NBA Analysis for August 31, 2020

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bathrobeDFS here with your daily analysis.

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MIA “at” MIL – 630pm


Vegas Total:   223.5 – MIL 114.5 – MIA 109

Injuries – MIA:    NONE

Injuries – MIL:   Eric Bledsoe – QUESTIONABLE

Pace – MIA:   27th – 98.3

Pace – MIL:   1st – 105.1

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – MIA:  Goran Dragic (36th) / Jimmy Butler (46th) / Kendrick Nunn (52nd)

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – MIL:   Giannis (1st) / Khris Middleton (33rd) / Eric Bledose (59th)


  • This is going to be some fantastic basketball, but we should make sure to go in without expectations for massive scoring. I’m not saying we should expect only 102-98 games from the team with the top pace in the league – but I do think that we should expect more of that then the rust-inspired 130-116 monstrosity we saw in early August.
  • The reason I think this? Defense. Defense. Defense. Both teams are fantastic. On top of that, the Heat are adept at slowing the game down, which I think will slow the Bucks’ top pace down. Granted, as we saw at the beginning of this month, sometimes the Bucks pull the pace up. I think in the playoffs, though, we’ll see more of a return to the norm. 
  • When it comes to who to play, as far as the Heat, the answers are obvious
  • As I explained last series, there are 2 ways to attack the Bucks – with Centers and with 3 pointers. The Bucks are the absolute worst against Centers in the NBA. They are a Lock Spot. They increase scoring and 3s and everything by staggering margins.
  • That means my favorite play on the Heat this series is going to be Bam Adebayo, who will be pushing 50+ DKP in any game he doesn’t run into foul trouble. 
  • Let’s not get as excited as last series, though – Unlike Vucevic, Bam does not shoot 3s. He only made 2 the entirety of the 2020 season. He averaged 0.2 a game and I assume a chunk of those are last-minute buzzer beater attempts. 
  • Still, Bam lines up incredible well as one of the better ways to attack, and I am going to be heavy on him
  • I also think this would set up exceptionally well for a punt I love, though one that may only play 10 minutes and destroy your lineup – Kelly Olynyk. He fits the mold perfectly – he, like Vuc, is a Center than can shoot 3s. 
  • The issue, again, who knows how much run he’s going to get this series. Personally, I love him and will be taking the chance here (and in most games this series). Barring a price increase.
  • When it comes to 3 pointers, there is one person who stands head and shoulders above the rest – Duncan Robinson. He averaged an incredible 8.3 3PA per game, while averaging less than 30 minutes. He also had 3.7 3PM per game, which is fantastic. 
  • His only issue, like the issue with any shooter – if he isn’t hitting his shot, you’re done. You’re not going to get a salvageable performance from him because he racked up a bunch of assists and rebounds and steals (in 99.9% of games). If he is hot, they will play him a bunch today, and he will continue to attack the Bucks where they are weakest – with 3s. If not, they’ll surely use one of the other options they have. DRob is certainly cheap enough to take a chance, though
  • There are only 2 other options on the Heat I like – Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic. After them, in terms of 3 point shooting, you have Kendrick Nunn, who averaged 5.8 3PA and 2.0 3PM, but is still working his way into the rotation, and then a falloff to Olynyk.
  • Herro has been stepping it up lately. In the regular season, he put up 5.4 3PA per game and made 2.1. He has been putting up stats across the board as well, playing with max effort every second he’s on the court. While I worry about his minutes with Nunn coming back, I am willing to take that chance at the beginning of this series – especially with Herro being an important part of the perimeter attack
  • Dragic also has been playing a bunch of minutes that may be negatively impacted by Nunn’s slow return. Still, he is doing a lot of ball handling, getting a ton of usage, and more than paying off a salary of around 6k. In addition, he was the 3rd most prolific 3 point shooter on the Heat this season, attempting 5.7 threes a game and sinking 2.1. He is also someone I absolutely love today
  • There is no one else on the Heat who is set up to attack them well (and is priced to take a chance on). That includes Jimmy Butler.
  • On the Bucks side of the ball, we are going to be looking at a similar group for fantasy purposes – one star who I like more than the others (Giannis) and a bunch of 3 point shooters.
  • That’s not because the Heat are particularly bad against 3 pointers, mind you. If you check their defensive stats, they are solid across the board. It’s because that’s how the entire Bucks team is set up – Giannis and 3 point shooters.
  • While I don’t think the expected team performance of the Bucks was shown in the Bucks 130-116 victory in early August, I think that Giannis’ performance is something we should take a look at. He put up 33 points with 12 rebounds, 4 assists, and 1 block. If anything, I wouldn’t be surprised if he has more rebounds and assists here.
  • In addition, Giannis only played 30 minutes that game. He could play 5-6 more, at least, if this game is super close. Forget if they go to overtime.
  • In their previous game, the Heat won 105-89. With that win, they went up 2-0 in the season series. How did they do it? They played their normal D. And they held Giannis to 13 points on 6 of 18 shooting in 31 minutes. 
  • The question, therefore, is: is he worth the 11400 price? 
  • I would say yes. This is the playoffs and he is going to be going all out. A close game would be better, as I would expect him to have to do more, play longer, and give additional effort. The Bucks lost the season series here. There is a reasonable chance they do not make it out of this round. If they do, it’s going to be on Giannis’ back. 
  • There’s no one else on the Bucks I really like here for their price. Middleton (7900) is the 2nd best option for production but there will also be solid D on him. He can get you 45 DKP today or 25 DKP. I will not be paying that much for him, but I think he’s a functional, low-owned GPP play.
  • The big question here is the status of Eric Bledsoe. If he plays, we can expect 25-28 or so minutes out of him, which makes him a mediocre play with a limited ceiling. If he is out, though, we can expect a pretty sizable amount of Donte DiVincenzo. I would consider him a near lock here, especially at that price. I would also have a pretty good amount of Pat Connaughton, but he is more of a GPP play and not a guaranteed success.
  • George Hill is someone I supported last game due to narrative. I was wrong. Like the rest of the Bucks backups, who will get questionable minutes and usage in such a tough series, he is simply a GPP play. One that, unfortunately, has been priced up to 4200, making him a lot less appetizing a play. If Bledsoe is out, he becomes a significantly better play, but I still expect him to fill a backup role, so be careful.

