This article is part of our DRAFT NBA series.
With a massive, 12-game slate Wednesday, there's plenty to be discussed. Below, I'll highlight some players who are in a particularly good situation to succeed, hopefully helping us cash in our DRAFT contests.
Donovan Mitchell, UTA vs. PHO
With Ricky Rubio ruled out, Mitchell becomes an even better play, though the rookie looks to be in a good position to succeed regardless. Over the past two contests with Rubio sidelined, Mitchell has averaged 43.1 fantasy points on the back of 26.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals. The Suns have been lax in their defense against shooting guards, allowing the most fantasy points to the position on the season (44.6) -- a full 4.9 fantasy points above the Warriors, who allow the second-most. That was revealed during the last time the Jazz and the Suns matched up, as Mitchell posted 40 points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals in 33 minutes (59.0 fantasy points).
DeMar DeRozan, TOR at CHI
The Bulls have allowed the fifth-most fantasy points to shooting guards over the past 10 games, as well as the most fantasy points to small forwards over that span. Though DeRozan starts at shooting guard, he spends 39 percent of his minutes at small forward, making this matchup appealing on both fronts. DeRozan has played well in the teams' three matchups this season, averaging 39.4 fantasy points via 23.3 points, 5.0 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 steals across 33.8 minutes.
Brandon Ingram, LAL at NOP
The Pelicans have played next to no defense since losing DeMarcus Cousins for the season to a ruptured Achilles. In the eight games since, New Orleans is allowing 111.1 points per game, which ranks fourth-worst in the league. That should make for a fast-paced, high-scoring matchup against the Lakers, who come in averaging the 10th-most points (109.4) over the past eight games and just dropped 123 points on the Mavericks in Isaiah Thomas' debut.
While Thomas, himself, makes for an intriguing draft selection and is worthy of consideration, Ingram could fall too far down the draft boards relative to this matchup. Over the past 10 games, the Pelicans have allowed the eighth-most fantasy points to small forwards, including the fifth-most steals. Plus, Ingram is coming into the game hot, averaging a team-high 34.7 fantasy points over the past eight games by way of 18.9 points, 5.4 assists, 5.0 rebounds and a combined 1.2 steals/blocks.
Otto Porter, WAS at NYK
Like the Pelicans, the Knicks have struggled on the defensive end since losing a premier big man. In the three games since Kristaps Porzingis went down with an ACL tear, the Knicks have allowed the seventh-most points per game, as well as the second-worst point differential (-16.3). The Wizards are also missing one of their key pieces, John Wall, which has forced Otto Porter into an expanded role over the past eight contests. Over that span, Porter has posted 18.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists and a combined 1.8 steals/blocks per game (35.8 fantasy points).
Al Horford, BOS vs. LAC
Similar to DeMar DeRozan, Horford is a multi-positional player, spending 65 percent of his minutes at center and 35 percent at power forward. The Clippers have been poor at defending both positions lately, giving up the most fantasy points to power forwards and the 10th-most fantasy points to centers over the past 10 games. Horford is averaging 32.9 fantasy points in 29.7 minutes per contest since Marcus Smart began missing games on Jan. 24 due to a hand injury. Considering his ability to rack up fantasy points in a variety of ways, largely with his passing, Horford has a relatively high floor. The center was absent during the teams' previous matchup, though he dropped 47.0 fantasy points in his one appearance against the Clippers last season.
Myles Turner, IND at BRO
The Nets have faced off against the Pacers three times this season, with Brooklyn failing to develop a strategy to contain Turner at each opportunity. Despite averaging just 29.7 fantasy points on the year, Turner is averaging 44.8 fantasy points against the Nets, while shooting 67.6 percent from the field and swatting 4.0 shots per game. None of this is too surprising, however, considering Brooklyn has allowed the most fantasy points per game to centers this season (as well as over the past 10 games).