Follow Expert Pick Or Not?

NBA.com's Expert Pick is Derrick Rose.

I initially scheduled Rose to be picked next, but I also said I will be avoiding the expert pick. Granted, Rose is only selected by only 8% (top 4). My alternative is Luol Deng selected at 13% (hot pick and top 3). So it's avoding the expert pick or avoiding the hot pick.

Should I go ahead pick Rose? or change to Deng?

I will postpone my selection until about 9 hours from this time of writing. See you in a few hours.

Bring Out The Jet

The series is even at 1 game apiece. In Game 1, the X-factor was J.J. Barea. In Game 2, it's James Harden. Harden impressed everyone with his 34 PRA that, as of now, almost 30% have already picked him for Game 3. And as promised, I'm straying away from the pack.
Week 5, May 21:
Jason Terry

Jet in Game 1 managed only 8 points in 3 of 9 shooting (9 PRA). A lot of people picked him in Game 2 so that was really unfortunate. Who knew that the Mavs' 2nd scoring option will slump? But let's credit the Thunder who really set out to limit Terry's capability coming into Game 2.

Here.. where will you bet more? Terry still slumping in Game 3, or Harden still doing an imitation of Durant? As the Mavs adjust to Harden and Terry adjust to the defense, I'm expecting both to get back to their average PRAs. I also mentioned before that Terry needs to warm up to get hot later in the series. So after 2 games, that should be enough of a warm-up for him.

For those looking for other players who "may" become an X-factor for Game 3..
  • Barea - great in both games when he was on the floor, but a little benched in Game 2 because Harden was shooting over him. He will still get his 15 points and a few more assists.
  • Chandler - 15 points, 13 rebounds. If the Mavs won, he would have been tagged the X-factor in that game.
  • Kidd - had a fairly good Game 2 but only 3 of 8 from long range. He can do better.
  • Ibaka - he disappeared in Game 2 having to put all energy on defense. He can revisit his offense playing at home.
  • Marion - I saw some plays for him in game 2. He should be able to continue bringing mismatches inside the paint.

Dive Or Soar

My current 88th percentile is below from where I was at this point last year in the Drive To The Finals. Many of the players above me will dip down the rankings because they already picked the best players in Round 1 and 2. Even so, I cannot go higher than 90% if I just go with the flow. Beating last year's 95% is now far from my reach, so I have decided to make drastic changes to my strategy to this game.

The assumption is that if I keep on selecting the common sense picks (the hot pick and/or the best player), my rate of ascent will be similar to others who will think the same way. If the NBA.com expert (drukman23) picks Terry for May 19 and if 20% of the people follows, there are 2 options leading to 4 results (Note: presume we are all within 88%)..
  • Pick Terry
    • If he exceeds expectations, all us 20% soars in unison
    • If he plays poorly, all us 20% dives in unison
  • Pick someone else
    • If Terry performs better than my pick, the other 20% soars pass me
    • If my pick performs better, I soar pass the other 20%

Joining a bandwagon will not give me any advantage. It is only in being different will I have a chance of getting the upper hand.

However, choosing differently will be a great risk -- dive or soar. The reason I am doing this is that for me this year, 94% and 70% are same. I set out to beat my former 95% and anything short of that is unacceptable. (And because this is a just a free game where I can get into this type of risk).

So, I will deliberately avoid picking the same as the NBA.com expert, nor select a hot pick. This started with Dirk (not from the losing team), originally LeBron (not a top 2 pick that day), changed to Bosh (not a hot pick either), and next with Kidd (not in top 2 most popular). The Dirk pick bode well, but the Bosh pick didn't -- that's how risky this route is. Of course, I will still make sure that no matter how unorthodox my pick is, it should still makes sense.

For you, I will still dole out some alternate picks so you can still be guided accordingly. I recommend everyone else to stick to what they think is right. Do not get blinded by any NBA.com expert or any blogger like me. Trust your instincts.

DTTF Superstars put their pens, their papers and their fantasy on the line. They have spent days training and have a month worth of experience. But what entertains you tears their fun apart. So cheer for them, admire them, believe in them, but leave the action to them. Please DO NOT try this at home.

Whining With My Head Cold

Just got tip that LeBron is fighting with a head cold. I understand that because I lost sleep last night with the same problem. (Either that or the Korean barbeque I feasted on yesterday.) Is he playing possum? Bulls will not buy that, by the way. Barkley was right, the Heat are whiners.

