NBA Thoughts – 3/20/17

What’s up fellas! I’m back on the beat after a week off to enjoy the slopes of Jackson Hole, Wyoming and the beaches of Miami, Florida. I had a terribly disappointing performance in the DraftKings NBA Championship, but as any serious DFS player knows, that’s just how it goes sometimes. I’m excited to get back to the grind and will be back on the Deeper Dive with Loughy and Manny tonight (LIVE from Manny Lora’s condo). I’ll take this space to break down perhaps the most important game of the night: Rockets-Nuggets

The Rockets and Nuggets played in their last game in Denver on Saturday Night in a very similar situation to what we’ll see tonight. The Rockets were essentially full strength while the Nuggets were without important wings Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari and big man Darrell Arthur. The same will hold true tonight for the Nuggets who ran an 8-man rotation last game in what ended up as a 109-105 victory for the Rockets. Nuggets’ star Nikola Jokic got in foul trouble and ended up playing just 22 minutes, though he did notably get up a whopping 15 shot attempt in his limited time on the court. Jokic’s foul trouble meant a lot of extra run for Mason Plumlee, who I believe will see far less time on the court tonight should Jokic be able to play his usual 32-35 minutes. I love Jokic tonight as a high-risk, high-reward GPP play that perhaps people will be scared off of after his disappointing game last time out. Jokic has truly smashed this season in his minutes without the relevant missing Nuggets, and this is a great matchup for him if things go right.

I believe the success of Nikola Jokic is correlated closely with the success of three other Nuggets: Jameer Nelson, Gary Harris, and Will Barton. If this game stays close into the 4th quarter, Jokic should share the court with all three players, and the Nuggets will need big performance outs of at least two of them to keep this game close. I am a bit worried about the Nuggets tonight – if the Rockets get hot from deep this game could get very ugly early, but if the Nuggets play well we should see these four guys should all have decent to big games. And of course, if the game stays close, we know who on the other side will do well: James Harden.

In the end, Nuggets-Rockets truly looks like a game stack or fade to me. The Nuggets’ minutes seem very predictable in a close game, and I want at least 2 but possibly three of Jameer Nelson, Gary Harris, Juancho Hernangomez, Will Barton and Nikola Jokic paired up with James Harden. In GPPs, I think rostering just one Nugget is a pretty big mistake. They need multiple guys to play well to get their full minutes, and we know who will be on the court if that happens. Mason Plumlee seems like a relatively easy fade for me as I don’t see him staying on the court if Jokic stays out of foul trouble, as he’s not quick enough to defend the perimeter and the Nuggets will need to go small to defend the perimeter against the three-point chucking Rockets.

Tune into the Deeper Dive tonight for more analysis, and it’s good to be back! #LetsGetIt