While we’d be hard-pressed to have a crazier news day than Tuesday, with the league’s trade deadline less than 36 hours away, you’re going to have to keep your head on a swivel if you’re looking to play tonight’s six-game NBA slate. That’s especially true when it comes it low-cost assets. I mean, just look how much value was suddenly created with both the Pacers and the Blazers due to transactions.
Unfortunately, I’m not a psychic. I don’t know what the day has in store for us. But here are a few of my favorite bargain plays as things currently stand.
SG Matt Thomas, Chicago Bulls at Charlotte Hornets, $3,000
The Bulls can’t seem to go a week without losing a key member of their backcourt. Both Lonzo Ball (knee) and Alex Caruso (wrist) are currently sidelined with long-term injuries, while stud rookie Ayo Dosunmu (concussion) is now set to miss Wednesday’s contest after sustaining an ailment during Monday’s loss to Phoenix. Needless to say, it’s left the team’s rotation in a bit of a lurch.
Now, the safe way to handle all this news is to expect DeMar DeRozan ($9,600) to attempt at least 25 field goals against the Hornets. You’d also be correct in assuming that mid-level assets like Coby White ($5,100) and Javonte Green ($4,400) are going to log huge minutes. However, let’s take a moment to discuss the viability of Thomas. The Iowa State product really only has one skill — he’s a dead-eye shooter — but volume is volume and Thomas saw a season-high 34.4 minutes in Sunday’s loss to the 76ers, a contest where Chicago’s backcourt was similarly thinned by injuries to White and Zach LaVine ($9,100). At the absolute minimum price, in an uptempo matchup versus a horrible Charlotte defense, Thomas has to be considered if he’s going to see anywhere close to 30 minutes once again.
SF/PF Kenrich Williams, Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Toronto Raptors, $4,400
There’s a lot to unpack with the Thunder right now. Both Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (ankle) and Aaron Wiggins (ankle) are sidelined due to injury, while Rookie of the Year candidate Josh Giddey ($7,600) is having his minutes capped at 30 for the next couple of weeks. For a team that doesn’t really have a lot of elite playmaking ability to begin with, that’s quite the hole to dig out of.
However, Williams has recently shown himself to be a decent secondary option. A rare veteran presence on an extremely young team, Williams has averaged 6.5 potential assists across his last four games — a stretch where the forward is also producing 24.4 DKFP per contest. Williams is directly on the heels of one his best performances of 2021-22, as the 27-year-old registered 32.25 DKFP in a season-high 31.8 minutes in Monday’s loss to Golden State. That was the first contest where Giddey was on his restriction, so I’d expect a similar role for Williams against the Raptors.
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Damian Jones, Sacramento Kings vs. Minnesota Timberwolves, $3,700
I don’t want to say the Timberwolves are lucky, because there really hasn’t been a bad time to play the Kings the past decade, but what a week to draw a back-to-back with Sacramento. The Kings just don’t have anyone left. I guess there’s a small chance that Domantas Sabonis, Jeremy Lamb and Justin Holiday will be available for this game — as there’s also a chance that Richaun Holmes ($5,000; personal) and Marvin Bagley ($4,900; ankle) will be able to return — yet I just don’t see that happening.
So, we’re more than likely going to see the same skeleton crew we saw Tuesday night going up against a Timberwolves team that leads in the NBA in pace across their past 10 contests (102.1). That’s great news for someone like De’Aarox Fox ($7,700), who has somehow seen his price tag fall after a 48.25 DKFP performance last night. It’s equally great news for Jones, as he drew the spot-start and registered 36.0 DKFP in 29.1 minutes. For the season, Jones is averaging a respectable 0.94 DKFP per minute, so if his role is the same on Wednesday, it’s hard to envision a scenario where he isn’t bringing back value. Heck, I’d keep an eye on Jahmi’us Ramsey ($3,000), too, with Sacramento’s depth as shallow as it is.
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