So I am changing my pick in the nick of time to Bosh.
Week 5, May 18:
Chris Bosh

Bosh had it going in Game 1 and I am hoping he keeps that groove in this next game.

Or you can follow the expert pick, Wade. He averages about +7 after subpar games this season.

Kidd And His Fresh Legs

Wow!

Dirk Nowitzki
  • 58 PRA, daily point leader for May 17
  • 48 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks
  • made 12 of 15 shots from the field
  • made 24 of 24 free throws, new NBA record without a miss in a game
I was lucky to have picked him in that game. It's been a while since I got the daily point leader. His PRA alone boosted me up +10 percentile in this game. Sweeeeeeeeet!

So who's next for me?
Week 5, May 19:
Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd was supposed to be on top of his game in Game 1 coming off a lengthy rest. Yes he was sharp with 11 assists, but he didn't need to score because his German Wunderkind was on fire! He looked fresh still for another game though. I will look for him to score some as we can't expect Dirk to carry the load. Besides, the Mavs know they cannot win with just Dirk. It has to be more even scoring. The Thunder seems like not the type who will be fooled twice.

I am picking him now before his legs gets tired later in the series.

Alternative picks:
  • Nowitzki or Durant - while each will not score 40 again, you can expect 30+ still. Each is still unguardable.
  • Russell Westbrook - only 3 of 15 from the field. Just imagine if he shot at least half of those, you could be looking at a 34 PRA.
  • Jason Terry (24.1 PRA) - expect another 27+ PRA in Game 2. His mission: outscore OKC's bench.
  • James Harden (21.2) - strategic-wise, still a good pick from the losing team
Risky picks:
(These players got 20+ PRA in Game 1 despite averaging lower in the playoffs.)
  • Shawn Marion (18.4 PRA average, 21 in Game 1) - will always get his rebounds and 10+ points. Get him before Caron Butler returns.
  • Serge Ibaka (17.5, 23) - very active, and able to get his 17 points despite having been assigned to guard Dirk
  • Jose Juan Barea (12.6, 25) - very good Game 1 overshadowed by Dirk's numbers. Riskiest Game 2 pick.

Round 3!.. Fight! [Update]

The Conference Finals are here!

The Heat got a stomping last night from the Bulls. LeBron lost some sleep and when he woke up, somebody drew an L on his forehead. Was he overthinking? Should he be sleeping and resting instead of studying? The Heat's Game 1 loss is not yet assurance of a series loss. Game 2, however, will be crucial. Lose again and the Heat will be on a 0-2 hole that will be hard to crawl up of. Win and the Heat will have the momentum going to South Beach and attempt a 3-1 advantage. While we wait for that, I have the Heat lined up for picking..
May 18:
LeBron James
May 22:
Dwyane Wade
May 24:
Chris Bosh

Prediction (after Bulls won Game 1): Bulls in 7.

75% of those who voted on this blog said the best strategy is to pick the best player from the losing team. That is correct and you should still do that in Round 3, but it will be understandable if you pick from a winning team this round. Just keep in mind to reserve four stars and about two 18-PRA players as backup for the Finals.

I still have the full roster available from the Bulls, Heat and Mavs, and none left from the Thunder except maybe Harden. This forces me to pick the Mavs early, although I predict they will win this series. Assuming the Bulls advance, I am picking Heat players this round, and will be left with only Bulls to pick in the Finals.

UPDATE:
For the DAL-OKC series, I am picking my main man, the Diggler himself.

Week 5, May 17:
Dirk Nowitzki

The Thunder cannot guard him. Jeff Green can guard him some.. oh yeah he got traded. Perkins cannot follow him outside the paint. Look for him to produce aplenty as the Thunder switches a lot of people against him including Durant. I will not be surprised if they opt to let him just score but try to shutdown the rest of the team.

Other alternatives:
  • Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook - If you still have one, pick them outright. Most people used them already.
  • James Harden (21.2) - Most of you still have him. Pick a Thunder and try to save some Mavs for the Finals.
  • Jason Kidd (21.5) - Refreshed from the long rest (swept Lakers!). Always plays well early in the series, as seen versus the Blazers and the Lakers.
  • Jason Terry (24.1) - Number 2 option comes from the bench, but plays a lot of minutes. Owns the 4th quarter.

Prediction: Mavs in 5.