Welcome back to another week of the NBA player props forecast!
Last week we crushed with some of our lookahead betting spots, especially looking at Nic Claxton and Jackson Jr. blocking everything in sight.
Today, we’re sticking with that theme of big men, but we’re looking at three players who have not been on the court in recent games.
Let’s break down their impact.
NBA Player Props Forecast
Mitchell Robinson Is the Knicks’ Defense
The New York Knicks announced Thursday that Mitchell Robinson had successful surgery on his fractured right thumb and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
Robinson is having an excellent season for the Knicks — he has the best point differential on the team (+11.2) while averaging 7.2 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. His impact has been felt on both sides of the court and is greater than many would perceive.
Without Robinson, the Knicks are turning to Jericho Sims to fill the starting role. In 10 games without Robinson this season, Sims is averaging 21.1 minutes and recording 7.0 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks; however, the numbers are shaded down a bit with two performances of just three and eight minutes. He has scored double-digit points four times and at least eight rebounds in four games as well.
The bigger issue for New York is that neither Sims nor Isaiah Hartenstein, their other backup center, is capable of filling in Robinson’s shoes. The Knicks are giving up a whopping 119.8 points per game without Robinson — their defense is suffering without their best defensive player and rim protector. The Knicks have a brutal schedule this week too, with matchups against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Boston Celtics, and Brooklyn Nets.
I expect those teams to get into the paint with ease. The Cavs should dominate on the glass with both Mobley and Allen, while I think Jaylen Brown should benefit the most for Boston. Look to bet on overs for opposing players who like to attack the rim because, as Clyde Frazier says, the “matador D” from the Knicks won’t cut it.
Anthony Davis’ Looming Return
The Los Angeles Lakers have leaned heavily on LeBron James without Anthony Davis, but there is optimism that Davis can return at the end of this week after missing over a month with a stress injury in his foot.
Davis has been sidelined for 19 games and the Lakers have treaded water, they are 10-9 without him and are just one loss behind the sixth-seeded Clippers.
Is now a time for them to make a run?
The Lakers’ remaining opponents have a combined winning percentage of .499, and now they will likely have their dynamic big man back at some capacity. This season, Davis is averaging 27.4 points, 12.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.1 blocks per game with a +5.5 point differential on the season. His return will be a welcome boost for this lineup.
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While LeBron James approaches history, he has been relied upon to keep this Lakers team afloat. His splits with and without Davis are stark:
- With Davis: 19 Games, 25.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 6.6 assists
- Without Davis: 18 Games, 33.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists
It will be interesting to see where his points line is set upon Davis’ return, but it had settled around 26.5 prior to his injury while Davis’ points line was similarly listed at 27.5. What I’m most curious about though is what the Lakers will do with Thomas Bryant who has filled in admirably in Davis’ stead.
Here are his splits:
- With Davis: 12 Games, 13.5 minutes, 8.9 Points, 4.2 Rebounds, 72% FG%
- Without Davis: 21 Games, 27.2 Minutes, 15.2 Points, 9.0 rebounds, 62% FG%
Considering it has been Davis’ preference to play the forward rather than center, I’m curious to see if the Lakers try and play them together. They have played just 29 possessions together, but those have been promising with a +41.4 Point differential, per Cleaning the Glass.
If they did play more minutes alongside each other, I would expect both James and Davis to see a decrease in their rebounding output moving forward.
Will Nikola Jokic Miss More Time?
This coming week, the Nuggets have a road back-to-back with matchups against the Pelicans on Tuesday and the Bucks on Wednesday. Given the injury, I’m curious to see whether Jokic plays in one or even none of those games.
Without Jokic, the Nuggets have given the starting nod to Zeke Nnaji who has played well these last two games averaging 9.5 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.5 steals, and 1.5 blocks in 27 minutes. Those numbers are against the Pacers and Thunder though so matchups against the New Orleans Pelicans and Milwaukee Bucks would be a significant step up in class.
One player who has generally suffered without Jokic, is Michael Porter Jr. He’s been a sharpshooter this season, but in five games without Jokic he has averaged just 14 points and 1.6 3s per game. His 3s prop has generally been set at 2.5 per game, and he’s only exceeded that in one game without Jokic.
The players who see the biggest uptick in offensive responsibility are Jamal Murray (22 points and 8.3 assists) and Aaron Gordon (20 points, 4 assists) without Jokic. Look to bet their props while fading Porter Jr. if Jokic misses some more time this week.