This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Defense to Avoid
San Antonio Spurs at Atlanta Hawks
The Spurs are the top defense in the league by a lot, as their 94.4 team defensive rating is almost five points per 100 possessions stingier than the second place defense, the Bulls. The Spurs also play a slow pace of 93.9 possessions per game (sixth slowest in the league) that limits opportunities. On a position-by-position basis, the Spurs are 15th, 2nd, 1st, 4th and 14th at defending PG, SG, SF, PF and C, respectively. Thus, only Jeff Teague and Al Horford have even average opposition to face while the remaining Hawks all face elite defense at their positions.
Offenses to Use
Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers
On a position-by-position basis, the Lakers are 26th, 16th, 28th, 2nd and 29th at defending PG, SG, SF, PF and C, respectively. Outside of a random elite mark against opposing PF, which is the weakest starting position for the Rockets anyway, at every other position the Rockets should take advantage of their Lakers counterparts.
Teams on Back-to-Backs:
First game: None
Second game: Celtics, Hornets, Pistons, Warriors, Pacers, Lakers, Bucks, Pelicans, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Wizards
D'Angelo Russell, LAL at HOU ($4,800): Russell has ramped up his game lately, and on Friday he got the opportunity to play a larger role with Jordan Clarkson out with an ankle injury. The rookie responded by scoring 24 points with six boards, six assists five treys and two steals just a game after he scored 23 points with three assists, three treys and a board with Clarkson in the lineup. Clarkson is questionable for Saturday as well, and the Russell has a great match-up against a Rockets defense that is 28th in the NBA at defending opposing point guards.
Other Suggestions:John Wall, WAS at DAL ($9,300), Derrick Rose, CHI vs. NO ($6,500)
Nick Young, LAL at HOU ($3,400): Young is risky, and not necessarily the BEST value on the board. But there's a legit chance that Kobe Bryant sits Saturday, on the second half of a back-to-back, and, as mentioned, Clarkson might not be available either. Young can fill it up when given the chance, and if he's either starting or playing big sixth-man minutes he's reasonably likely to solidly outproduce his price. Big ifs, though, so check the availability of the regular Lakers perimeter starters before deciding on Young.
Other suggestions:James Harden (best SG in league vs. one of worst defenses, chalk pick), HOU vs. LAL ($10,800), Jimmy Butler, CHI vs. NO ($7,700)
Corey Brewer, HOU vs. LAL ($4,000): This is another pick predicated upon the starter not playing. If Trevor Ariza, who was upgraded to questionable on Friday, is able to play then this recommendation goes away. However, if Ariza sits again Brewer has shown that he is good for at least 30 FPts as the starter (30.25 FPts and 34.75 FPts in the two games that Ariza has missed).
Other Suggestions:Andre Iguodala, GS at MIL ($5,200), Carmelo Anthony, NY at POR ($7,800)
Kristaps Porzingis, NY at POR ($7,600): Porzingis has an excellent matchup Saturday against a terrible Trail Blazers interior defense that is 28th in the NBA in limiting production from power forwards. Porzingis has been a bit more hit-or-miss over the last few games than he had been during his excellent run through November, but he showed signs of life against DeMarcus Cousins on Thursday and should be able to dominant the Portland frontline.
Other Suggestions:Draymond Green, GS at MIL ($8,200), LaMarcus Aldridge, SA at ATL ($6,900)
Pau Gasol, CHI vs. NO ($7,700): Gasol has quietly been playing throwback basketball lately. Over the last 10 days he is averaging 19.8 points, 12.3 boards, 3.5 assists, 3.0 blocks and 1.0 steals for 49.0 FPts/G. On the flip side, the Pelicans have been atrocious defending the paint, 27th in the NBA at limiting production to opposing centers.
Other suggestions:Dwight Howard, HOU vs. LAL ($7,200), Ian Mahinmi, IND at DET ($5,100)
Marcus Smart, BOS (knee)
Mike Dunleavy, CHI (back)
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, CHA (shoulder)
Al Jefferson, CHA (calf)
Brandon Jennings, DET (Achilles)
Jodie Meeks, DET (foot)
Harrison Barnes, GS (ankle)
Myles Turner, IND (finger)
Jerryd Bayless, MIL (ankle)
Greivis Vasquez, MIL (ankle)
Quincy Pondexter, NO (knee)
Chris Kaman, POR (ankle)
Alan Anderson, WAS (ankle)
Nene Hilario, WAS (calf)
Kris Humphries, WAS (ankle)
Drew Gooden, WAS (calf)
Tiago Splitter, ATL (hip)
Mike Scott, ATL (knee)
R.J. Hunter, BOS (hip)
Klay Thompson, GS (ankld)
Trevor Ariza, HOU (back)
Jordan Clarkson, LAL (ankle)
Ryan Anderson, NO (illness)
Kendrick Perkins, NO (pectoral)
Tony Parker, SAS (rested Friday)
Bradley Beal, WAS (leg)