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Today's Optimizers and Datasheets
(Note: Needs Excel Version 2010 or later)
QUICK HITTERS (6/11)
- Today's main slate features 2 games. Nobody is on a back to back.
- As of this writing, the game with the highest over/under is ATL v PHI at 224.5 points. The game with the lowest over/under is DEN v POR at 223.5 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.
The guy I feel most comfortable with tonight is probably CP3, so I’ll likely start my lineup by locking him into the optimizer. Besides him, though, I have a lot of questions about many of the guys on this list. Being that both series’ are going to a game 3 (which is often when a lot of the adjustments happen), you never really know how rotations or minutes are going to change. Additionally, you don’t know what kinds of game adjustments certain teams will make. For example, will the Hawks bring 2 to embiid? I think so, but they’ve shown a lot of confidence in Capela to defend him by himself, so I’ll be curious to see what they do there. Another question I have is about what the Nuggets will do defensively; they’ve been killed by the CP3-Ayton pick and roll, and I’ll be curious to see what they do in terms of that 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. Trae Young ($9,300)
Trae didn’t even have that great of a game 2 performance, and he still ended up with 21-11-3, making for a solid fantasy night. I expect him to make some adjustments offensively as a result of having to go up against Ben Simmons more than he had to in game 1. He struggled a little bit with the physicality of Ben, and I could imagine him coming out super aggressive tonight in an attempt to get him in some foul trouble early. He’ll be more comfortable because he’s in ATL, and I think you should find some solace in the fact that even though he played poorly last game, his floor was still pretty high.
2. Nikola Jokic ($10,700)
Despite the narrative around the NBA, the Joker is an absolute GAMER; he brought his DEN team back from two 3-1 deficits in last year’s playoffs, and I see him putting the squad on his back tonight in a pivotal game 3. He hasn’t had a massive scoring performance yet in this series, but with his back up against the wall, I think he’ll be really special tonight. The Suns still play great defense, though, so even if he has an incredible game he should still be limited a bit more than he was against a team like POR.
3. Joel Embiid ($10,300)
I’m assuming Joel will play tonight despite his injury (because he’s been Questionable for both of the first 2 games and started in both). He’s put up 39 and 40 points in the first two games of this series and has looked COMPLETELY unstoppable. I could see the Hawks bringing a double team tonight, which should result in some assists for Embiid; I don’t see a Nate MacMillan coached team letting Embiid absolutely pop off for three straight games, so Embiid should look to get his shooters involved early, but of course we know he can take over the game late (and probably will).
Tier 2 ($5,000-$7,900)
1. Chris Paul ($7,100)
Okay, I think I can finally say this: Chris Paul is BACK. He put up 17-15-5 with no turnovers in game 2 and he finally looked like himself; he was able to make his cross court 1 handed passes again, and he operated exquisitely in the mid-range like we’re used to seeing. He even hit a couple three pointers, so I really think he’s back to normal. At 7.1k, I think you’re getting great value in a guy who is a double-double threat every night. He’s gone to work in the pick and roll during this series, and he’ll be able to handle whatever adjustments are thrown his way, so I love CP3 tonight.
2. John Collins ($5,800)
I don’t think the Sixers are too concerned about Collins, which definitely works to his advantage. He’ll continue to see 35 minutes, and simply by virtue of playing with Young, he has a good chance of ending up with a double-double. Furthermore, he had 21 in game 1, which I think he could get closer to tonight as a result of being more comfortable in ATL, especially shooting the 3 ball with confidence like he did in game 1 (3-4 from 3).
3. Ben Simmons ($7,100)
Ben Simmons only scored 4 points on 3 shots last game, and I’m pretty confident that he’ll be far more aggressive than that tonight, especially with how dominant Embiid has been (and therefore the double team that Embiid will likely see tonight). Simmons should have lots of opportunities to both get out on the break and cut to the hoop off of Joel’s double team, 2 things that he’s quite good at. I just generally think he’ll be a lot more aggressive tonight than he was in game 2, which should result in a solid dfs night.
Tier 3 ($3,000-$4,900)
1. Mikal Bridges ($4,900)
Bridges has looked fantastic in the first two games of this series. Aside from his excellent defense, he’s hitting the three ball with confidence, and he’s even been pretty successful getting to his spots in the mid-range. He’s going to continue to see big minutes, and I think he’s just scratching the surface of what he’s capable of, so we could continue to see his game develop as this series goes on. As long as he’s in this low-tier, I’m going to really like him.
2. Kevin Huerter ($4,700)
Like Bridges, Huerter has shown development even within the span of these playoffs; he’s been great INSIDE of the three point line in addition to his excellent 3 point shooting, and I expect him to continue seeing big minutes (~30) because of it. He also gets rebounds and can get some assists as well, so I think the floor is pretty solid for Huerter at only 4.7k. Additionally, with what should be even more pressure on Trae tonight, Huerter might see a few more open looks from three than normal.
3. Danny Green ($4,500)
Our model doesn’t love Danny Green tonight, but I’m going to take a chance on him. As I said earlier, I expect the Hawks to bring 2 to Joel Embiid tonight; this will open up both points and assists for Danny Green, because Embiid will likely pass out of the post, leading to an eventual 4 on 3. He’s going to get tons of minutes, and he hasn’t shot the ball great in this series, so I could definitely see a bounce back game on the horizon for Green.
NBA PLAYOFF MKF PLAYS OF THE DAY
Nikola Jokic MORE than 28.5 Points
As I said in our playoff blueprint section, I could see the Joker being special tonight. He hasn’t had an obscene scoring performance yet, and if there’s any night that he’s going to have one, it should be tonight; they need to win tonight, and they’ll be back in DEN with the altitude home court advantage. Jokic should score tons of points tonight - I feel pretty confident about this one.
Joel Embiid LESS than 34.5 Points
If there’s one thing I know about Nate MacMillan, it’s that he’s not going to be content with letting Embiid get off like he did in games 1 and 2 again in game 3. He’s going to make some sort of adjustment - whether it’s a double team or shaded help or fronting - in an attempt to slow down Embiid’s scoring. I see Joel being more of a facilitator than a scorer tonight, although I still think he puts up 25+.
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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!