Friday’s NBA Injury Report: Betting and DFS Impact of Karl-Anthony Towns, Myles Turner Injuries
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves (32).
- Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns was listed as questionable vs. the Knicks after reportedly being involved in a car accident.
- We break down the betting and DFS impact of Friday's NBA Injury Report.
Friday night’s NBA slate features nine games with injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze the following two:
- New Orleans Pelicans at Indiana Pacers: 7 p.m. ET
- Minnesota Timberwolves at New York Knicks: 7:30 p.m. ET
Wolves C Karl-Anthony Towns Is Questionable
Injury background: Coach Ryan Saunders revealed that Towns was involved in a car accident on Thursday on his way to the airport. Details of the specific injury are scarce, but Towns was not at shootaround and is officially questionable to suit up against the Knicks.
Andrew Wiggins (illness) and Tyus Jones (ankle) have been removed from the injury report, while Robert Covington (knee) remains out at least two more games.
Frontcourt depth could be a problem as backup center Gorgui Dieng has already been ruled out due to personal reasons.
Tonight’s impact: Towns is arguably the league’s most durable player, as he has yet to miss a game in his career and holds the active record for consecutive games played (303).
If Friday marks his first missed game, Taj Gibson would likely start at center to match up against DeAndre Jordan. Dario Saric and Anthony Tolliver would also benefit from increased playing time in a depleted frontcourt, while Luol Deng can fill in for extra minutes at power forward.
Towns leads the team with a 26.5% usage rate this season, and his potential absence opens up plenty of offensive opportunities for his teammates.
Wiggins, Derrick Rose, and Jeff Teague stand to be the primary beneficiaries if Towns is ruled out, with each player posting a usage differential of at least +6.1% with Towns off the court after trading away Jimmy Butler. Wiggins has led the team with an average of 1.21 DraftKings points per minute in that situation, while Teague is the best pure value on DraftKings given his FantasyLabs Bargain Rating of 96%.
The Wolves also have an excellent matchup vs. the Knicks, who rank just 28th in Defensive Rating this season.
The consensus line has moved two full points in favor of the Knicks, suggesting that the Wolves could play it safe and rest Towns in the front end of a back-to-back. With Towns off the court this season, Minnesota’s offense drastically suffers, dropping from a 111.5 Offensive Rating to a 103.1 Offensive Rating.
Pacers C Myles Turner (Hip) Is Questionable, SG Tyreke Evans (Ankle) Is Questionable
Injury background: Turner is listed questionable on the injury report for Friday due to a bruised left hip.
Evans suffered an ankle injury before the All-Star break and was limited to a partial practice on Thursday. He could wind up receiving an MRI to determine the severity of the injury.
Tonight’s impact: Turner missed four straight games in early January with a shoulder injury and Domantas Sabonis replaced him in the starting lineup each time.
Sabonis would likely draw the start again if Turner is unable to suit up, and he has led the team with 39 DraftKings points per game in five full games without Turner this season, per the NBA On/Off Tool. He presently carries the third-highest rating on DraftKings in the Phan Model, and a potential boost in playing time would propel him to the chalk option at PF/C at just $5,500.
If Turner plays, he’ll also make for a strong play on DraftKings, where he holds a 98% Bargain Rating and is currently the top-rated center option. The matchup is favorable as the Pelicans rank 22nd in defensive efficiency against opposing centers this season. Fewer minutes for Anthony Davis certainly helps as well.
Wesley Matthews has displaced Evans in the starting lineup but has failed to reach his salary-based expectation. If Evans is forced to miss time, Aaron Holiday will most likely re-enter the rotation, but his lack of minutes upside curbs his tournament appeal.
The Pacers play at a faster pace with Turner off the court, but the defense worsens, dropping from a 101.4 Defensive Rating to a 103.3 Defensive Rating. Sabonis ranks as a slightly above-average defender in Defensive Real Plus/Minus, while Turner currently ranks third out of all centers in DRPM.
The total is presently at 222.5, and value could be found on the over if Turner ends up being ruled out.