In the heart of the Conference Finals, we have Game 2 in the West on Wednesday and Game 2 in the East on Thursday. Who would have thought the Warriors would be scrambling to salvage a split on their home court right now? Today’s NBA targets breakdown looks at both Game 2’s, with an eye towards the studs, sleepers and mid-range players you should consider rotating in your lineups for all the Wednesday-Thursday contests.
Russell Westbrook – OKC @ GS – $11,100 – Westbrook and Durant have officially crashed the party. If beating San Antonio wasn’t enough, they certainly looked poised to give the Warriors everything they can handle – and maybe more than they can handle – in this Conference Championship series. Westbrook, with his combination of ferocious defensive pressure and attacking offensive style, can win games by himself, especially when his shot is falling. He finished with 27 points, 12 assists, six rebounds and seven steals, good for his sixth straight game with over 50 DKFP in these playoffs (including 65+ fantasy points in two of his last three).
Stephen Curry – GS @ OKC – $10,700 – It’s amazing that a guy who can just calmly drill 30-footers with a hand in his face isn’t the most expensive player on the board. He finished Game 1 with 26 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals, all on 9-for-22 shooting (including 6-for-14 from three). The scary thing? I expect every single one of those numbers to improve (aside from the rebounding) as the Warriors push to even the series tonight.
Kyrie Irving – CLE vs. TOR – $8,200 – Irving showed last night that he is going to be an aggressor in this series, which is great for the Cavs. Someone to make the Raptors’ guards work on defense is key. If Lowry and DeRozan start feeling like they’re not even the best guards on the floor, this series is over before it starts, and in Game 1, they weren’t the best guards out there, as Irving led all scorers with 27 points on 11-for-17 shooting.
Klay Thompson – GS vs. OKC – $7,800– Thompson is averaging 27-4-3 with a steal so far in 11 playoff games, and even though a few of those games were without Steph, the fact that he showed the composure to step up big in the postseason when they needed him speaks volumes. The Warriors will continue to rely on their dynamic guards for the bulk of their scoring, so the shots will be there for him. I personally think a few more of them start to drop, and that makes him both a stud and a value play for me in Game 2.
“A bunch of mid-range jumpers aren’t going to beat the Cavs…”
DeMar DeRozan – TOR @ CLE – $7,300 – He is the most consistent scorer from outside that the Raptors have, and they are going to need him. He scored 18 points in Game 1, on 17 shot attempts, and the only thing you can really say is that neither of those numbers is enough. The ball is going to be in his hands quite a bit in this series, but a bunch of mid-range jumpers aren’t going to beat the Cavs. He had no free throws and only one (missed) three-point attempt in Game 1, and both Raptors fans and DeRozan fantasy investors want to see both of those figures rise exponentially.
J.R. Smith – CLE vs. TOR – $5,400 – The Cavs just don’t have a lot of guards. You might see more Dellavedova in the Finals as Cleveland looks for more perimeter defense, but right now they are looking for some perimeter scoring, a place for LeBron and Kyrie to kick on their drives – and Smith is giving them just that. He only played 27 minutes and scored only five points last game, so there is clearly some downside (especially in a blowout win), but he averaged 34.5 minutes per game last series.
Dion Waiters – OKC @ GS – $4,000 – He’s a good fit for this series, with the athleticism to contribute on the defensive end against Golden State’s stellar guard play, and if he’s going to be out there for 30 minutes, $4,000 is a value. Westbrook and Durant are going to continue to suck up all the real fantasy upside on the floor for this team, but Waiters should be important enough to Billy Donovan that he plays enough to be a viable option if you’re looking for 15-25 DKFP on the cheap.
LeBron James – CLE vs. TOR – $10,800 – The Cavs won Game 1 by 31 points, which is the only thing that limited James’ production. He went 11-for-13 from the floor, for the most efficient 24 points possible. With that level of effectiveness on offense, to go along with production in basically every other statistical category, it’s no wonder he was a +20 for the Cavs in the series opener, just like it should be no surprise to see him out there anchoring cash-game lineups everywhere.
