The NBA rebounds from a quiet night Thursday with 10 games on the schedule Friday. With plenty of options to wade through for your Yahoo entry, let’s examine which players to both target and avoid to hopefully put some extra money in your pocket.
Jimmy Butler, MIN at BOS ($43): Butler has been a model of consistency lately, scoring at least 45 Yahoo points in six of his last seven games. His 24.5 percent usage rate ranks inside the top-50 in the NBA, which gives him tremendous value when you also consider he’s averaging 37 minutes per game. The Celtics are a tough defensive team, but Butler’s floor is high enough based on his usage to still warrant consideration Friday.
Ish Smith, DET at PHI ($17): Smith struggled to shoot three-of-10 from the field in his last game Wednesday against the Heat but still managed to finish with 24 Yahoo points. He has the ability to contribute in more than just the scoring column, averaging 5.0 rebounds and 4.3 assists in the three games he has started for Reggie Jackson (ankle). Smith gets to face the Sixers on Friday, who play at the second-fastest pace (103.3 possessions per game) in the league. With added opportunities to produce, Smith could provide excellent value at this price.
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Guard to Avoid
Devin Booker, PHO at SA ($38): Booker normally is someone you want to target for your entry because he is by far the best scoring option on the Suns. The problem is he has to face the Spurs on Friday, a team that allows the fourth-fewest Yahoo points per game (37.1) to opposing shooting guards. Booker only scored 11.6 Yahoo points in a matchup against them earlier this season, so Friday might be one night to avoid him for your entry.
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA vs. PHO ($37): The return of Kawhi Leonard is expected to reduce Aldridge’s usage to an extent, but Leonard has only played at least 30 minutes once since he returned from injury. Aldridge has continued to roll along, scoring at least 41.8 Yahoo points in five of his last six games. The Suns allow the most Yahoo points per game (49) to opposing power forwards, so expect Aldridge to put up big numbers for at least one more game.
Michael Beasley, NY at MIA ($19): Beasley can put up points in a hurry and he’s done just that of late, averaging 19.0 points over his last four games. The Knicks desperately need Beasley’s offense with Tim Hardaway Jr. (leg) out, resulting in him playing at least 25 minutes in three of those four games. Kristaps Porzingis is already talking about how tired he is from trying to carry the offense with Hardaway out, so expect Beasley to continue to see extended minutes. With at least 33.8 Yahoo points in three of his last four games, Beasley is someone to consider Friday.
Forward to Avoid
T.J. Warren, PHO at SA ($32): Warren is the second best scoring threat on the Suns behind Booker, but Friday’s matchup against the Spurs doesn’t do him any favors either. Not only do the Spurs excel at defending the shooting guard position, they also allow the third-fewest Yahoo points per game (36.7) to opposing small forwards. Warren scored only 28.6 Yahoo points against the Spurs in their first meeting this season, so staying away from him Friday might be a wise move.
Dwight Howard, CHA at LAL ($34): Howard’s resurgent season is showing no signs of slowing down, as he has averaged 17.2 points, 12.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks over his last five games. He gets a great matchup Friday with the Lakers allowing the fourth-most Yahoo points per game (51.8) to opposing centers. Considering all three teams that allow more to the position aren’t playing Friday, Howard’s matchup looks even better. Howard scored 21 points to go along with 12 rebounds in his first game against the Lakers this season, making him a great option again in this game.
Jusuf Nurkic, POR vs. ATL ($23): Nurkic had an inconsistent month of December but has righted the ship lately, scoring at least 35.2 Yahoo points in four straight games. One of those games was against these same Hawks, who allow the fifth-most Yahoo points per game (51.4) to opposing centers. The Hawks don’t have much size up front, so look for Nurkic to be a valuable option at a reasonable price.
Center to Avoid
Enes Kanter, NY at MIA ($24): One of the bright spots for the Knicks all season, Kanter has surprisingly played 22 minutes or less in each of the last five games. The Knicks lost four of those games, so it might be only a matter of time before he starts playing more again. Friday’s opponent allows the fifth-fewest Yahoo points per game (47.5) to opposing centers, so this might not be the night to take a chance on Kanter becoming productive again.