PG - Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers vs Minnesota Timberwolves
If Simmons had shot more Thursday night in Orlando, he would have had his fourth triple-double in six games instead of settling for his fifth double-double or better in that span with six points, 11 rebounds and ten assists in Philadelphia's blowout win over the Magic. The rookie point guard has registered double figures in assists in seven of his last ten games and has averaged 12.3 points, 11.0 assists and 8.8 rebounds while shooting a tidy 56.7 percent in that span.
Simmons had a mixed bag performance in the first meeting against Minnesota, totaling seven points and eight assists but also finishing with just three rebounds and seven turnovers. The good news is that Wolves guard Jimmy Butler won't be defending him this time, and while Andrew Wiggins could create problems, he is not the defender Butler is.
Also consider: Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets @ Dallas Mavericks
Had Hornets coach Steve Clifford not called off the dogs and let Walker sit out the fourth quarter against the Grizzlies, he could have made a run at James Harden's NBA season-high of 60. Alas, Walker settled for 46 as he drilled ten of 14 3-pointers and made 13 of 18 shots overall in 28 minutes as the Hornets pummeled the Grizzlies by 61.
Walker now gets to face another defensively challenged team in Dallas, who rank in the bottom third for defensive field goal percentage and bottom half for 3-point defensive field goal percentage. He torched the Mavericks for 41 points, four assists, three rebounds and three steals in the first meeting in January and has averaged 18.1 points and 5.7 assists in 11 games against them.
Low-cost option: Isaiah Thomas, Los Angeles Lakers vs Memphis Grizzlies
There are two directions here, with one being Thomas trying to find his shooting stroke against a hapless Grizzlies team that was torched by Kemba Walker for 46 and 140 overall by the Charlotte Hornets, or using Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. against the Hornets as he is expected to play after a two-game absence with a sprained ankle. Given how Thomas has never passed up a shot he didn't like, and the Grizzlies being miserable, the hedge here is the Lakers reserve guard will hunt his shot leading Los Angeles' second unit.
Thomas had 15 points on six-of-12 shooting at New Orleans on Thursday, but he continues to run cold from the perimeter, he is one for 11 from 3-point range in his last three games after going nine for 18 in the previous two. Thomas has averaged 16.2 points and 5.7 assists in six home games since being dealt to the Lakers, so he's a slightly safer pick than Smith, whose minutes may be regulated.