The New Orleans Pelicans have not delivered as promised as a young, upstart Western Conference contender this season, primarily because the team’s defense is not really up to snuff. Zion Williamson is listed as questionable tonight with a foot issue, while Memphis’ Ja Morant missed the Grizzlies’ previous game against Washington. Desmond Bane also missed that game, and when neither Morant nor Bane play, the Grizz are 0-3.
In the nightcap, we have the Brooklyn Nets, which at this point is Kevin Durant goes nuclear and the team can win and if not the team is probably losing. Not a fun experience. Joe Harris looks like a shell of his former self, the less said about Ben Simmons the better, and it’s just sadness all around. The Kings are delivering on their offseason promise to be respectable, and that is something! Really, though, it offers Pistons fans a closeup look at Keegan Murray, who the Pistons might have drafted if the Kings picked Jaden Ivey at four instead of the Iowa forward. So far this season, Murray is averaging 12.7 points on 45% shooting. He’s been a respectable volume shooter from deep (38% on six attempts per game), but he’s not getting to the line, he’s averaging just 3.7 rebounds per game and has more turnovers than assists. Rookie’s generally get a pass, but Murray is showing some of the early signs of what skeptics feared would be the case, especially early in his career.
Grizzlies vs. Pelicans
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
Odds: Grizzlies +3.5
Nets vs. Kings
When: 10 p.m. ET
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
Odds: Nets +2
Memphis Grizzlies (9-5)
Ja Morant, John Konchar, Dillon Brooks, Santi Aldama, Steven Adams
New Orleans Pelicans (7-6)
CJ McCollum, Brandon Ingram, Herb Jones, Zion Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas
Brooklyn Nets (6-8)
Edmond Sumner, Joe Harris, Royce O’Neale, Kevin Durant, Nic Claxton
Sacramentoacrame Kings (6-6)
De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes, Keegan Murray, Domantas Sabonis
With so many players missing and the point spreads so close, I decided to look elsewhere within the DraftKings odds for something juicy to sink my teeth into. Turns out the head-to-head points moneyline is pretty intriguing in the Nets vs. Kings matchup. They have Kevin Durant going against De’Aaron Fox in the points moneyline, with Durant sitting at -475 and Fox at an awfully tempting +320.
Durant is coming off a 31-point performance and is averaging 30.6 points on the season. He is consistently scoring like crazy, I get it. But Fox has flown under the radar a bit and is also putting up his fair share of points. He’s scored 37, 28, 15, 32 and 22 in his previous five games. The Nets defense has righted the ship a bit lately, but they did just allow Lonnie Walker to drop 25 points in a game the Lakers won by 13.