Pascal Siakam – O 29.5 points+assists
Siakam has looked like an All-NBA candidate in the first week of the season. The Raptors’ starters traditionally play big minutes, and coming off a day of rest and facing a division rival, expect the same. Scottie Barnes will miss his second game with an ankle injury, so the burden the five starters carry will be even heavier on the four healthy starters in Scottie’s absence***. Siakam is averaging 26.5 points in the team’s first four games with 6.8 assists. With Barnes’ ball handling and playmaking out of the lineup, look for Siakam to continue leading the Raptors’ offensive charge.
***Scottie Barnes’ status upgraded to questionable after this article was posted and ended up playing after passing a pregame fitness test
Tyrese Maxey – O 2.5 3pt makes
The Raptors are not deep at the guard position, they focus their defense on length and size to disrupt the Eastern conference’s star wings and big men inside. Maxey does not fit that profile. His combination of size, quickness and shooting ability is a tough matchup for anyone, let alone a group that is not deep with perimeter defense. Maxey’s spacing will be crucial for the 76ers to get a W.
Franz Wagner – O 16.5 pts
Facing Cleveland’s frontline/interior defense, look for Franz’s shooting ability to strive more that Paolo’s drives to the rim. Franz O 3pts made might be a nice parlay as he will get most of the wing matchups from Cleveland’s defense – while the Cav’s frontline studs will matchup with Paolo and Wendall Carter Jr.
Cole Anthony – O 15.5 points
Cole is going against a Cavs’ defense that is not deep at the guard position. Anthony is a volume shooter facing a defense that does a good job shutting off the paint. Look for Cole’s shooting ability to a pressure point for Orlando’s offense and maybe look to parlay his 3pt makes.
Caris LeVert – O 15.5 pts
LeVert has struggled to open the season in Cleveland. With Garland missing most of the seasons start, the Cavs visions of always having 2/3 of Mitchell, Garland or LeVert on the court has been reduced to the same formula they had a season ago – only having two guards who can get their own shot in the lineup so how do we stagger their minutes and not run out of offense in crunch time. LeVert, when healthy, has always been able to put the ball in the hole. In the three games since Garland’s early injury in the opener, LeVert has taken the second most shots on the team behind Mitchell. With Garland sitting out one more game – eyeing a Friday return at Boston – look for LeVert to continue having the ball in his hands and taking lots of shots – they’re bound to go down and 16 points is well within reach. If his shot making is a cause of concern, LeVert’s points+assists at 20.5 is good action too based on how much time he has the ball.
Bulls –2.5 (alt spread)
Knicks –2.5 (alt spread)
Hawks –2.5 (alt spread)