NBA Deep Dive- April 28, 2017


Washington Wizards (3-2) at Atlanta Hawks (2-3)

Washington Wizards


Once again, coach Scott Brooks relied heavily on his starters and it makes them very strong options regardless of format.  John Wall continues to play well, regardless of what city the game is being played in.  He is averaging 27 points, 10.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 37.6 minutes per game so far in this series.  He is going to have to carry this team past Atlanta tonight if the Wizards are going to win the series on the Hawks’ home floor.  Wall is a strong option in any format.

Bradley Beal bounced back from a terrible shooting performance in game 3 to score 47.25 DraftKings points on 11-23 shooting in game 4.  He picked up right where he left off in game 5, scoring 27 points on 11-of-22 shooting.  Beal has attempted at least 20 field goals in each game of this series and is averaging 24.8 points per game.  He is a scoring dependent player, but the shot volume he is getting makes him a relatively consistent option anyway.  He also has not had a ceiling game, as he has only eclipsed his regular season field goal percentage once in this series.  If he gets hot from the field, watch out.


Markieff Morris and Paul Millsap are having a war of words and, after dominating Millsap in game 1, things have since shifted in Millsap’s favor as Morris has repeatedly found himself in foul trouble.  Morris is the prototypical GPP option as he is difficult for Millsap to defend and he is the Wizards’ best chance at containing Millsap, so he has a very high ceiling, but he could very easily be forced to the bench early again in this one.  The best approach is likely to roster Morris in lineups that do not contain Millsap, and vice versa, as it is likely that one of these players has a very big game.


Marcin Gortat is a viable option for as long as Ian Mahinmi is sidelined.  Gortat is averaging 34 minutes per game in the series, after playing a series-high 39.1 in game 5.  Some of his minutes are tied to Morris’s foul trouble, but he still saw over 30 minutes in game 1 when Morris had his best game.  Gortat needs to play better for the Wizards to take this game on the road, but he has been solid in terms of fantasy production, averaging 29.7 DraftKings points per game in the series.  His scoring has been down, but the rebounds have been there which give him a solid floor with a ceiling if he remembers how to score.


Core:  John Wall, Bradley Beal

Secondary:  Markieff Morris, Marcin Gortat, Otto Porter


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 five games of this series, averaging 34.2 minutes per game and 41.4 DraftKings points per game.  He had his worst game of the series, by far, in game 4 but he bounced back to have his best game in game 5 with 29 points and 11 assists.  He will need to carry the Hawks tonight at home if they are going to send the series back to Washington.


Tim Hardaway, Jr. is averaging 32 minutes per game in this series, but his shot has not been finding the bottom of the net, as he is shooting just 34.4 percent from the field and 29 percent from three through the first five games.  During the regular season, Hardaway, Jr., shot 44.8 percent from the field and 35.3 percent from three.  Keep rostering him in GPPs as his price is falling while his minutes and field goal attempts remain extremely healthy.  At this point in the postseason, where most players are correctly priced for their roles, Hardaway may be the best GPP play on the board as people are tired of getting burned by him.


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 have been completely reversed since then, as Millsap has averaged 24 points, 11 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game in games 2-5 with Morris mostly relegated to the bench due to foul trouble.  He is averaging 48.75 DraftKings points per game in those four games.  Look for more big games from Millsap moving forward if Morris cannot stay out of foul trouble.  As mentioned earlier, it is a good strategy to roster one of Millsap or Morris on all of your teams, as Morris will have a big game if he is able to stay on the floor and Millsap will have a big game if he is not.


Dwight Howard has been disappointing in this series, but he did show some life in game 4 with 16 points, 15 rebounds and a +8 plus/minus that was good for second on the team.  He followed that up with another dud in game 5, as he scored just 5 points with 10 rebounds and a -4 net rating.  The minutes have been down from what we expected at the start of the series, as he has seen over 30 minutes just once, but he is still a strong GPP option at a reasonable price because he is capable of exploding in this spot if he trends closer to 35 minutes than 30.  Just know that there is a lot of risk.


Core: Paul Millsap, Dennis Schroder

Secondary:  Tim Hardaway, Jr., Dwight Howard

Value: Kent Bazemore, Taurean Prince


Boston Celtics (3-2) at Chicago Bulls (2-3)

Boston Celtics


Isaiah Thomas has had a productive series so far, averaging 39.6 DraftKings points in 36.6 minutes per game.  He has not had a ceiling game yet, but we could see one coming soon as the Bulls have struggled against opposing point guards all season long and Thomas has struggled from beyond the arc so far in this series, shooting just 21.1 percent compared to his season average of 37.4 percent.


