Thursday was one of the wildest NBA trade deadlines of all time, and as the dust settled Thursday night, we also got an exciting NBA Finals rematch between the Bucks and Suns to cap off an awesome NBA day. Friday should be another fun night of action with seven games on the slate. To keep up with all the latest news of who is in and out following the flurry of deals Thursday, follow @dklive on Twitter and the DK Live app leading up to tipoff.
As you try to fill in your roster with some value options that should be poised to outproduce their salary, check out my favorite cheap plays highlighted below. As we approach the start of the main slate at 7:00 p.m. ET, I’ll provide any updates to these values on Twitter @ZT_Sports, where you can also find my four to play under $4K each day of the NBA season.
SF/PF Devin Vassell, San Antonio Spurs at Atlanta Hawks, $4,000
The Spurs were very active at the trade deadline, continuing to pile up future assets. They traded away Thaddeus Young and Drew Eubanks to the Raptors, opening up time for Zach Collins ($3,500) and Jock Landale ($3,000) in the frontcourt, but the biggest move was sending Derrick White ($5,900) to the Celtics. The 27-year-old was averaging a career-high 30.3 minutes with a 20.7% usage rate, so there will be extra work available, and Vassell is a leading candidate to help shoulder more of the load.
Over his past 15 games since returning from the health and safety protocols, Vassell has averaged 24.3 DKFP in 26.3 minutes per game by producing 11.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists and one steal per contest. His shooting percentage and 3-point percentage have actually been below his season average, but his usage rate has been 19.9% compared to 18.4% in his first 32 games. Vassell took a season-high 16 shots on Wednesday and finished with 18 points and 31.25 DKFP vs. the Cavs. He has at least 18.75 DKFP in eight of his past nine games, which makes him a relatively safe play at just $4K. He should be able to return value and also provides a nice ceiling if more work comes his way with White now in Boston.
SG/SF Garry Harris, Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz, $4,000
The Magic didn’t move any key pieces at the trade deadline, which means Harris should continue to get his chances to deliver value. He got an extra boost on Tuesday after Jalen Suggs ($6,100; Achilles, questionable) left early in Portland, and he finished with 25.5 DKFP on five 3-pointers, 15 points, four assists and two rebounds in 32 minutes. If Suggs remains sidelined for this contest, Harris has a clearer path to playing time, but he has been finding ways to contribute regularly over the past few weeks even coming off the bench.
Harris has scored double-digit points in eight of his past nine games and went off for 22 points and 40.25 DKFP during that run in a narrow win vs. the Pacers. He hasn’t been quite as consistent as Vassell, but he has averaged 20.9 DKFP in 29.6 minutes per game over that nine-game stretch.
PG/SG Bones Hyland, Denver Nuggets at Boston Celtics, $3,800
Hyland has been in my values often throughout the season, and the rookie has shown flashes of brilliance when given a larger role. Coach Mike Malone is known for limiting the playing times of rookies, but he might not have much of a choice in this matchup since Monte Morris (concussion) has already been ruled out. Morris has averaged 31.3 minutes per game over his past 12 contests and has been very productive. For most of that time, Hyland has served as his primary backup but has only averaged 16.9 minutes per game. If Hyland gets over 20 minutes, he should be able to easily return five-times value with the ceiling for more if he really gets rolling.
On Tuesday, Bones played 25 minutes and racked up 35.5 DKFP on 22 points, six rebounds and three assists. He also had 24 and 19.25 DKFP in two other games over his past nine with over 20 minutes of playing time. Earlier in January, he played an even bigger role in a pair of games, producing 50 DKFP in 32 minutes vs. the Lakers in a blowout win followed by 23 DKFP in 37 minutes vs. the Jazz in a blowout loss. If he moves into the starting five, he’s a must-play due to his high ceiling, but even coming off the bench, I still like him as a strong play under $4K due to his dynamic scoring potential.
SF/PF Aleksej Pokusevski, Oklahoma City Thunder at Philadelphia 76ers, $3,500
The only trade the Thunder made at the trade deadline was to acquire KZ Okpala from the Heat, and they’re not even sure if he is a player they will keep or release onto what should be an active buyout market. One byproduct of that trade, though, was the release of Mamadi Diakite, who was starting for the Thunder recently. While Derrick Favors ($3,600) will likely continue to start at center, the Thunder will likely lean more on small-ball lineups with Darius Bazley ($5,800) at center. With Bazley sliding over and Aaron Wiggins (ankle) sidelined, there should be plenty of time for Pokusevski to continue to prove he’s ready to contribute after a few strong showings over the past week.
Poku spend most of January out of the rotation entirely and picking up minutes in the G League. He made his return Feb. 5 and contributed 28.25 DKFP on 12 points, nine rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes vs. the Kings. He sat out the Thunder’s following game after more G League work earlier in the day, but he returned on Wednesday and played a season-high 30 minutes. He turned in his best stat line of the year, as well, totaling 38 DKFP on 18 points, four rebounds, four steals, two blocks and an assist. While his 7-for-9 shooting is likely an outlier, Pokusevski has always been able to pile up good non-scoring stats like this when given extra playing time. If the Thunder are ready to let the 20-year-old seven-footer play a regular role down the stretch, he brings a very high ceiling to any matchup and could be a steal at this salary.
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 z.thompson) 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 do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. 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.
If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL/IN/MI/NJ/PA/WV/WY), 1-800-NEXT STEP (AZ), 1-800-522-4700 (CO/NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), 1-877-770-STOP (7867) (LA), 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY), visit OPGR.org (OR), call/text TN REDLINE 1-800-889-9789 (TN), or 1-888-532-3500 (VA).
21+ (18+ NH/WY). Physically present in AZ/CO/CT/IL/IN/IA/LA/MI/NH/NJ/NY/OR/PA/TN/VA/WV/WY only. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for full terms and conditions.