PG: Ricky Rubio: With Allen, Mobley, Markkanen, and Sexton out, Rubio has nearly a 33 percent usage rate and even though the Nets are good at defending guards, Rubio has taken 17 or more shots in his last 2 games. He’s scored at least 20 points in 3 of his last five games and he dishes 6.5 assists per game. He’ll have a bigger assist floor than Darius Garland tonight because Garland is the better shooter. Rubio has also pulled down five or more boards in three of his last four games. It’s a major pace-up spot for the Cavs tonight and Rubio has even grabbed 1.4 swipes per game and he’ll have to play mid-30s minutes with the Cavs missing a good amount of depth.
SG: Zach LaVine: The Bulls' second-leading scorer takes the most shots per game for the team and has a near 36 percent usage rate and it gets bumped to that point with Nikola Vucevic off the floor. He’s shot over 48 percent from the floor. LaVine has taken 22-plus shots in his last 2 contests. He’s shot over 58 percent from the field in 3 of his last 5 games. LaVine has pulled down 5.6 boards and even dishes 3.8 dimes per outing. He’s scored 26 or more points in his last 2 contests. He’s grabbed a steal in three out of five contests as well.
SF: Anthony Edwards: Edwards takes 20-21 shots per outing and scores nearly 23 points per game. Both the Timberwolves and Kings are two of the 10 fastest-paced teams in the league and Edwards has grabbed 11 or more rebounds in his last 2 contests. Even though he’s been struggling shooting the ball over his last few games, tonight presents a good bounce-back spot for Edwards. He’s dished at least three dimes in seven of his last eight contests and he swipes 1.4 steals per game. Edwards should take 15-20 shots tonight. The Kings are poor defensively and Edwards should be able to take full advantage of this matchup.
PF: Kristaps Porzingis: It’s never easy attacking the Suns but Doncic being out provides a safer production floor for Porzingis. Porzingis has scored 29 or more points in his last 2 contests and he took 20-plus shots in both games. Deandre Ayton will need to step out of the paint and chase Porzingis around because Jae Crowder can’t size up against him. Porzingis has grabbed double-digit rebounds in two of his last three games and he blocks 1.5 shots per game. The Pace works heavily in the Mavs' favor and Porzingis should see time running the point with Doncic out and because he’s a good ball-handler and we should see him contribute a few dimes this evening as well.
C: Deandre Ayton: Let’s go to the other side of the matchup as Ayton should tear the Mavs up in the post. Porzingis and Dwight Powell will have a tough time keeping Ayton from having his way. The Mavs are a bottom-three team in the league at defending centers and Ayton has exceeded his 15.3 scoring average in each of his last 4 games. He’s produced four straight double-doubles and grabbed 12 or more rebounds in 3 of those games. He has shot over 71 percent in 3 of his last 4 games. He has blocked shots in four of his last six and grabbed steals in three of his last four games.