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.  Each of them is averaging at least 30 minutes per game in this series and are reasonably priced- though not necessarily underpriced.


Al Horford has looked good so far in this series, averaging 1.17 DraftKings points per minute, up from the 0.90 DraftKings points per minute he averaged in three games against Robin Lopez in the regular season.  Horford is doing a great job of contributing across the board, as he has attempted more than 10 shots in four of five games so far and is averaging 16 points, 9 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game so far in the series.  His price is very fair for the production that he has been providing.


Core:  Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford

Secondary: Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, 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 Dwyane Wade.  Unfortunately, Jimmy Butler is banged up as well.  This led to the Bulls letting Paul Zipser handle the ball at times in game 4 as they have nobody that they think can truly handle point guard responsibilities with Rondo out.  We can expect at least one of Wade or Butler to be on the floor for every minute of the game and for the ball to be in their hands a lot.  Both players underwhelmed in game 3 without Rondo and Wade struggled in game 4 while Butler posted a respectable line of 33 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists in 45.5 minutes of play.  In game 5, Wade and Butler reversed results, as Wade went off for 26 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists while Butler struggled and only produced 35 DraftKings points.  Wade is the stronger option since he is less expensive and Butler is playing through an injury, but there is certainly GPP upside for Butler as well.


Michael Carter-Williams and Jerian Grant both were phased out of the rotation in game 4 as Isaiah Canaan played 34.1 minutes and led the team by a large margin with a +11 net rating (nobody else on the Bulls had a positive rating).  This remained the same in game 5, as Canaan got the start and played 36.1 minutes.  Canaan is better off the ball than as a point guard, but the minutes still provide a very nice opportunity for Canaan to outperform his price tag.


One of Nikola Mirotic or Bobby Portis should be good in just about every game.  If Mirotic is shooting reasonably well, he will see plenty of minutes and makes for a strong play in any format.  If he struggles, however, he is susceptible to losing minutes to Portis and Portis is very capable of succeeding in this matchup if he gets the minutes.  Mirotic is the stronger play and is viable in any format, while Portis is only a GPP option since he has a lot of upside but is dependent on Mirotic shooting himself off of the floor.


Core: Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade

Secondary: Nikola Mirotic, Robin Lopez

Value: Isaiah Canaan, Bobby Portis


Los Angeles Clippers (2-3) at Utah Jazz (3-2)

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 36.4 minutes per game, 27 points per game and 10.4 assists per game for an eye-popping 55.4 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 followed by 35.9 minutes in game 5.  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 dealing with Gobert is much more intimidating than matching up with Derrick Favors.  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 in game 4 as the Clippers ran more small lineups without Griffin.  The return of Austin Rivers cut into the minutes of all of the above in game 5, however, making all of them no better than a GPP dart.


Core: Chris Paul

Secondary:  DeAndre Jordan

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


Utah Jazz


Gordon Hayward and George Hill both have difficult matchups with Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Chris Paul, respectively.  Hill is the weaker option of the two, as the point guard position is deeper than the small forward position.  Hayward is a risky option, but he has shown that he has upside despite the difficult matchup, scoring 60.75 and 48.5 DraftKings points in the last two games that he completed.  He has also played at least 39 minutes in all four games that he completed (he left game 4 after 9 minutes with an illness).


Rudy Gobert played just shy of 24 minutes in game four, but he saw 35.9 minutes in game five which indicates that he is fully recovered from the scary injury that he suffered in game one.  He dominated game four, picking up 37.25 DraftKings points in his 23.5 minutes.  He did more of the same in game five, with 40.75 DraftKings points on the back of 5 steals and 2 blocks.  For most players, you could look at the defensive numbers as a fluke but, for Gobert, he has massive block upside every night to go along with the likelihood that he posts a double-double.  He did not have great success against DeAndre Jordan in the regular season, but he is still a very strong GPP option.


Joe Ingles is an option if he draws another start over Hood and we have seen that the venerable Joe Johnson continues to see key minutes and they are both options on these small playoff slates.  Rodney Hood saw 29.3 minutes off the bench in game 5, despite Hayward being healthy, so he is a sneaky GPP option that is likely to go overlooked and could pay off nicely if he gets hot.


Core: Rudy Gobert

Secondary: George Hill, Gordon Hayward

Value: Joe Ingles, Joe Johnson, Rodney Hood