NBA Deep Dive- May 8-9, 2017


Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs

Houston Rockets

James Harden averaged 37.4 minutes per game in the first round with a 37.6 percent usage rate and 35 percent assist rate.  He obviously has a tough matchup with the Spurs, but he had some success against them this season scoring no less than 56.5 DraftKings points in any of his four games against them and topping 60 fantasy points in three games.  He never showed his 70-80 point upside, but it is good that we at least saw him consistently score in the low-60s.  He played well in game 1, a very surprising Houston blowout, scoring 20 points with 14 assists in 31.2 minutes (he did not see the floor in the fourth quarter because of the score).  Game 2 was a blowout in the other direction, as Harden shot just 3 of 17 from the field.  He still managed 41.25 DraftKings points which, while obviously not good, is not terrible when you factor in his shooting performance.  Harden played 40 minutes in a game three loss, but he was productive as he scored 43 real points.  His assists and rebounds were both below his season averages, however.  Harden did more of the same in game 4, scoring 28 points with 12 assists for 57.75 DraftKings points.  Look for Harden to remain productive moving forward, but keep your expectations in check.  He is more valuable on dynamic pricing sites that have adjusted his price downward to account for the matchup.

Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Patrick Beverley will all need to step up as role players in this series to help out Harden.  Ariza was steady against San Antonio in all four games this season, scoring at least 25 DraftKings points in each game with a high of 36.  He was strong in games 1, 3, and 4 posting 36.5, 34.25 and 36 DraftKings points, with an 11.75-point game 2 dud sandwiched in between.  He offers solid production for a fair price.  Gordon saw at least 35 minutes in each of the last three games of the Oklahoma City series and he showed some upside against San Antonio in the regular season, scoring 42.8 DraftKings points behind 32 real points in a game in November.  Other than that, he was mediocre as he scored between 21 and 25.5 in the other three games.  He has done more of the same so far in this series.  Anderson has been awful at home this season and a basic strategy of rostering him on the road and fading him at home should work fine in this series.  He could also see a boost with Nene sidelined for the rest of the season as he may need to spend time at center.

Lou Williams’ minutes have been all over the place in this series and it is a tough matchup, so treat him as a high-risk GPP option only.

Clint Capela is the primary option at center and is at less risk of losing minutes now that Nene is out for the rest of the season.  Capela has not played less than 24 minutes in any game this series and, in the only game that has remained relatively close throughout, he saw 31.9 minutes.  His price is slowly increasing, but not quickly enough that we should be afraid to roster him in a nice matchup.

Core:  James Harden, Clint Capela

Secondary:  Trevor Ariza, Eric Gordon, Patrick Beverley

Value: Montrezl Harrell (very risky)


San Antonio Spurs

Kawhi Leonard averaged 1.13 DraftKings points per minute against the Rockets in the regular season, but showed upside with a 51.2 fantasy point game in November and a 61.5 fantasy point game in March.  Leonard averaged 37.7 minutes per game against Memphis in round one with a usage rate of 31.2 percent.  Look for continued excellence from him in this round.  Expect a boost for Leonard with Tony Parker sidelined, as he will now have to handle the ball more as well.  He makes for a strong tournament option in game 5, coming off of his worst performance of the series in game 4.

LaMarcus Aldridge was disappointing in the Memphis series, but he did play very heavy minutes throughout the series which bodes well for him moving forward as it is unlikely that he continues to disappoint throughout the entire playoffs.  He should benefit from the fast pace that the Rockets play at.  Aldridge averaged 0.95 DraftKings points per minute against the Rockets in the regular season, which will pay off his current price tag nicely if he continues to see the 37.3 minutes per game that he saw in the first round.  He was atrocious in game 1 with a -36 net rating in 25.4 minutes, but that was just a weird game.  He did not look good in game 2 either, but posted a much better line than in game 1.  He finally turned things around in game 3, the first game without Parker, shooting 12 of 20 from the field, but struggled again in game 4.  Ultimately, he is a high-risk/ high-reward GPP play.

