NBA DEEP DIVE- April 19, 2017- Playoff Edition
Ten players saw the floor for Atlanta in game one, with seven of them playing at least 20 minutes and three of them (Schroder, Millsap and Prince) playing at least 30 minutes. Dennis Schroder looked very good, scoring 25 points to go along with 9 assists and 3 rebounds in his team-leading 35.9 minutes. Schroder was not particularly good against the Wizards in the regular season, averaging just 0.81 DraftKings points per minute. That said, he remains a strong tournament option because he has shown significant upside for his price all season long and he will need to play really well throughout the series for the Hawks to have a chance at upsetting the Wizards. Tim Hardaway, Jr. played 27.8 minutes and struggled from the field, shooting just 2-of-11. He did not play much in the fourth quarter of game 1, as Kent Bazemore closed over him, but that was possibly a result of his poor shooting performance. He is a cheap option at a weak position and he certainly has upside in this matchup. The Wizards looked much better defensively in game 1 than they did to close the season, but there is still a chance we see some regression and Hardaway would be the most likely to take advantage as they really struggled against wings down the stretch. Paul Millsap had a terrible game in game 1 and, honestly, it was embarrassing to watch. Markieff Morris called him soft in an interview before the game and then proceeded to score against him at will and get in his face after pretty much every basket with Millsap doing nothing to stop the scoring or the talking. There is merit to rostering Millsap in GPPs as his ownership will likely be down after the terrible performance, but he is a very risky play as he has been inconsistent against Morris since Morris joined the Wizards and Morris really seemed to be in his head in game 1. Dwight Howard did not post a huge line in game one, but he still has a very high ceiling at his price. He grabbed 14 rebounds in just 29 minutes of play and the Wizards struggled mightily to rebound down the stretch. It was surprising to only see 29 minutes from Howard as the Hawks appeared to be ramping up his minutes at the end of the regular season to prepare him for the playoffs, so there is a chance he sees more minutes in this game as well. He is a very strong play at a surprisingly weak center position.
Core: Dwight Howard
Secondary: Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Paul Millsap
Value: Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince
The only people to play more than 20 minutes in game 1 were the starters, who all played more than 30 minutes. This was expected as Scott Brooks relied heavily on his starters for most of the season and it makes them very strong options regardless of format. John Wall looked phenomenal in game 1 and we should continue to see that throughout the series. Atlanta has struggled to defend opposing point guards all season long and Wall is one of the best in the game. He managed to get up 24 field goal attempts while also picking up 14 assists. He has a very high floor as we know that the Wizards will play him close to 40 minutes per game and he has a high ceiling as well in a great matchup. It also helps that both of these teams play at a faster pace than a lot of people realize, both finishing the season in the top 10 since the All-Star break. Bradley Beal has a more difficult matchup as the Hawks have strong wing defenders, but he also led the team in minutes with 39.2. Beal was solid in game 1, but there is room for improvement. He shot just 42.9 percent from the field and 18.2 percent from three. He attempted 21 field goals total and 11 from long-range so, if those threes are falling, we could see a huge performance out of Beal. He shot much better from three at home than on the road this season, so this is a good spot to target that increased performance. Otto Porter has a nice ceiling at a very low price, but there is still risk to rostering him. Other than Gortat, he played the least minutes of any starter and we saw him lose minutes to Kelly Oubre at the end of the season as Oubre turned into a bit of a defensive specialist for the Wizards. Porter attempted only 6 shots in his 32 game 1 minutes, so that is concerning as well. All of that said, he is a very good three-point shooter and it does not take much to pay off a price tag in the low $5,000 range so there is merit to rostering him in GPPs as a last guy in. Markieff Morris has done very well against Paul Millsap since joining the Wizards as Millsap is not as good of a defender away from the basket as he is close to it and Morris is a capable shooter. He has all the confidence in the world going into game 2, as he talked trash about Millsap before the series started and then backed it up with 21 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks and a steal in 38 minutes of action. The defensive stats are unlikely to be repeated so we should keep expectations in check somewhat, but it is still a spot where we should see a big performance from Morris. It is also worth noting that, while he picked up extra fantasy points from defensive stats, he shot slightly below his season average from the field so there is a chance we see improvement there moving forward. Marcin Gortat recorded a double-double in 31 minutes and it was good to see his minutes increase after they dropped off at the end of the regular season. As long as Ian Mahinmi is sidelined, Gortat should continue to see at least 30-32 minutes per game. He is facing a quality rebounder in Dwight Howard and his price has increased since game 1, but he is still a viable option as center is weak on this slate.
