NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Kyrie Irving, Goran Dragic Absences
Photo credit: Jennifer Stewart-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kyrie Irving
- 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 injuries to analyze on Thursday night: Heat PG Goran Dragic and Celtics PG Kyrie Irving.
There are seven games tonight, headlined by Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz on ESPN at 9:30 p.m. ET. We’ve got two key injuries to analyze this evening, include the Celtics’ Kyrie Irving and the Heat’s Goran Dragic.
Heat PG Goran Dragic (knee) is out.
Injury background: Dragic has missed two of the Heat’s past three games, with the most recent DNP coming as a result of a sore right knee. He tried to play through the injury during Monday’s win, but the knee swelled up afterwards. The MRI after the game was negative. Miami will remain without Dwyane Wade (personal) for Friday’s contest vs. the Pacers and won’t have Derrick Jones Jr. (knee) either.
Impact with Dragic out: Expect the same starting five from Wednesday’s win, which featured Justise Winslow at the point and Wayne Ellington on the wing. The Heat leaned on the trio of Hassan Whiteside, Winslow, and Josh Richardson to carry the bulk of the usage on Wednesday, and Whiteside delivered a massive line that saw him come one block short of a triple-double.
Whiteside put up a solid 1.42 DraftKings points per minute in two matchups vs. the Pacers last season, but the spot is far from favorable, as the Pacers rank first in defensive efficiency allowed to centers this season. Even worse is that both DraftKings ($8,200) and FanDuel ($9,100) priced him way up to season-highs coming off his recent blowup, relegating him to more of a GPP play now given the price bump.
Winslow and Ellington remain viable on FanDuel, where they both have FantasyLabs Bargain Ratings of at least 68%. Winslow offers the higher floor given his statistical versatility, though Ellington may be the stronger play given his price tag ($3,800) allows you to slot him in as a punt play and drop his score if his shot isn’t falling.
In terms of the betting market, the Heat have played at a significantly slower pace with Dragic off the court (102.3) this season than with him on (107.0), while their offensive efficiency has dropped off by 6.5 points per 100 possessions. There could be some strong value on the under here depending on what the total opens at, especially matched up opposite a Pacers side that ranks 29th in pace.
Celtics PG Kyrie Irving (personal) is out.
Injury background: Irving said last week that he’d miss the upcoming game vs. the Jazz to attend his grandfather’s memorial, and that’s now been officially confirmed.
Impact with Irving out: Expect Terry Rozier to draw the start at the point while Marcus Smart remains in an expanded third guard role off the bench. Scary Terry averaged 35.8 DraftKings points in 16 regular season starts last season and draws a favorable matchup against a Jazz defense that has been far more vulnerable this season (16th in efficiency), particularly against point guards (26th). Rozier will be a cash-game staple on DraftKings at just $4,900, and Smart is underpriced there too with a 98% Bargain Rating.
Al Horford has seen the second-highest usage rate differential with Irving off the court this year, and over the last two seasons he’s averaged 17.2 points per 36 minutes with Irving off the floor as opposed to 13.2 with him on. There may be some concern with him playing in the second leg of a back-to-back, but he actually played more with no days of rest (32 minutes per game) last year than he did with at least one day of rest (31.5).
We see a similar effect with Irving and the Celtics as we do with Dragic and the Heat. The Celtics’ offensive efficiency has fallen off a cliff over the past two seasons with Irving off the court, and they’ve played at a slower pace as well.
- Irving on court, last two seasons: 108.3 Offensive Rating, 99.8 pace
- Irving off court, last two seasons: 101.5 Offensive Rating, 97.5 pace
Look for the Jazz defense to bounce back in this one at home with the Celtics coming off an overtime game in the first leg of their back-to-back set.