OKC “at” HOU – 900pm


Vegas Total:   225 – HOU 115.5 – OKC 109.5

Injuries – OKC:    NONE

Injuries – HOU:   NONE

Pace – OKC:   22nd – 98.8

Pace – HOU:   2nd – 103.7

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – OKC:   Dennis Schroder (28th) / Danilo Gallinari (49th) / SGA (60th)

Top 3 Usage (with NBA Rank) – HOU:   James Harden (3rd) / Ben McLemore (149th) / Austin Rivers (152nd)


  • There is significantly less I need to say here, because this is the 6th game of the series and we basically know what to expect out of it, which is what I wrote up last time. So i’m gonna go over it again, cause last game was a tremendous fluke.
  • Last game, we saw the limited return of Russell Westbrook. He played 24 minutes, which was the plan. The fact this game blew out did not effect Westbrook. He played 24 minutes cause he is being worked back into game shape. In that 24 minutes, where he played max effort, spent time in the 2nd unit, and the Rockets had a commanding lead, he only put up 27 DKP on 3 of 13 shooting. That’s bad, even for Russ, but I think it’s a function of the rust of someone getting back into game shape. What he did most of the time, if you watched the game, was draw coverage and pass it off for a 3. It’s a large part of why Robert Covington had such a good game – Westbrook wasn’t being aggressive with shooting, he was looking for perimeter shooters, and RoCo was unsustainably hot from behind the arc. 
  • If Westbrook plays the same way (and sees a minutes limit), he is unplayable again. His price is still 9700. He would need to get, like, 60 DKP for us to want to get him on this short slate. I don’t think we can count on that. At all. 
  • The people I do like, therefore, are the perimeter guys that have that upside, as I said last game. 
  • If you look at my analysis from last time, I said I was a big fan of Eric Gordon and Danuel House because I expect Russ to be rusty and to pass it outside a bunch. I should have included RoCo there, sure, but I just don’t have faith in him. Today I will include him in this bunch. 
  • I also said last time that Westbrook’s presence would help Harden. 
  • Harden went 11 for 15 and had a poor game when it comes to ancillary stats because the Rockets were up by a tremendous amount all game and he didn’t need to go nuts. He still put up 46 DKP in 28 minutes. 
  • Like last slate, Harden is my absolute favorite play on the slate. If OKC doesn’t have historically fucking terrible shooting, Harden gets 38 minutes and 70+ DKP. Instead, we get a blowout game and, today, Harden’s price goes down 100 more. 
  • Yes, please. 
  • On the OKC side, we saw Houston implement a brilliant strategy – smother the hell out of CP3, SGA, and Gallo, and leave Lu Dort open on the outside to do whatever he wants. 
  • The first 3 games of the series, Dort went 3-10, 3-10, and 3-10, increasing his DKP every game until he hit 25.5 DKP 2 games ago. He was also getting rebounds, blocks, and a small number of assists
  • Last game, by daring him to beat them, they turned Dort into a wreck. He went 3-16 including 0-9 from 3, with 0 rebounds, 0 blocks, and 1 assist. “Good” for 6.5 DKP in 23 minutes. 
  • I would expect Houston to try to do the same thing.
  • If you expect Dort to go 0-9 from 3 again, do not play him. If you think he could hit even a small fraction of his shots, he is a great value, and could get you 30 DKP pretty easily. 
  • The smothering of the other starters did a phenomenal job at hurting SGA as well, who couldn’t find a good shot. Because he couldn’t find a good shot, he didn’t get the ball. Which is why, instead of the 17 or 18 shots a game he had been taking, SGA wound up only going 2-8. That’s a tremendous fall off. He did get into some early foul trouble, but he wound up with 34 minutes so that’s not an excuse
  • As much as I loved the wing guys from OKC, I think they’re gonna do the same thing, making SGA a very risky proposition. 
  • It also really hurts Gallinari, who only got 8.5 DKP last game. Ouch.
  • CP3 is still gonna handle the ball and do what he needs to, but if most of his potential assists are going to Lu Dort… I mean, yeah I wouldn’t trust that either. Not for 8200. You can take that chance though
  • I still think Adams is a good play. He is one of the people that can’t really be smothered, and you saw him get a lot of rebounds and putbacks due to the poor shooting of his team. Give him a boost, though I hate the 5800 price for someone I think will get slightly more than 30 DKP. 
  • My favorite play is Dennis Schroder, who saw a ridiculous ejection from another ref crew that sucks. He came in with the 2nd unit and just dominated. Unlike CP3, he was interested in handling the ball and finishing the job. So he went 6-13 and put up 26.25 DKP in only 21 minutes. He could have had a 40+ DKP game easily, and, because of that, we saw his price stay the same. I’m gonna be on him today, as I think he will also be forced into taking a lot of shots when he plays with the starters. 
  • PJ Tucker is also someone I love at 4300. He was on his was to 30 DKP with all the extra rebounds.

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