NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Mavs, Jazz Injuries
Photo credit: Shane Roper-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Luka Doncic
- The NBA Injury Report is a daily piece that runs through the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- There are two key teams with injuries to analyze on Wednesday night: the Dallas Mavericks and Utah Jazz.
- This piece will detail the impact of the injuries to Dennis Smith Jr., Luka Doncic, Ricky Rubio and more.
There are 10 games tonight with plenty of injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze two key situations in this article: the Phoenix Suns at Dallas Mavericks and the Orlando Magic at Utah Jazz.
Injuries: Dennis Smith Jr. (back) and Luka Doncic (back) are questionable. Dirk Nowitzki (illness) is doubtful.
Injury background: Smith missed Tuesday’s practice with a sore back, which was later diagnosed as mid-back tightness.
Doncic appeared on the injury report because of a strained lower back. There was no reporting of his availability during Tuesday’s practice.
Tonight’s impact: The primary ball-handlers on the Mavs are Smith and Doncic in the starting lineup, and J.J. Barea in the second unit. If Smith or Doncic doesn’t play, the other should receive a sizeable increase in offensive responsibility.
In the 12 games Smith has missed this season, Doncic has led the Mavs with a FantasyLabs’ +6.2 DraftKings Plus/Minus in 31.4 minutes per game, per the NBA On/Off tool. Doncic notched a team-high 6.8 assists per game sans Smith. That figure drops to 4.0 with Smith in the lineup.
Doncic has been listed questionable nine times, excluding tonight’s game. Despite all his ailments — a toenail issue, strained hips, bruised arm, bruised knee, bruised thigh, sore shoulder, sore ankle, sore back and illnesses — Doncic has missed just one game this season.
Without Doncic against the Clippers on December 2, Harrison Barnes attempted a career-high 28 shots and was the offensive hub. Smith was still dealing with a sprained shooting wrist at the time and had a string of games with a usage rate below 17%.
Dorian Finney-Smith started in Doncic’s only absence, but Maxi Kleber has been the replacement in the starting lineup most recently when Smith and Wesley Matthews sat.
Kleber has been phased out of the rotation since Dirk Nowitzki made his season debut. That said, if Smith or Doncic can’t play, coach Rick Carlisle may opt to start Kleber, whose Defensive Rating of 98.1 is the best among Mavs rotation players. Nowitzki’s 120.3 Defensive Rating ranks last.
The Mavs are 15-4 straight-up and 14-5 ATS at home, and the Suns are playing on the second night of a back-to-back and third game in four nights.
The Suns may be walking into a schedule loss, as predicted by ESPN’s Schedule Alert article. They may also not have Devin Booker (back) available, but his status has yet to be reported.
Injuries: Ricky Rubio (hamstring), Dante Exum (ankle), Thabo Sefolosha (hamstring) and Grayson Allen (ankle) are out.
Injury background: Rubio exited Monday’s game in the first quarter after suffering a hamstring injury. He’s expected to miss two weeks.
Exum sprained his ankle on Saturday and is reportedly expected to miss a couple weeks.
Sefolosha suffered a strained hamstring on Saturday, and he’s likely out a few weeks.
Allen spent most of December in the G-League, but a sprained ankle two weeks ago has left him inactive ever since.
Tonight’s impact: The Jazz need a starting point guard with Rubio and Exum sidelined. A primary playmaker isn’t necessary, however, as the Jazz’s motion offense is predicated on ball movement, spacing and dribble hand-offs. Joe Ingles has led the team in assists 17 times this season, which is eight behind Rubio for top honors.
When Rubio missed time last season, Royce O’Neale started and Donovan Mitchell handled point guard duties. Mitchell averaged a team-high 38.55 DraftKings points in 37.3 minutes per game in that role. In the lone game Rubio missed this season, Exum started and accounted for 13 of the team’s 30 assists.
In the limited minutes Rubio, Exum and Alec Burks (traded) have been off the court, Mitchell has led the Jazz with a 38.2% usage rate. However, he’s ranked third on the roster with 1.1 DraftKings points per minute and an 18.2% assist rate during that time.
The Jazz have curated a +2.9 Net Rating sans Rubio, Exum and Burks, per Cleaning the Glass. A good chunk of that occurred Monday and prior to that against opposing second units with Derrick Favors at center. Those lineups have generated mostly 3-point attempts in lieu of shots at the rim, although the latter should increase with Rudy Gobert on the court.
Raul Neto started the second half Monday and contributed 25.0 DraftKings points in a season-high 29 minutes. He may start after a solid performance, but his salary has already escalated to $5,900 on FanDuel. He’ll offer more value on DraftKings at $4,300, and that’s if he’s not strictly the backup point guard behind Mitchell.
Neto served as the second-unit point guard in the few minutes Mitchell sat Monday, which could point to Neto coming off the bench as the Jazz’s only other option at lead guard.
The Jazz are presently implied to score 107.75 points, per the NBA Vegas dashboard. They were limited to 102 in Monday’s loss, and in the first meeting against the Magic in Mexico City this season, the Jazz scored only 89 points.
In the minutes Mitchell has been the point guard this year, the Jazz have recorded a 101.7 Offensive Rating, which ranks in the ninth percentile and includes Exum on the court.
The Jazz have actually been near the middle of the league in pace this season, but the Magic have ranked near the bottom of pace and 12th with a 109.0 Defensive Rating since Jonathan Isaac rejoined the starting lineup a month ago.