- Kevin Durant is expected to return from injury for the Nets’ game with the Pelicans on Wednesday
- James Harden (hamstring) is out for Brooklyn
- Which player props represent the best betting value? See the available numbers below
The New Orleans Pelicans and Brooklyn Nets meet on Wednesday evening. Kevin Durant makes his long-awaited return from injury, but with James Harden sitting out because of a hamstring issue, the Brooklyn Nets will have to settle for just two of their ‘big three’ once again.
With the Pels losing heavily in Atlanta on Tuesday, Brooklyn is favored by 10 points for this game. The Nets have lost just four games since February 10th.
New Orleans still hold postseason ambitions, but they could rest players on the second night of a back-to-back. Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson sat out in similar circumstances a few days ago.
Pelicans vs Nets Player Props
|Player||Points at FanDuel||Rebounds||Assists||Three Pointers Made|
|Kyrie Irving (BKN)||27.5 (O -116 | U -106)||5.5 (O +122 | U -150)||7.5 (O -110 | U -110)||3.5 (O +114 | U -146)|
|Kevin Durant (BKN)||21.5 (O -110 | U -110)||5.5 (O +116 | U -142)||4.5 (O +118 | U -144)||2.5 (O +154 | U -200)|
|Joe Harris (BKN)||13.5 (O -110 | U -110)||3.5 (O -134 | U +110)||TBD||3.5 (O -106 | U -120)|
Odds as of April 7th
Durant Gets Back to It
Brooklyn has been ultra cautious with Kevin Durant. That approach is going to remain as he returns to competitive action. It would be a surprise to see Durant log anything more than 30 minutes on Wednesday, and that’s reflected in his player prop lines.
Having scored 29 per game this season, and been above 25 per contest every year since his rookie campaign, the 21.5 total points line is shockingly low.
There’s obviously uncertainty over Durant’s role in this game. He hasn’t played since February 13th, and Brooklyn isn’t under pressure to win these games. Pushing Durant to heavy minutes makes little sense, but that has been the case throughout the season, and it hasn’t stopped him averaging 35 minutes per game. The expectation is for a low minutes total against the Pels, but it’s not exactly a guarantee.
Even if Brooklyn keeps his minutes down, the points over for Durant looks like a great bet. He’s rarely shown rust after injuries throughout his career. His true shooting in his 19 games early this season was the best mark during his 13 years in the NBA. The former Warrior is always going to get shots up, but he should get even more looks with no Harden.
There will be some minutes where Durant is on the court without Kyrie Irving. In 140 minutes without Harden or Irving, Durant boasts an outrageous 70.5% true shooting on 20.5 field goal attempts per 36 minutes.
Kevin Durant is expected to make his return from injury tomorrow against the Pelicans after missing 7 weeks.
He’s back. pic.twitter.com/aRFeFMgfXw
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) April 6, 2021
It’s also worth mentioning, of course, that the Pelicans are the third-worst defense in the league this season. Even with a minutes restriction, Durant can cruise to 22 points.
- Pick: Kevin Durant over 21.5 points (-110)
Irving Runs the Point
Kyrie Irving publicly relinquished point guard duties to James Harden earlier in the season. With Harden out, Irving is back at the one. He’s been leading the offense in Harden’s absence, and even with Durant returning, Irving will be at the controls.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) April 6, 2021
The former Cavalier has a 35.8% assist rate in minutes without Harden. That figure drops to 19.5% in minutes with Harden. Even in minutes with Durant and without Harden, Irving has an assist rate of over 28%. This number is not necessarily indicative of his playmaking share on Wednesday, however, as the Nets ease Durant back into action. Irving’s workload on the offensive end will be high, just as we have seen in the last few games.
Since Harden injured his hamstring against the Houston Rockets, Irving’s assist numbers have been 12, 8, 15 and 7. Brooklyn is going to score at ease against this Pelicans defense. There will be opportunities aplenty for Irving to pick out teammates, particularly those spotting up behind the arc.
New Orleans is among the worst teams in the NBA at defending the three. Stan Van Gundy’s team prioritizes protecting the paint, and in doing so, Irving will be able to dribble and kick out to shooters. Brooklyn is fourth in three-point shooting percentage. The Pels are 29th in opponent three-point shooting percentage.
Although not always thought of as a playmaker, and averaging just 5.7 assists for his career, there’s plenty to like about over 7.5 dimes for Irving on Wednesday.
- Pick: Kyrie Irving over 7.5 assists (-110)
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