Hey! I hope you are all enjoying Playoff basketball because I am. It is time for a quick shootaround featuring the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets, for those of you who still play DFS during the Playoffs and want a helping hand. This series truly has NBA Finals feels and should get more attention than its Eastern Conference counterpart. Here is your Playoffs breakdown:
Houston Rockets (1) vs Golden State Warriors (2)
The Rockets constructed this team with this exact matchup in mind. They have two Hall of Fame point guards surrounded by some of the top 3-and-D players in the league and rim-rockers. Even as Houston enters this series with home-court advantage, it is clear they are the underdogs; the Warriors barely missed a beat during the first two rounds. The Rockets also played well in their respective first and second-round series but looked vulnerable at times as they rely on isolation possessions and three-point shots. The Warriors punish teams hard for each mistake they make, so the key for the Rockets will be minimizing turnovers and maximizing offensive opportunities. I have Golden State winning in six games – maybe even five – as I think it is quite clear that they are still the team to beat.
CHRIS PAUL – It is hard to see CP3 consistently getting his usual number of assists every game, about nine, if he and James Harden continue relying as much on isolations. This basically leaves Paul with a three to five assist ceiling, a couple of rebounds, a steal or two, plus however many points he manages to score. Paul should not struggle to score, I do not care if he goes against the Warriors or the Suns, but I think it is a wise idea to wait for Paul’s price to drop a little given his assists will not be as high as they usually are.
JAMES HARDEN – As the other half of Houston’s start backcourt, Harden is obviously a superior offensive player: he can score with ease on stepback threes or drives to the basket and draws fouls as well as anyone in this league. He should see the ball for longer periods than Harden and score like crazy on all his isos. As we saw in Game 1 of the Conference Finals, the probable MVP will find ways to score and is a reliable source of fantasy points overall.
TREVOR ARIZA – Ariza’s value comes mostly from making threes and grabbing some rebounds every game; he adds a steal per game too. As long as he is getting his shots up, he is going to be alright. The Warriors’ defense is as good as it has ever been, but Ariza still managed eight shots in Game 1, which makes me confident he can keep his value.
P.J. TUCKER – He plays a similar role to Ariza’s, but Tucker grabs more boards and shoots fewer threes. He has actually been by far the best three-point shooter these Playoffs for Houston but does not shoot them as much as Ariza because his work is not done exclusively at the three-point line. He should continue being owned as he has upside in the scoring and boards categories.
CLINT CAPELA – Capela’s upside continues to be high as he can consistently get you fantasy points from scoring, rebounding, and blocking shots. Considering he has a notable advantage in size over most Warriors, he should be able to use that size difference to his advantage. He deserves to be owned.
ERIC GORDON – He may play more minutes than ever in this series, where his three-point services will be demanded often. If it were not for his ugly four turnovers, he would have an almost ideal stat line for a player like him in Game 1 against the Warriors. Unless his price gets too crazy, he is good to go.
GERALD GREEN – Another relatively reliable three-point shooter, Green will make anyone who leaves him open pay; whether he shoots a three, drives relentlessly to the basket, or takes an uncharacteristic mid-range shot, the veteran does not struggle to find his way into a shot. He does not offer much besides his scoring, so be careful with how much you spend on him.
LUC MBAH A MOUTE – The versatile forward has not been his usual self during these Playoffs. He is a ridiculous 2-for-12 in threes this postseason, has more turnovers than steals, and has not made up for his lack of offensive productivity elsewhere. I envisioned him playing like his regular season self, which was pretty good, so I am avoiding him until he turns his fortune.
RYAN ANDERSON – The Warriors thrive in abusing matchups against guys with Ryan Anderson’s characteristics. His defensive issues hurt the team more than his shooting helps them, so Anderson is basically unplayable against Golden State; he had seen very little action in the postseason anyway. Unless Mike D’Antoni decides to make a drastic change in his rotations, Anderson should see little to no playing time.
NENE HILARIO – Just like Anderson, he is almost unplayable. He can do some damage in the low blocks and catch some boards, but he is a non-threatening three-point shooter and has little use in the Rockets’ gameplan against the Warriors. It is not as if he can catch lobs on Clint Capela fashion, so he should not see big minutes this series.
STEPHEN CURRY – Judging by what we saw in Game 1, it is clear that the Rockets are making a point of emphasis to get the ball out of Curry’s hands; he took fewer shots than both Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, but he made those at a relatively high clip and made up for his “low” scoring with eight assists and two steals. This is the Curry I am willing to spend on, especially in this series, where he has no other option but to show up big every game.
KLAY THOMPSON – With a lot of the attention shifting to his fellow All-Star teammates, Thompson was occasionally left alone chilling for open shots he makes every time in Game 1. Of course, he will not always hit more than half of his shots, but he knows which shots to take and is an intelligent ball mover. He is a good source for steals and grabs a couple of rebounds. Klay’s price should be the lowest amongst the Warriors’ four All-Stars, so take advantage of it.
ANDRE IGUODALA – Iggy is just the complimentary piece of the Warriors “Hampton’s Five” lineup. He will not score a bunch of points or dish out a lot of assists; his primary role is playing tough defense. If you can get Iggy for a price where you believe his offensive contributions will be decent, go ahead. Do not expect too much out of him.
KEVIN DURANT – The former MVP gave the Rockets a taste of their own medicine in Game 1, scoring 37 points with a lot of those coming from isolations. Durant is a pure scorer and as we have seen throughout the Playoffs he is very hard to stop. You can trust him to get the ball as often as any other Warrior because he can get a bucket whenever he feels like doing it. His rebounding and blocks should remain in similar, but his assists should dip.
DRAYMOND GREEN – There is nothing much to say about this man other than walking triple-double. He may not get a triple-double everytime he goes out there, but he is usually pretty close and his stat lines are often well-rounded. Green is also the heart and soul of the team, and even though none of the emotional parts appear in the box score, it does help his and his team’s momentum. The only risk in drafting him is an argument with the refs will get him kicked out of the game, but he appears to have learned his lesson already.
KEVON LOONEY – An unlikely contributor for the Warriors, Looney has elevated his game and is now the usual sixth man for the team. Looney is indeed sixth in Playoff minutes this year – behind the Hampton’s Five – and is getting a shot to prove what he’s worth. He does not contribute much to the stat sheet but I think it is just a matter of when, not if, will he have a breakout game offensively and hit crazy 8x or 9x value.
SHAUN LIVINGSTON – The veteran is a mid-range artist and makes a living out of shooting from the mid-range or making all sorts of layups. He has a big size advantage over opposing point guard, which also allows him to grab more boards than other guards would usually get, but that is about it. He should have a couple of 12 or 14-point games in the remainder of the Playoffs.
NICK YOUNG – When I see Nick Young, he reminds me of J.R. Smith. Their play styles are so alike! He will come out with the hot hand one night and score 20 after making five threes and will score two points the next game after shooting 1-for-10; that is just the way these inconsistent players are. It is clear Young can shoot and has the ability to do a little more, but trying to pick which games will he be better is a coin flip.
DAVID WEST – Just as I said about the Rockets’ Nene, West is a veteran post scorer with no three-point shot in his arsenal. What he does on the offense and defense is not better than what other guys can do – or what the team really needs against Houston. At this point, he is not playing because he can actually help the Warriors beat the Rockets, but because the team needs someone out there while the likes of KD and Draymond Green get some rest.