This article is part of our DraftKings NBA series.
Today we'll be tackling the Showdown format for Game 2 of the NBA Finals.
When you consider that the Warriors were NBA champs long before Kevin Durant joined the fold, his addition was often coined as the missing link that would ensure total dominance for a team that lacked a true top-flight, do-it-all forward. Heading into the seven-game series, many argued that the All-Star wasn't necessary for a convincing sweep of the Raptors. Game 1 was evidence that those statements might be unfounded.
The finals awoke the beast that is Pascal Siakam ($14,700 CPTN, $9,800 UTIL), who moped through a somewhat sleepy postseason while playing second (and often third) fiddle to Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry. That all changed in Game 1, and those who elected to slot him in as Captain were handsomely rewarded with a likely cash if they played their other utility spots correctly. I think it's less likely that we'll see a repeat performance from Siakam tonight, but you have to wonder how the Warriors will neutralize his presence without Durant on the floor. he perfect elixir for what ails Golden State could come in the form of DeMarcus Cousins ($5,400), but when you consider his paltry 8-minute showing a few days ago, he's hardly a lock to step up tonight.
I still believe that Stephen Curry ($17,400 CPTN, $11,600 UTIL) is the linchpin of a successful lineup without Durant, and he came very close to beating Siakam's total as the second-highest producer in Game 1. To bench Curry would put you well behind the pace, and I believe his ability to get you into the money as a Captain candidate.
If you believe in a Siakam repeat, then I think you'd be forced to fade Kawhi Leonard ($17,700 CPTN, $11,800 UTIL) at this prohibitive price. he winning rosters in Game 1 were largely Kawhi-free and opted to bring the hammer down with Siakam and a mixed supporting cast. These players obviously understood the risk of fading Kawhi's recent dominance and were rewarded, but I think they got lucky with a poor shooting night from the All-Star. I could see myself sliding Siakam into my utility positions, but Kawhi has the minutes, the skill, and the opportunity to be the top guy on any given night.
Draymond Green ($15,600 CPTN, $10,400 UTIL) is another guy that should be in the mix for a Captain consideration if you believe in a bunch-up among the top producers. Green has stepped up in Durant's absence, averaging 14 points, 11.2 rebounds and 8.7 assists over the last six games. He put up a third straight triple-double in the Game 1 loss, and it's a near-certainty that I'm going to give him significant exposure today.
As we swing into the budget picks, Marc Gasol ($7,000 UTIL) comes in at a worthwhile utility price. Gasol was not shy from the perimeter in Game 1, drilling two key threes at critical points in the game, and he snagged seven rebounds in his 29-minute performance. Some might balk at Gasol's inability to reach value at this price, but the Showdown format is its own animal in many respects. Sometimes it's necessary to throw out traditional calculations of value to maximize return in this limited structure, and you'll find that our usual salary considerations can tend to skew our thinking, especially with someone like Gasol in the median levels.
We saw significant drop-off across the board in our assumed value picks in Game 1, and it looks like we're unable to count on the likes of Serge Ibaka and Norman Powell in this game script if Game 1 was any indication. Powell's drop-off surprised me the most with only five minutes of playing time, and Ibaka played only 17 minutes with a meager outcome. The pendulum swung Danny Green's ($5,000) way instead, and if I had to go with anyone in this range for the Raptors, it might have to be Green.
On the Warriors' end of things on the cheap, the big question mark has already been raised in this article, as DeMarcus Cousins ($5,400) sits at a budget price that can't be ignored. You have to imagine Steve Kerr sat down with Boogie and asked how much he could give to the cause heading into Game 2. We've seen Cousins sit on other teams with the most minor of injuries, but suddenly he's in a position where the certainty of getting a ring is shrinking. If anyone can come to save the day right now, it's Cousins, which is why he should end up as a prime budget play in today's format.
Finally, Andre Iguodala ($4,600) is off the injury report for Game 2 and should be at full speed in Game 2. His tenure with the starting five has been consistent, but not spectacular. He will still see his share of opportunities, especially in the opening quarter, but his window will close quickly if the Warriors fall behind early. I suspect that Kerr will ride with Iguodala unless he becomes a matchup-dependent liability, which can happen when Toronto goes big with both Gasol and Siakam on the floor. This scheme gave Golden State fits in Game 1, which is another reason why I think Cousins is the key to getting back in the W column. Iguodala carries a bit of risk, but I think you have to go with him if you can't get behind a resurgent game from Cousins.