We have all but one matchup with spreads of seven points or fewer as of early Friday, which promises a lot of largely competitive games. Projected totals also offer reason for optimism with five over 230 points, including two exceeding 240.
Injury Situations to Monitor
LeBron James, LAL (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
If James is unable to suit up, the usage of the remainder of the starting five will see a notable boost while Juan Toscano-Anderson could draw a start at power forward.
Trae Young, ATL (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
If Young can't play, Dejounte Murray could potentially shift to point guard and take on primary ball-handling responsibilities while Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) could move into the starting five at shooting guard if he can overcome his questionable tag.
Donovan Mitchell, CLE (groin): QUESTIONABLE
Domantas Sabonis, SAC (illness): QUESTIONABLE
Christian Wood, DAL (thumb): OUT
Other notable injuries:
Kevin Durant, BKN (knee): OUT
Zion Williamson, NOP (hamstring): OUT
Brandon Ingram, NOP (toe): OUT
Tyrese Haliburton, IND (knee/elbow): OUT
Devin Vassell, SAN (knee): OUT
Mitchell Robinson, NYK (thumb): OUT
Jamal Murray, DEN (foot/ankle): PROBABLE
Franz Wagner, ORL (ankle): QUESTIONABLE
We have six players with five-figure salaries that have a chance to play on Friday's slate – Luka Doncic ($12,200), Nikola Jokic ($11,700), LeBron James ($11,400), Domantas Sabonis ($10,300), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander ($10,100) and Ja Morant ($10,000).
Doncic has "only" scored 42.2 and 39.8 FD points in his last two games, but lists a 39.0 percent usage rate and averages 58 FD points per 36 minutes without Wood on the floor.
Jokic has topped 60 FD points in two straight and hasn't produced anything less than 53.2 in any of the last five appearances. He also draws a stellar positional matchup against the Pacers.
James carries a questionable tag, but he'll be looking to extend a streak of five straight games with at least 56.1 FD points if he can go.
If Sabonis overcomes his questionable designation, he'll be in an enticing matchup for centers with the Thunder as they've allowed the sixth-most FD points per game to the position (55.5).
Gilgeous-Alexander has posted 42.6 FD points or more in seven of the last eight games and will be an integral part in one of the highest projected totals of the night.
Morant hasn't scored any less than 40.4 FD points since Christmas Day, and he'll face a Lakers squad that's surrendered the most FD points per game to point guards in the last seven games (55.7).
Other likely chalk plays include:
Julius Randle, NYK ($9,900)
Randle has registered over 50 FD points in 10 of the last 14 games, making his salary especially appealing.
Stephen Curry, GSW ($9,800)
Curry notched between 27.3 to 33 FD points in his first three games after an extended absence due to a shoulder injury before managing 48.4 and 56.3 in his last two.
Trae Young, ATL ($9,600)
Young is averaging 44.7 FD points, and should be in plenty of lineups if he's able to overcome his questionable status.
Kawhi Leonard, LAC ($9,400)
Leonard has scored over 48 FD points in three of his last five games, which should help keep him in plenty of lineups Friday.
Kyrie Irving, BKN ($9,200)
Irving just went off for 65.9 FD points in 38 minutes against the Suns on Thursday in his return from a one-game absence due to a calf injury, which should lead to a high rostering rate.
Aaron Gordon, DEN vs. IND ($6,600)
Gordon dipped to 18.1 FD points in 29 minutes against the Timberwolves on Wednesday, but he produced an average of 34 FD in his previous 14 outings while shooting 55.1 percent, including 40.7 percent from three-point range. He exceeded 40 FD points on six occasions during that sample, offering a glimpse at the considerable upside he offers at his current salary. The Pacers make for good targets as well considering they've allowed the second-highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards (29.1) along with the fifth-most FD points per game to the position in the last 15 games (48.5). Gordon also racked up 47.2 FD points against Indiana in their first meeting of the season.
Jalen Williams, OKC at SAC ($6,200)
Williams checks into Friday's favorable matchup running hot averaging 32.8 FD points across his last nine games while putting up a well-balanced 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.3 steals over 31.3 minutes. The Kings are allowing the 12th-highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards (27.1) and the most FD points per game to power forwards over the last seven games (53.7). Sacramento could also be down Domantas Sabonis down low on Friday, and the Kings already check in allowing an NBA-high 55.8 points in the paint per home game, an area where Williams is scoring over 62 percent of his points.
Jeremy Sochan, SAN vs. LAC ($5,100)
Sochan has produced over 20 FD points in eight of his last 12 games where he's averaged 10.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 block across 28.1 minutes. The rookie faces a Clippers side allowing the fifth-highest offensive efficiency rating to power forwards (28.6) and over 45 FD points per game to the position. Sochan has already generated at least a 5x return on his current salary 10 times this season, with three of those coming in the last four outings.
ALSO CONSIDER: Santi Aldama, MEM at LAL ($4,600)