Photo credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyle Lowry
- 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 Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors.
- This piece will detail the impact of the injuries to Zach LaVine, Kyle Lowry and more.
There are 10 games tonight with a lot of injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze two key situations in this piece: the Minnesota Timberwolves at Chicago Bulls and the Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat.
Bulls G Zach LaVine (ankle) is questionable.
Update (5:40 p.m. ET): LaVine is upgraded to probable. For more information, visit the FantasyLabs news feed.
Injury background: LaVine suffered a sprained deltoid ligament in his left ankle on December 13, and he was expected to miss 2-4 weeks.
Tonight’s impact: Kris Dunn started the last five games without LaVine, and Antonio Blakeney picked up reserve backcourt minutes due to Cameron Payne’s calf injury. Shaquille Harrison has settled in as the backup point guard due to his defensive presence.
If LaVine returns, Ryan Arcidiacono would presumably come off the bench, and it’ll likely be Payne or Harrison who is removed from the rotation while Blakeney resumes a DNP-CD role.
If LaVine remains sidelined, expect Dunn and Arcidiacono to continue to start, and if Lauri Markkanen’s recent aggression — he’s had at least 17 shots in four of the last five games — maintains, he’ll be a valuable option in all formats.
In three games against his former team, LaVine posted 46.75, 42 and 42 DraftKings points in 34.3 minutes per game while carrying career-high 34.6% usage. Shooting guards have averaged a league-high FantasyLabs’ +5.57 DraftKings Plus/Minus when projected to play at least 20 minutes against the Wolves since the beginning of December, per the Trends tool.
LaVine’s usage rate has decreased 3.7% with Markkanen on the court this season. Conversely, LaVine’s efficiency has increased in those minutes, per the NBA On/Off tool. Markkanen missed the first game against the Wolves this season, and he attempted seven and eight shots in the two games against Minnesota last year.
Since Jim Boylen was promoted to head coach, the Bulls have ranked seventh with a 105.3 Defensive Rating, 29th with a 100.0 Offensive Rating and 26th with a 96.65 pace factor. They’ve scored less than 100 points in seven of the last eight games.
They are currently implied to score 103.5 points, and while the under seems an obvious bet, note that the Timberwolves have been hemorrhaging points on defense lately.
The Wolves are 3-13 on the road this season, and since acquiring Robert Covington and Dario Saric, their 112.8 Defensive Rating on the road ranks 19th while their 101.8 Defensive Rating at home is good for sixth.
Over the same span, they’ve allowed the highest frequency of 3-point attempts to opponents. Although the Wolves have limited opponents to the fewest attempts at the rim, those same opponents have converted 68.3% of those shots when hosting the Wolves — the second-highest mark over that span.
Raptors PG Kyle Lowry (back) is doubtful.
Injury background: Lowry was recently dealing with a thigh contusion and was deemed available to play on Wednesday, but he suffered a back injury during shootaround and is now doubtful to suit up.
Serge Ibaka (knee) is probable while Jonas Valanciunas (hand) remains sidelined.
Tonight’s impact: Kawhi Leonard has thrived in five games with Lowry out of the lineup this season, posting a usage rate of 32.1% and averaging 50.2 DraftKings points per game.
Fred VanVleet will likely replace Lowry in the starting lineup, and he leads the team with a FantasyLabs’ Plus/Minus of +8.4 in games without Lowry this season. He’s particularly appealing on FanDuel, where his $5,600 salary comes with a FantasyLabs’ Bargain Rating of 90%.
Pascal Siakam has seen a team-high usage bump of +3.2% in games without Lowry this season and has scored at least 38.0 DraftKings points in each of his past three games.
Unfortunately, the Raptors are not in an ideal spot today vs. the Heat, who rank ninth in defensive efficiency. Their resulting implied team total of 106.0 is well below their season average (114.3).
On the betting side of things, the Raptors have since moved from -4.5 to -3.5 due to the Lowry news. Toronto has a 12.2 Net Rating with Lowry on vs. a -3.9 mark with him off.