Thursday’s short, but interesting four-game NBA slate starts off at 7 PM ET as the blistering Washington Wizards (28-20) continue to move up the Easter Conference, they host the Los Angeles Lakers (17-34), who are anticipating the return of power forward, Julius Randle. John Wall and the Wizards will be looking to make it six straight. After a disappointing start to the year where they lost their first eight out of ten have really found their rhythm. In part due to the success of their All-Star point guard John Wall, Wall averaged 21 points, 10.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds throughout January.
The Atlanta Hawks (28-21) travel to Houston on the second night of a back-to-back to play the Rockets (36-16). James Harden will be looking to bounce back to his best form after two below-standard games. Harden is shooting 26 % in his last two matches and averaging a meager 12.5 points in that span.
The Philadelphia 76ers (18-30) are taking extreme caution with their star big man Joel Embiid. Embiid is very likely to sit out the matchup against the powerhouse San Antonio Spurs (37-11), who continue to dominate the league without much publicity.
To wrap up NBA Thursday the Los Angeles Clippers (31-18) host their rivals, the Golden State Warriors (42-7). The Clippers will continue to be without All-Star point guard Chris Paul for at least another month. However, the return of Blake Griffin helps boost Los Angeles run into the playoffs. Griffin posted his best game since returning in a victory over the Phoenix Suns. Griffin put up 29 points, 8 rebounds and 5 dimes in 34 minutes of play.
OUT:Joel Embiid (knee), Zaza Pachulia (shoulder),
Monitor: Julius Randle (illness), Thabo Sefolosha (groin), Nene (shoulder), Robert Covington (hand), Shaun Livingston (back), David West (thumb)
Each day I will be providing you guys with advice to help you score well in Draft Kings to give you the best possible chance to succeed. This will range from high-priced superstars to value players to cheaper players who can carry surprising upside. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with everything basketball!
SLEEPER: Tim Hardaway Jr. ($4,200) Atlanta Hawks
Sefolosha is listed as questionable for tonight’s game against the Rockets if Sefolosha is unable to play Hardaway Jr. can be a nice play. In the last three games without Sefolosha, Hardaway Jr has scored in double-digits in every game, his best game coming against the Knicks on the January the 29th where Hardaway totaled 19 points, 5 rebounds and 8 assists.
VALUE: D’Angelo Russell ($5,700) Los Angeles Lakers
Tuesday’s game against the Denver Nuggets was Russell’s first game back after missing three games with a calf injury. Russell’s return turned out to be one of his best games of the season, posting a career-high 10 assists to go along with 22 points and 7 rebounds. Although Russell can be inconsistent, at a price-tag of $5,700 is worth the risk.
STAR: Stephen Curry ($8,700) Golden State Warriors
The price-tag of $8,700 on the reigning two-time MVP is too hard to pass up on. Curry’s shooting has been lights out with 20 made three’s in has last two contests to go along with an average of 41 points in those games. Not to mention one of those games was against his current opponent the Los Angeles Clippers. Curry presents a price-tag that is $1700 less than John Wall and $3700 less than James Harden. Don’t regret putting him in your lineup.
SLEEPER: Gerald Henderson ($3,600) Philadelphia 76ers
In the past six out of seven games, Gerald Henderson has scored double-digits in all with an average of 13 points. With Covington questionable and Embiid out, Henderson should continue to receive minutes and have a solid game against the Spurs.
VALUE: Eric Gordon ($5,100) Houston Rockets
Eric Gordon has rejuvenated his career under Mike D’Antoni’s seven-second offense. Coming off the bench this season Gordon has averaged an impressive 17.3 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists. Gordon’s salary of $5,100 puts him with players like J.J Redick and Kent Bazemore. Player’s that Gordon, so far this season, has produced more than. Gordon is a great value pick if you want to save money for a bigger player at another position.
STAR: James Harden ($12,400) Houston Rockets
Along with Gordon, Harden is also thriving under new head coach Mike D’Antoni. Harden has been out of form the past two games but with Atlanta Hawks best perimeter guard Thabo Sefolosha under an injury cloud, Harden should be in for a bounce-back game. If you can afford ‘The Beard’ then there is no reason why you shouldn’t pick him.
SLEEPER: David Bertans ($3,100) San Antonio Spurs
The sleeper position for Small Forwards in slim. Real slim. If you are desperate for a cheap Small Forwards, David Bertans seems like the only viable option (Besides from Sam Dekker). With Pau Gasol injury has come the opportunity for the 6 ft 10 Latvian forward, Bertans has posted three games with double-digit scoring out of his last five. Like I said, if you're desperate, take him. If not, go for a more reliable star.
VALUE: Markieff Morris ($6,800) Washington Wizards
The last time Markieff Morris didn’t register double-digits in scoring? December 21st. Morris presents remarkable value for owners due to the fact that he is consistent night in and night out. Morris is a safe bet at the small forward position.
STAR: Kawhi Leonard ($9,000) San Antonio Spurs
Kawhi Leonard is in career best form. The San Diego State prodigy is averaging an incredible 29.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists in the last 30 days. Leonard is also cheaper than fellow All-Star forward Kevin Durant by $1,300.
SLEEPER: Sam Dekker ($3,700) Houston Rockets
The minutes for the second year pro are there with an average of 25.3 in the last three weeks. Dekker scored a career-high 30 points in that span against the Memphis Grizzles on the 21st of January. At such a low price with solid minutes, Dekker presents tremendous upside.
VALUE: LaMarcus Aldridge ($6,800) San Antonio Spurs
At such a cheap price, LaMarcus Aldridge is an unbelievable value pick. Aldridge averages 33.2 Draft Kings points, only five points behind the Warriors forward Draymond Green who has a much higher price-tag of $8100. Aldridge is coming off a great game with 25 points and 6 rebounds against the Thunder. Look for Aldridge to exploit the 76ers weak defense who are allowing 106 points per game.
STAR: Paul Millsap ($7,800) Atlanta Hawks
With Blake Griffin only just coming back from injury and on the second night of a back-to-back, I’m taking the cautious approach with Paul Millsap. The previous matchup between the Hawks and Rockets on November the 6th, Millsap dominated with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 4 dimes and 5 steals. Millsap is a consistent player who you can always rely on.
SLEEPER: JaVale McGee ($3,000) Golden State Warriors
With only four games on tonight, the center position is thin. Surprisingly, JaVale McGee is the only sleeper I can present. With Zaza out, McGee is averaging almost 8.5 points from 10 of 15 shooting. If he can receive more minutes tonight, at the lowest price of $3,000, McGee is a sneaky sleeper.
VALUE: Ivica Zubac ($3,900) Los Angeles Lakers
If Randle doesn’t play, Zubac might be the best value pick of the night. If Randle does play, I’d think twice about picking him. Zubac has been outstanding in his last three games averaging 15 points with 8.6 rebounds. Lock the rookie in your lineup if Randle can’t go.
STAR: Draymond Green ($8,100) Golden State Warriors
With Embiid out, and only four games. The star pick for the center position was out of Green, Jordan and Howard. Green has single digit scoring tallies in his past four out of five games. I’m not saying start him. However, I am saying a rebound game is on the cards.
PG: Steph Curry
SG: Eric Gordon
SF: Kawhi Leonard
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Ivica Zubac
G: D’Angelo Russell
F: Markieff Morris
UTIL: Gerald Henderson