NBA DEEP DIVE- April 24, 2017

 

Toronto Raptors(2-2) at Milwaukee Bucks (2-2)

Toronto Raptors

Kyle Lowry has struggled through four games in this post-season matchup despite logging heavy minutes.  He missed practice on Monday (stiff back), but is expected to play tonight.  At $7,500 on DraftKings he is still an enticing tournament option since his representation in tournaments has continued to fall with his production and price tag.  Once again, it will be a surprise to see him on more than 15% of all tournament rosters and if we want to find a path to glory, we are going to have to take some chances.

DeMar DeRozan finally saw his shots falling and he went 12 for 22 finishing the night with 33 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals for 55+ fantasy points on most scoring systems.  This is his third game in the series over 35 fantasy points, so there is a chance lightening could strike twice.

Serge Ibaka was tremendous on Saturday in just 26 minutes of court time hoisting up a series high 16 shots and filling the box score wtih 10 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks, two steals and an assist. Milwaukee is most vulnerable to spot-up shooters and Ibaka leads the Raptors in catch-and-shoot attempts this season.  As an added bonus, he has also closed most games this series at center.

Norman Powell was tabbed as a starter on Saturday and he responded by sinking all three of his shots behind the arc, ending the game with 12 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and a block.  With the Raptors winning, it would make sense to see him in the starting five once more and he is a fine discount option.

Core: Serge Ibaka

Secondary: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan

Value: Norman Powell

 

Milwaukee Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo 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.  In Game 4 he saw his shot attempts approach 20 once again, however, he only made half a dozen.  Had a couple more dropped, he would have topped 40+ fantasy points for the fourth straight game.  He is a go in all formats on Monday.

Malcolm Brogdon is averaging 30 minutes per game in this series, but he is being asked more and more to focus on defense.  He is still in play in the mid-5k range with his ability to contribute across the stat sheet.

Khris Middleton has seen his production trend up in each of the games this series and he is among the team leaders in several key categories.  He did miss shoot around on Monday morning with a sore throat, but he is still expected to play.  If he is out, it would be a direct boost to Malcolm Brogdon.

Greg Monroe this is a risky play, although Monroe still has plenty of tournament upside.  The concern is that he is losing crunch time minutes to Thon Maker, but he should still be able to flirt with a double double… it is just his upside that is curbed without unlimited minutes.  Through four games he is averaging nearly 32 fantasy points per outing by most scoring systems.

Thon Maker himself makes for a very interesting GPP option and is a fine play in all formats on FantasyDraft or DraftKings where multiple centers can be employed.  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 another 20-25 minutes tonight he could leave his supporters smiling all the way to the bank.

Core:  Giannis Antetokounmpo

Secondary: Greg Monroe, Khris Middleton

Value: Thon Maker, Matthew Dellavedova, Malcolm Brogdon, Tony Snell

 

Washington Wizards (2-1) at Atlanta Hawks (1-2)

Washington Wizards

Once again, coach Scott Brooks relied heavily on his starters  and it makes them very strong options regardless of format.  John Wall did everything he could on Saturday sinking 10 of 12 shots on his way to 29 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists and a steal… but the rest of the team let him down.  He is going to have to drag this team to a road victory, but he definitely looks up to the challenge.

Bradley Beal had a horrible shooting night making just 6 of 20 shots from the field and missing all six triples.  He should be back to form tonight and in the mix for 35-40 fantasy points.

Markieff Morris and Paul Millsap are having a war of words, which doesn’t bode well for Morris who can’t seem to stay out of foul trouble.  After calling Millsap a crybaby in the post-game presser Saturday, it is 80% that Millsap draws him into foul trouble and an early night on the bench and 20% that he channels his attitude into a 40 fantasy point outing.

Marcin Gortat as long as Ian Mahinmi is sidelined, Gortat should continue to see at least 30-32 minutes per game and he should be in the mix for a double double.

Core:  John Wall

Secondary:  Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat

Value (very risky): Jason Smith, Kelly Oubre

 

Atlanta Hawks

Dennis Schroder was not particularly good against the Wizards in the regular season, averaging just 0.81 DraftKings points per minute. However, he has been outstanding through the first three games of this series averaging 35mpg and 42 fantasy points in standard scoring formats.  Continue to ride the streak!

Tim Hardaway, Jr. has seen solid minutes this series, but his shot has not been finding the bottom of the net.  He is an interesting tournament play now that he is back in the familiar shooting environment of Philips Arena.

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.  The roles were completely reversed in Game 2 and 3 with Millsap averaging 28.0ppg, 12.0rpg, 4.5apg and 3.0 combined blocks/steals.  Lock and load in all formats tonight.

Dwight Howard just does not look motivated.  Perhaps playing in front of his “hometown” crowd will shake things up, but at this point it seems like a better play to just let other gamers assume the risk of another dud.

Core: Paul Millsap

Secondary: Dennis Schroder, Tim Hardaway, Jr., Dwight Howard

Value: Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince

 

Golden State Warriors (3-0) at Portland Trail Blazers (0-3)

Most of these plays hinge on the health of Kevin Durant who sat out Games 2 and 3 and he will not be back until he is fully healthy.  There is risk since he could easily be a game-time-decision and this is the final act of the three game Monday slate.  If we do not have confirmation of KD’s status, he would be one-heck of a contrarian option if his health is still in doubt… or it could be lighting money on fire.

The word is that there is a good chance that coach Steve Kerr may not be back on the sidelines for a couple weeks as his back injury has flared up.  With a 3-0 lead and being 7.0 favorites tonight, we could see the ‘Dubs come out fired up and looking to put things away which would give them nearly a week until the next series starts and plenty of time for their injured players (Durant and Matt Barnes) to come back strong.

The same analysis from Saturday holds true tonight.

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.  Additionally, 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 but his salary has seen a significant price bump on most sites, so he is by no means a “jam him in there” play.

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

Wild Card: Kevin Durant (if no official news is released)

Value:  Andre Iguodala

 

Portland Trailblazers

Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will be the deciding factor in Portland’s playoff fate. Both game to play on Saturday topping 40+ fantasy points in a 113-119 loss.  This is the make or break game and they should be inspired for one last hurrah in front of their home town fans.

Evan Turner and Mo Harkless are going to see plenty of minutes starting and closing out games as the Trailblazers are forced to play small in the absence of Jusuf NurkicAl-Farouq Aminu is a secondary value option as well, though he should see a bump to 28-30 minutes with Nurkic ruled out of this game after feeling soreness during his somewhat surprising Saturday appearance.

Core:  Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum

Value: Mo Harkless, Evan Turner, Al-Farouq Aminu