The NBA playoffs are underway, and there is NBA DFS on DraftKings, FanDuel and SuperDraft. Greg Ehrenberg breaks down some of the key news in his Switch and Hedge article.
Giannis Antetokounmpo Questionable To Play
This is the biggest storyline of the postseason. The Bucks are getting smashed by the Heat, and now it looks like Giannis might not play today. Even though he said he was fine after last game, reporters indicated he limped heavily out of the arena, and then Milwaukee listed him as questionable to play tonight. Since books went from pricing the Heat as 5.5-point underdogs in the first three games to favorites today, there looks like a good chance that Giannis will sit today. Even if he plays, it stands to reason he is not at full health. His ankle clearly hampered him in the fourth quarter of Game 3, and he grimaced a few times.
If Giannis is out, Eric Bledsoe and Khris Middleton both stand to gain a ton of usage. With Antetokounmpo off the court this season, Bledsoe has a 31.5% usage rate, and Middleton leads the Bucks with a 33.7% usage rate. Brook Lopez also becomes a stronger play without Giannis, and I am guessing that Donte DiVincenzo would move into the starting lineup. Of the forwards, Marvin Williams is slightly more appealing as a value option than Ersan Ilyasova. Ilyasova entered the starting lineup earlier in the season without Giannis, but that was before the team acquired Williams.
Mike Budenholzer’s Ego
In the past, Budenholzer took heat for not playing starters big minutes in the playoffs. He has some rare accolades on his resume, coaching the last No. 1 seed to get swept in the playoffs, the Hawks in 2015. Budenholzer came under fire because he only played Al Horford over 30 minutes once in the series. He has since doubled and tripled down on not playing his best players big minutes in the playoffs. Budenholzer went as far as to say that if the Bucks can’t win games without Giannis playing over 40 minutes, then they don’t deserve to win. This is a harsh quote because it’s fairly obvious that playing the best players more minutes is the easiest way to increase odds of victory. It looks like he prefers playing starters 35 minutes and losing than playing them 40 and winning.
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Rajon Rondo Still Sucks
Rondo is the Rockets’ secret weapon in the playoffs. The Lakers won’t stop playing the veteran point guard, and it could come to haunt them. After Los Angeles went on a run in Game 1 to cut a big Rockets’ lead down to five, Rondo blew a handful of defensive assignments while turning the ball over on offense to push Houston’s lead back to double-digits. The Lakers never got back into the game, but it’s tough for me to expect a dip in playing time for Rondo. Vogel ran him sizable minutes during the regular season, and Rondo never contributed much to winning. He’s still a good fantasy producer on a per minute basis, so I think he makes for a decent value play on DraftKings at a decent price. As poorly as Rondo played on Friday, he scored 22.75 DraftKings points at close to min price.
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