Welcome to “5 Stats to Know.” This NBA DFS article will come every day, Monday through Friday, provided by yours truly, to help you gain a quantitative edge on the rest of the field when identifying core plays.
The format of this article is simple. I will provide five stats that stuck out to me when diving into the day’s NBA slate. These could be derived from FTN’s suite of tools (Advanced DvP, NBA On/Off Splits) or from the NBA’s extensive library of statistics.
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Now, onto the noteworthy numbers for the slate at hand.
Kevin Durant, PF, Brooklyn Nets (vs. MIA)
With both Kyrie Irving and James Harden off the court this season, Kevin Durant has averaged 1.61 DraftKings points per minute
There’s likely going to be a lot of hesitation from the masses when looking at Durant given that it’s his first game back in more than a month. This, however, is the perfect time to buy in. The Nets cannot afford to keep losing games, as they’re staring at the play-in tournament with a potentially tough first-round matchup against the likes of the Heat, Bulls or Bucks. Because of this, I think there’s a strong likelihood that Durant is a full go. In that case, his 36.0% usage rate and 37.9% assist rate operate as elite indicators of his potential production against the Heat. At what should be relatively lower ownership, Durant is a very strong tournament play despite the difficult matchup.
Jayson Tatum, SF/PF, Boston Celtics (vs MEM)
In 14 games without Jaylen Brown this season, Jayson Tatum has posted a 34.29% usage rate
After Brown exited the Celtics last game and failed to return, he’s officially been ruled out of Thursday’s contest against the Grizzlies. This should give Tatum a monopoly over this offensive attack, as he’s averaged just under 30 points per game (29.64) without Brown this season, adding 8.79 rebounds and 3.43 assists per game. The Grizzlies have been a sneaky-good matchup to attack all season given that they rank No. 8 in the NBA in pace (100.08), giving Tatum the potential to explode without Brown Thursday.
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, Atlanta Hawks (vs. CHI)
In 236.7 minutes without Trae Young and John Collins on the court this season, Bogdan Bogdanovic has posted a 27.2% usage rate and 1.25 DraftKings points per minute
Collins has already been ruled out and Young came in as a mid-day downgrade, currently listed as a game-time decision ahead of the Hawks game on with the Bulls. Given the trend that mid-day downgrades are typically bad signs, Bogdanovic could be slated for a massive amount of production on Thursday. He’s added a 24.5% assist rate (leads the team) with these two off the floor and without both Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, the Bulls are rather short of elite perimeter defenders. For someone who should see a lot of time as the primary ball-handler (if Young is ruled out) that’s currently in great form, Bogdanovic comes in as a great mid-tier play at only $6,000 on DraftKings.
De’Aaron Fox, PG, Sacramento Kings (@ SAS)
Since Tyrese Haliburton was traded to the Pacers, De'Aaron Fox has averaged 26.8 points, 5.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game
Fox has looked like the budding star that Sacramento believes he is, posting a 29.6% usage rate and 1.14 DraftKings points per minute over that span. He’s experienced a slight uptick in touches, averaging 7.1 more touches per game (86.0 compared to 78.9 prior to the trade) while leading the Kings in minutes per game (37.5). While there’s the understanding that Dejounte Murray is an exceptional defender, the Spurs as a collective group, are not so great. They rank in the bottom six of the NBA against all three of Fox’s player archetypes — primary ball-handler (28th), scorer (28th) and crafty finisher (25th). Both point guards in this game are elite plays, but the discount on Fox is difficult to ignore.
Jakob Poeltl, C, San Antonio Spurs (vs. SAC)
In a similar vein, Jakob Poeltl has averaged 1.28 DraftKings points per minute since the trade deadline
Not only has his per-minute production improved, but Poeltl has seen a nice uptick in minutes, going from averaging under 29 minutes per game to averaging 32.0 per game since the deadline. With the departures of both Thaddeus Young and Drew Eubanks, Poeltl has been trusted to anchor this frontcourt and he hasn’t disappointed. Over that span, he’s averaged 16.0 points and 10.5 rebounds per game while posting three straight double-doubles. He’s been a legitimate triple-double threat, posting a 28/11/8 stat line in a recent overtime win against the Wizards and posts a 17.9% rebounding rate and 17.0% assist rate, second to only Dejounte Murray on the Spurs. The Kings are an incredibly exploitable matchup for centers, giving Poeltl another massive ceiling. Pairing Poeltl with De'Aaron Fox as a mini game-stack on this slate is one of my favorite ways to start my single-entry build.