Core: John Wall, Markieff Morris
Secondary: Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder were destroyed by the Rockets in game 1 and there is a pretty good chance that that is a recurring theme in this series as the best MVP candidate beats up on everyone’s favorite MVP candidate. Russell Westbrook struggled in game 1 as Patrick Beverley did an excellent job keeping him from getting to the rim. He still, of course, has massive upside in this matchup and it is worth noting that he had success against Beverley in the regular season. He produced 48.75 DraftKings points on just 6-of-23 shooting in this one so he is a strong option, especially because we could see his ownership dip below Harden’s as people look at box scores from game 1. Victor Oladipo is another bounce-back candidate as he shot just 1-of-12 from the field in 32 minutes. He should have a better matchup than Westbrook when he is playing against the Rockets’ starters and he also got a handful of minutes against the second unit without Westbrook on the floor. As long as his price is in the low-mid $5,000 range, he will have upside throughout this series. Andre Roberson does very well against the Rockets and game 1 was no exception. He averaged 0.79 DraftKings points per minute in the regular season and put up a huge line in game 1 with 38.5 DraftKings points in 35 minutes. He will continue to have a big role for the Thunder as he is needed to defend James Harden. Expect him to be extremely popular tonight, but he is a top value option even though he is unlikely to match his game 1 output. Steven Adams is a great play in this game as he saw about 27 minutes in game 1 and there is a good chance that he sees more time in this one as Billy Donovan very clearly said to an assistant “We cannot play Kanter” following a Harden to (I think) Capela lob in the fourth quarter. Adams did not produce much in his 28 minutes in game 1 but we should stay on that train.
Core: Russell Westbrook
Secondary: Victor Oladipo
Value: Andre Roberson, Steven Adams
James Harden was excellent in game 1, scoring 37 points with 9 assists and 7 rebounds in 34 minutes of play. If this game stays close, we can expect Harden to see closer to 40 minutes as he lost about 4 minutes of playing time at the end of the fourth quarter in game 1. Andre Roberson is a quality defender, but Harden is essentially matchup proof and contributes in every category. As always, he is a top play on the slate. Patrick Beverley played extremely well in game 1. He will probably be popular tonight as a result. He is a fine play as he has plenty of opportunities for defensive stats against Russell Westbrook, but there is merit to fading him in GPPs at a deep point guard position as is price increased somewhat and he is unlikely to shoot 8-13 from the field or 4-6 from three again tonight. Eric Gordon and Lou Williams are both fine value plays in GPPs as they are capable of getting hot off the bench. Gordon is the preferred option as he played more minutes than Williams in game 1 and Gordon lost fourth quarter minutes due to the blowout while Williams gained them. Clint Capela and Nene both have upside as well, with Nene being the preferred play at the center position for Houston. Capela played 24.6 minutes compared to Nene’s 18.8, but it appeared that Nene was going to close the game and he lost about 4 minutes to the blowout. Factor in that he is substantially cheaper than Capela and he is the stronger play, though Capela is a fine option as well. Ryan Anderson was extremely popular in game 1 and he disappointed. He is someone I will be staying away from tonight as he only attempted 6 shots, he has struggled to shoot at home all season long, and he is unlikely to luck into 12 rebounds again in this game. His statline in game 1, which was not impressive to begin with, benefitted from a lot of long rebounds bouncing directly to Anderson.
Core: James Harden
Secondary: Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, Clint Capela
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum both had huge games for Portland in game 1 and we can expect more of the same if they decide to take the same approach tonight, as they combined for 54 field goal attempts. Lillard was 12-26 from the field and McCollum was 16-28. If their prices had increased they would be fade candidates, especially McCollum, but they did not. Both players are better left to GPPs as the Warriors are a strong defensive team and neither play has shown consistent success against them. They both have showed high ceilings, however, so they are strong GPP options. Evan Turner and Mo Harkless are strong value options as they saw 36 and 34.8 minutes respectively, even with Allen Crabbe back. Both players started and were on the floor to close the game as well. There is no reason to expect this series not to go small and, as long as Nurkic is sidelined, Turner and Harkless should see plenty of minutes. Al-Farouq Aminu is a secondary value option as well, although he only played 23.3 minutes in game 1.
Core: Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum
Value: Mo Harkless, Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu
Golden State Warriors
Kevin Durant is doubtful for Golden State tonight, which makes this game much more appealing as it is likely to stay closer and there are more shots to go around for the other Golden State starters. Steph Curry has a very nice matchup against a Portland backcourt that struggles to prevent opposing guards from scoring and, without Durant on the floor with the starters this season, Curry has a 29.4 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.33 DraftKings points per minute. He will also almost certainly see minutes without Thompson on the floor and, in those minutes this season, he is averaging 1.72 DraftKings points per minute with a 43.4 percent usage rate. Klay Thompson also benefits from a good matchup and will see more looks without Durant. In 549.5 minutes alongside Green and Curry without Durant, Thompson has a 29.6 percent usage rate and is averaging 1.16 DraftKings points per minute. In 293.1 minutes without Curry on the floor either, his usage rate jumps to 38.2 percent. Draymond Green is less affected by Durant’s absence, but he has been very good against Portland this season and should see plenty of minutes at center tonight, which makes him a very strong play. He averaged 1.21 DraftKings points per minute against Portland in the regular season and racked up 66 DraftKings points in game 1 of this series. He will be popular but he is a very strong option. Matt Barnes is questionable for the game. If he plays, he will be a strong value option. If not, we should see increased minutes for Patrick McCaw and Andre Iguodala. Iguodala is the more appealing of that duo, as he averaged 0.84 DraftKings points per minute this season without Durant on the floor, compared to 0.61 for McCaw, and he saw 32.7 minutes in game 1 even with Durant active. Those numbers decrease as you add Curry, Thompson and/or Green to the floor, but Iguodala remains the more productive of the two.
Core: Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green
Value: Andre Iguodala