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Today's Optimizers and Datasheets
(Note: Needs Excel Version 2010 or later)
QUICK HITTERS (6/1)
- 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 236 points. The game with the lowest over/under is LAL v PHO at 208 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’ll definitely start off my lineup by locking in these Lakers players (Lebron and Drummond); I think they’re the two best plays of the night, and I think both could quite easily return value very early on. I would even be fine with locking in Marc Gasol as well. It’s rare that there are injuries that can be exploited from a DK/FD sense, so when there are injuries, you have to make sure you take advantage of them. The prices haven’t adjusted to AD being out, so there is going to be a lot of value to be found on this Lakers team. I also think it’s important to take note of this mid-tier tonight. I think it’s very strong (stronger than normal), and even my third favorite player from that tier (CP3) is a player I REALLY like tonight.
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. Lebron James ($9,800)
Lebron is probably my favorite play of the night. Without Anthony Davis, and in the ever-important game 5 in a 2-2 series, Lebron should have a classic Lebron playoff game tonight. Even though he’s been battling an ankle injury for this series, he’s looked better and better as the time goes on, and something tells me he’s saving some of the gas in his tank for a game like tonight. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lebron is the highest scoring player of the night, so I think you’re getting great value for him at below that 10k threshold.
2. Nikola Jokic ($10,400)
After a very disappointing game 4, I expect Jokic to respond with authority tonight. He’s not really thought of as a gamer in the same way that guys like Kawhi or Lebron are thought of, but I think he’s actually got a lot of fight in him. He came back from 2 different 3-1 deficits in last year’s playoffs, and there are not many guys I would rather have on my team in a situation where you must persevere. He’ll have a larger impact on game 5 than he did in game 4, and I can promise you that. Look for a massive triple-double type game tonight from Jokic, and also look for the Nuggets to respond to their terrible game 4 performance.
3. Damian Lillard ($9,600)
Talk about a gamer, and you must include Lillard in those conversations. Dame lives for games like tonight; it’ll be a hugely important, highly watched game that will probably come down to the wire if I had to guess. Neither team has played excellent defense in this series, and I expect this game to be a high scoring one, which means both Jokic and Lillard should go off. Lillard has had an excellent series both shooting the ball and getting to the rim/getting buckets for his teammates, so I don’t expect there to all of a sudden be resistance tonight.
Tier 2 ($5,000-$7,900)
1. Andre Drummond ($5,200)
Without AD in game 5, Andre’s minutes and usage should increase a decent amount. He’s been getting the start and has been playing alongside AD, but now he’ll be the primary scorer of put backs and shots around the paint without AD in the lineup. Furthermore, he should get a larger share of the rebounding role without AD playing, and he’ll definitely make even more of an effort to be aggressive on the glass without his dominant front-court partner in the lineup and in an extremely important game 5. To be honest, I bet there’s a part of Drummond that’s excited to be more of a focal point of the team tonight, even if it means they have a worse chance at winning. He’s never played in meaningful playoff games, and he’ll get a chance tonight while being one of the main guys.
2. Norman Powell ($5,600)
Norman Powell is coming off a game in which he put up 29-1-2, and I think that should really improve his confidence going forward in this series. Also, even though he had a huge game last game, DEN is not all of a sudden going to change their coverage, especially as they have CJ and Dame to pay attention to primarily. Powell should continue to get buckets from slashing to the rim and spotting up on the three point line, and I'll continue to like him if he’s going to be at the bottom end of this middle tier, because I just think that’s quite frankly too low.
3. Chris Paul ($6,600)
Chris Paul finally looked somewhat like himself in game 4, and it’s probably because that shoulder is slowly returning to normal. He already said that he’s playing in game 5 (which is a step up from the last game in which he was a game-time decision), and it’s also the type of injury that will probably get better fairly quickly. I think he’ll continue to look even more healthy tonight and will therefore continue to be successful in that mid-range area. His shot looked a bit better, and he just looked more confident overall in game 4 in terms of making decisions out of the pick and roll.
Tier 3 ($3,000-$4,900)
1. Marc Gasol ($3,600)
Similar to Andre Drummond, Gasol should see a larger portion of the big-man minutes without AD in the game tonight. He put up 12-3-8 in 23 minutes, and he should see more minutes than that tonight (maybe even in the 30+ range). He can stretch the floor, which he’ll definitely get to do with Lebron at the helm of the offense tonight - he should get multiple standstill looks from three as a result of Lebron’s gravity and passing. Furthermore, he’ll have to make more of an effort to get on the glass than normal (which we saw from him after AD exited the game in game 4).
2. Jae Crowder ($4,700)
Crowder put up 17-4-7 in game 4, and I think he has a potential to do the same again tonight. He’s going to continue to get open shots from three as a result of the attention that both CP3 and Booker require on defense. Also, as CP3 looks more and more confident dribbling and making plays for his teammates, Jae Crowder will continue to get open looks, and he’ll also continue to rack up peripheral stats as long as he’s on the court (and he’s going to stay on the court, because he’s one of the Suns best defenders, especially for Lebron).
3. Payton Pritchard ($3,200)
Without Kemba in the lineup for a second straight game, I expect Pritchard to get some solid minutes at that point guard position. He played 24 minutes in game 4, and he played very well, so I expect him to get even more minutes tonight (and potentially even the start). Furthermore, in a game that will likely be a blowout, he should have freedom to at times be the primary playmaker for this Celtics team. At only 3.2k, he should be able to return value pretty easily with what his role will be tonight.
NBA PLAYOFF MKF PLAYS OF THE DAY
Lebron James MORE than 27.5 Points
Without AD, I expect Lebron to have a vintage Lebron playoff night tonight, and part of that means attacking early and often. I think we’ll see him attack the rim like we haven’t seen in these playoffs yet from him; even though he’s battling an ankle injury, he’s looked more and more fresh with each game, and I think that he has a gear he hasn’t yet shown in these playoffs. He always saves himself for important games, but his injury has caused him to be even safer, and I think that comes to an end tonight. Expect to see an angry Lebron.
Andre Drummond (+1.5 Rebounds) MORE Rebounds than Deandre Ayton
Without AD, I expect Drummond’s minutes and usage to increase. He should grab a far higher percentage of rebounds without AD in the lineup, and I think he’ll take a big chunk of AD’s minutes as well. Giving him a rebounding boost tonight seems ludacris, and I would probably take Drummond without the rebounding bonus to have more boards than Ayton tonight. Drummond should be hyped to play in one of his first meaningful playoff games (with a big role), and I think that’ll translate to him working his butt off on the glass.
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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!