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NBA Daily Games Cheat Sheet: Saturday

Michael Chua

Michael Chua

Michael Chua is a basketball statistics expert from the Philippines. He has worked as a student manager for the University of Wisconsin Men's basketball team. He is also the basketball program consultant for his high school alma mater, Shanghai American School, in China.

TEAM ANALYSIS

Defenses to Avoid
Washington Wizards at Milwaukee Bucks: Just as the Pacers are the default when I'm writing up defenses to avoid, the Bucks have filled the bill as a team to stay away from. After placing them on this list just last night, we experienced a game that had notable lines from quite a few players—the most worthy of mention Jeff Adrien, posting 20 points (5-8 FG, 10-11 FT), 10 rebounds, two assists, one steal, and three blocks. Did I predict that the man averaging 3.8 points and 4.7 rebounds a game would go off for an efficient double-double? No. Did I think that O.J. Mayo would eventually purge his body clean of his epic illness? No. Is Nate Wolters going to dish out 23 assists tonight, and is Miroslav Raduljica going to rack up a double-double with rebounds and blocks? I don't know. But one thing's for sure--I'm not spending a buck to find out.

Offenses to Use
Utah Jazz at Philadelphia 76ers: Two tanking teams face off Saturday in a matchup that will be lacking in defensive grit. The Sixers have stumbled fifteen straight games, giving up an average of 115.4 points per game. Meanwhile, the Jazz have been riding on a sour note for five straight contests, including a loss to the lowly Milwaukee Bucks in a game that saw Ersan Ilyasova explode for 31 points on 13-for-14 shooting from the field. Each team is stacked with inexpensive options who have the potential to produce a fine tune of harmonic fantasy lines that could calm some storms in what seems to be a shipwreck of a season for both parties. Let the night get Younger, together with my childish sense of humor, which apparently chuckles at the face of danger in a dynamite matchup ready to blow your Saturday evening.

Teams on a Back-to-Back Set
First game of a back-to-back: None
Second game of a back-to-back: Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Bobcats, Cleveland Cavaliers, Memphis Grizzlies, Milwaukee Bucks, New York Knicks, Utah Jazz

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Point Guard
Michael Carter-Williams, PHI (vs. UTA), PG ($7,800): Carter-Williams hasn't played with the same confidence ever since Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes left town, and it shows in his recent play. He's averaging 14.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists, and 1.6 steals over his last five games. We've seen his price tag higher, and his potential is undoubtedly better than how he's been playing of late. Perhaps being matched up against fellow Rookie of the Year candidate Trey Burke will help him step up his game.

Other suggestions: Kyrie Irving (vs. NYK), PG/SG ($9,100), Mike Conley (vs. CHA), PG ($6,900), Trey Burke (at PHI), PG ($5,800)

Shooting Guard
Dion Waiters, CLE (vs. NYK), SG ($4,400): Waiters is back from his seven-game absence with a hyperextended knee, and he's serving it hot from all corners. He's averaging 21.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 three-pointers made over his last two, and I'm still waiting for him to spill the milk on the d-O-nut. Saturday night will see him match up against J.R. Smith and the Knicks, who give up 24.2 points (worst), 3.2 three-pointers made (second-worst), and 48.4 percent FG (worst) per game to opposing eligible shooting guards. Will he bring glory to the kitchens, or will he succumb to the craft and grit of the hammer and anvil?

Other suggestions: Arron Afflalo (at SAS) SG/SF ($6,400), J.R. Smith (at CLE) SG/SF ($5,300), James Anderson (vs. UTA) SG/SF ($4,400)

Small Forward
DeMarre Carroll, ATL (at LAC), SF/PF ($5,100): Carroll put on quite a show in February, averaging 15.3 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.9 three-pointers a game. Unfortunately, he has yet to find his rhythm in March, hitting the 10-point mark just once in three games. Saturday's selection of small forwards is rather limited, and one could consider cutting costs at the three. With a modest price tag, consider Carroll a possibility for value play.

Other suggestions: Gordon Hayward (at PHI), SG/SF ($7,500), Trevor Ariza (at MIL), SG/SF ($7,000), Matt Barnes (vs. ATL), SF ($5,700)

Power Forward
Thaddeus Young, PHI (vs. UTA), SF/PF ($7,500): I wrote about Young last week and stated I'd keep riding him until his price tag reached the mid-$8,000's. Little did I know he'd be dwarfed to $7,500 because of just one poor six-point dud. I won't buy his poor game for a minute, as he picked up five personal fouls against the Thunder, who apparently won the game over the first twelve minutes. Young has been excellent ever since the trade deadline—averaging 24.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 4.0 steals, and 1.6 three-pointers made in five games (excluding the aforementioned six-point performance). He's not a lock to keep those numbers up, though his price tag is certainly worth his upside.

Other suggestions: Blake Griffin (vs. ATL), PF/C ($9,400), Paul Millsap (at LAC), PF/C ($8,600), Josh McRoberts (at MEM), PF/C ($4,500)

Center
Al Jefferson, CHA (at MEM), PF/C ($9,000): Jefferson has been on a rampage of late, averaging 31.3 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.3 blocks over his last four games. There are no signs of him slowing down, as Jefferson has gone 56-for-83 (67.5 percent) from the field during that span. With a price tag of $9,000, Jefferson's performance of late is worth buying at a high price. Consider him among other solid options on a night with a strong selection at the center spot.

Other suggestions: DeAndre Jordan (vs. ATL), C ($7,600), Spencer Hawes (vs. NYK), PF/C ($7,100), Marcin Gortat (at MIL), C ($6,800)

INJURY REPORT

Out
J.J. Redick (back) is still without a timetable to return.
Gerald Henderson (calf) is expected to remain out this week.
Andrea Bargnani (elbow) is still without a timetable to return.
Kenyon Martin (ankle) is still without a timetable to return.
Larry Sanders (eye) will miss at least three more weeks.
Nene Hilario (knee) will miss two-to-four more weeks.
Kevin Seraphin (knee) will not play Saturday.

Game-Time Decision
Victor Oladipo (ankle) is a game-time decision Saturday.
Jameer Nelson (illness) is a game-time decision Saturday.
C.J. Miles (ankle) is questionable to play Saturday.
Ekpe Udoh (ankle) is questionable to play Saturday.
Anderson Varejao (back) is doubtful to play Saturday.
Jamal Crawford (calf) is questionable to play Saturday.
Martell Webster (back) is expected to play Saturday.