Wednesday’s fantasy basketball Showdown contests feature two NBA games: Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET) and Phoenix Suns at Golden State Warriors (10:30 p.m. ET). This article will focus on the late game. The Warriors are 5-point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook in a game that has been given a total points of 228.5, one of the higher point totals on DraftKings Sportsbook for Wednesday’s NBA slate.
Willie-Cauley Stein (foot) is listed as probable and is expected to make his season debut for the Warriors, while Kevon Looney (hamstring) and Jacob Evans (adductor) are both listed as out. Alec Burks (ankle) is also listed as probable for Golden State. Deandre Ayton remains out for the Suns due to a suspension.
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Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
— The Warriors have failed to cover the spread in 10 of their past 11 games following a road win.
— Each of the Warriors’ past five night games against Pacific Division opponents have gone OVER the total points line.
— The Warriors have won 18 of their past 19 games against the Suns.
— Dario Saric has scored 13+ points in six of his past seven appearances against the Warriors.
— Stephen Curry has scored 27 points or less in eight of his past nine regular season appearances.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
The Warriors, who have been thin at center due to injuries to Kevon Looney and Willie Cauley-Stein ($6,400), have been getting destroyed at the basket. The Warriors are allowing opponents to shoot an obscene 77.5% on shots within five feet of the basket, easily the worst mark in the league through the early part of the season. No other team has allowed opponents to shoot more than 70% in that zone. While Looney is expected to remain out Wednesday, Cauley-Stein is expected to make his season debut, which should help slow the bleeding at the rim to some degree. However, the Sacramento Kings — who Cauley-Stein started 81 games for last season — did not have good basket protection numbers last season, allowing the fourth worst FG% on shots within five feet of the basket. Cauley-Stein’s individual numbers on shots within that zone also did not rank well among centers, so Golden State’s issues protecting the rim could continue to be a problem until Looney is able to return.
In part due to the Warriors’ foul basket protection, they have posted the worst possession-adjusted team defense numbers in the league to this point, allowing 120 points per 100 possessions. Golden State’s fast pace, which ranks sixth, has it allowing 128 points per game to opponents, tied for worst in the league. Golden State’s defensive issues also can be attributed in part to replacing stud wing defender Klay Thompson (out; knee) with D’Angelo Russell, who is a below-average defender. The Warriors’ perimeter defense has taken a hit in terms of 3-point shot quality, allowing the seventh most wide-open 3s per game based on the league’s player tracking system, which measures the closest defender to the shooter.
The Warriors’ defensive issues makes Suns players appealing fantasy options. Devin Booker ($11,000) and Kelly Oubre ($8,000) lead the Suns in shots within five feet of the basket in a small sample to start the season. Booker is Phoenix’s most heavily used player, posting a 28% usage rate and has taken 29% of the Suns’ field goal attempts, the highest on the team. Oubre is second on the Suns in usage rate at 24%, and Booker and Oubre also rank first and second, respectively, in total minutes played. Each represents the most appealing fantasy options for the Suns. Ricky Rubio ($8,800) also carries significant fantasy value with his passing. Rubio leads the Suns in potential assists created with 14 per game, a boost from 11 potential assists created per game with the Jazz last season. Booker is second on the Suns in potential assists created with 10.
With Deandre Ayton (suspension) sidelined, Aron Baynes ($5,600) has been starting at center for the Suns, playing 24.5 minutes per game in starts with the Suns, a boost from 19 minutes per start with the Celtics last season. Baynes is a strong interior defender and the Suns have benefited from his presence, holding opponents to the fifth lowest field goal percentage on shots within five feet of the basket this season, a boost from a below average mark last season. Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky ($7,200) also has seen an expanded role with Ayton sidelined, averaging about 32 minutes and 33 DKFP per game in that timeframe. Dario Saric ($6,400), Tyler Johnson ($3,000) and Jevon Carter ($3,800) also have been getting rotation minutes.
The Suns, who were the league’s second worst defense on a possession-adjusted basis last season, have posted dramatically better defensive numbers in a small sample to start 2019-20. The Suns rank sixth best in possession-adjusted team defense, allowing just 99 points per 100 possessions and holding opponents to the 10th fewest points per game. The Suns also have been strong at preventing quality looks from deep, allowing the fifth fewest wide-open 3s per game based on the league’s player tracking system, which measures the closest defender to the shooter. The Suns’ improved team defense — although in a small sample — is worth considering when choosing Warriors players.
The Warriors started a very small lineup in their most recent game, starting Draymond Green ($10,000) at center and inserting Jordan Poole ($1,800) into the starting lineup. Marquese Chriss ($4,000) had started the Warriors’ game prior to that at center with Looney out. With Cauley-Stein expected to play, he is a candidate to start at center, along with Green, Glenn Robinson ($4,800), D’Angelo Russell ($11,200) and Stephen Curry ($12,800). Curry is obviously the most appealing fantasy player on Golden State. He leads the team in both usage rate (29%) and total minutes, and he has taken a team-high 28% of the Warriors’ field goal attempts. Curry also has been the Warriors’ top facilitator, leading the team in potential assists created per game (12) and passes per game (57). Russell is second on the Warriors in minutes and usage rate (25%), and Green ranks third in minutes. Green ranks second on the Warriors in facilitating with 10 potential assists created per game.
THE OUTCOMEBooker ($16,500 CP), Oubre ($12,000 CP) and Rubio ($13,200 CP) are appealing Captain’s Pick options for the Suns given the Warriors’ defensive issues, while Curry’s ($19,200) volume in the Warriors’ offense and ability to get white-hot from 3 makes him a Captain’s Pick option.
The Warriors have been playing poorly, but they are getting a little healthier with Cauley-Stein returning and have a matchup at home, which has made them 5-point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook. That said, their defensive issues have been such an abomination, and the Suns already have a high quality win this season over the Clippers, who they dropped 130 points on. Phoenix could be in position for an upset in this matchup given the Warriors’ problems preventing points.
Final score: Suns 120, Warriors 117
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