This is more like it. After a prolonged NBA All-Star break halted by a mini two-game slate on Thursday night, The Association returns to full strength with a packed 13-game schedule.
Not only must daily gamers kick off the rust following a week on the sidelines, they must adjust to a radically altered landscape. The chaotic trade deadline featured several impact deals presenting substantial challenges and opportunities for Friday night.
Beware rushing new acquisitions into the lineup, as many will not suit up immediately. These changes, however, create ripple effects in analyzing a deep player pool.
|DraftKings Lineup for Friday, Feb. 20|
|PG||Derrick Rose, CHI||@ DET||$7,900|
|SG||Eric Bledsoe, PHO||@ MIN||$8,000|
|SF||Danilo Gallinari, DEN||@ MIL||$3,800|
|PF||Pau Gasol, CHI||@ DET||$9,700|
|C||Hassan Whiteside, MIA||@ NY||$7,600|
|G||George Hill, IND||@ PHI||$5,200|
|F||Solomon Hill, IND||@ PHI||$3,300|
|UTIL||Rudy Gobert, UTA||vs. POR||$4,500|
|Prices via DraftKings.com|
PG George Hill, Indiana Pacers ($5,200)
If the Philadelphia 76ers weren't already enough of a mess, they placed the current roster in more peril by exchanging Michael Carter-Williams and K.J McDaniels. George Hill gets to pick apart the scraps.
Already leading the NBA is turnovers and assists allowed, Philadelphia is even more depleted on the heels of more deadline maneuvering. It's perfect timing for Hill, who sprinted to the break after recovering from a groin injury.
|George Hill's Last Five Games (Averages)|
Matchup aside, that production justifies the cost for a mid-tier guard quietly churning out high-quality work. After initially coddling Hill back into duty, Frank Vogel confirmed, via the team's Twitter page, that there's no more restriction on his starter's playing time.
As the 76ers struggle to jam new pieces together, Hill will exploit the dysfunction with a night full of ample points, assists and steals.
SG Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix Suns ($8,000)
A three-guard system only has one survivor after the trade deadline. Those sound like good odds for Eric Bledsoe to keep rolling for the Phoenix Suns.
Shooing away Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas isn't a slam dunk to help the star shooting guard's value. As noted by Basketball-Reference's Twitter page, he performed better with Dragic as his running mate.
Yet their absence means more minutes for Bledsoe, who has morphed into an elite 2-guard option by recording a balanced 17.2 points, 5.2 assists, 5.9 rebounds and 1.7 steals per contest. Transactions aside, only the 76ers yielded more DraftKings points to opposing shooting guards than the Minnesota Timberwolves before the break.
Don't worry about Kevin Garnett returning to howl some energy into Minnesota's bottom-rated defense. According to the team's PR department, he won't come back until Wednesday, when he'll square off against Paul Pierce's Washington Wizards.
Whether or not Brandon Knight debuts as his partner in crime, expect Bledsoe to enjoy a high-volume scoring bonanza while assuming a larger role as Phoenix's clear top option.
SF Danilo Gallinari, Denver Nuggets ($3,800)
Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw wasted little time revealing the main benefactor from Thursday's Arron Afflalo trade. He told the Denver Post's Mark Kiszla that Danilo Gallinari will slide into the starting lineup at shooting guard.
"Give him an opportunity as a starter, as least for now, to see what that looks like and see if that helps his confidence and his timing," Shaw said.
A once-potent scorer before suffering a knee injury two years ago, the 26-year-old has scored 8.2 points per game. Most concerning of all, he's shooting a putrid 29.6 percent from behind the arc, once his specialty.
This is simply a matter of opportunity at a low price. At $3,800, he'll get starter minutes against the Milwaukee Bucks, who allow 21.5 points per game to shooting guards, per 82games.com. Take a low-risk, high-reward flier on Shaw's gambit paying off.
PF Pau Gasol, Chicago Bulls ($9,700)
There are no changes to monitor with the Chicago Bulls, and there's certainly no bargain to be had with Pau Gasol's hefty $9,700 asking price. Yet other value plays clear up cap space for a stud, and Gasol fits the bill.
Riding an active streak of 15 consecutive double-doubles, there isn't a safer bet in town than the soaring power forward, who has netted at least 40 DraftKings points in each of his last 10 games.
Playing a 34-year-old big man 35.1 minutes per night will not end well, but enjoy the ride for now. On a hectic night bound to cause some surprises, rest easy knowing Gasol will deliver.
C Rudy Gobert, Utah Jazz ($4,500)
Rody Gobert slumped into the break, averaging 18.7 DraftKings points through his last three contests. Then he dominated the Rising Stars Challenge (18 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks) and watched Enes Kanter get shipped to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Think he's ready for the opportunity to start down low for the Utah Jazz?
When the 22-year-old center plays, he produces. He averaged 23.0 DraftKings points per game despite logging just 21.5 minutes, ranking No. 19 with a 21.6 player efficiency rating (PER). Take a look at how he has fared in eight starts this season.
|Rudy Gobert: Averages When Starting|
Anthony Davis leads the league with 2.7 blocks per game. Gobert notches 3.9 of them per bout when starting, which falls in line with his 3.6 swats per 36 minutes. When given 33 minutes against the Portland Trail Blazers on Feb. 3, he registered seven points, 15 boards and two blocks for 32.75 DraftKings points.
That output amounts to a splendid $137.40 cost per point under his current discounted $4,500 set before the Kanter trade. He's capable of producing more in their rematch.
Advanced statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.