As we head into the NBA All-Star break, there are just two games on the Thursday night slate, but they should be fun and high-scoring. The Nuggets visit Milwaukee in the early game, and the Lakers head to Minnesota for the TNT night cap. With just four teams playing, only a near perfect lineup will do so we’ll have to maximize every decision. Let’s build a winner.
C Nikola Jokic DEN $9.8K vs Milwaukee
The Bucks have been bad against centers all year, and with John Henson out, Thon Maker is going to be absolutely helpless against Jokic. He just has no shot to defend a player this dynamic. Jokic has scored 40+ fantasy points in eight of his last ten, but he has huge high-end variance with occasional monster games, like the triple-double he had against the Spurs his last time out. Jokic’s points come and go, but he should put up big rebounding numbers and threaten double-digit assists, so a 50 fantasy-point night should be in store with room for even more.
C Karl-Anthony Towns MIN $9.3K vs Los Angeles Lakers
Towns has been shredding teams over the last week, with three 53+ fantasy-point games in his last four outings with 27 points, 10 boards, 4 dimes, 2 blocks, and a steal per game. He’s been the hottest Minnesota player lately and should have his way with the poor Lakers centers. Minnesota is projected to have the highest scoring night in the NBA, so we need their best and hottest player in our lineup. Right now that’s KAT.
SG/SF Will Barton DEN $6.8K vs Milwaukee
While you weren’t looking, Barton turned into a consistent fantasy star. He’s had 37+ fantasy points in half of his last eight games with both his scoring and assists up, suddenly averaging almost five assists per game in that stretch. He does a bit of everything for this Nuggets lineup and should fill up the box score and hit at least 35 fantasy points yet again.
PG/SF Brandon Ingram LAL $6.3K vs Minnesota
One of the consequences of Lonzo Ball being out so long is that it’s forced Luke Walton to be creative with his lineups, and the Lakers have been using Ingram as a point forward with good statistical results lately. He’s had at least five assists in seven of nine games, and his scoring has been a little less forced and more consistent. He’ll be a mismatch anytime Butler isn’t on him and has very high potential if he can cross-match against the Timberwolves’ terrible guard defense.
PG Isaiah Thomas LAL $5.8K vs Minnesota
Alright, let’s try this again. We played Thomas yesterday and he busted, getting ejected early in the game. But his per-minute production was good and showed again that Thomas is going to be a high-usage option off the bench for the Lakers. In his one full game with them, he had 22 points and six assists in 31 bench minutes, and Minnesota’s guards play poor defense. Maybe tonight he’ll have his own All-Star moment heading into the break.
PG/SG Josh Hart LAL $4.6K vs Minnesota
Lakers players continue to present good value because they are underpriced and come about their points in unconventional ways. For Ingram, it’s assists. For IT, it’s off the bench. With Josh Hart, it’s rebounding. Hart is averaging almost nine rebounds over his last six games, a remarkable feat for a guard, and he’s scoring double-digit points and adding a few assists. He’ll provide good bang for our bucks.
SF/PF Trey Lyles DEN $4.4K vs Milwaukee
Lyles has slowed down in recent games as his minutes have fallen a bit with Wilson Chandler back, but he still presents nice value and upside. He’s scored 30+ fantasy points in half of his last ten games and is a nightly threat for a 20-point game if his shooting gets hot.
PG/SG Jason Terry MIL $3.0K vs Denver
Look, if we want to play two studs and a bunch of solid mid-tier stars, we have to cut money somewhere. Terry isn’t going to do anything too special, but he’ll play 15 or so minutes for the minimum price and maybe he’ll show up against his old teammate Devin Harris. He’s scored at least 10 fantasy points in six straight with this minutes load, and that’ll do for a minimum player.