NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of LeBron James, Paul George, John Wall Injuries
Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) and guard Russell Westbrook (0) stand on the court during a free throw attempt against the Golden State Warriors in the second quarter at Oracle Arena.
- The NBA Injury Report is a daily piece that runs through the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- There are three key teams with injuries to analyze on Friday night: the Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Washington Wizards.
- This piece will detail the impact of the injuries to LeBron James, Paul George, John Wall and more.
There are 10 games tonight with a lot of injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze three key situations in this piece: the Los Angeles Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers, the Oklahoma City Thunder at Phoenix Suns and the Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards.
Lakers SF LeBron James (groin) is doubtful, PG Rajon Rondo (finger) is out, C JaVale McGee (illness) is TBD.
Injury background: James is likely to miss his second consecutive game in the second leg of a back-to-back after suffering a strained left groin on Christmas.
Rondo is expected to have surgery on his right ring finger and miss one month, while JaVale McGee has no official status after missing the past six games due to pneumonia.
Tonight’s impact: James missed his first game of the season on Thursday, and Josh Hart replaced him in the starting lineup. Ivica Zubac once again drew the start at center but was limited to just 20 minutes, as backup center Tyson Chandler put up a double-double off the bench in 21 minutes.
As expected, a significant portion of the team’s usage ran through Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram. Kuzma produced 48.25 DraftKings points in a team-high 40 minutes with a whopping 35.4% usage rate. Ingram also exceeded his salary-based expectation and continued to hoist up more field goal attempts with James off the court, resulting in a 30.5% usage rate.
With Rondo sidelined, Lonzo Ball narrowly missed a triple-double in 37 minutes. His 57.75 DraftKings points represent his second-highest total of the season, and somehow his salary inexplicably increased just $400 overnight.
In fact, none of the Lakers players saw adequate price hikes, and Friday’s 10-game slate will once again be dominated by Lakers exposure on both DraftKings and FanDuel.
Any concern about lack of recovery time after Thursday’s loss can be alleviated by the Clippers’ lackluster defense: Over the last 10 games, their 117.7 Defensive Rating is the worst in the league by a wide margin.
Thunder SF Paul George (quad) is out.
Injury background: George popped up on the injury report on Thursday with a bruised right quad and has been ruled vs. the Suns on Friday.
Tonight’s impact: George has been one of the most reliable players in the league this season, joining Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard as the only studs to register a 100% Consistency Rating on DraftKings over the last month. Even with his salary continuing to rise, he has recorded a FantasyLabs’ +10.33 DraftKings Plus/Minus in his previous 10 games.
With PG out, Russell Westbrook will likely be a chalky DFS option, and it’s unclear who will move into the starting lineup. Hamidou Diallo, Dennis Schroder or Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot may get extended run. When Paul has been off the court this season, Schroder has led the team with a +9.0% usage rate differential while Westbrook has supplied a team-high 1.54 DraftKings points per minute.
Alex Abrines was unable to practice on Thursday due to an illness and is currently listed out. Abrines’ illness held him out of Wednesday’s loss, and Abdel Nader entered the rotation for 10 minutes off the bench.
The Thunder have immensely suffered with George off the court this season, generating an abysmal 94.4 Offensive Rating in 417.0 minutes. Part of that can be attributed to Westbrook’s horribly inefficient season, during which he has produced a career-worst .481 true shooting percentage.
However, the exceptional matchup is enough to keep Westbrook and Schroder in cash-game consideration, as the Suns currently rank 27th in Defensive Rating this year.
Wizards PG John Wall (heel) is out.
Injury background: Wall has been ruled out vs. the Chicago Bulls with a sore left heel. Markieff Morris (back, neck) has been listed as doubtful, while Bradley Beal (illness) is listed as probable.
Tonight’s impact: From the FantasyLabs news feed:
Beal has been priced down to just $7,800 on DraftKings for today’s contest, which represents a decrease of $400 over the past month and results in a Bargain Rating of 90%.
He’s thrived in three games without Wall this season, averaging 58.08 DraftKings points per game and a 32.0% usage rate. He’s currently projected for 38.5 minutes in our NBA Models, which is the top mark among all SGs on today’s slate.
Trevor Ariza has played at least 36 minutes in four of five games as a member of the Wizards and has averaged 0.86 DraftKings points per minute over the past month. He remains underpriced at just $5,600 on DraftKings and should warrant cash-game consideration.
Jeff Green and Thomas Bryant should also see an increase in minutes if Morris is unable to suit up.