NBA DEEP DIVE- April 12, 2017

It is the last night of the NBA regular season and, as a result, most teams are sitting a lot of their players.  Keep an eye out for status updates leading up to lock and be sure to check out tonight’s Final Countdown show on  In general, we should be paying up for players that are on teams who are still playing for something (Bulls, Heat, Pacers and to lesser extents Boston, Utah and the Clippers).  We can also not worry as much about point-per-dollar because there are plenty of value plays at every position.


High Priced ($8,500+)


Russell Westbrook is probable for tonight’s game against Denver, although we do not know how many minutes he will play.  Even if his minutes are limited, he could easily be a top scorer on the slate in terms of raw points as it is a fantastic matchup with Denver and he is obviously an elite point-per-minute producer.  We do not need to worry about point-per-dollar plays on this slate because there is so much value, so Westbrook is a very strong option.


Paul George is facing Atlanta in a game that the Pacers need to win in order to ensure themselves of a playoff berth.  As I mentioned above, we should target players who are still playing for something, as they are more likely to see a full supply of minutes.  George has a usage rate over 31 percent since the start of March and has been doing everything he can to carry the Pacers.  He is more expensive than we generally like to pay for George but, once again, price really is not going to matter too much on this slate.


Jimmy Butler has a fantastic matchup with the Brooklyn Nets in a game that the Bulls need to win.  Dwyane Wade’s return to the lineup hurts Butler’s production, but Wade has been limited to 20-24 minutes since returning and the matchup more than makes up for any decrease in production caused by Wade’s return.  Butler is averaging 1.43 DraftKings points per minute against the Nets this season and should provide a very nice score tonight.


Secondary:  Isaiah Thomas, Stephen Curry, Chris Paul, Karl-Anthony Towns


Mid-Range ($5,500-$8,400)


Jeff Teague is facing his former team in a game that the Pacers need to win.  Atlanta has struggled to defend opposing point guards all season long and, even though Schroder is out, that should not change tonight.  Teague is averaging 34.4 minutes per game over his last five and has attempted at least 10 field goals in four of those five.  There are not many mid-range options that are assured of a lot of minutes tonight, but Teague is one.


Kyle Lowry is facing Cleveland in a game that it does not matter if the Raptors win.  Normally, that would be a reason to avoid Lowry and all of the other starters on Toronto.  This situation is different, however, for a couple of reasons.  First, Lowry missed significant time after the All-Star break and has only played three games since his return.  It would make a lot of sense for the Raptors to play him significant minutes to try and get him as up to speed as possible before the playoffs start.  Second, DeMar DeRozan is questionable with an illness.  When DeRozan sits, Lowry’s usage increases.  So it is reasonable to think that Lowry gets significant high-usage minutes against a Cleveland team that is weak defensively and does not seem concerned with whether or not they win tonight.


Goran Dragic is in a great spot in a must-win game.  Washington has been terrible defensively since the All-Star break and they have nothing to play for.  In addition, the Wizards are resting John Wall, Bradley Beal and Markieff Morris and limiting the minutes of Porter and Gortat.  Essentially, Dragic is playing a must-win game against the Wizards bench.  He and Whiteside, who I will touch on in a minute, are two of my favorite plays on the slate.


Avery Bradley and Jae Crowder are my favorite plays from the Celtics tonight.  They are the main catch-and-shoot wings on the Celtics with Crowder averaging 5.0 catch-and-shoot attempts per game and Bradley averaging 4.9.  The Celtics need to win this game to ensure they get the number one seed in the East, so we should expect full minutes out of their starters.  Spot-up wings are the best players to target against Milwaukee because of their defensive scheme.  Bradley has faced Milwaukee once this season, posting 33 DraftKings points in 36 minutes.  Crowder has faced them twice, posting 37.5 DraftKings points in 38.2 minutes in the game without Bradley and 18 in 36.7 minutes alongside Bradley.  Rostering them together may not be the best idea as they have tended to cut into each other’s production throughout the season but there is a very good chance that at least one of them has a big game.