Patty Mills should see plenty of minutes with Tony Parker injured.  Mills averaged 27.1 minutes per game without Parker in the regular season, compared to 20.3 minutes per game with Parker playing.  In 19 games without Parker, Mills averaged 24.9 DraftKings points per game compared to 17.1 DraftKings points per game with Parker.  Mills plays 30.1 minutes in game 3, shooting just 4 of 14 from the field, but still producing 27.75 DraftKings points.  Mills played 30.2 minutes off the bench in game 4, so his role looks to be pretty clearly defined.

Core:  Kawhi Leonard, Patty Mills

Secondary: LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol

Value:  Danny Green, David Lee, Jonathon Simmons



Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors

Utah Jazz

Gordon Hayward averaged 36.4 minutes per game in round 1, but that was pulled down by an abbreviated game four where he played just 9 minutes.  He had a 28.7 percent usage rate in round 1, up from his season average of 27.5 percent.  Hayward struggled from the field in game 1, but bounced back nicely in games 2 and 3 without George Hill.  He is a great option in any format if Hill misses game 4, and is a GPP play if Hill is active.


Utah dealt with a lot of injuries this season, and those injuries coincided with games against the Warriors, so it is tough to see how some guys did against Golden State.  Rudy Gobert, however, played in three games against the Warriors and is generally not influenced by who is or is not on the floor with him.  He averaged 1.28 DraftKings points per minute against Golden State in the regular season and recorded a double-double with at least 17 rebounds in each game.  He was a little disappointing in game 1, failing to record a double-double in 31 minutes, but he bounced back with 16 points and 16 rebounds in game 2 and 21 points and 15 rebounds in game 3. Expect more of the same going forward.  He is one of the top options on the slate.

Joe Ingles and Joe Johnson both played big roles in round 1 and they should continue to have sizeable roles this round as there is no reason to expect the Jazz not to play small.  Johnson is the preferred option of the two as he has taken more shots in each game of the series (and had a higher usage rate in round 1).  Keep in mind that neither player matches up as well with the Warriors as they did with the Blazers, however, so temper your expectations.  Rodney Hood played 35 minutes in game 2 and 32.1 minutes in game 3.  He is a high-upside option in game 4, and is a much stronger play if Hill sits.

Core:  Rudy Gobert, Gordon Hayward (if Hill out)

Secondary: Hayward (Hill in)

Value:  Joe Ingles, Joe Johnson, Rodney Hood, Shelvin Mack (Hill out), Boris Diaw


Golden State Warriors


Utah has been vulnerable against good point guards for much of the season and Steph Curry clearly fits that description.  Curry averaged 1.31 DraftKings points per minute in three games against Utah this season and had a 34.5 percent usage rate in the first round against Portland, although that could tick down a little bit with Kevin Durant healthy.  Curry is not as strong a point guard option as other point guards that are still playing, like John Wall or Isaiah Thomas, but this small slate does not have any other star point guards on it.


Kevin Durant’s matchup against Gordon Hayward and the slow-paced, defensive-minded Jazz will be difficult, but he is one of the best players in the game and is a strong option regardless of matchup.  He was mediocre from a fantasy perspective in game 1, with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in 31 minutes of play, but followed that up with a very nice game 2 and 3 as he was active on the boards to go along with his scoring.  He is a very strong play anywhere that he is significantly less expensive than Leonard.


Draymond Green was very effective against Utah this season, averaging 1.26 DraftKings points per minute and topping 45 DraftKings points in two of three games.  He has continued that trend throughout this series, averaging 1.19 DraftKings points per minute in the first three games.  Klay Thompson struggled against Utah much more than Green did during the regular season, averaging just .77 DraftKings points per minute, and he has continued to struggle mightily in this series.  He is a risky option because we know that Curry and Durant will dominate usage and there are going to be less possessions available than usual because of the pace that the Jazz play at.  Factor in that Utah is also strong defensively and it is a tough spot to expect big things from Thompson.

Core:  Draymond Green

Secondary: Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant

Value:  Andre Iguodala, Zaza Pachulia, David West