Phan: How John Collins, Kyle Kuzma Injuries Will Affect My Bets
Photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyle Kuzma
- The NBA Injury Report details the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- Below, I'll break down the injuries to Hawks forward John Collins and Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma and how their potential absences will affect my bets tonight.
Tuesday night’s NBA slate features four games with injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze the following two:
- Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder: 8 p.m. ET on TNT
- Atlanta Hawks at San Antonio Spurs: 8:30 p.m. ET
Injuries: John Collins (load management) and Taurean Prince (foot) are doubtful.
Injury background: It’s unclear why 21-year-old Collins is under load management, but he did play 38-plus minutes in Sunday’s overtime win — the third-most minutes he’s played in a game this season. Prince has missed the last two contests with a sore foot and was a late scratch on Sunday after being declared a starter.
Tonight’s impact: The Hawks frontcourt will be extremely thinned out with Collins and Prince unlikely to play and Dewayne Dedmon already out for the year. They’ll have to lean heavily on the likes of Vince Carter, Alex Len, Deyonta Davis and Isaac Humphries, with Justin Anderson an option at the 4 as well.
Losing Collins is a huge deal for the Hawks offense on a number of levels. It robs Trae Young of his most frequent pick-and-roll partner for one, which makes it easier for defenses to key in on him when they don’t have to worry as much about the roll man. It’s only exacerbated in this case given the stark difference in how Collins has fared as a roll man this season (82nd percentile) vs. Len (44th).
Collins’ absence also means fewer second-chance opportunities. He ranks 16th in offensive rebound rate this season among qualified players and is sixth in second-chance points per game (4.1). Most of his minutes at the 4 will be absorbed by Carter, who ranks just 217th among qualified players in offensive rebound rate.
It comes as no surprise then that Collins leads the Hawks in Net Rating (-1.1) and Net Rating Differential (+7.0).
The likely absences of Collins and Prince will put more pressure on the team’s role players to step up and assume more of the offensive responsibilities. Role players generally perform better at home compared to on the road, and that’s been the case for Anderson and DeAndre’ Bembry.
The Spurs have been a much better defense at home (10th in Defensive Rating) compared to on the road (26th), and it’s tough to see how the Hawks will be able to generate consistent offense in this spot without Collins. It doesn’t help either that Young struggled in his lone game vs. the Spurs (33.3% FG, 14.3% 3PT).
There’s value to be had on the Spurs here and on the under for the Hawks point total.
Los Angeles Lakers
Injuries: LeBron James has been shut down for the season. Kyle Kuzma (foot) is questionable, Reggie Bullock (foot) is probable and Tyson Chandler (illness) is out.
Injury background: The Lakers finally shut LeBron down, and it was a surprise it took this long, coming four games after they were officially eliminated from playoff contention. Kuzma missed Sunday’s win with a foot injury, and there doesn’t seem to be much reason to rush him back given the team has nothing to play for. Bullock returned to the rotation Sunday after missing four games due to plantar fasciitis.
Tonight’s impact: I would’ve jumped all over the Thunder at -12.5 a month ago knowing they were at home facing a Lakers side without LeBron, Brandon Ingram and possibly Kyle Kuzma, but things have taken a dramatic turn for the worse since then.
The Thunder capped off a terrible month with a loss at home to a Mavs side that was without Luka Doncic. Their offense has been the major culprit during that stretch, as they rank 28th in efficiency and dead last in effective field goal percentage.
They’ve continued to live and die by Russell Westbrook’s jumper and have gotten very little out of their supporting cast. Dennis Schroder, Jerami Grant, Markieff Morris, Terrance Ferguson and Abdel Nader have combined to shoot 37.7% from the field over the past month. Paul George’s lingering shoulder issues haven’t helped, either.
The Lakers defense has been pretty stingy lately, too, ranking eighth in efficiency over the past 10 games and fifth over the past five games.
It’s probably best to stay away from the spread here, with value on the under if Kuzma ends up being ruled out. Given the Lakers have very little incentive to rush Kuzma back, it may be worth speculating on the under now before the news comes out.