By: Eric Romoff
Thursdays are usually smaller slates in the NBA and tonight is no different as we look at a five-gamer in the association. We are looking at three teams coming in on the tail end of a back-to-back in Atlanta, Philadelphia and Boston with Utah traveling across the country for tonight‘s matchup against the Hawks. That game between the Jazz and the Hawks is projected to be the highest-scoring by a considerable margin, carrying a 220.5 game total compared to the other four ranging from 208-217. As is typical with these smaller slates, injuries and matchups will ultimately determine who wins the day. Tonight, however, there is a mid-cap play that I am absolutely in love with, and I’ll look for that player to steer the majority of my action on Jock MKT.
Jimmy Butler, SF, Miami Heat
Jock MKT Projection: 39.77 (7th)
Max IPO Bid: $12.40
Break-Even Rank: 7.6
Jimmy Butler has brought investors a positive return in five of seven games this season and looks to be freed up in this offense with the addition of Kyle Lowry this offseason. On the year he’s yielded an ROI of nearly 32% on his average IPO price of $9.70 and carries top-three upside into a slate where his recommended IPO price is down to number seven. My favorite thing about firing up Jimmy buckets is that he absolutely stuffs the stat sheet, offering several ways to get there. In addition to his 25 points per game, he’s averaging 6.9 boards, 5.6 assists, 2.9 steals and 0.4 blocks per game. There are so many outcomes on the range where he delivers a 40-point fantasy performance that make Butler the stabilizing factor I want from my blue chips while carrying the upside to bring a healthy profit. I’m happy to go north of $11.00 for my IPO bid, but feel the name-recognition up top will land you shares of Jimmy for much less.
Donovan Mitchell, PG/SG, Utah Jazz
Jock MKT Projection: 36.34 (13th)
Max IPO Bid: $11.65
Break-Even Rank: 8.7
This is really a story of the last three games for Mitchell. Over that stretch he’s averaged 45.6 fantasy points, largely due to stepping into the primary scoring role for the Jazz, yet only has a projection in the mid-30’s for tonight’s NBA slate. In games where Mitchell has scored more than 27 real-life points, he’s brought an average ROI of nearly 45% and has finished inside the top-10 in three of four. Tonight Mitchell squares off against a Hawks team that is 10th-worst in defensive efficiency in a game where center Rudy Gobert has been ruled out, leaving 15.7 points per game unaccounted for and Mitchell poised to cover that gap. He himself is carrying a questionable tag heading to tonight but is largely expected to play. This, and the under-the-radar nature of Jazz players in general, only serves to drive down Mitchell’s asking price during IPO and that is an inefficiency I’m happy to exploit. While I’ll take an aggressive line bidding on Mitchell, I’d be shocked to see his final IPO price break double-digits tonight.
Frank Kaminsky, PF/C, Phoenix Suns
Jock MKT Projection: 1.89 (106th)
Max IPO Bid: $4.55
Break-Even Rank: 37.62
We’ll have to keep a close eye on the injury news with this play. Deandre Ayton missed Tuesday’s game against the Pelicans and Frank the Tank lived up to his namesake starting in place of Ayton. On the night, Kaminksy turned in 35.25 points by way of a 17/3/3/4/1 line and helped spread the floor for the Suns en route to a win over New Orleans. Tonight Ayton looks to be very questionable, leaving Kaminsky primed to start in a smash-spot against the fast-paced Rockets. He is currently listed with a projection of 1.89 points and a fair market value just over $1.00. I’d expect both of these to swing dramatically as his starting role is confirmed. While I see his 35+ point performance last night as a bit of an outlier, an output in the low-to-mid 20’s is well-represented on his range if he’s getting the starting nod tonight. It is somewhat likely that his big performance last time out drives up his price, but not to the point where I’m moving off my (admittedly aggressive) position on Kaminsky.