This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Unlike last night's Game 1 in Oakland, the TOR/MIL game series is a bit more cut-and-dry when you approach the Showdown format. There is a $3,300 gap between the duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo ($17,400 CPTN, $11,600 UTIL) and Kawhi Leonard ($17,100 CPTN, $11,400 UTIL) and the next-best player. It's highly unlikely that the night's top scorer is going to come from the low end of this gap, so your Captain choices are essentially limited to these two elite players.
I think you can view the Antetokounmpo-Leonard question as a debate between consistency and upside. Kawhi's postseason has MVP written all over it. Aside from Damian Lillard's walk-off three earlier in the playoffs, no player even comes close to the Kawhi's heroics. There are stretches in almost every game where it seems he can't miss. The question is: How will he react to Milwaukee's defense? Is the upside there?
Kawhi was on the court versus the Bucks three times during the season, and his averages over those contests sit pretty close to his season averages. He is a bit above his season averages against the Bucks in rebounds and steals, but it should be noted that he only notched 16 points in one of those games. The Bucks are arguably the best defensive team in the postseason, as they've allowed only 0.88 points per possession and are averaging an impressive 6.7 blocks per game. While Toronto will present the stiffest competition yet for Milwaukee, their overall success leads me to favor Giannis over Kawhi in terms of consistency and overall chance of success. Antetokounmpo leads the playoffs in multiple categories, including averages of 15.1 points in the paint, 7.4 fast-break points per game, and an earth-shattering 69 free-throw attempts per 100 shots. No one comes close in his ability to draw fouls in shooting situations.
Conclusion: I'll take Giannis in the CPTN spot and relegate Kawhi to my utility lineup, leaving an average of $5,300 per player for the remaining five spots. There's only one higher-priced player I would add that might drive that price down.
Khris Middleton ($9,200) is that guy. Adding him to the duo drives your per-player allotment to only 4K, but I think he is worth fitting in. His pull-up 3-point rate (47.5) is best among those who have attempted at least 20 of them in the playoffs. He's also only missed three free throws this postseason, enough for first place among all players with at least 20 free throw attempts. Interestingly enough, he's remained a perimeter threat primarily and hasn't made many shots in the paint, but he's easily the second-best option for Milwaukee.
Serge Ibaka ($5,600): Here are some interesting stats for Ibaka that might raise some eyebrows. Over four games against Milwaukee, it was Ibaka (22.2 PPG) who had the second-best average in that series, besting Kawhi Leonard, who only ranked third (Leonard missed one of those games). Also, he has 17 more shot attempts overall versus the Bucks than any other team in the league. Additionally, he recorded twice as many 3-point attempts compared to any other opponent he's faced. I think all these metrics make taking a flier on Ibaka a sound proposition.
Brook Lopez ($4,200): Lopez's price hits the sweet spot in this build. While I'm not thrilled with his four-game averages versus the Raptors, there's enough going for Lopez to merit a click. His rim-protection mark of 40.3 percent is best in the playoffs, and while it may or may not translate to significant defensive points for your totals, it says a lot about his ability to keep Pascal Siakam and Marc Gasol from making a significant impact inside. I see him as more of a GPP option as his numbers aren't quite dependable enough for cash.
George Hill ($3,400): While you might find a bit more usage out of Pat Connaughton ($2,800), Hill gives us enough to shove Ibaka in alongside the trio of Giannis, Leonard and Middleton. He a cinch to not turn the ball over, as his assist-turnover ratio of 6.75 is the best number in the playoffs among players who have averaged 15 minutes or more in the postseason. We can't really consider Hill's metrics against the Raptors as he wasn't with the Bucks in any of the games they played, but he's racked up three consecutive games with 20 or more DKFP,
Ersan Ilyasova ($2,800): Ilyasova is an excellent choice if you're trying to fit one more mid-range piece into your builds. Overall, Ilyasova has been excellent off the glass, grabbing 14.1 percent of available rebounds when he's active, and in his last two games versus the Celtics, he averaged 22.1 DKFP per game. That's enough for 9-10k value.
There are some builds where I might shift to a Nikola Mirotic ($5,200) to get some diversification off of Ibaka, but probably only at a 10-20 percent exposure rate. His final game against Boston was encouraging, and he's a legitimate threat inside and on the perimeter. I'm just not sure that we can get enough value for the price at this juncture. As this series continues, we may very well see Mirotic as a legitimate value, but he's only a GPP flier at best tonight.