Editor’s Note: Wednesday’s NBA games have been postponed.
As a result of the three NBA games not being played today, we will be canceling and refunding all NBA contests. All refunds will appear in your account shortly. https://t.co/T7O12IT4N6— DraftKings CX Team (@DK_Assist) August 26, 2020
I don’t want to say anything too definitive, as it’s impossible to know exactly what’s going to take place over the next 12 hours, but chances are we’re seeing our final glimpses of both the Magic and the Trail Blazers on Wednesday. Both teams fought hard in their respective series against a one-seed, but it’s been clear since a pair of Game 1 upsets that neither had the juice to pull off something special.
How does this all impact today’s three-game featured slate on DraftKings? Let’s break it all down position-by-position.
James Harden, HOU vs. OKC, $11,800 - With the Lakers and the Bucks each favored by a couple of touchdowns this evening on DraftKings Sportsbook, Harden is the star that makes the most sense from a game script perspective. The All-Star’s workload has increased in every game so far in the Rockets’ series, culminating in Harden logging 43 minutes in Monday’s loss to the Thunder. Including the playoffs, Harden’s played 40-plus minutes 12 times in 2019-20. In those 12 opportunities, he’s averaged 69.8 DKFP.
Anfernee Simons, POR at LAL, $4,000 - While it isn’t clear who will be starting in place of the injured Damian Lillard (knee), you’d have to assume Simons’ role is going to be increased with the absence of the All-Star. Though he’s been far from efficient in his sophomore campaign, Simons has shown the ability to score the ball in bunches at the NBA level. He’s also young enough where I could see Terry Stotts using him in both the first quarter and in garbage time, which is likely where this matchup ends up.
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Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, OKC at HOU, $7,400 - I’m not at all suggesting that someone who has scored at least 44.0 DKFP in three-straight contests is going to be a variance play on a three-game slate; however, I could see a lot of people going with CJ McCollum ($8,100) in this spot instead of SGA. I think that’s a mistake. While McCollum will surely carry the higher usage rate between the two guards, I worry how many minutes he’ll play if things get out of hand for the Blazers, especially with his back issues. As for Gilgeous-Alexander, he’s leading the league in minutes per game in the playoffs (41.2). Volume is not going to be a concern.
Evan Fournier, ORL at MIL, $5,400 - Fournier has yet to register more than four field goals in a game against the Bucks, but his shot spectrum — particularly his ability to shoot above the break 3-pointers — is the exact kind of thing Milwaukee is willing to concede. Fournier looked a little more confident and assertive in the second half on Monday and I’m willing to bet that the shots start falling for a man who posted a 39.9% field goal rate from 3-point range during the regular season. Also, even in the slump, Fournier’s role hasn’t been in jeopardy, as he’s one of only two Orlando players averaging 30-plus minutes in this series.
Eric Gordon, HOU vs. OKC, $6,100 - It’s almost as if the veteran has been aiming to hit exactly 5x value the past week. In Gordon’s four games against the Thunder, he’s managed to eclipse the 30.0 DKFP plateau all four times, benefiting heavily from the absence of Russell Westbrook (quad). To wit, Gordon’s 27.3% usage rate in the first round of the playoffs is easily the second-highest mark within the Rockets’ very tight rotation.
Gary Trent, POR at LAL, $4,800 - Between Lillard leaving mid-way through Game 4 and the lopsided second-half score, Trent ended up logging a little over 34 minutes in Portland’s loss. I could see something very similar taking place on Wednesday evening. There will be an opportunity for younger players like Trent and the aforementioned Simons to step into Lillard’s void, and also like Simons, Trent’s inexperienced enough where Stotts could leave him out on the floor in a meaningless fourth quarter.
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL vs. ORL, $11,300 - Despite Milwaukee winning their past three games by at least 14 points and Antetokounmpo having yet to log over 35 minutes in the playoffs, the Greek Freak has still averaged 63.9 DKFP in this series with Orlando. That’s what can happen when you’re equipped with a 36.8% usage rate and can score 1.95 DKFP per minute of action. In short, DFS assets don’t often come with this level of floor, which is important on a small slate that could get a little weird.
Danuel House, HOU vs. OKC, $5,500 - You don’t have to worry about whether or not House will be involved enough to reach value on this slate. In fact, through four games in the Rockets’ series against the Thunder, only Harden has logged more minutes than the 27-year-old. That stable workload — along with Robert Covington’s ($5,700) puzzling 12.7% usage rate — has translated to House scoring 30-plus DKFP in his last three starts.
Nikola Vucevic, ORL at MIL, $9,200 - How could you ask for anything more from the All-Star in this series? Coming into Game 5, Vucevic has averaged 52.1 DKFP per contest against the Bucks, all while sporting an eye-popping .656 true shooting percentage. He’s been incredibly efficient despite heavy volume and having to go up against the league’s No. 1 interior defense. If you want to build a couple of lineups where you fade a chalky Harden, a game stack that features Vucevic and Antetokounmpo is a good place to start.
P.J. Tucker, HOU vs. OKC, $4,300 - I’ve suggested a lot of exposure to the Rockets on this slate, but with momentum shifting in their series, I’m leaning into the assumption that Mike D’Antoni is going to place more burden on his best players. Heck, Houston only got 13 bench points in Game 4, primarily because Jeff Green ($5,600) was the lone non-starter who logged more than 15 minutes. Tucker’s going play a lot this evening, and considering he only needs 21.5 DKFP to hit 5x value, he’s a high-floor piece.
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