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The Best of the Best
Kevin Durant - Washington doesn't have a terrible defense... if they could stay healthy. The questionable players for tonight's game are *deep breath* Nene, Trevor Ariza, Bradley Beal, and A.J. Price, with Martell Webster out completely. That means you may just see Chris Singleton guarding Kevin Durant tonight; he played 43 minutes in the Wizards' last game against Memphis. Singleton, by the way, has played only 22 percent of Washington's total minutes this season, and most of those were at power forward. He has let opposing SFs shoot .536 effective field goal percentage (eFG%) at very limited time at that spot.
Blake Griffin - Yesterday, we said to start Blake Griffin over the ailing Chris Paul if you were forced to take one or the other. Well, that didn't work out: Griffin finished with 14 points while Paul had 33. So tonight, we're going to say... the exact same thing. Why, exactly? Grievis Vasquez may have an abysmal 112 defensive rating, but Ryan Anderson is right there with him at 111. The Hornets have allowed Kenneth Faried, Zach Randolph, and Kevin Garnett to each post at least 1.08 points scored per possession despite winning all three of those games.
Al Jefferson - Post defense and defensive rebounding? Phoenix may not understand the concept. The Suns are 26th in defensive eFG% and 25th in defensive rebounding percentage, opening up the very real possibility of Put Back City for Al Jefferson tonight. He's not the most prolific offensive rebounder on the team - that would be Enes Kanter - but he's also the one who will have the most opportunities. Despite a "slump", Big Al comes into this one having scored double-digits in his last six games.
Top Mid-Range Values
Beno Udrih - With Arron Afflalo out, it's now Udrih's time to shine. In his past two starts - both starts of 36+ minutes - Udrih has averaged 10 points, 5 assists, and 3.5 rebounds. Those aren't great stats, but they came against Oklahoma City and Miami. Tonight, the Magic play the Charlotte Bobcats. I think you can see the difference there. Get on the bandwagon while it's still starting to roll.
J.J. Redick - Boy, I bet Orlando wishes they had Redick for tonight, huh? Instead, it's the Bucks who receive his services, and they're likely to be placed to just as good use against the Sixers. Philly allows opposing shooting guards to shoot .503 eFG% from the floor against them, meaning that the open looks will be there. So will his minutes: despite coming off the bench, Redick has played at least 26 minutes in seven of Milwaukee's last eight games.
DeMar DeRozan - He's heating up at just the right time: DeRozan has scored at least 17 points in each of Toronto's past three games. And with Rudy Gay a game-time decision tonight against the Hawks, DeRozan may just be the go-to guy once again for the Raptors. Devin Harris and his already iffy 105 defensive rating is questionable for tonight's game, meaning that DeRozan may be guarded by Jeff Teague's 108 defensive rating instead.