NBA Injury Report: Betting, DFS Impact of Devin Booker, Luka Doncic Injuries
- 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 Tuesday night: the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks.
- Below I'll detail the impact of the injuries to Devin Booker, Luka Doncic and more.
There are five games tonight with a lot of injuries and questionable players. We’ll analyze two key situations in this piece: the Sacramento Kings at Phoenix Suns and the Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks.
Injuries: Devin Booker (hamstring) is out. T.J. Warren (ankle) is doubtful.
Injury background: Booker aggravated his left hamstring during the first half of Sunday’s loss, and he confirmed after Monday’s practice he doesn’t have a timetable for a return. He originally strained his hamstring in October and missed three games.
Warren is dealing with a sore right ankle and missed the previous two games. Coach Igor Kokoskov characterized Warren’s chances of playing against the Kings as “slim.”
Tonight’s impact: Booker and Warren lead the Suns in scoring and field goal attempts. Booker has been the primary playmaker this season and has produced team-highs in assists (6.7) and assist rate (31.8%).
In the four games Booker missed this year, the Suns scored 96, 110, 90 and 85 points. They also scored 96 points on Sunday with Booker limited to 17 minutes. The Suns opened with an implied total of 110.25 points, a mark which has dipped to only 108.75 as of Tuesday morning.
When Booker, Warren, Isaiah Canaan (waived) and Tyson Chandler (waived) have been off the court this season, the Suns have mustered an 88.1 Offensive Rating and 116.2 Defensive Rating, per Cleaning the Glass.
Richaun Holmes (1.05) has been the only rotation player to average more than 1.0 DraftKings points per minute, and Josh Jackson has crafted a team-high 29.8% usage rate, per the NBA On/Off tool.
Jackson and Elie Okobo have been the primary replacements in the starting lineup when Booker and Warren have been unavailable, and Trevor Ariza has shifted up to power forward.
In the four games Booker missed, Okobo averaged 22.81 DraftKings points in 26.5 minutes per start. Jamal Crawford and Ryan Anderson were both in the rotation in the recent game Booker and Warren missed, and Crawford was one of four Suns to play at least 30 minutes. Jackson attempted 21 shots in that game, but he made only five.
Okobo costs a season-high $4,400 on DraftKings and $4,700 on FanDuel. While his minutes should be solid as he competes with fellow second-round rookie De’Anthony Melton for point guard duties, Okobo will have to fend off Jackson and Crawford for touches.
Even as the nominal point guard, he doesn’t possess the same ceiling as Jackson, who has been priced up to a season-high $5,300 on DraftKings. Neither has displayed enough consistency to safely target in cash games.
Deandre Ayton’s salary has decreased to $6,500 on DraftKings after three straight games posting less than 30.0 DraftKings points. The Kings are one of five teams that have allowed a top-10 shot frequency and efficiency at the rim, and they are also one of five teams ranked in the bottom 10 in offensive and defensive rebound rate.
Ayton has converted 75% of his shots in the restricted area, and in three previous games against teams allowing at least 65% conversion around the rim, Ayton has averaged 47.58 DraftKings points.
The Suns will benefit from a pace perspective, as the Kings rank second in possessions per game. Conversely, the Kings will face a deplorable defense and one of the worst rebounding teams that will likely roll out Ariza and maybe Anderson at power forward.
The Kings rank near the top of the league in points in the paint and first overall in fast break points per game. The Suns have allowed the most fast break points and points in the paint per game this season.
Former Sun Bogdan Bogdanovic has been exquisite as a primary playmaker off the bench, eclipsing 30.0 DraftKings points in four of the last five games in which his minutes were no longer restricted. In what projects to be a high-scoring affair, Bogdanovic could be a nice value against the Suns’ second unit if Iman Shumpert continues to start ahead of Bogdanovic.
Injuries: Luka Doncic (hip), Dennis Smith Jr. (wrist, tooth), J.J. Barea (mouth), Maxi Kleber (knee), Dwight Powell (knee) and Salah Mejri (knee) are questionable.
Injury background: Doncic missed Sunday’s win due to a strained right hip. After practice Monday, coach Rick Carlisle said, “He’s doing better. I don’t think it’s 100% that he’s going to play, but it looks like he’s doing fine.”
Smith has dealt with a sprained shooting wrist for the past two weeks, and during Sunday’s game, he had a tooth knocked out. He missed practice to undergo a root canal, and he appears closer to probable.
Barea was inadvertently smacked in the face on Sunday by Avery Bradley and sustained a mouth laceration. He’s listed as questionable, but that seems extreme considering Barea didn’t miss any action after getting the laceration sealed. Barea had a similar incident last season and didn’t miss the following game.
Kleber sat the previous two games due to a sore right knee, and Carlisle wasn’t sure that Kleber would be ready for the Blazers tonight following Monday’s practice.
Powell recently missed three games with a left knee effusion, and he was listed questionable in the subsequent four games. He hasn’t played more than 19 minutes in any of the last three games as the backup center.
Mejri sat one game this season due to an illness, and he’s currently dealing with a sore right knee.
Tonight’s impact: Since Smith first showed up on the injury report with a sprained wrist, he’s converted 14-of-32 shots and posted a usage rate less than 17% in three of four games. Before the wrist hindered him, he ranked second on the team in usage (25.3%) behind Doncic. Over the last five games, four of which Smith played, Barea has led the Mavs with a 27.3% usage rate and 50% assist rate.
Dorian Finney-Smith has been the primary replacement in the starting lineup when Doncic or Smith have been unavailable, and he’s averaged 33.2 minutes per start compared to 22.2 minutes per game as a reserve.
If Doncic and Smith are cleared to play without restrictions, not much in the rotation will change. If either starter can’t play, look for Finney-Smith to start and Barea, if cleared, to continue to be instrumental off the bench.
If Doncic can’t go, expect the offense to flow through Harrison Barnes as it did on Sunday. Barnes attempted a career-high 28 shots in 38 minutes. His 82 touches obliterated his season-average of 47.9 — the fifth-highest mark on the Mavs.
Carlisle shrunk his rotation to eight during the second half of Sunday’s win. Since the Mavs are playing on the front end of a back-to-back, it’s possible he could expand his rotation if multiple players are ruled out to feature Jalen Brunson or Mejri, who may get minutes only if Powell doesn’t play.
Mejri has played nine total minutes in the last two games sans Kleber, who is the primary backup power forward, and in the three games Powell missed earlier, Mejri picked up a DNP-CD while playing 17 and eight minutes in the other two.
In nine career games Mejri has played against the Blazers, he’s averaged a career-high 21.94 DraftKings points in career-high 21.4 minutes per game. It’s the one matchup he’s received rotation-level minutes, but as the third-string center, he’ll be limited to a punt if Powell is ruled out.
Smith averaged 42.0 DraftKings points in three games against the Blazers last season, and Wesley Matthews has exceeded 30 FanDuel points in six of nine career games against his former team.
The Blazers have conceded 113.4 points per 100 possessions since the beginning of November, the third-highest mark in the NBA over that span. And over the last 10 games, the Blazers’ Defensive Rating has dropped to 119.3.
Their defense has forced inefficient shots over that stretch, but their opponents have connected on a league-high 44.6% of their 3-point attempts and 44.4% of their mid-range shots — the sixth-highest mark.
The Mavs are 1.5-point favorites at home, where they are 9-2 this season and have ranked eighth with a +6.6 Net Rating since Barnes made his season debut.