Thursday’s NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Kawhi Leonard’s Absence
Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet (23) and forward Kawhi Leonard (2).
- The NBA Injury Report details the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- In this piece, we'll break down the impact of the injuries to Raptors forwards Kawhi Leonard and OG Anunoby.
Thursday night’s NBA slate features eight games with injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze the following one:
- Toronto Raptors at New York Knicks: 7:30 p.m. ET
Raptors SF Kawhi Leonard (Rest) Is Out, SF OG Anunoby (Head) Is Questionable.
Injury background: Leonard is resting on Thursday despite the game not being part of a back-to-back. It will mark the 21st game without Leonard this season, mostly due to load management.
Anunoby left Tuesday’s win early after getting hit in the head, but passed the initial concussion test after the game. However, he has recently been added to the injury report with concussion-like symptoms and is now questionable to suit up.
Tonight’s impact: Fred VanVleet entered the starting lineup in place of Leonard 10 days ago and is expected to draw the start once again on Thursday. In 25 previous starts, VanVleet has averaged 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists per game. At $4,800 on DraftKings, he remains a strong cash game option.
In the games Leonard has missed since the All-Star break, Pascal Siakam has led the Raptors in minutes per game while averaging 35.94 DK points, per the NBA On/Off tool. He’ll provide plenty of upside against a Knicks squad that ranks 28th in Defensive Efficiency against power forwards this season.
Kyle Lowry has also benefitted with Leonard out of the lineup, recording a team-high +5.9% usage rate in the second half of the season. His salary has dropped to a season-low $6,800 on FanDuel, warranting a look in GPP’s.
If Anunoby is unable to play, Norman Powell and Patrick McCaw could benefit from additional playing time off the bench. Minutes could also be increased in the event of a blowout, as the Raptors are currently double-digit favorites.
The Knicks are bottom-three in Offensive and Defensive Efficiency since the All-Star break and have dropped 12 of the last 13 games, allowing for an exceptional matchup for all opposing starters.
The Raptors have a -5.3 Net Rating differential with Leonard off the court this season, but in the previous game against the Knicks without Leonard, Toronto won by 36 points. The Knicks have been a slightly better team at home this season but still carry the second-worst Net Rating, while the Raptors rank third on the road.