NBA Playoffs- May 21, 2017

 

San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors

San Antonio Spurs

 

Patty Mills has had an increased role due to the injury to Tony Parker and now he is being counted on to shoulder more of the load with Kawhi Leonard out or limited at best heading into Game 4. While he has struggled without Leonard helping to space the defense, he should see 30 minutes and is still reasonably price and the series is in San Antonio for the first time.  His value will likely improve if Leonard is actually able to take the court.

 

Jonathon Simmons took on an increased role in the Houston series when Leonard was injured and is going to be an important piece for the Spurs in this series for as long as Leonard is sidelined. Simmons played 25.5 minutes in Game 1 and a similar amount in Game 2, before topping 30 minutes in game 3.  His price has gone up with his increased production over the last four games, but he has definitely carved out a role in the Spurs rotation.

 

LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 1.06 DraftKings points per minute against the Warriors in the six games that he has played against Draymond Green over the last two seasons. He has legitimate upside if he is getting shots, and he should see plenty with Leonard sidelined. It is worth noting that his production increased against Houston once he started getting minutes at center and that he should see minutes at the five in this series as well.  The downside, of course, is the risk of blowout (especially if Leonard is not available) but the Spurs are at home which should help keep it closer.

 

Core: None

Secondary: Pau Gasol, Patty Mills

Value: David Lee, Jonathan Simmons, Manu Ginobili, Danny Green

 

Golden State Warriors

 

Steph Curry has averaged 1.45 DraftKings points per minute in the last six games that he has played against Danny Green going back to the start of last season. We know that the Spurs can be vulnerable against opposing point guards and Curry’s price is very reasonable as a result of a second round matchup against a tough Jazz defense in a series of games that did not require huge offensive outbursts from Curry. He is a viable GPP option as he may be needed to carry more of the offense in, what should be, and the absence of Kawhi Leonard makes the entire Spurs defense worse. Look for more big games out of Curry following his excellent production early in the series, similar to his 35/5/7 averages.

 

Kevin Durant will benefit, along with the rest of the Warriors, in the absence of Kawhi Leonard. The entire Spurs defense gets worse without Leonard on the floor and there is nobody that can provide his level of defense against the superstar Durant. Durant got up 21 field goal attempts and got to the line 12 times in game one, showing that he can be productive in the same games as Curry.  Of course both of them will have potentially capped upside at 50 fantasy points, even on the road, if San Antonio’s franchise player sits this one out.

 

Draymond Green was excellent against the Jazz, but we can expect a bit of a drop off in this series. He has topped 40 DraftKings points just once in his last nine meetings against the Spurs with Leonard on the floor, but he has scored more than 35 in four of the nine games. We can expect those numbers to increase somewhat as a result of the weakened San Antonio defense sans Leonard. His price is elevated as a result of his performance against Utah but, if you can easily afford him, he has a decent floor because of everything he does on the court.

 

Core: Steph Curry

Secondary: Draymond Green, Kevin Durant

Value: Zaza Pachulia, Shaun Livingston, Matt Barnes

 

Cleveland Cavaliers at Boston Celtics

 

Cleveland Cavaliers

As usual, we will look primarily to the Big Three in Cleveland. Kyrie Irving averaged 1.21 DraftKings points per minute against Boston in the regular season, but that number is inflated by a 62.8 point game in December. Other than that, his high was 37 points. Kyrie should be in line for good, but not great, games on most nights as so much of the offense runs through LeBron. Kevin Love should be much more involved than he has been in previous series, as he matches up very well with the Celtics in terms of rebounding and in terms of the Celtics having nobody to defend him. Love scored at least 37 DraftKings points in all three games against the Celtics this season and should be in line for nice performances this series. LeBron James is, of course, the top play on the Cavaliers as he does everything from scoring to rebounding to picking up assists, and he plays huge minutes. He scored between 56 and 68 DraftKings points in all four meetings against the Celtics in the regular season.

 

Tristan Thompson is in a strong spot as well, and we saw him play steady minutes even against the Raptors when there was a chance Cleveland would want to go small. Thompson played at least 30 minutes in all three games against the Celtics this season and scored 43.5, 23.2 and 28.2 DraftKings points.

 

Core: LeBron James, Kevin Love

Secondary: Kyrie Irving

Value: Tristan Thompson

 

Boston Celtics

 

Isaiah Thomas is out for the rest of the series, which should open up more minutes for Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier.  Smart started the second half of game two and we should see Rozier get additional minutes as the backup point guard, plus blowout minutes.  He is especially valuable on DraftKings where he is shooting guard eligible.

 

Avery Bradley played extremely well offensively in the Washington series and has upside in this one as well. He was very good in two games against Cleveland this season and struggled in the other two. Bradley should be relied on to do more on the offensive end without Isaiah Thomas on the floor for the rest of the series, as should Jae Crowder.

 

Al Horford has a more difficult matchup against Tristan Thompson and Kevin Love than he did against the Wizards frontcourt since they are very good rebounders who are also good defensively.  His ceiling increases without Thomas available, as he averaged 1.34 DraftKings points per minute in 234.6 minutes alongside Smart, Bradley and Crowder without Thomas this season compared to 1.04 points per minute alongside Thomas, Bradley and Crowder.

 

Core: Al Horford

Secondary: Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart

Value: Kelly Olynyk, Terry Rozier