This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Saturday's two-game slate provides us with a do-or-die elimination game between Denver and San Antonio and the beginning of a second-round series between the Sixers and the Raptors. The Vegas sports books favor the latter matchup in terms of output, with an O/U of 222.5 and a 6.5-point spread, while the Nuggets and Spurs are at a 209 O/U with the Nuggets giving 6 points at home (typical numbers for the series thus far).
Before I get into endorsements, I'm going to discuss some lock plays I'm high on. A good number of my builds today center around Nikola Jokic ($10,100) and Pascal Siakam ($7,400), and for good reason. With the Nuggets up against the wall, I expect Jokic to produce a high total once again, although it might not be the size of his 79 DKFP outburst in Game 6.
Gregg Popovich hasn't found a formula for containing Jokic, as his DKFP averages are at a steady 56.55 DKFP over the six-game series. As for Siakam, he enjoyed a prolific series against the Magic, with a 40.5 DKFP average over five games. He's demonstrated 5-7k value in the postseason, and you won't find production more solid at this price point.
Although you can probably get away with one of these players as a supplement to the core mentioned above, the shallowness at the position puts an underrated player like Kyle Lowry ($7,000) at the forefront of most builds. Lowry established a solid floor in the mid-30 DKFP range in the first round, and while that only meets value for the price, he has a higher probability of exceeding that than most of the available guards tonight. An easy argument can also be made for Kawhi Leonard ($8,400), who would fit along nicely with Lowry in a Toronto stack today. While he posted two games in the 30's, his DKFP scores in three of the five games against Orlando were spectacular.
With those core considerations in mind, let's go position-by-position and see how we can best fill out the remainder of our lineups.
Jamal Murray, DEN vs. SA ($6,300): Murray is at an appealing price in this elimination matchup. While his numbers have fluctuated from brilliant (45.5 DKFP in Game 4) to downright terrible (11.5 DKFP in Game 2), he only has to hit a number somewhere in the middle to get appropriate value at this price point. One reason for the Spurs' decisive win in Game 6 was a lack of production from Murray beyond the arc, as he only converted a series-low one basket from long range. With the season on the line, Murray and Jokic will both be pushing to get this young team over the hump against the more experienced Spurs.
Gary Harris, DEN vs. SA ($4,800): Harris has showcased his abilities sparingly since returning from injury, but if I could identify one Nugget who could rise to the occasion tonight, Harris would be a candidate. A productive night from beyond the arc would get him to value with ease, and although he's streaky, he's dangerous if he gets hot. He comes at a great price in a category with few alternatives.
Patty Mills, SA at DEN ($3,400): I struggled with the Mills vs. Bryn Forbes question a few times in my builds, and while I would find myself trying to stay away from them altogether, their price point almost made it necessary if I wanted to load up on elites. Although Forbes regularly yields the start, Mills has the higher floor in the postseason, and if he can push his total above 20 DKFP, I think utilizing him as a punt will be well worth it if one of the high-priced guys destroys value.
I think tonight is a night to fade Ben Simmons ($9,100). With Joel Embiid back to full health, I would be OK with going Simmons' way if he were, say, $700-$1K less, but I predict him only meeting value at this price tonight.
DeMar DeRozan, SA at DEN ($7,500): LaMarcus Aldridge is just above DeRozan at $7,700, and while I think Aldridge will be the lower-owned player, DeRozan possesses the more reliable floor. He can pass 40 DKFP with the right game flow, and he's achieved that goal with relative ease in four of the six games in the first round. I don't mind either play, but I'd go with DeRozan for cash and Aldridge as more of a GPP play.
Jimmy Butler, PHI at TOR ($6,800): Butler possesses a lot of intangibles that come into play during big games, and I think he'll want to make his presence known early and often. He'll have to contend with Kawhi Leonard often, but his three-game history against the Raptors was excellent this season, with an average of 42 DKFP per game.
Norman Powell, TOR vs. PHI ($3,500): Like Mills and Forbes,, Powell was one of those budget selections that kept creeping into my lineups, and if I didn't go for my punt play of the night (see below), I was usually divvying up Powell and the Spurs guard duo across several lineups. He ended the series against the Magic with two games in the 20-plus DKFP range, and I'd be thrilled if he hit that mark at this price.
Also consider: Tobias Harris, PHI at TOR ($7,100)
Joel Embiid, PHI at TOR ($9,900): Despite being 'hurt' for most of the series against the Magic, he managed a double-doubles in every game in which he appeared, so I wouldn't be too concerned about a lack of output due to injury moving forward. After Jokic's masterful evening, Embiid seems to be the odd man out on this slate, and that might be a mistake. An Embiid/Jokic stack is undoubtedly an enticing one, and when you consider his 50 DKFP four-game average against the Raptors this season, he becomes exponentially more appealing.
Serge Ibaka, TOR vs. PHI ($4,600): I like Ibaka at this price, especially when you consider his output against the Magic. He consistently hovered around 7-8 rebounds and 10 points per game, so it wouldn't be absurd to see a couple of double-doubles in this series. A value-beating result is attainable as long as Ibaka is this cheap.
Jakob Poeltl, SA at DEN ($4,500): Poeltl regularly sees 30 minutes or more in this series, and it's easy to forget about him among the sea of elite centers on the slate. While his numbers aren't going to wow you, his floor is remarkably stable. His extended minutes have allowed him to sit comfortably in the 20-25 DKFP range for most of the series, and he's certainly a viable play at the utility spot, although I wouldn't make him my primary center.
PUNT PLAY OF THE NIGHT
James Ennis III, PHI at TOR ($3,500): Although you could also see Jonah Bolden ($2,900) get involved, I think Ennis is the best candidate to absorb the minutes left by Mike Scott (heel), who will be out at least for a couple of games. He appears to be well beyond the calf injury that limited his participation in the early part of the series against the Nets, and I think Brett Brown is a fan. He should get a minutes bump with the second unit, and figures to be a decent GPP play for the night.