NBA DEEP DIVE- April 23, 2017

Cleveland Cavaliers (3-0) at Indiana Pacers (0-3)

Cleveland Cavaliers

Despite the Indiana Pacers being up by 26 points and posting a franchise record 72 points in the first half of Game 3, somehow LeBron James carried the Cavs to victory.  In the fourth quarter, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving never left the bench and Tristan Thompson had a cameo appearance at the very end of the game.  Otherwise it was an unconventional lineup of Channing Frye, Iman Shumpert, Kyle Korver and Deron Williams combining with King James to rule the night.

LeBron James at least has had 72 hours of rest so there is a chance he has enough left in the tank to lead Cleveland to a sweep and relax for a full week while the rest of the playoff series wind down.  His price has jumped on all sites, but if you want to cross your fingers and hope that Russell Westbrook falters, LBJ is the pivot play.

Kyrie Irving saw quite a drop in salary on the dynamic pricing sites and he is a fine option in all formats.  Kevin Love is the clear cut top option at the power forward position which is pretty thin today, so that is going to artificially increase his popularity.

The rest of the Cavs outside of the Big Three are complete afterthoughts, but if you are looking to punt the power forward position on DraftKings, an argument can be made for Channing Frye.

Core:  LeBron James

Secondary:  Kyrie Irving, Kevin Love

Value: Channing Frye


Indiana Pacers

The Pacers have had three days to recover from their shocking loss on Thursday and if they can pull themselves together for one last gasp, it will be an impressive coaching effort by Nate McMillan.

Paul George had an amazing game with 36 points, 15 rebounds, 9 assists and a steal but he could not contain LeBron James down the stretch.  He has topped 40 minutes in each of the first three games this series and should see similar minutes today unless Cleveland is able to blow the doors off the Pacers from the jump.

Jeff Teague has been a whole lotta meh, despite the great matchup with Kyrie Irving and he can be left to other gamers on Sunday.

Lance Stephenson is at least playing with passion and he is a solid option at small forward or shooting guard, depending on your site of choice.

Outside of Thaddeus Young, the remainder of the Pacers are not worthy of consideration and Young is really only viable because of the limited power forward options today.

Core:  Paul George (high risk/reward)

Secondary:  Lance Stephenson, Jeff Teague, Thaddeus Young

Value: None


Houston Rockets (2-1) at Oklahoma City (1-2)

Houson Rockets

James Harden will be facing Andre Roberson, who 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.  Though with LeBron James and Russell Westbrook as high-end options, we have several choices in tournaments.

Patrick Beverley dropped a dud in Game 3, but we also get a bit of a price discount as a result.  He is not going to miss all of his shots again, so we can go back to the well.  Reserves  Eric Gordon and Lou Williams are both fine value plays in GPPs as they are capable of getting hot off the bench.

Clint Capela and Nene both have upside as well, with Nene being the preferred play at the center position for Houston.  Capela may get more minutes, but Nene is cheaper and likely to close out the games while they are tight.

Ryan Anderson was in the zone for Game 3 going 8 for 14 from the field after posting a combined 2 for 14 in the first two games of the series.  Perhaps there really is something of merit with regards to his shooting woes at home.  This one is in Oklahoma City and perhaps he can build on his performance.  At his price point and general lack of power forward options in the player pool, he is a fine consolation prize.

Core:  James Harden

Secondary:  Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Eric Gordon, Clint Capela

Value: Nene, Ryan Anderson


Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell Westbrook has been transcendent in the last two games averaging 40mpg, 41.5ppg, 11.5rpg, 12.0apg and 4.0 combined blocks/steals for 84.6 DraftKings/FantasyDraft points per game.  On FanDuel there is merit to looking elsewhere in tournaments if you can stomach the thought of leaving him off your roster.

Victor Oladipo has become nearly a “bargain” play on DraftKings at $5,300 and on FantasyDraft at $10,400 and over on FanDuel at $5,900 he is a good way to close out one of the pesky shooting guard slots.  He is still only a secondary play though with Russell Westbrook dominating the offensive touches for the Thunder.

