NBA DEEP DIVE- April 20, 2017

Indiana Pacers

Monta Ellis played 27.6 minutes in game one and made four of eight field goal attempts and finished the game with a team worst -9 rating and he saw 24.5 minutes in game two, finishing with a -4 rating.  It seems unlikely that he sees more playing time than he did in the first two games as Lance Stephenson has closed both games over Ellis.  Lance Stephenson is the most intriguing of the Indiana bench players.  Stephenson played 26.8 minutes in game one and finished with the best plus/minus rating on the team.  He played the entire fourth quarter, closing alongside Teague, George, Young and Turner.  He also attempted 13 field goals in his 26 minutes of play, making 8 of them.  He played 26.4 minutes in game two, closing once again.  He also took another 13 shots, so his role appears to be pretty big for Indiana in this series.  His price has increased, but he is still a very strong option on a slate that is severely lacking at shooting guard.

Paul George played 41.2 minutes in game one and 41.8 minutes in game two.  We can expect George to play north of 40 minutes throughout the series, as he needs to carry this team on his back if they are going to have any chance at winning- much like he did to get them into the playoffs.  George is averaging 1.22 DraftKings points per minute against James this season, which is pretty much in line with what he produced in the first two games of the series.  He is overpriced, but he still has a high floor and ceiling in terms of raw points.  Thaddeus Young played 33.3 minutes in game one and 33.4 minutes in game two.  He provides upside in this matchup, despite a small role in the half-court offense, because he can do damage in transition and the Cavaliers finished the regular season allowing the fifth most transition points per game.  He is now averaging 0.82 points per game this season against Cleveland.  Do not be too impressed by his game two fantasy total, as it was aided by 6 steals- although we have seen him pile up steals on occasion this season-, but we can be encouraged by the 11 shots he took. Myles Turner saw 32.5 minutes in game one, losing about three minutes to foul trouble, and played 36.7 minutes in game two.  The latter is closer to what we should expect moving forward.  He does not have a great matchup against the Cavaliers, but he is a viable GPP option because his price dropped about $1,000 on DraftKings and he has not had a big fantasy game yet so he should be available at low ownership.  Jeff Teague played 35.4 minutes in game one and was three-of-ten shooting.  Surprisingly, he had only four assists and did not contribute much in the way of peripherals to go along with his 15 points.  In game two, Teague shot better and scored 23 points on 8-12 shooting.  He, once again, picked up only four assists, however. One of the good things about Teague throughout the season was that he racked up peripherals so he was not scoring dependent.  It appears that a combination of the Cavaliers’ defensive scheme and Paul George dominating the ball are limiting his peripherals in this matchup and it makes him a risky player to roster.

Core:  Paul George, Lance Stephenson

Secondary: Thaddeus Young, Jeff Teague, Myles Turner

Value: Monta Ellis


Cleveland Cavaliers

Kyrie Irving played 38.6 minutes and attempted 27 field goals in game one.  He followed that up in game two by shooting 24 times in 34.2 minutes.  He averaged about 1.17 DraftKings points per minute against Teague in the regular season.  Although the scoring upside is clearly there, the concern is that his lack of peripherals limit his ceiling as he rarely scores a ton of points and picks up assists or rebounds at the same time.  He is a viable option in a nice matchup, but his lack of assists and rebounds keeps him from being an elite option at his price.  LeBron James played 42.8 minutes in game one and 42.3 minutes in game two.  James attempted 20 field goals in each of the first two games and ended up with a double-double in both games, with 13 assists in the first game and 10 rebounds in the second.  He is, once again, the top play of the slate as he is likely to play the most minutes on the slate and produce the most points per minute.  Kevin Love played just 31.4 minutes and attempted just nine field goals in game one, but he got back on track in game two as he scored 27 points in 38.6 minutes.  He only had 7 field goal attempts, but he got to the line 12 times so it is a little bit less concerning.  Still, we would prefer that he shoot more.  He is a risky play because he depends on LeBron and Kyrie not shooting every time they touch the ball, but we have seen LeBron make a point of getting Love involved in games throughout the season and it is likely that we see a game in this series where Love becomes the top secondary scoring option instead of Kyrie in an effort to get him hot for the second round.  He is a strong GPP play.  Tristan Thompson is a relatively safe, yet unexciting play now that his price has increased about ten percent on DraftKings.  He played 30.7 minutes in game 1 and 32.2 minutes in game 2 as Channing Frye saw less fourth quarter minutes than in game 1.  Thompson’s upside is limited by his lack of a role on offense, but he provides a nice floor based on rebounds and a little bit of a ceiling if he is able to get more offensive putbacks.

Core:  LeBron James

Secondary:  Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love, Tristan Thompson


Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo, as expected, led the team in field goal attempts in the first two games with 18 and 24, respectively.  He averaged 1.35 DraftKings points per minute against Toronto in the regular season and is underpriced for the minutes he is going to play and the role and upside that he has.  Toronto has strong wing defenders, but they do not have anyone who can match up with him perfectly or that can defend him in transition.  He is a strong option in any format.  Malcolm Brogdon played 34.1 minutes in game one and 37.3 minutes in game two, attempting double-digit field goals in both games.  Toronto has been susceptible to point guards all season long and Brogdon should continue to have success.  He is a strong play in any format as long as his price stays in the low $5,000 range.  Khris Middleton led the team in minutes and was second in field goal attempts in game one.  He played over 40 minutes again in game 2, finishing with the second most minutes behind Giannis.  He attempted 15 shots in the first game and 14 in the second game.  He did not shoot well at all in game 1, and was slightly below averaging in game 2, but it was a good sign that he played huge minutes and was able to get up plenty of shots in both games.  He has not had a big game yet in the series, but he has plenty of upside as he is an integral part of the Milwaukee offense and will need to play well if the Bucks are going to win this series.  Greg Monroe played 25.8 minutes in game one and 21.9 minutes in game two.  He was benched for Thon Maker to close game two and the Bucks immediately went on a 7-0 run.  Maker has been impressive on both ends of the floor so far in this series and his presence makes Monroe a risky play, although Monroe still has plenty of tournament upside.  Thon Maker himself makes for a very interesting GPP option.  He is sitting below $3,000 on DraftKings and played 15 minutes in game 1 and 20 minutes in game two, including closing the fourth quarter.  He has been impressive on both ends of the floor by all accounts so far and averaged 0.87 DraftKings points per minute this season.  If he sees 20-25 minutes tonight he could pay huge dividends.

