NBA Deep Dive- April 25, 2017

Houston Rockets (3-1) at Oklahoma City (1-3)

Houston 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 Russell Westbrook available, there is certainly merit in paying all the way up for Westbrook over Harden, especially because there is a chance that the ankle he injured in game 3 is still bothering him.

Patrick Beverley dropped a dud in Game 3, and followed it up with another awful shooting game in game 4.  We can go back to the well, however, because Beverley is going to break out of his 2-19 slump sooner rather than later.  Reserves Eric Gordon and Lou Williams are both fine value plays in GPPs as they are capable of getting hot off the bench.

Nene is the Houston center that you want, as he played more minutes than Clint Capela in game four (25.4 to 17.7) and closed the game while Capela saw no fourth quarter run.  Nene finished the game with a team-leading +24 while Capela had a team-worst -25.

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, but he followed that up with a 2-5 performance in game four in just 20 minutes of play.  He will now be returning home to Houston, where he has been a terrible shooter this season.  There is not a ton to love at power forward on this slate, but that is likely to just drive up Anderson’s ownership to where he really is not worth the risk since he struggles at home and is capable of disappearing within the offense on a game-to-game basis.

Core:  James Harden

Secondary:  Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, Eric Gordon

Value: Nene

Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell Westbrook has been transcendent in the last three games averaging 39.6 minutes per game, 39.3 points per game, 12.3 rebounds per game, 12.7 assists per game and 4.0 combined blocks/steals for 84.3 DraftKings points per game.  He is somewhat less valuable on FanDuel since you lose a full point for turnovers and there is no double-double or triple-double bonus, but there is also less of a price difference between him and James Harden.

Victor Oladipo remains a secondary play as Russell Westbrook is the entire Oklahoma City offense and it does not leave much to go around for the complementary pieces.  That said, shooting guard is a tough position on this three-game slate and Oladipo has been playing huge minutes for Oklahoma City, averaging 36.5 minutes per game in this series.  He continues to get a few minutes per game with the second unit without Westbrook as well.  He is not a particularly exciting play but he is one of the better shooting guard options.

Andre Roberson is getting heavy minutes as the Thunder have tasked him with slowing down James Harden and he has responded with 30+ fantasy point outings in every game of the series.  In addition to the postseason, Roberson had success against Houston in the regular season as well, recording DraftKings totals of 20.8, 30.5, 29.2, and 27.8.  He will remain a popular option, especially with no LeBron or Paul George on this slate, but he should continue to perform well in this matchup.

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.  Adams played 36.9 minutes in game four, compared to Kanter’s 7.6 minutes, and finished the game with the second-best plus/minus on the team behind Russell Westbrook.  It would not be surprising to see huge minutes out of Adams again as the Thunder look to bring the series back to Oklahoma City.

Core: Russell Westbrook

Secondary:  Andre Roberson, Victor Oladipo

Value: Steven Adams, Jerami Grant, Taj Gibson

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

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 four games of this series with averages of 36 minutes per game, 26.7 points per game and 10.7 assists per game for an eye-popping 56.5 DraftKings points per contest.

DeAndre Jordan gets a downgrade as Rudy Gobert made a surprisingly quick recovery and played 23.5 minutes in game four.  It is possible that he tops the 30-minute mark tonight in game five.  That is not to say that Jordan is not a viable option tonight on a three-game slate, but it does make him less appealing as his price increased during Gobert’s absence and his matchup is now worse.  In four regular season games against Gobert this season, Jordan topped 30 DraftKings points just once.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Marreese Speights are in play as punt options, while Raymond Felton, J.J. Redick and, to a lesser extent, Jamal Crawford all saw more minutes as the Clippers ran more small lineups without Griffin.

Core: Chris Paul

Secondary:  DeAndre Jordan

Value:  Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Marreese Speights, Raymond Felton, J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford

Utah Jazz

Derrick Favors played just over 24 minutes in game four with the return of Rudy Gobert, so most of his value appears to be gone as Gobert is likely to play even more minutes tonight.  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, although it is worth noting that Hayward is not on the injury report tonight so he does appear safe from that standpoint if you are inclined to roster him in a difficult matchup at a weak position.

Rudy Gobert played just shy of 24 minutes in game four and it is possible that he plays more than 30 minutes tonight in game five.  He dominated game four, picking up 37.25 DraftKings points in his 23.5 minutes.  He did not have great success against DeAndre Jordan in the regular season, but he is still a strong GPP option tonight if news breaks that he will indeed see north of 30 minutes of playing time.

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 these small playoff slates.  Be wary of Rodney Hood’s minutes in game four, as it is likely just a result of Hayward leaving with an illness.

Core: None

Secondary: George Hill, Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert

Value: Joe Ingles, Joe Johnson

San Antonio Spurs (2-2) at Memphis Grizzlies (2-2)

San Antonio Spurs

Tony Parker’s minutes have been very fluid throughout this series, but we saw him play about 13 minutes more than Patty Mills in game four, which is a good sign.  The Grizzlies have made this a series and forced the Spurs to give Parker more minutes as long as they keep the games close.  Parker is still a risky option because we can expect Popovich to have a short leash on him if the game gets even remotely out of hand, but he has legitimate upside at his price.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard will continue to 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.  It is concerning that Aldridge has not been very involved on offense despite playing heavy minutes, but all it takes is one game for him to go off and help win a GPP.  Leonard has seen more freedom without having to deal with the defense of Tony Allen who is on the shelf with an injury.  Without Allen, there is nobody on the Memphis roster to defend Kawhi and we can expect him to continue posting massive stat lines throughout this series.

Pau Gasol makes for an excellent GPP play because he has the ability to post 30 fantasy points in any matchup and he should flirt with that milestone in one game before the end of this series.  He is a very risky option, however, as his minutes have been very fluid- even in a game four that went to overtime- and his matchup is not particularly appealing even if he does play heavy minutes.  He is essentially just a GPP value option hoping to catch lightning in a bottle on a short slate.

Core:  Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge

Secondary: Pau Gasol

Value: Patty Mills, Tony Parker

San Antonio Spurs (2-2) at Memphis Grizzlies (2-2)

Memphis Grizzlies

 Mike Conley continues to have a big series for the Grizzlies, which makes sense since the best way to attack the Spurs is through their backcourt.  Conley is averaging 35.5 minutes per game in the series, and will see more in games that stay close.  He is also averaging 17 field goal attempts per game.  He is a very appealing option, especially on sites where Chris Paul is significantly more expensive.

Marc Gasol has a difficult matchup that he has been pretty mediocre in throughout the regular season and so far in the postseason.  On the plus side, he is averaging 38.8 minutes per game in this series.  On the negative side, he is averaging just 0.95 DraftKings points per minute.  His price remains very reasonable, however, so he is worth consideration as one of the last guys in.  Zach Randolph matches up very well with the Spurs and he is averaging 31.4 minutes per game in the series.  We have not seen a ceiling game out of him yet, but he has 45 fantasy point upside in this matchup.

Vince Carter and James Ennis are in play as punt options.  Neither player has been productive at all in this series, but Carter is averaging 32.4 minutes per game in the series and Ennis drew the start in game four and played over 30 minutes for the first time in the series.  JaMychal Green is also a risky punt option as his price has decreased but he has played more minutes in games three and four than in games one and two.  The Spurs have trouble defending stretch fours at times, so it is possible that we see a big game out of Green before this ceiling ends, which makes him worth having some exposure to in large-field GPPs.

Core: Mike Conley

Secondary: Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph

Value: Vince Carter, James Ennis, JaMychal Green