NBA Christmas Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Chris Paul, JaVale McGee Injuries

NBA Christmas Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Chris Paul, JaVale McGee Injuries article feature image

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee (7).

  • The NBA Injury Report is a daily piece that runs through the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
  • There are three key teams with injuries to analyze on the Christmas slate: the Houston Rockets, Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers.
  • This piece will detail the impact of the injuries to Chris Paul, JaVale McGee, Tyson Chandler and more.

The five-game Christmas NBA slate has several injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze two key situations in this piece: the Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets and the Los Angeles Lakers at Golden State Warriors.

Note: The information below is as of 10:30 a.m. ET. For up-to-the-minute news and analysis, check out our live news feed and follow us on Twitter.

Chris Paul (hamstring) is out.

Injury background: Paul suffered a strained left hamstring in the second quarter of last Thursday’s loss, and coach Mike D’Antoni said, “It’ll be some time” for Paul’s upcoming absence.

Tonight’s impact: Overall this season, the Rockets have scored 3.5 more points per 100 possessions with Paul on the floor vs. off — the 66th percentile of all players. That number is drastically split between offense and defense, however: Houston has been 6.2 points/100 better on offense with Paul on but 9.8 points/100 worse defensively.

Per our Thunder-Rockets Christmas betting guide, the Rockets are 1-5 straight up and against the spread, failing to cover by 10 points per game when CP3 hasn’t played. His absence will certainly be felt.

The biggest effect will be in Christmas Day DFS, as James Harden is easily the most valuable player on DraftKings today. Per our FantasyLabs breakdown:

He’s been on a usage tear over his past 17 games, posting an average usage rate of 39.2, which has led to an average of 1.69 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He’s also playing all the minutes he can handle and is projected for a slate-high 41.5 on the Christmas slate.

Harden should also benefit from the absence of Chris Paul. He’s averaged a ridiculous usage rate of 41.4% in six games with Paul out of the lineup this season, resulting in an average of 63.33 DraftKings points per game. His $10,900 salary on DraftKings is an absolute joke: It’s almost impossible to fade him at that price tag.

The Rockets opened as 1.5-point home favorites with CP3, but this morning they’ve moved to +1 behind steam moves. Track the line all day here.

Lakers C JaVale McGee (illness) is out, C Tyson Chandler (back) is questionable.

Injury background: McGee has been ruled out ahead of Tuesday’s game vs. the Warriors as he continues to recover from pneumonia.

Teammate Tyson Chandler (back) remains questionable, while Michael Beasley (personal) has been ruled out.

Tonight’s impact: From the FantasyLabs news feed:

Ivica Zubac has started at center for the last two games and thrived, averaging 35.9 DraftKings points in 32.6 minutes. He’ll continue to be among the top cash-game options in the slate with McGee officially ruled out and Chandler likely limited even if he gives it a go.

The only potential concern with Zubac would be the matchup, with coach Steve Kerr opting to play Draymond Green at center for extended stretches given the recent strong play of Jonas Jerebko and the injury to Damian Jones (pectoral).

So far on the year, the Lakers have been 3.0 points per 100 possessions worse with JaVale on the floor. No surprise, they’ve increased their frequency of shots at the rim by 6.2%, but their 3-point rate has dropped by 10.5% (worst among all eligible players in the NBA).

The biggest issue for the Lakers is just a lack of big man depth, especially if Chandler is also unable to play. Zubac would likely be tasked to play big minutes, although the Warriors small-ball units could definitely change that. It’s possible the Lakers elect to go small themselves, which actually might be preferable, as it would get more shooting on the floor to keep pace with the high-powered Dubs offense.

76ers SF/PF Wilson Chandler (quad) is questionable.

Injury background: Chandler is listed as questionable in advance of Tuesday’s contest vs. the Celtics with a quad contusion.

Tonight’s impact: From the FantasyLabs news feed:

Chandler sat out of Saturday’s win with the injury, and it was Mike Muscala who got the start at power forward in his place.

Muscala would likely remain in the starting lineup should Chandler have to miss time and would make for one of two strong punt options at center (Ivica Zubac being the other) at just $3,900 on FanDuel.

Muscala has averaged a modest 18.1 FD points in three starts this season and does draw a brutal matchup opposite a Celtics side that ranks second in efficiency allowed to power forwards.

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