Since there are 9 games tonight, that means the player pool is deep enough to make predicting the best lineup difficult. Once again, we’ll take a look at the off-beat players that could make a difference. We’ll keep it only on FD, sorry to disappoint.
Shaun Livingston 3.1K-Steph Curry is listed as doubtful and looks like he may not play. Durant and Thompson will burden the scoring load, but it does mean that Livingston will see more minutes against an Orlando team that likes to play fast. Expect a high scoring game and if the Magic attempt to let one of the non-superstars beat them, Livingston will have favorable match ups with a hamstring-hesitant Elfrid Payton and career back up Shelvin Mack to slow him down.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 4.7K-A starter underneath 5K is always good value. Even better value when he plays with a pass-happy point guard in a game that is expected to play at a fast pace. The 2nd highest anticipated total score, KCP needs a game to break out of his shooting slump and this seems like a good opportunity.
Thabo Sefolosha 4.1K-With Gobert out for the next few weeks, Thabo started the game against BKN and played 32 minutes. He went for 9 points, 9 rebounds and 5 steals. UTA will continue to employ a smaller starting group which spreads the floor on the offensive end and increases the scoring opportunities for everyone. It also means that they’ll switch a lot more on defense and they’ll be more aggressive on the perimeter since they don’t have Gobert to correct mistakes at the rim. The price tag is below starter level and he’ll be on the floor for starter minutes.
Derrick Favors 5.4K-With Gobert out, Favors plays the 5 in a spread out offense. Against BKN, Favors rolled into the paint with force and showed an ability to pass to open shooters in the corners. 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 2 blocked shots as the starting center is great, even better at the 5.4K price. We’d expect UTA to increase their pace and offensive efficiency. MIN doesn’t play great defense, they have a tendency to be out of position and allow shots at the rim.
Marcin Gortat 4.9K-SAC is in the middle of a 3-game road trip and they just are not very good defensively. They’re averaging a deficit of 13.6 points on the road this season, while WAS is on the plus side at home. Enes Kanter went for 17 points and 13 rebounds the last time SAC took the floor. Expect Gortat to have even more chances at the rim as Wall gets to the rim and dumps off for easy finishes. Cauley-Stein, Randolph, Labissiere and Koufos are not making the all-defensive team any time soon. We think Gortat can clean up around the basket in this game.