Los Angeles Lakers:
The Lakers are 7-point ‘dogs here, but it comes with a Sunday-high 234 total. We’ve got Joel Embiid listed as questionable, though, while LeBron James is probable. The Lakers are fully capable of getting blown out here, but perhaps the win in Boston the other night rallied them. Rajon Rondo has been consistently seeing minutes in the upper-30s in competitive games. The 76ers may rank first in defensive rating against point guards, but Rondo’s stat-stuffing ways make him feel safe regardless of the matchup. He just looks way too cheap to me here given his current role and combination of floor and ceiling with Lonzo Ball still out. LeBron is averaging 1.51 FP/min with Michael Beasley off the floor this season. The Sixers can try to throw Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris at him, but James is going to get his regardless of who’s tasked with trying to stop him. LeBron is obviously an elite play in all formats, it’s just a question of whether you want to prioritize him over Joel Embiid. Assuming he plays, I’d be slightly leaning Embiid. Josh Hart is questionable after playing just 7 minutes the other night. Him being out would open up some minutes for Lance Stephenson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope here. Reggie Bullock is also set to make his team debut, which could muck things up a bit.Kyle Kuzma awoke from his slumber the other night to score 25 points against the Celtics. His peripherals take a hit with Rondo and LeBron healthy, but Kuz still has a solid 25.5% usage rate on the season. The Sixers’ primary weakness defensively this season has been power forward, as they rank just 26th in defensive rating against the position. Kuzma has plenty of upside for the price.Ivica Zubac is a Clipper now, so JaVale McGee is the Lakers’ starting center once again. He played 30 minutes the other night, while Tyson Chandler saw just 15.
Philadelphia 76ers:The Sixers were as active as anyone at the trade deadline, as they picked up Tobias Harris, James Ennis, Jonathon Simmons and a Boban. Embiid is questionable with an illness, but he played on Friday night depsite suffering from the same malady. I’m expecting him to play, but if he’s out that obviously opens up tons of usage for the rest of his teammates.
Ben Simmons only took 10 shots the other night with Harris making his debut. He finished with 12 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 9 turnovers against Denver. He had a low 16.9% usage rate in the 17 minutes the new starting 5 played together on Friday night, but his price has started to come down to reflect that. The Lakers have been tough defensively against point guards, but Simmons obviously isn’t your typical point guard. I’m still inclined to take a wait-and-see approach with him, but I wouldn’t talk you out of him if you wanted to take advantage of the cheap price tag. He still has triple-double upside every night.
Jimmy Butler took just 9 shots the other night, but he still finished with 22 real points thanks to his 14 free throw attempts. He’s another guy that looks a little scary with all of the mouths to feed in this offense, especially with Embiid being such a priority for Philly.
LINEUPS & INJURIES
Los Angeles Lakers
C: Javel McGee
PF: Kyle Kuzma
SF: Lebron James
SG: Brandon Ingram
PG: Rajon Rondo
BENCH: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Josh Hart,Lance Stephenson, Tyson Chandler, Moritz Wagner, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Mike Muscala, Reggie Bullock
INJURIES: Lonzo Ball(Out), Josh Hart(Questionable), Lebron James(Probable)
C: Joel Embiid
PF: Tobias Harris
SF: Jimmy Butler
SG: JJ Redick
PG: Ben Simmons
BENCH: Jonah Bolden, T.J. McConnell, Furkan Korkmaz, Amir Johnson, Mike Scott, Boban Marjanovic, James Ennis, Jonathan Simmons
INJURIES: Zhaire Smith(Out), Justin Patton(Out), Joel Embiid(Questionable)
coming soon…(If i get embiid news on time)