We’ve got a bit of a weird slate tonight. Well, let’s say it’s a 12-game featured slate with a wrinkle. Four teams — Dallas, Golden State, San Antonio and Detroit — are on the second night of a back-to-back, yet there shouldn’t be too many load management concerns considering there’s no basketball at all on Tuesday.
That’s right. Savor it today, then vote tomorrow.
Let’s dive into some values.
C Goga Bitadze, Orlando Magic vs. Dallas Mavericks, $4,700
I feel like I’m not going out on a limb when I suggest that Bitadze will likely start his second game of the season on Monday. I mean, the first one just went so well. Filling in for the injured Wendell Carter Jr. (hand), Bitadze logged 25.9 minutes in a lopsided victory over the Lakers on Saturday, registering 10 points, 10 rebounds, five blocks and 37.0 DKFP. It was just the third time since the beginning of the 2022-23 campaign that the former first-round pick registered a double-double; however, that has more to do with opportunity that it does skill. In fact, no qualified member of the Magic is currently averaging more DKFP per minute played than Bitadze (1.52). Going up against a Mavericks defense that’s surrendering the most DKFP per contest to opposing centers, I’m expecting another huge performance.
PG/SG Dyson Daniels, New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets, $4,400
The Pelicans are running out of point guards — and it’s not like they had all that many to begin with. Jose Alvarado (ankle) has yet to log a single minute of action so far in 2023-24, while C.J. McCollum (lung) could now be sidelined for weeks. That should leave Daniels as the obvious choice to join the team’s starting five, with the likes of Jordan Hawkins ($4,600) and Kira Lewis ($3,900) seeing more action off the bench. Even with McCollum available in recent games, Daniels has looked quite good. The sophomore has exceeded 20.0 DKFP in each of his last three appearances, averaging 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists. That stretch includes a season-best 30.25 DKFP against the Pistons last Thursday. Remember, McCollum possesses a 25.2% usage rate. Someone has to fill those shoes.
PG Marcus Sasser, Detroit Pistons vs. Golden State Warriors, $4,400
This is a contest you’ll have to keep your eye on, as the Warriors seem to be the team most likely to execute some load management chicanery on Monday. The Pistons have their own injury concerns, as well, with Jaden Ivey ($4,700; illness) and Alec Burks ($4,600; forearm) both question marks to suit up against Golden State. If one or both remain on the sideline, Sasser will be viable once again. The rookie guard has looked explosive in his seven games at the NBA level, dropping a career-high 19 points last Wednesday versus the Pelicans, then reestablishing that career-best his next time out with 22 points last night against the Suns. In fact, Sasser has now managed at least 30.0 DKFP in each of his last three appearances — a streak that lines up perfectly with the aforementioned Burks’ injury diagnosis. The 23-year-old has taken full advantage of his extra opportunity.
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