Wednesday's NBA Player Props: Jokic, LeBron Among Top Picks

Action Network contributor Alex Hinton previews three NBA player prop picks he's making for Wednesday's slate, including Nikola Jokic, LeBron James.

It is the last full slate before All-Star weekend and there are a few possible playoffs and play-in matchups on the schedule tonight. In Atlanta, the Hawks will host Julius Randle and the New York Knicks. Randle has had a lot of success against the Hawks over the last few seasons.

In Denver, the Nuggets will host the Dallas Mavericks. With Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and Nikola Jokic on the same floor, there should be a lot points on the board. I am looking at Jokic in that one.

In the second game of ESPN’s doubleheader, the Los Angeles Lakers will host the New Orleans Pelicans. LeBron James may take the floor after missing the last three games with left ankle soreness. Will he have a big scoring night in his return?

Let’s take a look at NBA player props for today.

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NBA Player Props & Picks

Julius Randle Over 26.5 Points (-120)

Spread Hawks -3
Time | TV 7:30 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Line FanDuel

Jalen Brunson has been lighting up Madison Square Garden for weeks now, averaging 30 points in his last 20 games. He went off again on Monday as he scored 40 points against the Brooklyn Nets. Despite his scoring binge, Julius Randle is still the leading scorer on the Knicks. I expect Wednesday to be his night considering his history against the Hawks.

Randle is averaging 26.7 points in three meetings against the Hawks this season and he went over this line in two of those matchups. He scored 30 points in both of the games he went over this season.

However, Randle’s regular season dominance against Atlanta goes back much further than this season. Since joining the Knicks in 2019, Randle has faced the Hawks 12 times. In those games, he is averaging 27.8 points per game. He has scored 27 points in seven of the 12 games, including six with 30 points.

Randle has routinely dominated his matchups against John Collins, who is not regarded as a good defender. Collins is listed as questionable with a left hip flexor injury. If he plays, Collins may not much interest in defending a physical presence like Randle.

Whether it is Collins or another Hawks defender who draws Randle, I expect a big night and possibly another 30 point performance against the Hawks to get him over this 26.5 points line.

Nikola Jokic Over 26.5 Points (-110)

Spread Nuggets -7
Time | TV 9 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass
Best Line DraftKings

Nikola Jokic is averaging a triple double this season and at this point, he is getting one a nightly basis. While I like Jokic to get a triple double again, his Rebounds + Assists line at 23.5 is a bit high for my blood. However, despite his triple double pace, Jokic’s scoring has not taken a backseat. He is averaging 24.9 points per game this season.

Few players in the league adapt to what their team needs on that night as well as Jokic. When the Nuggets are at full strength, Jokic takes on more of a playmaking role. Those are usually the nights when he posts a 20-13-10 kind of triple double and takes 10 shots or less. However, when the Nuggets are shorthanded, Jokic tends to be aggressive offensively.

Denver has been without Jamal Murray for the last four games and Aaron Gordon missed Monday’s game in Miami. Jokic has scored 27 points in each of his past three games. In the first game Murray missed, Jokic scored 20 points in two and a half quarters, but was able to call it an early night because of a blowout. Murray and Gordon are questionable for tonight’s game. If they are ruled in, Jokic could still have a big scoring night against Dallas.

This season, Dallas is 22nd in defensive rating. In the five games since trading for Kyrie Irving, Dallas is allowing 117.2 points per game. I expect Jokic to have his way with Dwight Powell, Christian Wood, and JaVale McGee.

In the two game last weekend against Sacramento, Domantas Sabonis averaged 20 points and 12.5 rebounds against the Mavericks. Dallas also gave up 21 points and 14 rebounds to Rudy Gobert on Monday. I expect the Mavericks’ struggles on the interior to continue against Jokic.

LeBron James Over 27.5 Points (-110)

Spread Lakers -3
Time | TV 10 p.m. ET | ESPN
Best Line DraftKings

You’ll want to keep an eye on the Lakers injury report as LeBron James is questionable. He has missed the last three games since breaking the all-time scoring record. However, his props are available so far, which was not the case for the last two games. With James expected to play, let’s get into the handicap.

James is averaging 26.9 points per game when sharing the floor with Anthony Davis this season. However, this play is more about feel. The Lakers lost two of the three games without James and have lost four out of five overall. That includes squandering a 12-point second half lead to the Pelicans 11 days ago. The Lakers are now four games behind the Pelicans and 2.5 games behind the Jazz for the last play-in spot.

If James plays, this will be the first time he has played with the Lakers’ trade deadline acquisitions. He could look to get them involved before going after his own offense. However, with the Lakers needing a win, I expect James to come out looking to score.

Additionally, Anthony Davis is listed as probable, but he has looked off of late. He has scored 20 points or fewer in three of his past four games and did not take advantage of a few prime matchups in that stretch. James may have to pick up the slack for him as well. If he does, he will score 28 points and probably 30 as well.