The All-Star break is FINALLY over. We were all sick of the daily tilt last week but but by Monday all of us were probably rocking back and forth murmuring to ourselves in our sleep about what shooting guard faces the Orlando Magic next.
(Spoiler alert, the answer is Tim Hardaway).
With so much excitement around the slate tonight, we are going to have more than one NBA article today. Matt will have his normal Plays of the Day article leading up to the slate, but I wanted to add my cash game “Core Four” that I will be building around for the first slate of the back-end of the season.
Here are the players that I recommend building your lineups around for the 2/22 main slate:
Emmanuel Mudiay ($4,600)
After being traded to the Knicks at the deadline, Mudiay has averaged over 20 minutes per game and even posted a double-double in his Knicks debut (14 points, 10 assists vs IND).
On Tuesday, coach Jeff Hornacek said that Mudiay will see more minutes for the remainder of the season. I expect Jarrett Jack to slowly be phased out of the rotation as they go towards a youth movement and a matchup with the Orlando Magic is a perfect starting point.
They rank 4th worst in the NBA against opposing PGs on the season, allowing 40.4 FDP per game. While the departure of Elfrid Payton certainly helps their defense, the fact that Michael Beasley may sit could add some extra usage for Mudiay in this matchup.
Zach LaVine ($7,100)
I’m a huge advocate for taking advantage of under-priced players and this is a prime example.
LaVine has seen his price drop over $1,000 on FanDuel and has a TON working for him in this spot:
- The Bulls are benching Justin Holiday and Robin Lopez and inserting David Nwaba and Christiano Felicio into the lineup, two low-usage players.
- The 76ers rank 7th worst in the NBA against the SG position (38.9 FDP per game allowed)
- LaVine has a 31.6% usage rate on the season
You will virtually never find a player at this price with this much working in favor of them. Take advantage of the smash spot.
David Nwaba ($3,500)
I love pairing LaVine and Nwaba in cash games. Being inserted into the starting lineup, Nwaba is in line for major minutes at minimum price.
As a starter this season, Nwaba has averaged 9 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists, equating to 19 FDP. At 19 FDP alone, he’s already eclipsed 5x value.
Add in the potential peripherals and his per-36 minute averages of 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.2 steals per game and you have my favorite value play on the slate.
Joel Embiid ($10,200)
If you watched the NBA All Star game, you saw that Embiid can compete with anyone in the league, if you haven’t noticed that already. Now, watch him go from defending the best players in the NBA to…the Chicago Bulls.
The Bulls rank 3rd worst in the NBA in DvP against the center position, allowing 36.8 FDP per game to opposing centers. Better yet, Christiano Felicio has been named the starting center for the foreseeable future. Felicio ranks dead last in DRPM amongst qualified centers in the NBA this season. Have a field day, Embiid.
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