By: Eric Romoff
Today brings us another tiny slate in the NBA as we have three games to build our portfolios around. Dallas enters the night on a back-to-back as their home-stand continues with Phoenix coming to town and the Pacers continue their West-Coast swing as they get ready to play the Warriors; their second game in as many nights. Of our three games, the New Orleans vs. New York matchup is carrying far and away the lowest total on the board so I’ll be looking for defensive-minded players from those teams. We already have multiple players ruled out with injury and COVID and several others carrying injury designations into tonight’s games. Given that we have such a small slate tonight, the role players who are expected to see additional run are likely to see their highest IPO prices of the season and therefore introduce a fair amount of risk. Today my strategy is to stick around the the top of the board to build a stable foundation of blue-chip assets and to watch the board closely to find some last-minute value plays right before the IPO window closes.
Luka Doncic | PG | Dallas Mavericks
JockMKT Projection – 48.41 (1st)
Max IPO Bid – $17.60
Break-Even Rank – 3.2
As has been the case with most of the tiny slates this year, I’m focusing my investment on the top of the board tonight. It looks like a 40-point effort is going to secure a spot in the top five tonight and there simply isn’t anyone available tonight whose scoring range stretches as far as Luka Doncic’s. As recently as last night we’ve seen Luka top the 70-point mark on the season and since returning to regular action at the beginning of the month he’s averaging 50.25 points on JockMKT; nearly three full points higher than his projected total for tonight. His matchup against the Suns tonight is essentially neutral but they are allowing the fifth-most points scored to opposing point guards on the season and Luka has regained his position as the Mavericks’ preferred scoring option. A big part of the recent surge of Luka has come by way of the assist, and with his team at full strength and the Phoenix front-court in shambles, I’m expecting Luka to dish the ball out to the favorable matchups for his teammates and boost his floor of fantasy points. All of the prices on the board are going to be inflated tonight and Luka’s will not be spared from that treatment, but he has a path to a solid ROI with a top-three finish and is one of the safest plays available tonight.
Caris LeVert | SG | Indiana Pacers
JockMKT Projection – 31.56 (9th)
Max IPO Bid – $9.75
Break-Even Rank – 11.5
Caris LeVert is quietly having a very nice season this year with the Pacers. He’s currently third on the team in points per game and routinely stuffs the stat sheet as his minutes have walked up to the mid-30’s this season. The variety of ways that the Pacers can use LeVert has led to an explosion of productivity lately. He has surpassed his current projected points in all but one of his last eight games and eight of his last 10 for an incredible 429% ROI for his investors on JockMKT. Working in his favor tonight is the expected absence of several starters for the Pacers, including their leading scorer in Domantas Sabonis. Obviously, LeVert can’t fill Sabonis’ role directly but it will leave the Pacers needing someone to step up in the scoring department and LeVert has answered that call all year. He does draw somewhat of a tough matchup tonight against the Warriors but they have been prone to allowing opposing guards to steal the ball, one of the defensive specialties of LeVert. There is an IPO line where LeVert is simply too risky a play to consider but I fully expect him to stay well below that mark when IPO closes tonight.
Klay Thompson | SG | Golden State Warriors
JockMKT Projection – 23.23 (23rd)
Max IPO Bid – $6.40
Break-Even Rank – 20.4
This one is the prototypical pricing play. Klay Thompson is just a few days removed from his return to the NBA and the Warriors are just now starting to loosen his minutes restriction. Their cautious approach has largely worked to keep his asking price way down on the slates where he’s available. In his last game out against the Pistons, Klay had his best game of the season with 21 points, three boards, four assists and two steals en route to a 35.25-point performance. What is most promising about that is it came with Klay still in the low-20s minutes. If he is able to maintain that sort of efficiency and has his playing time increased by just a handful of minutes, he immediately becomes a player who can bring one of the best ROIs on the board tonight. As is always the case with these Penny Stock fliers, there is considerable risk in paying up to acquire them on these tiny slates. Balancing your portfolio will be key if you want to absorb some of the risk Klay carries in order to tap into his prolific upside.