Tuesday's NBA Player Props: Can Tim Hardaway Jr. Rise to the Occasion?

Senior NBA editor Malik Smith previews Tuesday night's props offerings and explains why he's high on Tim Hardaway Jr. in L.A.

Our props writer Tyler Schmidt nailed all three of Monday’s plays, including Desmond Bane’s career-high scoring night against the Utah Jazz. That’ll be a tough act to follow, especially with just four games on Tuesday night’s NBA slate, but there’s always some value to be found.

Below, I have laid out two prop bets that I’m playing, the case for each bet and the best books to find odds on those player props. As always, we’ll be using the Action Labs Player Prop tool to compare our NBA projections to the props posted at a variety of sportsbooks.

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NBA Player Props & Picks

Jimmy Butler, Over 5.5 Assists (+120)

Heat vs. Pistons Heat -9.5
Time | TV 7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book FanDuel

Butler has cleared this number in eight of the 14 games he has played this season and has notched five assists twice. Six of the times he was able to get over 5.5 assists, Kyle Lowry was playing, so these perfomances aren’t outliers. Butler and Lowry can both co-exist on or off the ball and still keep teammates involved.

Butler has been a facilitator throughout his career and especially in Miami with their cadre of shooters, so the fact that the over is plus-money seems odd. Butler has the highest Usage Rate on the team, per Cleaning the Glass, and his Assist Percentage is just a hair below Lowry’s, though the six-time All-Star point guard has the better raw numbers.

Per NBA Advanced Stats, Tyler Herro (1.1) and Duncan Robinson (0.9) are the two players who generate the most assists off Butler’s passes. Robinson left the Heat’s most recent game with a knee contusion and is questionable to play, but he was reportedly able to practice Monday.

His absence would have some impact on the value here, but by all indications, Robinson should attempt to play. I would wait for official word that he’s going to play before firing off a bet, but anything at plus-money is worth a bet if he’s good to go.

Tim Hardaway Jr., Over 17.5 PTS + AST (-122)

Mavericks vs. Clippers Clippers -5
Time | TV 10:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Book FanDuel

Luka Doncic is questionable to play Tuesday night. Doncic has missed three straight games with a knee/ankle injury, and the report from the Dallas Morning News that he may have re-injured himself in practice doesn’t inspire much confidence that we’ll see him on the court Tuesday.

The Mavs haven’t been very good in his absence, but we can expect Hardaway to see increased usage if Doncic sits out again. Last season, Hardaway saw his Usage Rate jump 5.1 percentage points with Doncic off the floor, and this season it has gone up 5.8 percentage points, per our FantasyLabs On/Off data.

In the three games Doncic missed, Hardaway had 22 points and four assists, 18 points and 1 assist and eight points and five assists. The latter outcome is one when obviously hope to avoid from Hardaway, but in the first two games without Doncic, THJ had his most (23) and second-most (21) attempts in a single game this season.

He hasn’t been efficient in any of the three games — he shot below 40% in all three games — but he doesn’t necessarily need to be as long as he racks up the attempts.

As far as his passing goes, he’s averaging 2.6 assists this season, which would be the second-highest mark of his career, and his assist percentage (12.1%) is the highest it has ever been in Dallas. Our prop tool has Hardaway projected to combine for 22.6 points and assists, which would clear this number with ease. I’d play his combo prop here up to -130.