NBA Deep Dive- May 4, 2017
Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics
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. 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. Wall was very good in game 1, with 20 points and 16 assists in 39.1 minutes. He followed that up with a massive game 2, scoring 40 points to go along with 13 assists, 3 rebounds, 3 blocks and 3 steals for a total of 76.25 DraftKings points. The series now moves to Washington, where Wall tends to shoot and play better. He remains an elite option in any format.
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 did not seem fazed by the Celtics’ defense in game 1 of this series, however, as he shot 4-7 from three and contributed 27 real points. He struggled from the field in the second game, shooting just 4 for 15. The good news is that the minutes and shots were there, he just was not making them. He is a high-risk/high-reward option.
I said coming into the series that Otto Porter was a strong GPP play in a great bounce-back spot and he has not disappointed so far, scoring 33.75 and 37.25 DraftKings points in the first two games with more field goal attempts in each than he attempted in any game during the Atlanta series except game 4 when he tied his total from game 1 of this series. Continue to roster Porter in tournaments as the Celtics would much rather force him to beat them than let John Wall do it.
Markieff Morris is the key to this series for the Wizards and he should dominate as long as he is healthy and on the floor. The Celtics do not have anyone to match up with him and it showed in game two as he had 16 points and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes of play. He fouled out of yet another game, which is always a concern with Morris. Still, he is way too cheap for his upside in this matchup.
Marcin Gortat has looked much better in this series matching up with the Boston frontcourt than with Dwight Howard. He continues to see huge minutes and he is more active on the offensive end than he was in the first round. His price has increased quickly to match his production, but he remains a solid option.
Core: John Wall
Secondary: Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris
Value: Kelly Oubre
Isaiah Thomas went nuts in game 2, with 53 points in the overtime win. He will need to continue to play extremely well for the Celtics to succeed in moving past the Wizards and into the Eastern Conference Finals. He is a strong play in a vacuum but, where he is priced relatively close to John Wall, it makes more sense to roster Wall because Wall has a higher ceiling.
Avery Bradley, Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder all averaged over 30 minutes per game against the Bulls and that has continued 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. All three players saw more than 30 minutes in game 1. Keep an eye on injury news for Bradley but, as of now, it appears he is expected to play in game 3.
Al Horford played very well against the Wizards in the regular season, averaging 1.11 DraftKings points per minute, and continued his stellar play in game 1 with 21 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds in 35 minutes. He had another big game in the game 2 overtime win, scoring 15 points to go with 12 rebounds. 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
Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors
Gordon Hayward was phenomenal against the Clippers in the first round and he will need to maintain his solid play if the Jazz want any chance of advancing. Hayward averaged 36.4 minutes per game in round 1, but that was pulled down by an abbreviated game four where he played just 9 minutes. He had a 28.7 percent usage rate in round 1, up from his season average of 27.5 percent. Hayward struggled from the field in game 1, but makes for an even strong play tonight as he should handle the ball more and see more assists with George Hill sidelined.
Utah dealt with a lot of injuries this season and those injuries coincided with games against the Warriors, so it is tough to see how guys did against Golden State. Rudy Gobert, however, played in three games against the Warriors and is generally not influenced by who is or is not on the floor with him. He averaged 1.28 DraftKings points per minute against Golden State in the regular season and recorded a double-double with at least 17 rebounds in each game. He was a little disappointing in game 1, failing to record a double-double in 31 minutes, but he remains an elite option in any format.
Joe Ingles and Joe Johnson both played big roles in round 1 and they should continue to have sizeable roles this round as there is no reason to expect the Jazz not to play small. Johnson is the preferred option of the two as he had a 23.9 percent usage rate in round 1 compared to 10.8 percent for Ingles. Keep in mind that neither player matches up as well with the Warriors as they did with the Blazers, however. There will be additional usage to go around in game 2 without George Hill, which also makes Rodney Hood (12 field goal attempts in game 1) an option.
Core: Gordon Hayward, Rudy Gobert
Secondary: Joe Johnson
Value: Joe Ingles, Boris Diaw, Rodney Hood
Golden State Warriors
Utah has been vulnerable against good point guards for much of the season and Steph Curry clearly fits that description. Curry averaged 1.31 DraftKings points per minute in three games against Utah this season and had a 34.5 percent usage rate in the first round against Portland, although that could tick down a little bit with Kevin Durant healthy. Curry scored 22 real points in 30 minutes in game one and his matchup gets even better with George Hill sidelined.
Kevin Durant played just 1 and a half games in the first round, but he should be good to go after having a week to rest. His matchup against Gordon Hayward and the slow-paced, defensive-minded Jazz will be difficult, but he is one of the best players in the game and is a strong option regardless of matchup. He was mediocre from a fantasy perspective in game 1, with 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in 31 minutes of play.
Draymond Green was very effective against Utah this season, averaging 1.26 DraftKings points per minute and topping 45 DraftKings points in two of three games. He continued that trend in game 1, scoring 17 points with 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 blocks and a steal to finish with 45 DraftKings points in 34 minutes. He and Klay Thompson are at risk of being hurt the most by the pace at which the Jazz play, but he clearly still has plenty of upside. Thompson struggled against Utah much more than Green did during the regular season, averaging just .77 DraftKings points per minute. He continued to struggle in game 1, scoring 22 DraftKings points in 31 minutes. He is a risky option in this series because we know that Curry and Durant will dominate usage and there are going to be less possessions available than usual because of the pace that the Jazz play at. Factor in that Utah is also strong defensively and it is a tough spot to expect big things from Thompson.
Zaza Pachulia is a sneaky GPP option as the Jazz have a true center for him to match up with in Rudy Gobert. Gobert is, of course, an elite rebounder and an elite defender but minutes are minutes and Pachulia is just $2,600 on DraftKings for game 1. He played 22.1, 15 and 25 minutes in three games against the Jazz this season. Pachulia played just 14 minutes in game 1, but we could see more minutes for him moving forward as he finished with a +6 net rating.
Core: Steph Curry, Kevin Durant
Secondary: Draymond Green, Klay Thompson
Value: Zaza Pachulia