NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Dennis Smith Jr. Injury
Photo credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dennis Smith Jr.
- The NBA Injury Report is a daily piece that runs through the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- This piece will detail the impact of Dallas Mavericks PG Dennis Smith Jr.'s potential absence.
There are eight NBA games tonight with several injuries to note and questionable players. We’ll analyze one key situation in this piece: the San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks.
Mavericks PG Dennis Smith Jr. (illness) is questionable.
Injury background: Smith has missed the previous three games with a back injury but is now questionable on Wednesday due to an illness. He was unable to practice on Tuesday.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that the Mavs are shopping Smith in trade discussions, adding uncertainty to his availability in advance of the league’s trade deadline on February 7. However, coach Rick Carlisle stated that he expects Smith to play going forward when healthy.
Tonight’s impact: Smith has already missed 15 games this season, and his potential absence on Wednesday will leave behind a thin backcourt with J.J. Barea out for the season with a torn Achilles.
In the previous three games, Maxi Kleber has entered the starting lineup with Luka Doncic shifting to point guard. Jalen Brunson, who has started nine games this season, logged 30 minutes off the bench in Sunday’s loss. Coach Carlisle said both Brunson and Devin Harris will have larger roles with Barea sidelined.
Doncic has been a major beneficiary of Smith’s absence and has now averaged a team-high 41.62 DraftKings points per game without Smith, per the On/Off tool. In the two games without Smith and Barea, Doncic’s average has increased to 44.25 in 33.5 minutes per game.
His floor is further elevated thanks to a massive +11.5% assist rate bump in those games, and his 37.8% assist rate in the last two games would rank fourth out of all starters this season.
Despite being inconsistent, Kleber still warrants tournament consideration on FanDuel, where blocks are worth three points. In his six prior starts this season, he has averaged a respectable 2.2 blocks per game.
His $4,600 salary on FanDuel actually leads to a higher rating (83.75) compared to Doncic’s (80.1) in the Phan Model, thanks to Doncic’s price tag continuing to rise.
The Mavs are currently one-point underdogs even with a 15-6 record against-the-spread at home this season. If Smith is unable to suit up, look for the odds to shift in favor of the Mavs, as the team carries a -5.4 Net Rating with Smith on the court and a +2.7 Net Rating with him off this year.
Colleague Matt Moore also provided a favorable tip in favor of the Mavs by pointing out that coach Carlisle is 7-1-1 ATS vs. the Spurs over the last three seasons.