NBA Deep Dive- April 30, 2017


Washington Wizards (0-0) at Boston Celtics (0-0)

Washington Wizards

John Wall is where we have to start with the Wizards. Wall had a 31.6 percent usage rate in the first round against the Hawks, averaging 29.5 points, 10.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 38.7 minutes per game.  We can expect Scott Brooks to continue playing Wall as many minutes as he can handle as the Wizards’ starters have been relied on to play heavy minutes all season.  Wall was good, but not great, against the Celtics in the regular season but that should change in the postseason as he is able to consistently get whatever he wants when Isaiah Thomas tries to defend him and the ball will be in his hands constantly as he looks to carry Washington past the Celtics.

Bradley Beal will have a difficult matchup with Avery Bradley and the Celtics, but he plays such a large role in the Washington offense it may not matter.  Beal was second on the team to John Wall in first round usage rate at 29.1 percent.  Beal only faced Avery Bradley in two of the four games that he played against the Celtics this season.  In the first game, Beal played only 11.5 minutes and, in the second game, he was limited to 24 DraftKings points in 32.8 minutes.  He is a high-upside play with some risk- especially because he is now priced up due to his dominance over the Hawks.

Otto Porter makes for a VERY interesting GPP option coming off of a disappointing series against the Hawks where he had just a 12 percent usage rate.  Beal will have a tough matchup against Avery Bradley, which could lead to some more opportunities for Porter.  Although we did not see it in the regular season, it would also make sense for the Celtics to try and hide Isaiah Thomas on Porter and defend Wall with Marcus Smart (with Bradley on Beal and Crowder on Morris).  This would be a huge mismatch in Porter’s favor and he would get every opportunity to knock down shots against Thomas.  The reason that it would make sense for the Celtics to try it is that Thomas is going to be at a disadvantage against whoever he defends and it is going to come down to whether Brad Stevens wants to make John Wall beat them or make Otto Porter beat them.  Most coaches would probably choose Porter.  Even if they do not hide Thomas on Porter, there is likely to be some sort of defensive scheme that gets the ball out of Wall’s hands and into Porter’s.  This is the kind of thing that we want to jump on before we actually see it happen in GPPs, as once Porter has one big game everyone else will catch on.  A two game slate is the perfect spot to take a risky stand and be overweight on Porter.

Markieff Morris should have a nice bounce-back series after being in foul trouble for most of the Atlanta series.  Nobody on the Celtics should be able to draw fouls on Morris like Millsap was able to in the first round and Morris should be able to have success against a weak Boston frontcourt.  Morris averaged 0.95 DraftKings points per minute against the Celtics during the regular season.

Marcin Gortat will likely see a little less playing time in this series since Morris probably will not be in foul trouble every day, but he will still have a chance to be productive as the Celtics do not rebound the ball well.  Gortat was essentially non-existent on the offensive end against the Hawks, however, and, unless that changes, his upside will be limited despite the nice rebounding matchup.

Core:  John Wall

Secondary:  Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris

Value:  Kelly Oubre


Boston Celtics

Isaiah Thomas will need to play extremely well in this series for the Celtics to advance to the finals.  He had a 32.4 percent usage rate against Chicago in the first round and averaged 1.3 DraftKings points per minute against the Wizards this season.  He is a very strong option, but it is worth noting that his worst game against the Wizards was the most recent, when the Wizards put Kelly Oubre on Thomas down the stretch and Oubre was able to contain him in the fourth quarter.  We can probably expect that to continue in the postseason.

Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder all averaged over 30 minutes per game against the Bulls and that should continue against the Wizards as all three players will be needed on the defensive end.  Crowder and Bradley are the strongest plays of the trio, but Smart is viable as well where he is shooting guard eligible.

Al Horford played very well against the Wizards in the regular season, averaging 1.11 DraftKings points per minute, and is coming off a very strong opening round against the Bulls.  Look for Horford to keep up the momentum against Washington and be a strong and consistent option throughout the series.

Core:  Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford

Secondary: Jae Crowder, Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart

Value:  Kelly Olynyk


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

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 six games of this series with averages of 36.7 minutes per game, 27.3 points per game and 10 assists per game for an eye-popping 54.1 DraftKings points per contest.  Paul has a 31.6 percent usage rate this round and it is 32.5 percent since Blake Griffin’s injury.

DeAndre Jordan gets a downgrade as Rudy Gobert made a surprisingly quick recovery and is not back to full strength.  That is not to say that Jordan is not a viable option on a two-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, although he has done so in both games since Gobert’s return.

Austin Rivers appears to be back to full strength as he played 34.5 minutes in game 6.  Rivers averaged 31.5 minutes per game without Blake Griffin this season as the Clippers like to utilize smaller lineups.  Rivers got up 10 shots in game six and makes for a decent punt option, especially on sites where he is not restricted to point guard.

Core: Chris Paul

Secondary:  DeAndre Jordan

Value:  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, 48.5and50.25 DraftKings points in the last three games that he completed.  He has also played at least 39 minutes in all five games that he completed (he left game 4 after 9 minutes with an illness).  Hayward is a very strong option in this must-win game seven, despite the presence of Mbah a Moute.

Rudy Gobert played just shy of 24 minutes in game four, but he saw 35.9 minutes in game five and 33.5 minutes in game six, 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.  In game six, he amassed 38.75 DraftKings points in 33.5 minutes before leaving the game with a minor injury (he is probable for game seven).  Gobert 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 and 24.4 minutes in game six, despite Hayward being healthy and playing well, so he is a sneaky GPP option that is likely to go overlooked and could pay off nicely if he gets hot.  He has at least ten field goal attempts in three straight games, although the first was aided by Hayward’s early exit.

Core: Rudy Gobert

Secondary: George Hill, Gordon Hayward

Value: Joe Ingles, Joe Johnson, Rodney Hood