TheRX’s Top 3 NBA Picks for the Weekend: R.J. Barrett Is Back for New York

Jalen Brunson RJ Barrett New York Knicks
Jalen Brunson #11, RJ Barrett #9 and Quentin Grimes #6 of the New York Knicks celebrate a basket against the Golden State Warriors. Sarah Stier/Getty Images/AFP.

The weekend is almost here, so let’s analyze three valuable NBA picks to consider for Friday’s basketball action.

New York Knicks vs. Washington Wizards

Friday, January 13, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at Capital One Arena

The New York Knicks will take on the Washington Wizards for the first time this season. This will be the first of four meetings between the two teams.

The Knicks have R.J. Barrett back in the lineup, and he’s playing without a minute restriction. Barrett helped the Knicks to a 119-113 win over the Pacers in his return. New York is currently 23-19 on the season and fighting for a playoff berth.

On the other hand, the Wizards are 18-24 and looking to just get to .500 this season. Washington’s working around multiple injuries, with Bradley Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, Daniel Gafford, Johnny Davis, and Vernon Carey Jr. all injured. The consensus is that Porzingis will play against his former team, but we won’t know when this gets published.

Teams Analysis

The Knicks have scored 115.8 points per 100 possessions while shooting an effective field goal percentage of 52.3%. That percentage usually isn’t good enough to earn high points per 100 possessions. But New York does all of the little things, like limiting turnovers, dominating the offensive glass, and getting to the foul line.

Washington’s defense has been solid. The Wizards won’t force many turnovers but should limit the Knicks from the field and hold New York from earning a ton of offensive rebounds.

Washington’s offense has struggled a bit more, earning 113.1 points per 100 possessions. New York has been able to hold opponents to a 53% effective field goal percentage, but like the Wizards, the Knicks won’t force many turnovers.

The Pick

Washington lacks aggression on the offensive glass and also doesn’t get to the foul line very often. The Knicks should be able to hold Washington off, even on the road.

NBA Pick: Knicks (Odds TBD)

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Detroit Pistons

Friday, January 13, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at Little Caesars Arena

The Pelicans are going to be heavy favorites at the best sportsbooks, on the road, against the Detroit Pistons. But New Orleans only escaped Detroit, 104-98, in the first meeting in early December.

Teams Analysis

The Pelicans should be better offensively. They’re scoring 116.3 points per 100 possessions while shooting an effective field goal percentage of 54.9%. New Orleans is active on the offensive glass and earns a high rate of foul shots.

On the other hand, Detroit allows 119.4 points per 100 possessions while giving up an effective field goal percentage of 56.5%. Those are both 29th in the league on the defensive end.

The Pistons are also 27th in defensive free throw rate and 24th in turnover percentage on the defensive end. The Pelicans should be able to earn many second chances, get to the foul line at will, and score at a solid pace in this game.

And although the Pelicans have been good defensively, the Celtics added 125, Washington scored 112, and the Mavericks added 127 throughout this road trip.

The Pick

The Pistons aren’t as good offensively but still have had success on the offensive glass and continue to get to the foul line at a high rate.

I’d back the Over in this matchup.

NBA Pick: Over (Odds TBD)

Indiana Pacers vs. Atlanta Hawks

Friday, January 13, 2023 -07:00 PM EST at Gainbrige Fieldhouse

At this moment, it’s unclear if Trae Young will be able to play in this game for the Hawks. He’s dealing with a non-COVID illness. Clint Capela also has a lower leg injury that kept him out of Wednesday’s game against the Bucks.

On the other hand, the Pacers could be without Myles Turner, Oshae Brissett, and Aaron Nesmith for this game. All three of those players missed their game against the Knicks on Wednesday.

Teams Analysis

The Hawks have been terrible offensively this year. Without Trae Young, the Hawks will struggle even more. Atlanta scored 111.9 points per 100 possessions while shooting an effective field goal of 52.5%. The offense doesn’t get to the foul line at a high rate and won’t earn a ton of offensive rebounds.

However, against the Pacers, the Hawks have more chances to do the little things well. Indiana has allowed nearly 30% of offensive rebounds and has the 29th-worst free-throw rate on the defensive end.

The Pacers have been better offensively this year. They’re shooting a 54.7% effective field goal percentage and aren’t in the bottom ten in any key category this season. Without Clint Capela, the Hawks might struggle to keep the Pacers off the glass.

The Hawks have held teams to 113.8 points per 100 possessions but have struggled to win the rebounding battle countless times. They’ll give up many second chances.

The Pick

I like the Pacers to squeeze by, especially without knowing Trae Young’s status coming into this game.

NBA Pick: Pacers (Odds TBD)