 assists and 1.4 steals. He’s been an even better playmaker down the stretch, dishing out at least 10 assists in six of his last eight games. With how poorly the Blazers have played on the defensive end, Paul could be in store for a juicy stat line.
Jae Crowder ($5,200): Crowder isn’t going to garner many headlines on the Suns with all of talent around him. However, he’s also played a key role in their success, stretching the floor and providing tough defense. While his scoring upside is limited, he’s scored at least 30 DKFP in two of the last three games and could continue to see a boost in playing time with Cameron Johnson (wrist) set to miss his fourth straight contest.
Cameron Payne ($4,600): For those who watched Payne during his tenure with the Bulls, the fact that he’s become a key reserve on a championship-contending team is a surprise. He’s made significant strides with his efficiency since joining the Suns and is shooting 47.5 percent from the field this season. He’s also averaging 3.5 assists, which has helped him score at least 22 DKFP in six of his last eight games. At such a cheap salary, that should at least put him on your radar.
Robert Covington ($6,600): With so many talented scorers around him, the Blazers don’t ask Covington to contribute much on the offensive end of the floor. His usage rate has plummeted to 11.5 percent, which would be the lowest mark of his career. He can still grab rebounds and provide help on the defensive end, but his limited scoring upside makes him an unappealing option in DFS.
The Blazers just played Wednesday on the road against the Jazz, so this is a tough spot on the road again versus one of the best teams in the league. The Suns have lost three of their last four games, but all three of those losses came on the road. They are 26-9 at home, so look for them to bounce back with a win here.
Final Score: Suns 117, Trail Blazers 113
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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is mbarner51) 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.
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