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Best lineup strategy for Celtics vs. Bucks NBA Showdown [UPDATE]

The Celtics are reeling a bit and dealing with a few big injuries. We break down how to approach lineup building for Thursday night’s featured Showdown on DraftKings.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo reacts after the Bucks defeated the New York Knicks at Fiserv Forum.  Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

With five games on the NBA slate for Thursday night, we’ll have some solid Showdown contests on DraftKings. Three to be exact. The middle of the group is a matchup we’d normally be hyped for between the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. The Celtics played Wednesday night and got run off their own court by the Detroit Pistons. In fairness, Jayson Tatum was out, but I don’t view that as an excuse to lay an absolute egg at home against a bad team. Now, the Celts have to go on the road to face the best team in the NBA. Tatum will return, but we don’t know if Jaylen Brown (thumb) will play the second of the back-to-back. If one or both are sidelined, it could be trouble for Boston. Let’s take a look at lineup construction:

Update: Brown has been ruled out.

Who should you play in the Captain’s slot?

Injuries will likely dictate this spot, but there are a few options that stick out. If Brown is sidelined, then Kemba Walker ($12,600) will likely be tasked with more scoring. At this price for Kemba, I think his usage and minutes will be high. It’s a tough matchup vs. Eric Bledsoe, but still, I think Kemba is an elite scorer and may need to chuck around 25-30 shots.

The obvious choice is Giannis Antetokounmpo ($18,900). The Celtics lack depth in the froncourt and only really have Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter to throw at Giannis. Neither of those two can contain the reigning MVP, who has scored at least 30 points in five of the past seven games — a few of those blowouts. The only deterrent in playing Giannis is the blowout potential, but the Greek Freak has the highest ceiling by far. Gordon Hayward ($11,400) would be my only other consideration here and it would be predicated on at least Tatum being out.

Who should you play in the UTIL spot?

Looking at the rosters, we see a handful of lockdown defenders on the perimeter. Brown is questionable, but Bledsoe and Marcus Smart will both be starting tonight. If that’s the case, I think we’ll see both teams look to the wings and down low. Giannis ($12,600) should be in your lineup no matter what. I think Khris Middleton ($9,000) is better suited for the UTIL spot as well. If Brown is out, the Celtics will be without a wing defender, though Smart could be put on Middleton to slow him down.

Hayward ($7,600) is the most appealing UTIL for the Celtics if you opt to go with another Captain. Brown could be out and I think that’s a big plus for Hayward, who scored 25 points last night against the Pistons with Tatum out. If the Bucks end this one quickly, there will be some value in garbage time. Grant Williams ($2,200) has played at least 13 minutes in three straight games. Ersan Ilyasova ($4,200) could also see garbage time for Milwaukee and we know the Celtics lack size and experience in the frontcourt.