The NBA trade deadline never disappoints. The first bombshell trade of the deadline happened Sunday when the Nets traded Kyrie Irving to the Mavericks to pair up with Luka Doncic and make a run in the West.
Between the trades and players with injury updates, including Stephen Curry and Devin Booker, we have plenty to discuss in this week’s Player Prop Forecast.
NBA Player Props Forecast
Kyrie Irving: Maverick
Kyrie Irving made waves over the weekend when he requested a trade from the Brooklyn Nets ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline (February 9th). He got his wish when he was traded on Sunday.
First reported by The Athletic, the Mavericks agreed to trade Dorian Finney-Smith, Spencer Dinwiddie, a first-round pick and two second-round picks in exchange for Kyrie Irving and Markieff Morris. For more on the futures implication of this trade, check out Action Network’s piece by our Senior NBA Writer, Matt Moore.
On court, this is an interesting combination with two ball-dominant guards, but we have seen Irving have success playing alongside other high usage players such as LeBron James, James Harden and Kevin Durant.
- With James : 22.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 5.3 apg, 2.4 turnovers, 8.1 FGM/17.3 FGA (46.8%), 2.0 3PA/5.2 3PA (38.9%)
- With Harden: 27.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 5.3 apg, 2.2 tpg, 10.7 FGM/20.6 FGA (51.9%), 2.6 3PM/6.8 3PA (38.8%)
- With Durant: 26.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 5.1 apg, 2.4 tpg, 9.6 FGM/19.5 FGA (49.5%), 3.3 3PM/8.0 3PA (40.8%)
As you can see, Kyrie’s on-court fit and the concerns about how Luka and the Mavericks’ heliocentric offense can handle his usage is likely a bit overstated. His usage has remained static at roughly 30% throughout his career, even with the aforementioned trio commanding massive Usage rates themselves.
Luka is a bit of a different animal. None of James, Harden or Durant held a Usage Rate in the 40% range, but Doncic has that. Jalen Brunson’s usage was just 23.8% last year compared to 29.6% this season. Doncic’s heliocentric role in the offense has suppressed other players; however, none come with the on-court pedigree of Kyrie Irving.
This season, Spencer Dinwiddie held a Usage of 24.6%, and I expect Doncic to defer a bit more to Irving than anyone else he has ever played with.
Additionally, this should help the non-Luka minutes. Dinwiddie was a -9.2 in Point Differential this season, but Irving is a +4.7, per Cleaning the Glass. We’ve seen Irving carry this Nets team at times, and now the Mavericks have two lethal scoring options.
As for props, I would expect Irving to settle in around 24.5 points with Doncic, but until his return, I would expect a line around 29.5. Irving is not a pass-first guard, and I don’t envision his assist numbers to be dramatically different.
Doncic will be interesting. He has averaged 33.4 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 8.2 assists per game. He currently averages the sixth-most Potential Assists per game, 15.5, and this should only increase with a scorer as reliable as Kyrie Irving, per NBA Advanced Stats.
I expect Doncic’s scoring to take a slight hit, but his Assist Rate should increase. I’d look to play assist overs when he returns and plays with Irving, assuming the line is set at 8.5. Alternatively, Rebounds + Assists props should also retain value considering Dorian Finney-Smith was one of the Mavericks’ better rebounders. The Maverick who will need to step up in the short term is Reggie Bullock. He has made 2+ 3s in his last five games without Dorian Finney-Smith.
Cam Thomas Is Ready
As for the Nets, Finney-Smith was a great add as a glue guy and defensive presence on the wing. He was exactly the type of wing with size that they needed. If he harnesses a bit more efficiency on the offensive end, this is great for Brooklyn. Obviously it is tough to make up for the void that Kyrie Irving leaves, and the Nets should take a slight step back offensively, but this defense will be nasty.
When healthy, I’d expect a starting lineup of Ben Simmons, Joe Harris, Kevin Durant, Dorian Finney-Smith, and Nic Claxton. That is a ton of length and defensive versatility. This team is going to be difficult to score on.
Durant should see an uptick in his rebounding and assists without Irving. He averaged 28.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game without Irving this season. This should not affect Simmons much given his offensive footprint generally has been as a distributer.
I would not be surprised to see the Nets move one of Patty Mills, Joe Harris or Seth Curry prior to the deadline as they, along with Yuta Watanabe, are all a bit redundant to each other from a 3-point shooting perspective.
However, until Durant returns and Dinwiddie is ready to play, Cam Thomas should feast. He just dropped a career-high 44 points on Saturday, and his points prop was set at 13.5. I’m not sure where his scoring props will open after that performance, but a matchup against the Clippers is a bit tougher than the Wizards, so proceed with caution. That being said, Thomas is a bucket, and he has scored 33, 15, and 44 points without Durant and Irving this season.
Devin Booker’s Anticipated Return
The Suns have been without Devin Booker since Christmas Day when he played just four minutes against the Nuggets. He has played in just 29 games this season, and the Suns are 18-11 in those games compared to just 11-15 without him.
His return is much needed as the Suns look to make a push towards the top of the Western Conference. Currently, Phoenix sits in fifth, but they are just three losses behind the Kings for third as well as just one loss ahead of the Thunder for the 12 seed. The Western Conference is a volatile beast.
On the season, Booker has the second-best Point Differential on the team at +8.8, per Cleaning the Glass. He has averaged 27.1 points, 5.6 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game on 47.7%/37%/85% shooting splits. He’s an elite three-level scorer, and his presence should improve the Suns’ offense immediately.
Chris Paul will see an immediate swing in his stats. He averages 11.5 points with Booker compared to 15.5 without him and sees an uptick in his assists to 9.5 per game from 8.0.
Mikal Bridges and Deandre Ayton are other affected players who see their scoring decrease to 15.7 ppg and 17.2 ppg respectively. One interesting note about Bridges is that his rebounds increase with Booker, while his assists actually decrease.
Bridges’ full stat line with Booker is 15.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He’s recorded 4+ rebounds in 20 of 29 games alongside Book but has cleared a 7.5 RA line in just 13/29 games. If we get 3.5 rebounds on Tuesday against Brooklyn, that’s a play.
Booker’s props were recently set at 28.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists. He has exceeded each of those lines in 7/29, 13/29 and 18/29 games, respectively. I’d expect Booker to return with a strict minutes limit to prevent another re-injury, though, and I am not expecting to bet on his overs upon his return.
The Poole Party is Once Again Open
Steph Curry is expected to miss the next few weeks with a knee injury; luckily, this is mitigated due to the All-Star Break. It’s possible Curry may only miss the Warriors’ five games headed into the Break, but we have to prepare for life without the sharpshooter.
Last time Curry missed time, I wrote about Jordan Poole’s role and how that increases dramatically without Curry. I was right then, and let’s nail that down again today.
Poole has been incredible without Curry. In 15 games without him, Poole has averaged:
34.9 minutes, 28.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists on 9.1 FGM/21.3 FGA (42.5%) and 2.9 3PM/10.2 3PA (28.8%) to go along with a whopping 4.9 turnovers per game.
Poole’s volume increases dramatically, the Warriors run Steph’s plays for him, and he has risen to the occasion. His props for Monday are flat out bad.
They opened at 22.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists, and 3.5 turnovers. He has exceed them in 12/15, 5/15, 7/15, and 13/15 without Curry, respectively. The two I’m targeting are points and turnovers. Even dating back to last season, Poole has exceeded those totals in 72% of games without Curry.
I have bet both his over 22.5 points (-116 at DraftKings) and over 3.5 turnovers (-115 at Caesars) for today’s game and logged it into the Action App.