Core:  Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton

Secondary: Malcolm Brogdon, Greg Monroe

Value: Thon Maker, Matthew Dellavedova, Tony Snell


Toronto Raptors

It is not an ideal matchup for point guards, but Kyle Lowry is underpriced at just $8,100 on DraftKings.  He played only 33.9 minutes in game one, but he saw 39.3 minutes in game two.  Lowry is more of a cash play than a GPP play as he is unlikely to greatly exceed his salary in this matchup, but he does have a very high floor.  DeMar DeRozan has a tough matchup as well, as he is not a spot-up shooter and needs the ball in his hands.  Ball-handlers tend to struggle against this Milwaukee team, and that has held true for DeRozan this season as he averaged just under a fantasy point per minute against them during the regular season.  That said, there is certainly GPP upside for DeRozan as he attempted 21 shots in 38.5 minutes in game one and also got to the line 14 times.  In game two, he attempted 18 shots but got to the line just 6 times.  When you factor in that shooting guard is a pretty weak position, rostering DeRozan in any format makes a lot of sense if you can do it without giving up much elsewhere.  Serge Ibaka matches up incredibly well with this Milwaukee team and it has shown in his production against them throughout the season and in the first two games of this series. Milwaukee is most vulnerable to spot-up shooters and Ibaka leads the Raptors in catch-and-shoot attempts this season.  He has also closed both games at center.  Patrick Patterson played 30 minutes in game two and closed in the frontcourt alongside Serge Ibaka.  He finished the game with the second best plus/minus rating on the team and is an interesting GPP punt at a bargain basement price across the industry.

Core: Serge Ibaka, Kyle Lowry

Secondary: DeMar DeRozan

Value: Patrick Patterson


Memphis Grizzlies

Zach Randolph had an awful first game, but rebounded to play over 35 minutes and produce a double-double in the second game, squashing my theory that JaMychal Green would steal his minutes.  Randolph matches up very well with the San Antonio frontcourt when he is on the floor so he makes for a very high upside option.  Vince Carter and James Ennis will likely see plenty of minutes (as Ennis seemingly replaced Selden last game), but they are unlikely to be very productive.  Still, the first part to having upside is actually getting minutes and they will.  There are better punt plays on this slate, but they are in play if you are max entering.  Mike Conley and Marc Gasol both had great games for the Grizzlies in game one, despite the blowout.  Conley followed it up with another very good performance in game two while Gasol struggled, shooting just 4-of-15 from the field.  Both players make for strong GPP plays as they clearly have upside and will have to play well for the Grizzlies to have a chance, just keep in mind that, over the last two regular seasons, Conley is averaging 1.02 DraftKings points per minute and Gasol is averaging 0.87 DraftKings points per minute against San Antonio.

Core: Mike Conley, Zach Randolph

Secondary:  Marc Gasol

Value: Vince Carter, James Ennis


San Antonio Spurs

There are basically four-and-a-half viable options on San Antonio- with Danny Green being the half because you are forced to pick from a bunch of awful shooting guards on this slate and he is probably not going to be popular so he makes sense in tournaments.

Tony Parker played just over 14 minutes in the first half, and 22 minutes in the game, with just 1:33 in the fourth quarter, in game one but he only played 23.8 minutes in game two where he was replaced by Patty Mills to close the game. Parker looked good in both games, making 8 of his 13 field goal attempts in the first and 6-of-14 in the second, and, but his lack of secure minutes makes him a risky option in a less than ideal matchup.  LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard will likely be the two most popular players from the Spurs, and rightfully so.  Aldridge matches up well with a Memphis frontcourt that struggles to defend stretch fours.  Aldridge has had plenty of success against Memphis this season, and carried that into game 1 when he scored 20 points on 8-of-18 shooting in 30 minutes.  He followed it up with a terrible fantasy performance in game two, but he played 41.5 minutes which gives him tremendous upside if the game stays close. Kawhi Leonard was phenomenal for the Spurs in game one, scoring 32 actual points in 32.1 minutes of play.  In game two, he scored 37 actual points, getting to the line 19 times, in 40.2 minutes.  The Grizzlies do not have anyone to defend him with Tony Allen sidelined.  He is significantly less expensive than George or James and makes for a very strong play in a matchup that is not as bad as it appears.  Pau Gasol makes for an excellent GPP play.  He scored only 15 DraftKings points in game 1, but he played 24.9 minutes without seeing the court in the fourth quarter.  In game 2, he played just shy of 30 minutes.  His stat line was disappointing once again but he is likely to go relatively overlooked (it is a three-game slate so he will still have ownership) since his game logs are not pretty.  He has a very nice ceiling for the price.

Core:  Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge

Secondary: Pau Gasol, Tony Parker

Value: Danny Green