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Today's Optimizers and Datasheets
(Note: Needs Excel Version 2010 or later)
QUICK HITTERS (5/28)
- Today's main slate features 3 games. Nobody is on a back to back.
- As of this writing, the game with the highest over/under is BOS v BKN at 227.5 points. The game with the lowest over/under is ATL v NYK at 211.5 points.
Welcome to our brand new section for the NBA Playoffs! This section will provide you with a full breakdown (or 'blueprint') of both players and strategies we like for tonight's games. Our goal is for this section to replace our usual 'Need to Know' and 'Core Plays' sections, as there is typically much less injury news in the playoffs and we want to focus in more on matchups and lineup construction!
Tonight's Lineup Construction:
This sub-section will briefly breakdown lineup construction strategies to consider for tonight's slate. Are there high tier must plays? Is there a ton of cheap value? Should you go Stars and Scrubs? Etc.
I really love the low-end of the top-tier tonight, so I’ll probably run more of a balanced lineup starting with those top 3 guys and then filling out my lineup with more mid-tier guys. Additionally, some of my favorite plays from the night are from the low end of the mid-tier, so that should work perfectly. I think the low-tier is super weak tonight, and I don’t really see any way to get around that. I’ll probably lock in Hunter to my lineup from that bottom tier just because he’s my favorite player from that range and will allow me to spend up on these high-tier guys, but I’ll spend the rest of my shots on the low end guys from both the top and mid tiers.
Tier 1 ($8,000+)
Each of the following tiers will provide our top 2-3 value plays (depending on how many games there are) of the night from within the specified price range.
Note: We will be using DraftKings prices for the price-range classifications.
1. Kawhi Leonard ($8,500)
Kawhi’s price-tag is steadily rising as DraftKings realizes that Kawhi goes to a different level come the postseason. But, I still think he’s a little too low for what his production should look like. He’s averaging 33, 8, and 4.5, and I think those numbers could even ramp up after tonight. This is an absolute must-win for the Clippers, and honestly a must-win for Kawhi’s legacy. It’ll look really bad if he left TOR for nothing and never even made it to an NBA finals, let alone a conference championship, so I expect Kawhi to play with some desperation tonight, which should be a scary sight.
2. Trae Young ($8,600)
Trae Young has surprised me a lot in this series. He’s taken on the pressure of not only the Knicks, but of the fans in the MSG. He’s performed very well in these first two games and has been able to stroke it from three and attack the rim with ease. He’s also been able to get to the line, and he should get even more calls tonight with his home court advantage in play. Trae is an absolute gamer, and I know he is getting up for all these games, especially after a fan spit on him last game. I’ll probably continue to look to Trae if he’s going to continue to be at the bottom of this top-tier.
3. Paul George ($8,100)
I know I already wrote about Kawhi, but I love the value you’re getting from PG as well in the bottom of this top-tier. Furthermore, it’s not remotely out of the picture that PG and Kawhi could both put up massive fantasy games; it’s a must-win for them, and I think PG’s legacy hangs even more in the balance of this game than Kawhi's. George has been known to underperform in the playoffs, and even though he’s played decently in these first two games, it wouldn’t shock me if he treated tonight like the most intense game he’s played in. He needs to perform, and he should be playing with that same desperation as Kawhi.
Tier 2 ($5,000-$7,900)
1. Joe Harris ($5,100)
This Nets series is looking like it’s completely over, and I could definitely see this game being a blowout (which is why I stayed away from the BKN big three in that top-tier). However, I do have a feeling that the Nets will look to get their periphery players involved as much as possible tonight. They know that if they’re going to be successful, they’ll have to rely on those guys to hit big shots, so they should take this early series to build those guy’s confidence. I see them running lots of screening actions for Joe Harris early in an attempt to get him hot, and I think that means his ceiling could be ridiculous given his price tag at the bottom of this mid-tier.
2. Tim Hardaway ($5,500)
What the Clippers have been doing in terms of defending Luka clearly hasn’t worked. I could see them giving him the Steph treatment tonight (doubling him as soon as he crosses half court) in an attempt to try anything that could work. He’s simply been too dominant to defend with 1 guy. So, if they do employ that strategy, there will be even more open threes for the Mavs role players than there would normally be, most notably Tim Hardaway, who can really get it going from beyond the arc. I love his ceiling, and with the minutes he’s locked in for, I don’t hate his floor either.
3. Marcus Smart ($5,900)
If you know one thing about this Celtics roster, it’s that Marcus Smart will never give up. Never. So, if this game is a blowout in the 3rd quarter, which I fully expect it to be, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marcus is still playing his heart out, taking it aggressively to the hoop, and letting it fly without hesitation from 3. We saw a little bit of this last game when he went on a scoring run all by himself even though the game was completely out of reach. He’ll never stop playing hard, and I think that will earn him a lot of minutes, even in a blowout.
Tier 3 ($3,000-$4,900)
1. Deandre Hunter ($4,000)
Deandre Hunter finally looked back to himself during game 2, and it earned him 32 minutes. He put up 18 and 6, and I expect him to get lots of minutes again tonight due to that performance. He can defend multiple positions with physicality, so that makes him more playable towards the end of the game than guys like Huerter, Danilo, Lou, etc who can’t defend effectively. Additionally, with how John Collins has played, I could see him being completely faded from the lineup, therefore opening up even more minutes for Hunter at that small-ball 4. At just 4k, I think you have to really like Hunter tonight, who will probably continue rising in price.
2. Blake Griffin ($4,300)
Blake Griffin is just too consistent to be 4.3k. He’s been getting the start and has been playing consistently well, so I really like the floor you’re getting with Blake Griffin tonight. If you look at the other players with a similar price tag, they’re either bench players or starters that have virtually no involvement in the offense, neither of which is Blake Griffin. Blake will get his fair share of stats just from being in the right spots on the court, and I could see the stars deferring to Griffin (like they might defer to Harris) in an attempt to build his confidence for future rounds.
3. Dorian Finney-Smith ($4,800)
Dorian didn’t have a great game 2, but he played awesome in game 1 and I could see him reverting back to a performance like that tonight. As I mentioned earlier, I think the Clippers will be a little more aggressive with Luka, and could even double him as far up as half court. As a result, there should be more open looks than normal for the Mavs role players. I also see a lot of similarities between Dillon Brooks and Finney-Smith in the sense that they are in incredible shape, and when they defend at a high level, it turns into buckets on the offensive end. He’ll be tasked with guarding an angry Kawhi tonight, so I could see him balling out.
NBA PLAYOFF MKF PLAYS OF THE DAY
Luka Doncic LESS than 30.5 Points
If Luka scores more than 30 again, I think we either have to reevaluate the merit of Kawhi and PG being elite perimeter defenders, or we have to start considering Luka as the best player in the NBA. He’s just absolutely been dominating the Clippers from both a scoring and facilitating perspective, and you have to think that both Kawhi and PG will step up in game 3 to slow him down a bit. It’s the point in the series where clearly what you’re doing isn’t working, so the Clippers will have to do WHATEVER they can do to slow him down.
Kevin Durant LESS than 27.5 Points
Even if the Nets don’t blow out the Celtics, and KD plays his normal minutes, I still don’t love his chances of scoring 27+. There are just too many cooks in the kitchen for BKN, and I think they’ll actually try to get their periphery players involved in this game in an attempt to increase their confidence for future rounds. If it is a blowout, though, Durant could sit the entire 4th and therefore not get his normal numbers.
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Each days newsletter will be posted no later than 2 hours before the main slate of games tips-off, see you tomorrow!