Andre Roberson is getting heavy minutes as the Thunder have tasked him with slowing down James Harden and he has responded with back-to-back-to-back 30+ fantasy point outings as a bonus.  Once again he will be popular tonight, but he is a top mid-range option even though continuing to reach 30+ fantasy points is a lofty goal.

Steven Adams is the key front court option from the Thunder as head coach Billy Donovan has realized that he cannot play Enes Kanter because of his defensive liabilities.

Core: Russell Westbrook

Secondary:  Andre Roberson, Victor Oladipo

Value: Jerami Grant, Steven Adams


Boston Celtics (1-2) at Chicago Bulls (2-1)

Boston Celtics

Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics to a road victory against the disheveled Chicago Bulls who were adrift without Rajon Rondo facilitating the offense.  If the game stays close, IT2 will approach 40 DraftKings points, but that could be a stretch given what we saw on Friday with the Bulls looking out of sorts.  Boston is still down 2-1 so they are not going to take the game lightly.

Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart are all decent tournament options, with Smart really standing out where you can utilize him as a shooting guard.

Al Horford has really been neutralized by Robin Lopez in the playoffs and in three matchups against Chicago in the regular season, Horford averaged 0.90 DraftKings points per minute.  He looked good in Game 3 with 47.0 DraftKings points, however, he also took 14 shots which is something we cannot count on with any regularity.  Let others chase the performance. Kelly Olynyk has been an excellent discount option and he should continue to be in play throughout the remainder of the series.

Core:  Isaiah Thomas

Secondary: Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, Al Horford, Marcus Smart

Value: Kelly Olynyk


Chicago Bulls

Rajon Rondo is out of action with a fractured thumb.  This means the Bulls will become even more reliant on Jimmy Butler and Dewayne Wade, however, as we saw in Game 3 this is no guarantee of a top-shelf performance.  Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant took turns at the helm, but neither did much with the extra minutes and now that they are not at rock bottom prices it is hard to think we will see much of a different result.

Nikola Mirotic was an important cog in the Bulls offense as his shooting touch helped Chicago space the court somewhat, but they were still missing Rajon Rondo more than anyone thought they would.  Mirotic is fine for all formats on Sunday.

Robin Lopez is a strong center option and should be able to flirt with a double double this series as the Bulls need him on the court to shadow Al Horford.

Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade are probably going to be underrepresented in tournaments after their lackluster showing on Friday, which of course puts them squarely in play since they know this is a must win game if they want to have any hope of holding off the Celtics.

Core: Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade, Jerian Grant

Secondary: Robin Lopez

Value: Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis


Los Angeles Clippers (2-1) at Utah Jazz (1-2)

Los Angeles Clippers

Chris Paul is the top play on the Clippers.  He averaged 1.20 DraftKings points per minute against Utah in the regular season and he has not disappointed through the first three games of this series with averages of 35.3mpg 26.6ppg and 10.3apg for an eye-popping 56.0 DraftKings points per contest.

DeAndre Jordan’s matchup is now much better as well, as Gobert is a great defender and rebounder.  Jordan will now likely be matched up with Derrick Favors and Jeff Withey.  Since Gobert was injured early in the first quarter, we can use game one and two as a guide to what to expect from Jordan.  So a 15/15 is definitely in the mix and he is the unquestioned top projected raw point performer on the Sunday slate.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Marreese Speights enter the picture as discount options with Blake Griffin out for the rest of the playoffs. 

Core:  Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan

Secondary:  None

Value:  Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Marreese Speights


Utah Jazz

Derrick Favors is the biggest beneficiary on the Jazz in the absence of Rudy Gobert.  Favors has played 73.4 minutes alongside Hill and Hayward without Gobert this season and has averaged 0.82 DraftKings points per minute and with Blake Griffin out of the picture, he should finally be able to return dividends.

Despite excellent Game 3 performances from both Gordon Hayward and George Hill, they remain secondary options since they have to face tough defenders in Chris Paul and Luc Mbah a Moute, and neither one benefits from Gobert’s absence since he is not a high usage player.

Joe Ingles is an option if he draws another start and we have seen that the venerable Joe Johnson continues to see key minutes and they are both options on the three game and two game “mini” slates the sites will be running out today.

Core: Derrick Favors

Secondary: George Hill, Gordon Hayward

Value: Joe Ingles, Joe Johnson