This article is part of our Handicapping the NBA series.
Season record: 2-2
Thursday brings a smaller, four-game slate. Despite so few teams being in action, there are several key injuries that will have a major impact. The good news is that there are still a lot of player props to consider, so let's discuss some that look especially appealing.
CJ McCollum POR at IND: OVER 34.5 Points + Assists (-110; FanDuel Sportsbook)
The Blazers will be forced to play this game without Damian Lillard (groin), which doesn't help their chances of working their way into the playoffs in the Western Conference. They've lost two of the last three games with him sidelined with their only win coming against the lowly Pistons. Even that was a struggle considering they won by just three points at home.
On the bright side, McCollum has been a monster with Lillard out. Not only did he score at least 27 points in each of those contests, but he also dished out at least 10 assists each time. With how often he is going to have the ball in his hands, there's no reason to believe that he can't continue to have that level of success in both categories against the Pacers. If the Blazers are going to have any hope of pulling off the win, they are going to need McCollum to shine.
Steven Adams, OKC vs. SAC: OVER 21.5 Points + Rebounds (-110; FanDuel Sportsbook)
If you look at their overall roster, the Thunder don't have much quality depth. However, they do have a very capable backup center in Nerlens Noel, which has meant they haven't needed to rely as heavily on Adams. Combine that with some injury woes and Adams has averaged 27 minutes a game this season, which is a steep decline from the 33 minutes a night that he averaged last season.
The good news is that Adams has started to play more lately as his health has improved, averaging 30 minutes across the last eight games. He seems to have worked his way into a groove, averaging 12.9 points and 11 rebounds during that stretch. He's produced at least 22 combined points and rebounds in each of his last four games and I like him to extend that streak to five here. The Kings don't have much talent left to stop him with Harry Giles and Alex Len being their only healthy centers right now.
Marquese Chriss, GS vs. LAL: OVER 21.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists (+100; DraftKings Sportsbook)
In a season in which a lot has gone wrong for the Warriors, the emergence of Chriss has been a pleasant surprise. He's started each of his last 11 games, averaging 26 minutes a night during that stretch. With the Warriors thinning out their front court via trades, Chriss should be locked into this role for the rest of the season.
Starting has certainly suited Chriss considering he has averaged 14.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists since taking on the job. He's been even more productive than that lately, totaling at least 22 combined points, rebounds and assists in four of his last five games. The only time he didn't during that stretch was when he only played 18 minutes against the small-ball Rockets. Even then, he still finished with 10 points, five rebounds and two assists. After posting 26 points, nine rebounds and one assist against these same Lakers three weeks ago, I'll take a chance here at plus odds.
Andrew Wiggins, GS vs. LAL: UNDER 4.5 Assists (-152; FanDuel Sportsbook): As far as weird stat lines go, Wiggins certainly had one Tuesday against the Kings. He scored 16 points, which isn't exactly great, but it's not terrible, either. However, he chipped in only one assist and failed to record a single rebound, assist or block. He didn't even make a three-pointer, so it was a shallow stat line, to say the least.
While Wiggins has generally been productive on the offensive end since joining the Warriors, he's dished out four assists or fewer in five of six games with the team. One of those was a matchup against these same Lakers in which he logged only three assists. The Lakers are an excellent defensive team and have allowed the sixth-fewest assists per game in the league, so while the odds aren't great here, this is still a prop worth pursuing.