NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Rudy Gay, Kyle Lowry, Eric Gordon Injuries
Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyle Lowry
- There are plenty of injuries that will affect the betting and DFS markets on Thursday's three-game NBA slate.
- We break down three of the most impactful and provide strategies for how to attack your DFS lineups and bets.
There are three games tonight with a few injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze two games in this article: the Toronto Raptors at San Antonio Spurs and the Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors.
Spurs F Rudy Gay (wrist) is closer to doubtful.
Update at 4:30 p.m. ET: Gay has been upgraded to probable. See more information on the FantasyLabs news page here.
Injury background: Gay missed the previous game with a sprained left wrist. Although the team listed him questionable, Gay is considered unlikely to play according to coach Gregg Popovich, who said “I don’t think he looks good.”
Tonight’s impact: In Gay’s absence Monday, Jakob Poeltl started and Pau Gasol played for the first time since being cleared two games prior. LaMarcus Aldridge shifted down to power forward, and Davis Bertans played 31 minutes compared to 20 for Poeltl.
If Gay suits up, he should return to the starting lineup while Gasol’s playing time dries up with Poeltl as the backup center. Expect a decrease in Bertans’ minutes, as well.
If Gay is out again, Popovich may go back to Poeltl in the starting lineup or deviate with someone like Bertans. The previous starting power forward, Dante Cunningham, has been out of the rotation the past two weeks.
Since Dec. 1, the Spurs rank first with a 118.0 Offensive Rating and second with a +10.0 Net Rating, per Cleaning the Glass. But when Gay has been off the court in that span, their Net Rating drops to +0.8, per NBA.com.
When Gay has been off the court this season, DeMar DeRozan has averaged 1.26 DraftKings points per minute and led the Spurs with a 32.9% usage rate and 27.8% assist rate, per the NBA On/Off tool. However, when DeRozan has shared the court with Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard over the last four seasons, DeRozan has converted 28-of-58 shots and attempted 19 free throws. In the last two meetings, DeRozan didn’t attempt a free throw with Leonard on the court.
The Leonard matchup is threatening enough to pivot off DeRozan with Aldridge, who has provided at least 37.0 DraftKings points in the last four games without grabbing more than nine rebounds.
DeRozan could harbor low ownership in tournaments due to the matchup, which improves his case as a contrarian option. His salary dropped below $8,000 on DraftKings, and while Leonard stifled DeRozan early in their careers, DeRozan is much improved and the Spurs’ offense runs through him. Occasionally, he’ll flutter into the background when Aldridge or Bryn Forbes catch fire.
Raptors G Kyle Lowry (back) is doubtful.
Injury background: Lowry has missed eight of the last nine games due to bruises in his thigh and back. He received pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory injections for his lower back on Dec. 29 and was originally given no timetable for return.
At Tuesday’s shootaround, coach Nick Nurse mentioned Lowry should return soon, and Lowry’s return will be contingent on his pain tolerance. Following Wednesday’s practice, Nurse called Lowry doubtful, but added, “you never know,” regarding an appearance from Lowry tonight.
Tonight’s impact: Fred VanVleet has started during Lowry’s extended absence, and he’s ranked second on the Raptors with 33.2 minutes per game and third with 27.21 DraftKings points.
When Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas (thumb) have been off the court this season, the Raptors have managed a +0.1 Net Rating. However, their projected starting lineup has cultivated a +23.9 Net Rating and 130.0 Offensive Rating. That five-man unit has ranked in the 100th percentile with a 64.9% effective field goal mark, but that quintet has struggled on the boards.
During the last nine games, in which Lowry played once and Valanciunas hasn’t, the Raptors have ranked in the bottom half of the league in offense and defense. Without either on the court, Kawhi Leonard has led the team with 1.33 DraftKings points per minute and a 33.1% usage rate — two marks not far removed from his year-long stats. Pascal Siakam’s usage and rebound rates have improved the most.
The Raptors are implied to score 107.25 points. Over the last nine games, they’ve averaged 104.9 points while the Spurs have limited opponents to 101.9 points. In the Raptors’ five road games over that stretch, they’ve ranked 29th with a 103.0 Offensive Rating on the road and a -13.4 Net Rating.
If Lowry suits up, VanVleet is no longer a value option. However, the Raptors at +2 would jibe. The Raptors’ over would be an intriguing bet, but it’s unclear what condition Lowry is in or if he’ll be limited should he play.
Rockets G Eric Gordon (knee) is out.
Injury background: Gordon will sit for the second straight game with a sore right knee. Chris Paul (hamstring) remains out, and James Ennis (hamstring) is questionable after missing the past 10 games.
Coach Mike D’Antoni called Gordon unlikely to play and Ennis likely to play following Wednesday’s practice. That was prior to the released injury report with Gordon out and Ennis questionable.
Tonight’s impact: Austin Rivers and Danuel House have started with Gordon and Paul sidelined. D’Antoni expanded his rotation to nine in Monday’s win, yet James Harden played more than 40 minutes for the fifth time in the last nine games.
If Ennis returns, he may have a minute restriction off the bench. House has ingratiated himself in the starting lineup, and if D’Antoni reverts to an eight-man rotation, Ennis and Gary Clark may join Marquese Chriss and Michael Carter-Williams as DNP-CDs.
In the last three games, Rivers has played 33, 37, and 40 minutes. He’s priced at $3,800 on FanDuel. The playing time alone makes him a potential value option.
Despite averaging 69.75 DraftKings points in his last 10 games, Harden’s salary has dropped to $11,000 on DraftKings. His usage rate in the last five games is a league-high 43.4%, and he’s attempted 14.3 free-throws per game over the last 10.
Since Draymond Green returned to the lineup for the Warriors on Dec. 10, he’s played a chunk of minutes at center with Damian Jones likely to miss the rest of the season. In those games with a Green and Kevon Looney frontline, opposing starting centers have averaged 41.77 DraftKings points and a FantasyLabs’ +10.31 DraftKings Plus/Minus, per the Trends tool. The only starting center who provided fewer than 33 DraftKings points over that span was Marcin Gortat, who played 11 minutes and still supplied 10.75 DraftKings points.
Clint Capela’s current salary-implied point total on DraftKings is 32.89. He has averaged 40.35 DraftKings points per game on the road this season and 42.85 DraftKings points against teams with winning records. He’s suspiciously underpriced.