Kevin Durant is a fine play at $9,800 on FanDuel, but is a much stronger play at just $8,200 on DraftKings.  The Warriors have the number one seed locked up so they do not have anything to play for, but Durant is still trying to get back into a rhythm after missing significant time in the second half of the season.  It would make sense for the Warriors to let him play a reasonable amount of minutes and he should be able to do a lot of damage in a short amount of time against the Lakers, especially if Klay Thompson or Stephen Curry have their minutes limited.


DeAndre Jordan will be facing the Kings in a game that matters somewhat for the Clippers as they are tied with the Jazz for the 4th seed in the Western Conference.  Sacramento has been atrocious against opposing centers since trading DeMarcus Cousins and Jordan should be able to take advantage.  In the only game that Jordan faced them in the second half of the season, he scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 30.2 minutes of play.  He is a strong mid-range play as he should see as many minutes as are needed for the Clippers to win this game.


Hassan Whiteside has a great matchup against the Wizards in a must-win game for the Heat.  Washington has struggled mightily to prevent offensive rebounds lately and they will be playing without Ian Mahinmi and with a limited Marcin Gortat tonight.  John Wall is not playing, so he will not be driving at Whiteside and allowing him to block shots, but Brandon Jennings will be chucking up shots in his place which will allow Whiteside plenty of defensive rebounds.  Whiteside is one of my favorite plays on the slate at any price.

Secondary: Ricky Rubio, Victor Oladipo, Klay Thompson, Buddy Hield, Andrew Wiggins, Gorgui Dieng, Skal Labissiere, Larry Nance, Myles Turner, Al Horford


Value ($3,000-$5,400)


Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez are both strong value options tonight as Mike Malone stated before Denver’s last game that he wanted to get them both more playing time and they played 31.6 and 26.3 minutes, respectively.  This should be a fast-paced game and they are both the absolute minimum across the industry.  As an added bonus, Beasley is shooting guard eligible on FanDuel.


Tauren Prince has been playing big minutes down the stretch for the Hawks and that should continue tonight as all of the Hawks starters except for Sefolosha have been ruled out.  The absence of Bazemore and Millsap will open up plenty of minutes for Prince, who should return to the 35-40 minutes that he was seeing a week ago.


Justin Hamilton should see as many minutes as he can handle tonight as the Nets will be without Trevor Booker, Quincy Acy and Brook Lopez.  Hamilton is center-eligible, whichis not ideal and makes him a strong play on DraftKings, but he should see north of 30 minutes in this game as the Nets are very thin in the frontcourt.  Andrew Nicholson is a riskier play from this frontcourt, but he has GPP-upside and is very likely to go overlooked.  He could very well lead us to GPP success on the last night of the season the same way that he did in preseason.


Boban makes for a strong GPP play as he let down a ton of people against the Wizards.  Whenever a player that people consider risky fails as chalk, it is a great strategy to go back to them the next game in GPPs.  Boban played just shy of 20 minutes against the Wizards on the second game of a back-to-back.  Stan Van Gundy had previously stated that he wanted to get Boban 20-24 minutes of playing time so it seems reasonable to expect he sees enough minutes to do significant damage tonight.  He is averaging over 1.4 DraftKings points per minute this year and he has a nice matchup with an Orlando frontcourt that is weak defensively and has nothing to play for.


Secondary: Jerian Grant, Isaiah Whitehead, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jamal Murray, Malcolm Brogdon,  Shabazz Napier, Jordan Crawford, K.J. McDaniels, Nicolas Brussino, Kelly Oubre, Bojan Bogdanovic, Patrick McCaw, Maurice Ndour, Jason Smith, Jake Layman, Cheick Diallo, Dwight Powell, Greg Monroe, Georgios Papagiannis