NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Chris Paul, Al Horford and Aaron Gordon Injuries
- The NBA Injury Report is a daily piece that runs through the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- Below I'll detail the impact of the injuries to Chris Paul, Al Horford, Aaron Gordon and more.
There are 11 games tonight with a lot of injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze three key situations in this piece: the Houston Rockets at the San Antonio Spurs, the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Boston Celtics and the Orlando Magic at the Phoenix Suns.
Rockets PG Chris Paul (leg), SG Gerald Green (ankle) are questionable.
Injury background: Once again, Paul and Green are listed questionable for Friday’s game vs. the Spurs. Paul has missed the previous three games with a sore leg, while Green has been held out of the past two games due to a sore ankle. Nene has been upgraded to questionable and could be available to make his season debut after dealing with a strained calf.
Tonight’s impact: Fortunately, we can project the rotational effects of Paul’s absence with confidence from the recent sample. Eric Gordon will almost certainly remain in the starting lineup if Paul is unable to suit up, and he has averaged 36.33 DraftKings points in 38.7 minutes per game.
James Harden has been electrifying over the last three games without Paul and Carmelo Anthony. He has predictably led the team with a +3.9% usage rate increase while averaging a massive 71.83 DraftKings points. However, in his prior matchup against the Spurs this season, he was held to just 7-for-27 shooting from the field.
With Green absent, Danuel House logged 23 minutes off the bench on Wednesday and exceeded his salary-based expectation. Nene likely won’t be a large part of the rotation, but Isaiah Hartenstein could see his playing time take a hit if Nene is able to suit up.
Lastly, Clint Capela joins Harden and Gordon as exciting options and has recorded a FantasyLabs +8.65 DraftKings Plus/Minus over his last 10 games.
The Spurs are currently favored by one point, but the Rockets have dropped four straight and have now seen their Defensive Rating dip 8.4 points without Paul on the court this season.
Celtics C Al Horford (rest), SG Jaylen Brown (back) are out.
Injury background: The Celtics are opting to rest Horford on Friday in the first leg of a back-to-back. Brown is dealing with a bruised lower back that will sideline him for the second consecutive game. Gordon Hayward wasn’t listed on the injury report but could be a candidate to rest on Saturday in the second leg.
Tonight’s impact: Marcus Smart drew the start in place of Brown on Monday and led the team with 40 minutes. He was wearing a starter’s jersey in practice on Thursday, indicating that he will remain in the starting lineup on Friday. Despite his increased playing time as a starter, his 9.5% usage rate limited his upside, as he averaged just 0.57 DraftKings points per minute.
Horford recently missed a game due to a sore knee and Aron Baynes replaced him in the starting lineup, producing 34.75 DraftKings points in 23 minutes. Baynes costs the minimum on FanDuel at $3,500, making him a valuable option on Friday’s 11-game slate.
Kyrie Irving exploded for 58.25 DraftKings points on Monday and posted his second-highest usage rate of the season at 37.3%. He’s been outstanding over his past 10 games, averaging a FantasyLabs DraftKings Plus/Minus of +8.78 and has averaged 1.41 DraftKings points per minute over the past month.
He’ll draw an exceptional matchup against a Cavs team that ranks dead last in Defensive Rating this season, but the Celtics are currently favored by a whopping 12 points.
Magic PF Aaron Gordon (back) is questionable.
Injury background: Gordon is dealing with a tight lower back and was ultimately ruled out of Wednesday’s loss after being a game-time decision. He is hopeful to return Friday, and coach Steve Clifford stated that Gordon looked better on Thursday but was still a little stiff.
Tonight’s impact: Jonathan Isaac entered the starting lineup in place of Gordon and exceeded his salary-based expectation with 28.75 DraftKings points in 30 minutes. His price increased by $700 on DraftKings, but he still carries an 86% Bargain Rating and will remain an affordable option if Gordon is unable to suit up.
Clifford let his bench play a bit more than usual in Wednesday’s loss, and Nikola Vucevic was limited to 29 minutes despite the game being close. Evan Fournier was the only starter to exceed 30 minutes, while Terrence Ross logged 26 minutes off the bench.
The minutes volatility could lead to reduced ownership in tournaments on Friday. The Magic are currently one-point favorites in a positive matchup against the Suns, and Vucevic has led the team with a 27.7% usage rate in two games without Gordon this season. The center position is absolutely loaded, but Vucevic should feast on the subpar defense of opposing big man Deandre Ayton.