You know who loves saving money? Everyone. It’s literally the one thing the world can agree on. Paying less for something is awesome. It’s simply a fact. That’s why it’s so nice to comb through Wednesday night’s games and find a few value options for you lovely people. It’s the way I give back to the community.
Let’s dive in to this evening’s eight-game NBA slate.
SG Keon Johnson, Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns, $3,100
The Trail Blazers are virtually unrecognizable from what they were even two months ago, with most of the team’s notable assets either injured or traded away. There was two weeks before the All-Star break where a rag-tag group of Portland players banded together to win four straight contests; however that momentum was quickly quelled with ailments to Jusuf Nurkic (foot) and Justise Winslow (Achilles). It’s been, well, bleak.
So, knowing all that, there’s some good news and some bad news. On the one hand, there’s an incredible amount of opportunity for cheap assets to get playing time for the Blazers. On the other, they’ve dropped their past two games by 37 points and 32 points, respectively, leaving the squad’s rotation in shambles due to lopsided scripts. That’s sort of why I’m leaning toward Johnson being Portland’s best value piece on Wednesday. In theory, his playing time should be unaffected by his surroundings. Filling in for Winslow in the starting five on Sunday, the rookie logged 25.5 minutes and attempted 10 field goals. Johnson’s actually played just 178 total minutes in 2021-22 and it would be wise for the Blazers to give him as much run as possible, regardless of the score.
SG Vit Krejci, Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets, $3,000
Full disclosure: I had no idea who this person was a week ago. That’s truly the magic of the Thunder’s seemingly eternal tank. Though, to be fair, the team is also quite banged up. Not only are Josh Giddey (hip) and Lu Dort (shoulder) unavailable on Wednesday, but they’re joined on the injury report by Kenrich Williams (knee), Ty Jerome (hip) and, as of Sunday, Aaron Wiggins (ankle). There are just very few options left for Mark Daigneault to turn to.
Now, there are certainly higher-floor value options here than Krejci. Isaiah Roby ($4,400) is a solid play if he can stay out of foul trouble — and Olivier Sarr ($3,000) is intriguing if you think Roby can not — while Aleksej Pokusevski ($4,100) is averaging a more than respectable 1.04 DKFP per minute since the beginning of February. However, with Wiggins already ruled out Sunday versus the Kings, Krejci started and played all 12 minutes of the third quarter for Oklahoma City. If he’s announced as the starter against the Nuggets, it’ll be difficult to ignore him at the bare minimum price.
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PG/SG Immanuel Quickley, New York Knicks at Philadelphia 76ers, $4,200
Speaking of having very few options left to turn to: The Knicks. Who would’ve thought back in October — at the height of BING BONG mania — that an injury to Quentin Grimes (knee) would seem so devastating? However, the rookie had logged at least 30 minutes in New York’s final four games before the All-Star break and his absence leaves a sizable hole in the team’s rotation.
Still, because we’re talking about a Tom Thibodeau production, Grimes’ injury will first and foremost just translate into more opportunity for veterans like Evan Fournier ($5,900) and Alec Burks ($5,300). That’s not ideal, yet even Thibs isn’t crazy enough to run a five-man rotation in early March. As we saw in Sunday’s loss to this same Sixers squad, Quickley is going to get his time to shine. In fact, not only did the sophomore lead the team’s reserves with 26.5 minutes off the bench, but he did so with a massive 29.9% usage rate. Quickley is going to get shots up. That’s a guarantee.
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