Friday’s NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of LeBron James, Chris Paul Absences
Photo credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: LeBron James
- 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 LeBron James, Chris Paul and more.
Friday night’s NBA slate features eight games with injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze the following two:
- Los Angeles Lakers at Detroit Pistons: 7 p.m. ET
- Phoenix Suns at Houston Rockets: 8 p.m. ET
Rockets PG Chris Paul (rest) is out.
Injury background: The Rockets are not playing in a back-to-back on Friday but will rest Paul anyways, as the team draws a favorable home matchup against the Suns.
Tonight’s impact: There is no word on who will replace Paul in the starting lineup, but Austin Rivers, Gerald Green, Iman Shumpert and Danuel House are candidates to see an uptick in playing time.
James Harden will be the primary beneficiary of Paul’s absence with a shift to the point guard position, and he’s seen a team-high +6.9% assist rate differential in 22 previous games without Paul this season. In those contests, he has averaged a ridiculous 67.97 DraftKings points per game.
In DFS, Harden will command massive ownership as arguably the top play of the slate despite being the highest-priced player, especially on DraftKings. During his recent torrid stretch without Paul, he was priced above $13,000 in seven consecutive games. DraftKings slashed his salary to $11,000 on Friday, resulting in a current Bargain Rating of 98%.
Eric Gordon also steps into an increased role with a +2.6% usage rate bump with Paul off the court this season. At just $4,900 on DraftKings, he joins Harden as a severely underpriced option.
As if the strong rates and favorable salaries aren’t enough to justify rostering both players, the matchup is exceptional: The Suns currently rank 29th in Defensive Rating.
Phoenix has actually performed well lately, accumulating five of its 16 total wins over the last seven games, including victories over the Bucks and Warriors. The Rockets have suffered defensively without Paul this season, recording a 112.0 Defensive Rating with him off the court compared to a 105.4 Defensive Rating with him playing.
Value appears to be on the over, although fourth-quarter scoring could be dependent on bench players with the current 12-point spread.