On Sunday night, the NBA closes a great basketball weekend with a very nice five-game slate tipping off at 6:00 p.m. ET when the Philadelphia 76ers visit the Orlando Magic. After three other games get going at 7:00 p.m. ET, the late-night hammer is a matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns at 9:00 p.m. ET. Of the 10 teams in action, only the Indiana Pacers are the only one playing for the second night in a row.
As usual at this point in the season, things are going to shift and change throughout the day, so make sure to keep up with all the news by following @dklive on Twitter. You can also let me know what you think of my picks and find more of my content by following me @ZT_Sports.
Let’s break down some of the top studs and values at each position to help you build your DraftKings NBA lineups.
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks vs. Indiana Pacers ($10,100) – The Hawks have been leaning on Ice Trae especially hard since the All-Star break. He has averaged 37 minutes per game with a 32.6% usage rate in his eight games since the break while also posting a 44.4% assist rate. He has averaged 27.3 points, 10.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds for 48.9 DKFP over that span, posting over 50 DKFP four times and six double-doubles. He also had a double-double in each of his two earlier matchups this season vs. the Pacers, posting 63 DKFP and 55.75 DKFP.
Especially with the Pacers on the second night of a back-to-back, this should be a good spot for Young. Since Feb. 1, the Pacers have allowed the second-most points per game in the NBA. Draftkings Sportsbook has the over/under for this contest at 236 coming into the day, which is by far the highest of any of the games on the main slate, so you’ll definitely want some exposure to this uptempo contest.
Other Options – Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,300), Devonte’ Graham ($6,100)
Malik Monk, Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns ($5,800) – The Lakers shifted their lineups around a little bit after Anthony Davis (ankle) sustained his most recent injury, but Monk has been locked in lately and is getting a significant workload. Since getting back into the starting five on March 1, Monk has averaged 32.8 DKFP on 16.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He has been consistent with at least 12 points in each of those contests and at least 20 points in each of his past two games. He is a solid, reliable play under $6K with the potential to go off for a huge game if his shot starts dropping.
Other Options – Jalen Green ($5,800), Markelle Fultz ($4,300)
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angles Lakers ($9,200) – Without Chris Paul (thumb) on the floor, Booker’s usage rate jumps from 30.7% to 32.3%, and he produces 1.29 DKFP per minute. It isn’t surprising, as a result, that he has been posting big numbers while Paul has been sidelined. Booker has his own absence in health and safety protocols but has jumped back in at full speed, producing 55.5 and 40.25 DKFP in his two games since returning. He has at least seven assists in five of his past six contests and has poured in 25.7 points and 50.1 DKFP per game over that span at the impressive rate of 1.32 DKFP per minute. The Lakers have been a great matchup for opposing guards all season, so Booker should be set to torch them in this late game.
Other Options – James Harden ($11,000), Tyrese Haliburton ($9,000)
Duane Washington Jr., Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks ($3,600) – Washington has proven he can be a streaky scorer throughout his rookie season, and he should continue to get the opportunity to shine with Malcolm Brogdon (concussion) and Lance Stephenson (ankle) expected to remain sidelined. Washington dropped 19 points in 21 minutes vs. the Spurs and has reached double-digit points in four straight games while averaging exactly 20 DKFP per game, which is enough to make him a strong sub-$4K play.
Other Options – Kevin Huerter ($4,600), Austin Reaves ($3,700)
Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans vs. Houston Rockets ($5,000) – There aren’t many pay-up options at SF on this slate with Brandon Ingram (hamstring) and Cam Johnson (quadriceps) already ruled out. There are a few solid mid-range plays, though, one of which is Murphy, who is helping to step up and fill in for Ingram. With Ingram and CJ McCollum (health protocols) sidelined, there is plenty of usage to go around for the Pelicans, and the first-round pick from Virginia looked ready for the task on Friday. He had a career-high 32 points to go with nine rebounds on his way to 49.75 DKFP. While that kind of production is likely unsustainable (especially shooting 58% from long range), he should continue to get plenty of chances while Ingram and McCollum are out. Even if the game gets lopsided, Murphy should help clean up garbage time in a very friendly scoring environment vs. the Rockets.
