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Hoops Lab: The Professor's Postseason Cheat Sheet

Andre' Snellings

Andre' Snellings is a Neural Engineer by day, and RotoWire's senior basketball columnist by night. He's a two-time winner of the Fantasy Basketball Writer of the Year award from the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.

Time for the Real Game

There was a time when we were really unsure as to whether there would be an NBA season this year. Now, after a four-month whirlwind of compressed games, we are finally ready to move on to the postseason. People call the playoffs the REAL season because that's when things are ultimately decided. But in the NBA it's more than that - the playoffs are the real season because it is the first and only time all year you can be sure that everyone is going all out on a nightly basis. No more Spurs and Celtics missing games to rest for the postseason. No more having to scan the waiver wire for back-ups that could be potential studs when the nominal starter shuts it down for the year. No, in the postseason you'll be getting everyone's max effort, which will make a big difference.

But the second big difference is that, in many NBA postseason leagues, you have to choose your players based upon who you think will do the best in the postseason before the playoffs even begin. And games count, so it does little good to pick the No. 1 fantasy player in the league if he's out in the first round after five games. Instead, it might be smarter to invest in a top-20 guy who has a shot to make the Finals and play in 20-plus games. NBA postseason fantasy leagues make you, the fantasy owner, try your hand at predicting what will happen on the court with consequences if you're wrong.

Team Tiers

The key to postseason fantasy is games played. The better a team is, the more likely it is to pass on to the next round, and thus play more games. I separate the 16 playoff teams into tiers based on this likelihood for success. For each tier, I give a general number of games to use as an estimate for player ranking purposes. These are the tiers I place the 16 postseason teams from this season into, with the number of games multiplier in parentheses:

Tier 1: The Heat, Bulls, Spurs and Thunder (20 games)

Tier 2: The Lakers, Celtics and Grizzlies (16 games)

Tier 3: The Clippers and Mavericks (14 games)

Tier 4: The Pacers and Hawks (12 games)

Tier 5: The Knicks, Nuggets and Jazz (9 games)

Tier 6: The Magic and the 76ers (6 games)

Points system

These rankings are based on a points-based scoring approach, as opposed to rotisserie. Each points-based league has its own scoring system, but these rankings were generated using the system that I favor:

1 point scored = 1 fantasy point (fp)
1 assist = 2 fp
1 rebound = 1.5 fp
1 steal = 2.5 fp
1 block = 2.5 fp
1 3-ptr made = 1 fp
1 turnover = -1 fp
1 missed field goal = -0.5 fp
1 missed free throw = -1 fp

Based on this scoring system, how the players performed this season, and the team tier levels above, here are our postseason rankings:

1. LeBron James
2. Kevin Durant
3. Derrick Rose
4. Dwyane Wade
5. Russell Westbrook
6. Tony Parker
7. Tim Duncan
8. Rajon Rondo
9. Kobe Bryant
10. Chris Bosh
11. Pau Gasol
12. Chris Paul
13. Joakim Noah
14. Andrew Bynum
15. Luol Deng
16. Manu Ginobili
17. Carlos Boozer
18. James Harden
19. Serge Ibaka
20. Paul Pierce
21. Blake Griffin
22. Kevin Garnett
23. Marc Gasol
24. Rudy Gay
25. Dirk Nowitzki
26. Josh Smith
27. Mario Chalmers
28. Zach Randolph
29. Jason Kidd
30. Ramon Sessions
31. Mike Conley
32. Daniel Green
33. CJ Watson
34. Carmelo Anthony
35. Kawhi Leonard
36. Stephen Jackson
37. Shawn Marion
38. DeJuan Blair
39. Tiago Splitter
40. Avery Bradley
41. Brandon Bass
42. Joe Johnson
43. Roy Hibbert
44. Taj Gibson
45. Jason Terry
46. Kendrick Perkins
47. Richard Hamilton
48. Ray Allen
49. O.J. Mayo
50. Danny Granger
51. Randy Foye
52. Udonis Haslem
53. Gary Neal
54. Al Jefferson
55. Boris Diaw
56. Matt Barnes
57. Ronnie Brewer
58. DeAndre Jordan
59. Tony Allen
60. Ty Lawson
61. Paul George
62. Jeff Teague
63. Kyle Korver
64. Paul Millsap
65. David West
66. Mike Miller
67. Mo Williams
68. Vince Carter
69. Greg Stiesma
70. George Hill
71. Nick Collison
72. Rodrigue Beaubois
73. Shane Battier
74. Tyson Chandler
75. Omer Asik
76. Thabo Sefolosha
77. John Lucas
78. Marreese Speights
79. Arron Afflalo
80. Joel Anthony
81. Matt Bonner
82. Marvin Williams
83. Kenneth Faried
84. Kenyon Martin
85. Darren Collison
86. Amare Stoudemire
87. Caron Butler
88. Steve Blake
89. Danilo Gallinari
90. Andre Miller
91. J.R. Smith
92. Devin Harris
93. Gordon Hayward
94. Al Harrington
95. Metta World Peace
96. Andre Iguodala
97. Derek Fisher
98. Leandro Barbosa
99. Jameer Nelson
100. Kirk Hinrich
101. Iman Shumpert
102. Tyler Hansbrough
103. Landry Fields
104. Zaza Pachulia
105. Ryan Anderson
106. Derrick Favors
107. Al Horford
108. JaVale McGee
109. Glen Davis
110. Nick Young
111. Elton Brand
112. Jrue Holiday
113. Baron Davis
114. Jeremy Lin
115. Tracy McGrady
116. Spencer Hawes
117. Lou Williams
118. Thaddeus Young
119. Jason Richardson
120. Steve Novak
121. Corey Brewer
122. J.J. Redick
123. Delonte West
124. Evan Turner
125. C.J. Miles
126. Hedo Turkoglu
127. Jodie Meeks

Keeping up with the Professor

If you're interested in my takes throughout the week, you can follow me on Twitter @ProfessorDrz. Also, don't forget that you can catch me on the radio on Rotowire Fantasy Sports Today with Chris Liss and Jeff Erickson on XM 87, Sirius 210.