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Today's Optimizers and Datasheets
(Note: Needs Excel Version 2010 or later)
QUICK HITTERS (5/29)
- Today's main slate features 4 games. Nobody is on a back to back.
- As of this writing, the game with the highest over/under is PHI v WAS at 228 points. The game with the lowest over/under is MIL v MIA at 222 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.
Let me start out by saying that the Joker is not only my favorite play of the top tier but also definitely the safest. The other 10k+ guys (Giannis and Russ) both have lower floors. Giannis is banged up and could mentally take this game off a bit (or could even see fewer minutes), and Russ just hasn’t been his normal self this series without his normal success in transition. So, I’ll start by locking in Jokic. Then, I REALLY LIKE the mid-tier tonight; Conley might be my favorite play of the night and I think you’re getting great value for Nurkic and Simmons as well (not to mention a bunch of other good mid-tier value that I didn’t get a chance to write about). Finally, I could see rounding out my lineup with Bryn Forbes, who’s one of my favorite value plays of the night and is clearly a strength of that low-tier.
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. Nikola Jokic ($10,400)
The Joker has gotten WHATEVER HE’S WANTED this series from virtually everywhere on the court. He’s shot the ball great from three, has hit shots from the mid-post area, and has been excellent around the rim and on the glass. No matter what the POR does, they don’t seem to have an answer for Jokic, and I don’t expect them to magically come up with one in game 4. He’s such a tough player to defend, especially in the middle of the court (where he likes to operate), because you can’t bring a double or else he’ll eat you alive. So, I expect another big scoring and rebounding night from Nikola.
2. Donovan Mitchell ($8,200)
I think you’re getting excellent value with Donovan Mitchell at the low end of this top tier. He only put up 25 and 2 in the last game, but he should play a lot better tonight in his second game back from injury. He looked fresh and bouncy in his first game back, and he seemed optimistic about how his body responded, so I expect him to really lean into the game today and finally get completely back to himself. They’ll probably try to get him going early, and I think they could have to rely on him a bit more than normal towards the end of the game, especially since they’ll be in a hostile road environment in what will very likely be a close game.
3. Ja Morant ($8,300)
I think Ja comes back to earth a little bit after his ridiculous game 2 performance, but I think a lot of what he did was sustainable and therefore I expect another productive game. He’s been able to get inside the paint at will on the Jazz, and has had multiple scoring runs all by himself. There isn’t a great matchup for him - Royce is their best perimeter defender but would be a little better suited for more of a wing. Ja is a little too quick for him, and I expect him to continue to exploit that by getting into the paint tonight. This will be his first ever playoff game in MEM, so he should be HYPED.
Tier 2 ($5,000-$7,900)
1. Mike Conley ($6,800)
Mike Conley has been nothing short of the secondary playmaker for UTA in this series, which means you’re getting EXCELLENT value for him at only 6.8k. He put up 22-11-6 in game 1 and 20-15-4 in game 2, so I expect him to take on both a scoring and facilitating role again in game 3. Perhaps there will be a slight dip in his usage just because Donovan is back in the lineup and healthy, but I also think it could result in him getting more catch and shoot threes due to Mitchell’s floor presence. Furthermore, Mitchell being in the lineup could lead to a few more assists on Conley passes - it’s just another shooter on the wing that can consistently knock down the 3 ball.
2. Jusuf Nurkic ($6,900)
Nurkic simply has not played well enough in this series, and I expect him to step up tonight in a must-win game for Portland at home. Kanter looks like he’s potentially been faded from the lineup, so you should have a lot of confidence in the minutes that Nurk should get tonight. Furthermore, I think the Blazers will have to establish him down low if they want to go at Nurkic. The best way to limit an offensive beast is to go at him defensively, so I think Nurkic needs to shift his focus from stopping Jokic to going at Jokic, which would result in better offensive numbers. DEN will continue trapping Lillard off the PnR, which should continue to open up the middle for Nurkic to operate in the 4 on 3 off of the roll.
3. Ben Simmons ($7,600)
Ben Simmons has had an excellent series so far against WAS; he put up 6-15-15 in game 1 and 22-9-8 in game 2, two excellent dfs performances. I think this matchup is perfect for Simmons. First of all, he has a major size advantage on basically whoever is guarding him on WAS - The Wizards don’t start a huge lineup, so there are multiple mismatches on switches to be found. Also, the Wizards love to play in transition, which plays to Ben Simmons favor big-time. He’s one of the best transition players in the league, and he’s really killed the Wizards going down-hill in this series and in the paint. He’s a player who plays a lot better when he’s confident, so I expect another big game tonight.
Tier 3 ($3,000-$4,900)
1. Bryn Forbes ($3,600)
Bryn Forbes has had an excellent series, and it should only improve after the injury to Divincenzo. He’ll either get the start or will be early off the bench, and his minutes should be a little bit higher than last game, so you’re getting great value for him at close to the site minimum. I could see the Bucks playing with less desperation today, and therefore resorting to more threes from their role players, just because they’re up 3-0 in the series and have faced no resistance since game 1. I don’t expect Giannis, Khris, and Jrue to come out angry, rather I expect them to come out with a plan to get their periphery players involved so that they’re confident and happy heading into the next round.
2. Ish Smith ($4,800)
It’s only a matter of time before Ish Smith completely takes over Raul Neto’s role and minutes. He’s slowly increased his minutes while Neto has done the opposite, and he’s played far better in his minutes than Neto has. With the pace that they’re trying to play at, Ish is just a better fit for the Wizards at this moment. The Wizards will have to change something up today, and I have a feeling it could be Ish Smith either getting the start or at least getting starter’s minutes. He’s been tough for PHI to defend, and I think WAS will have to do everything they can to exploit that tonight.
3. Royce O’Neale ($4,600)
If you look at Royce O’Neale’s price and then look at the players around him, it just seems like Royce has a much higher floor than his counterparts. You know he’s going to get 30+ minutes because he’s needed on the defensive end, and that often turns into some solid offensive stats. He put up 14-8-3 last game, and I expect him to play well again tonight. He flourishes with Mitchell in the lineup because it allows him to play way more of a spot up shooting and crashing-the-glass type role, so I only expect his numbers to improve with Mitchell even more healthy and ready to go for game 3.
NBA PLAYOFF MKF PLAYS OF THE DAY
Donovan Mitchell MORE than 25.5 Points
Donovan Mitchell only played 26 minutes in game 2, but he put up 25 points. It was also his first game back from injury in A WHILE, so it wasn’t surprising that he shot only 8-19. I expect his minutes to increase and for him to play better tonight, which could mean a vintage Donovan Mitchell playoff performance. He also loves playing against the Away crowd (kind of like Trae), so I think he should get up for an awesome environment in MEM tonight.
Nikola Jokic MORE than 32.5 Points
Jokic has put up 34, 38, and 36 in his first 3 games of this series, and I see literally no signs of him slowing down. The Blazers just aren’t willing to send a double team at him in the middle of the court (probably because they think he’ll pick it apart with his passing - which he probably will), so Jokic has really been taking advantage of the single coverage. No one can guard him 1 on 1 in the NBA, and especially not Nurkic, so I expect him to exploit that matchup once again tonight.
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