Other Options – Bogdan Bogdanovic ($6,200), Jae Crowder ($5,500)
Josh Christopher, Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans ($4,200) – Christopher was taken just seven picks after Murphy in the draft, and the Rockets are getting their rookie some nice run in the second unit. The 20-year-old has logged at least 20 minutes in three straight games and scored over 15 points in each contest, producing 31.25, 31.5 and 25.75 DKFP. The rotation in Houston can sometimes be a little tough to predict, but there’s no denying Christopher can produce points when given the chance, and he should have enough opportunity in this matchup against the shorthanded Pelicans to deliver value again.
Other Options – Aaron Wiggins ($4,800), Naji Marshall ($4,600)
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers at Phoenix Suns ($11,800) – While the Lakers are not playing well at all, what James is doing at age 37 is downright remarkable. With Davis out, he had to single-handedly carry the team to any moderate successes they have had. He has put up over 70 DKFP in three straight games and has at least 50 DKFP in seven of his past 10 games. In those 10 games, he has produced 32.3 points, 9.8 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game while shooting over 50% from the field and averaging 3.0 three-pointers per game. He has a real chance to lead the league in scoring and would be the oldest player to ever achieve that; Michael Jordan has the current record as a 34-year-old. James may have to continue that level of workload, too, since the Lakers are only the No. 9 seed in the Western Conference right now. He is questionable for Sunday night’s game (as he has been almost every game this season), so double-check his availability before tip-off.
Other Options – Wendell Carter Jr. ($7,300), Jaren Jackson Jr. ($6,300)
Isaiah Jackson, Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks ($5,300) – Jackson has been starting ahead of Jalen Smith ($5,800), but both have been solid plays in the Pacers frontcourt since Domantas Sabonis was traded and Myles Turner (foot) was injured. Despite occasional foul trouble, Jackson has posted over 26 DKFP in four of his past five games after finishing with 26.25 DKFP on 15 points and five rebounds Saturday vs. the Spurs. The high-energy rookie out of Kentucky has multiple blocked shots in four straight and in eight of his past nine games. In those nine games since the All-Star break, he has averaged 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game.
Other Options – Jaxson Hayes ($4,700), Georges Niang ($3,600)
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers at Orlando Magic ($12,000) – This should be a “get right” spot for the Sixers after their embarrassing loss on Thursday vs. the Nets. Even in that game, Embiid produced solid stats with 27 points, 12 rebounds and 47.5 DKFP in just 30 minutes. His reduced work due to the blowout was the only thing that held him below his average.
Since the All-Star break, Embiid has averaged 30.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.4 blocks for 54.9 DKFP per game. That averages out to 1.6 DKFP per minute — an insane rate, due in large part to his 35.6% usage rate. While James Harden’s arrival has definitely boosted the offense as a whole, Embiid remains the focal point, and he should be set to feast vs. the Magic, who he had 50 points and 77 DKFP against in their most recent meeting.
Other Options – Jonas Valanciunas ($8,300), Christian Wood ($7,900)
Moritz Wagner, Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers ($3,900) – Wagner returned from a month off with a rib injury and has jumped right into a very involved role with the Magic. He has scored at least nine points in each of his four games since returning, finishing with 38.25, 22.75, 23.25 and 28 DKFP in those four games. He has provided a great spark in the second unit with his work on the glass and from long range. He only needed 13 minutes to score 18 points and finish with 28 DKFP in his most recent game vs. the Timberwolves. He’s extremely cheap and has been returning solid value, and he could get more minutes depending on how much havoc and foul trouble Embiid causes for the Magic’s starting big men or if the game turns non-competitive.
Other Options – Isaiah Roby ($5,700), JaVale McGee ($3,500)
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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.
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