NBA Values. What are they? Are they important? Can you eat them? Are they bigger than a breadbox? Do you need me to reveal them to you each and every Wednesday?
Well. In order...
1. They are assets that are likely to outperform their unusually low price tag.
3. I wouldn’t recommend it.
4. Yes. Most are very tall.
5. Of course you do.
Let’s dive in to this evening’s massive 12-game NBA slate.
PF/C Marvin Bagley, Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls, $5,000
This is about as expensive as I’m willing to get for a “value” option, but that sort of speaks to how enticing Bagley is on Wednesday’s slate. Honestly, he’s going to be pretty enticing for as long as Isaiah Stewart (knee) is out due to injury.
Bagley’s only appeared in six games for the Pistons since being traded from Sacramento; however, the former second-overall pick is already benefitting from the change in scenery. The forward is averaging 13.8 points per game with a career-best .549 effective field goal rate, while his 23.1% usage rate isn’t too shabby, either. Still, I’m burying the lede here. With Stewart limited to just 9.3 minutes in Monday’s victory over Atlanta, Bagley was unleashed, registering 40.5 DKFP in 36.2 minutes of action. Considering he’s in Detroit for an extended audition, it would be shocking if Bagley wasn’t in the starting five versus Chicago.
SG Malik Beasley, Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder, $4,800
Editor’s Note: Timberwolves SG/SF Anthony Edwards (knee) and PG/SG D’Angelo Russell (hamstring) will play tonight vs. the Thunder. PG Patrick Beverley (ankle) has been ruled out.
Let’s just say that this game is going to be the one to watch for value as we get closer and closer to tip-off. Why? Well, look no further than the Timberwolves’ injury report. The team has a whopping six players listed as questionable for Wednesday’s contest, including the likes of D’Angelo Russell ($8,100; hamstring), Anthony Edwards ($7,800; knee), Patrick Beverley ($5,300; ankle) and Jaylen Nowell ($3,400; nose). That’s a lot of backcourt options.
It’s unclear who is going to end up being active, but if even half of those mentioned are unavailable, it should directly benefit Beasley. The wing has been on fire to begin March, averaging 17.5 points across four games. Heck, Beasley’s already hit 20 three-pointers in the month. The veteran has also produced 27.5 DKFP in his previous opportunities to start this season, while he’s averaging 30.1 DKFP the past 10 times he’s logged at least 25.0 minutes of work. At this point, there’s little doubt that Beasley can fill it up when required.
SG/SF Talen Horton-Tucker, Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets, $4,500
Editor’s Note: Lakers SF LeBron James (knee) will play tonight vs. the Rockets, per Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes.
A questionable designation might mean less to LeBron James ($11,600; knee) than any other player in the league, but if reports surrounding his swelling issues are true, I think there’s a serious chance the former MVP misses his second straight game on Wednesday. I mean, the Lakers aren’t really in a position to toy with their opponents, but if you can’t play it safe with your 37-year-old superstar against the Rockets, when can you do it?
Horton-Tucker made the most of his spot start on Monday, going off for 18 points and 30.0 DKFP in 30.7 minutes. His usage rate lagged behind the likes of Russell Westbrook ($8,500) and Malik Monk ($5,700), but at the end of the day, a 22.6% mark is nothing to scoff at. THT should see the exact same role if James is eventually ruled out, though this time his opponent will be arguably the best one he could draw in 2021-22. Houston is dead-last in defensive rating (116.2), third in pace (101.1) and its surrendered the second-most DKFP per contest to opposing small forwards. What more could you ask for?
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