We are two games into each of the Conference Semifinal series. Here are some notes and nuggets to keep in mind when building rosters:
(1) Cavaliers vs. (4) Hawks
Only blowouts can cap the minutes of the Cavs’ starters. They sat out the entire fourth quarter of Wednesday’s romp, ensuring they’ll be well-rested for Friday’s Game 3 in Atlanta. Here are the regular season/playoff minute averages: LeBron James 35.6/39.0, Kevin Love 31.5/34.5, Kyrie Irving 31.5/34.7, J.R. Smith 30.7/34.8, Tristan Thompson 27.7/28.8. … Expect the Hawks to bounce back after Wednesday’s utter humiliation. The Cavs won’t go 25-of-45 from 3-point range ever again, and the game is in Atlanta. The Hawks had a 65.8 percent win rate at home in the regular season vs. 51.2 percent on the road. A projected close game makes LeBron a borderline must-play, even at $11,000. He’s scored at least 43.5 DK points in each playoff game and is averaging 50.2. By dropping Matthew Dellavedova to $2500, DraftKings has made us at least consider the backup point guard. He averaged 0.737 DK points per minute during the regular season and is playing 16.5 minutes a night in the playoffs.
“At $4,300, Schroder makes sense in tournament lineups. . .“
Again, expect the Cavs to cool off and the Hawks to bounce back in Game 3. I remain comfortable projecting the minutes of Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Kent Bazemore and Kyle Korver in the 31-35 range. … The one starter on shakier ground is Jeff Teague, just like during the regular season. The volatile point guard is descending into one of his ruts while Dennis Schroder’s Game 1 performance nearly led the Hawks to an upset. At $4,300, Schroder makes sense in tournament lineups. Another backup below the normal salary floor at $2,400 is Mike Scott. He averaged a productive 0.814 DK points per minute in the regular season and is getting 19.7 minutes a night through eight playoff games.
(1) Warriors vs. (5) Blazers
Stephen Curry (knee) is likely targeting Monday’s Game 4 for his return. With the Warriors already up 2-0 in the series, expect them to err on the side of caution. The DK points per game in the five playoff games Curry has missed already: Draymond Green 48.0, Klay Thompson 42.2, Shaun Livingston 28.1, Andre Iguodala 24.2, Andrew Bogut 22.4, Harrison Barnes 18.4.
Mason Plumlee was such a standout play in the Clippers series because we knew his size would be needed against DeAndre Jordan. But the Warriors only play Andrew Bogut around 20 minutes per game and go small so often, leading to Plumlee averaging a mere 26.5 minutes through two games of this GSW series. Damian Lillard averaged 44.6 DK points per game at home this season vs. 40.6 on the road. C.J. McCollum was at 33.3 at home vs. 35.3 on road. It’s notable as the series shifts back to Portland. With the Blazers being forced into a lot of small ball, Allen Crabbe and Gerald Henderson are firmly in play nightly as long as they remain around the $3,000 mark. They have a great shot at 25-30 minutes.
(2) Spurs vs. (3) Thunder
After the controversial ending to Game 2, the series shifts back to Oklahoma City. It’s very difficult to see a blowout either way here, meaning Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant can be projected around 40 minutes. They ranked 1st and 4th respectively in DK points per minute in the regular season. Enes Kanter’s playing time is tied directly to the scoreboard. In blowouts, he is a lock to smash value. Making GPP lineups that correlate with these thoughts makes sense. For example, Boban and Kanter together is more optimal than Boban and Westbrook. Steven Adams continues to do damage against the Spurs. In four matchups this season, he’s averaging 20.8 DK points and getting 28.9 minutes.
“. . . he’s going on the road, and he’ll be the focus of Billy Donovan’s defensive adjustments“
The Spurs appear set on mainly a seven-man rotation in close games. The five usual starters plus Patty Mills and Manu Ginobili off the bench. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the hottest basketball player on the planet over the last two games, but his price is now up to $8,700, he’s going on the road, and he’ll be the focus of Billy Donovan’s defensive adjustments. There’s certainly room for a fade.
(2) Raptors vs. (3) Heat
Finally over the knee injury that crippled his first season in Toronto, DeMarre Carroll is logging big minutes again. Over his last three games, he’s at 38.0 minutes a night and he’s now starting at power forward in Dwane Casey’s new small-ball lineup that features Norman Powell at the three. Add it up and we have big upside in Carroll at just $4,300 on DK. The struggles of Kyle Lowry are likely to continue. It’s hard to bust a slump when facing a Heat defense that suffocates opposing point guards to the tune of 1.51 fewer points than salary-based expectation.
Dwyane Wade hit his floor on Thursday night, scoring just 27.0 DK points in 38 minutes. Given the situation and his massive usage rate in these playoffs, we can expect something around 1.15 DK points per minute most nights. Hassan Whiteside remains underpriced at $7,700, just as centers have been all season. Goran Dragic has been banged up, but his aggression has mounted as the playoffs have moved along. He’s averaging 16.5 FGAs over his last four games after getting just 11.8 shots up in the first five games of the playoffs.