Kevin Durant – OKC @ GS – $10,200 – How do you respond as an opponent when you’ve invested everything in slowing down Russell Westbrook only to see you’ve started opening up lanes for the player who might be the best pure scorer in the entire NBA? That’s the problem teams face when playing the Thunder. 26 points and 10 rebounds in 46 minutes in Game 1 for Durant is more of a baseline than a ceiling, which means you can draft him with confidence at the price, knowing he’ll give you what you paid for, and maybe even more.
Andre Iguodala – GS vs. OKC – $4,100 – Iguodala and Barnes both played 33 minutes in Game 1, and Iguodala outscored him in terms of fantasy points despite Barnes consistently being the one who gets more chances to score while he is out there. But Golden State doesn’t want to rely on Barnes’ scoring, which to me makes Iguodala’s contributions more repeatable. So if you want a cheap source of 20-25 DKFP, for me, this is the choice.
Draymond Green – GS vs. OKC – $9,900 – He played 40 minutes, took 20 shots, and scored 40.25 DKFP in Game 1 of this series. He might not see 20 shots in every game, but he should see the rest of those numbers, including the fantasy points. Because while he might see a dip in scoring, the Warriors are likely hopeful he improves on the five boards and four assists he accumulated in the first game of the series.
Kevin Love – CLE vs. TOR – $8,400 – LeBron and Kyrie demonstrated over and over again last game that the best way to attack this Toronto team was with penetration from the wing – they had no answer. And that meant that Love took only eight shots in a blowout win, down from the 25 shots he took in the final game of the Hawks series. But this is what a lineup featuring Love at the five gives this team – versatility. Love could be needed more moving forward if the Raptors overplay on Kyrie and LeBron.
Serge Ibaka – OKC @ GS – $5,300 – He came out in Game 1 of this series with a double-double on 11 shot attempts, essentially matching the slightly more expensive Steven Adams in terms of fantasy production. If that usage rate is going to increase, he should cost what Adams costs, and that means there is some value baked into his price. He is not likely to put you over the top in a GPP, but you could be getting a $6,000+ value for $5,300, which makes him a worthwhile play in a cash game.
“Tristan Thompson is a premier rebounder”
Tristan Thompson – CLE vs. TOR – $5,100 – Tristan Thompson is a premier rebounder. Also, Toronto has no plan B – it’s been their downfall all year. They have one lineup and it involves Valanciunas – or, for now, Biyombo. And that means the 28 minutes Thompson got in game 1 are likely to continue. The issue of course, though, is production. He’s out there for defense, not scoring.
Steven Adams – OKC @ GS – $5,900 – He played 37 minutes in Game 1, third most on the team, and that’s coming off a Spurs series that saw him play 35+ minutes in each of the last five games. He now has eight straight double-digit rebounding efforts, including four straight double-doubles. With his ability to crash the boards and give his team extra possessions, he is a key, in several ways, to slowing down the Golden State onslaught.
“He is now a bit overpriced for what he’s going to do produce forward”
Bismack Biyombo – TOR @ CLE – $6,200 – Biyombo is the clear replacement for Valanciunas, and the Raptors have – as previously mentioned – no real versatility. They are built to have a center out there, so have a center out there they will. Right now, that center is Bismack. He facing a front court that will limit his opportunities – both scoring and on the glass, so the sticker price he built up in the last series likely means he is now a bit overpriced for what he’s going to do produce forward.
Andrew Bogut – GS vs. OKC – $3,700 – He’s the Warriors center. That’s why he’s on the list. But he’s a little banged up, and he only played 17 minutes in Game 1. Not that it matters – when he is out there, it’s for defense. So even if we start to see a little more of him to combat Adams and Kanter, I wouldn’t expect the increase in minutes to create anything in real increased value. However, he has shown the ability to give decent production for his $3,700 price tag.