Strategy: Best Player In Losing Team

As you can see here in that 3-year old poll (see bottom of right pane), the most popular strategy (nothing else comes close) is to pick the best player on the team you think will lose the series. Now that we are in our 4th playoffs here in this blog, that strategy seem so common sense now. Unconsciously, that is what most of us are doing already.


The rationale for this are, the best player...
1. May become injured later
2. Is a major part of a team's default system in Game 1, before the team adjusts dramatically and role-players become more prominent later in the series
3. Gives us the early boost; protecting a lead is a better feeling than catching up to someone
... and we...
4. Don't need to worry about taking risks with unorthodox moves
5. Don't need to research or overanalyze data, which if you think about it, are too small of a sample size anyway to even realistically indicate patterns
6. Remove the risk of losing that player whatever the reason

Here is my pick plan prepared right after being informed that Serge Ibaka is out of the playoffs due to injury. (Click to enlarge.)


Note that the default pick plan is based on this strategy, and sticking to my guns (Heat and Spurs to advance). Indicated also are Plan Bs whenever a threshold occurs that will cause me to switch.

I'll post my final Game 1 picks on my next entry. [UPDATE] I'll do it here. Roy Hibbert. Big big risk of not knowing what I'll get. He dominated the undersized Heat before. He just need to be on the right mood.


That's the plan.

40 comments:

  1. I know your goal is to stick to your guns, but I actually think your strategy can be adjusted here. Hear me out:

    Indiana goes up 2-0. You've decided you'll keep picking Pacers because, you know, sticking to your guns. The series is going to go at least 6 games should the Heat still win. So why not pick your first Heat, because even if the Heat win in 6, you'll still need 2 Heat players, plus you can get another Pacer in a home game (if that even is an advantage anymore). The Pacers won't be up 2-0, but hypothetically if they were that seems the best plan.

    For Spurs and Thunder, I'm saving Westbrook for either a home game or an elimination game. I'm not sure if I'd pick both of Collison and Adams, and instead go with another Spur, perhaps one who matches up better against the Thunder's defense (as you've highlighted Duncan, Leonard, Splitter). Also, I can't figure out for the life of me who Reddick is.

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    1. reddick is the clipper shooting guard lol

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    2. lol darn didn't remove Reddick from the last round's holdover. fixed. he wants to win haha

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    3. You are correct Tangent, that is better. Corrected.

      Watch out for my actual Game 1 pick though ;)

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    4. as for the west finals, i think adams will be great, but of course i'll take a look at game1 if thunder give him minutes. if not, then shuffle. as for collison and perkins, they're there as 10-15 PRA dudes, but of course they'll get shuffled away if the thunder goes small.

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    5. I also think Adams will be a solid pick. I meant to say I'm not sure if I'd pick both of them, and likely pick only one of the two, which would likely be Adams. The strategy is much improved now. Poor J.J. Redick. Also, did you know that his last name is Redick, not Reddick? I just found that out this playoffs. Seems like a small thing but funny I never noticed there only being one 'd' until this year.

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    6. I'm very intrigued by your game 1 pick. I like the suspense!

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    7. Worse was me misspelling Wade's first name the whole of 2011 in this blog.

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    8. I hear you on that one. I suffered the same issue with Wade. It came as a real surprise when I looked closely at his first name a few years ago.

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    9. I usually save the best option for an elimination game. There is always the risk of the player going down to injury as the series goes forward, but the best player on a team usually goes off and posts up a great game when his team is facing elimination, especially when played on that player's home court.

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  2. im probably going with roy hibbert in the first game against the heat since he generally plays extremely well in the first game before the heat adjust specifically for him...is anyone else considering him?

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    1. I'll actually wait until he gets a bad game, then talked to by teammates, and then bounce back big. Happened twice already.

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  3. As for the injury part, I;m kinda on the side where I want to let tony parker rest and then pick him, since he'll play better when he is healthier instead of picking him now since his injury isn't and shouldn't sideline him for the rest of the postseason

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    1. o oops forgot to put smetrokiva

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    2. smetrokiva, even if it's still a mild injury, it wouldn't get better with a 3 day rest (pre-Game1@home and pre-Game3@road). If you are thinking of picking a Spur in Game1, let it be Parker. He was limited by the same one (albeit Grade2) in last year's Game 6 and 7 of the Finals.

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  4. I was thinking of saving Paul George for an elimination game. When is the best game for him where he can give me a huge PRA I'm curious

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    1. PG went dud in his elim game against Miami last year.
      Looking at the logs, he doesn't do well with bounce back games.
      Pick him now in Game 1. Or Game 2, while at home.
      If I still have him, I would. He'll get max minutes coz he is needed to guard LBJ.

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    2. I'll take him game 1 then. Thanks

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    3. Paul George is hard to predict. Pick him at any time, for any reason, and hope for the best. Game 1 is just as good as any game.

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  5. I only have 2 Pacer starters left, Hill and Hibbert. I will be picking 1 of them in G1 and the other in G2. I will then pick Chalmers or Allen in G3 and the other in G4. If this reaches G5, I'll have to pick Chris Bosh or Dyane Wade, G6 and that or becomes an and. 7 games OR Pacers win and I'll have to wave the white flag. Why can't there just be 1 day that both conference finals play? All 1 game days from here on out (besides 0 game days like the double off days right now and another pair off 2 in a row next Thursday and Friday) is very tough to deal with. Isn't it hard to believe that we are just 2 weeks removed from round 1 with 8 series, 5 of which went to G7!

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  6. I have the same 3 remaining Pacers left (Stephenson, Hill and Hibbert). Only use Westbrook and Parker in round 1. Have all Heat players available. So with Lance assaulting coming on D Wade about making his knees flare up, I'm avoiding him until an elimination game. So for G1 I'm leaning towards picking Hill, b/c I think the Heat will be more focus on stopping West and Hibbert. I feel Indy might get another letdown game and are 0-2 in G1. So in G2, Indy might play well and feed Hibbert down in the post more.

    I'm going Heat and Spurs in 5!

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  7. Bit disappointed in how the conf semis went for me. Took a risk on Pavers being eliminated and it didn't pay off. Only good thing is I have all my Spurs and Heat players left. Have used Durant and Stephenson, West and George. Can't see the finals being other than a repeat of last year... That means in my mind I'd like to have at least 5/6 notable guys to pick inc LeBron, Wade, Bosh, Timmy and Parker. That means this round I'm using Westbrook, Hill, Hibbert, Ginobli and then maybe the likes of Jackson, Chalmers, Shuttlesworth, Kawhi Leonard.

    First pick tonight will be George Hill. Would take anything over 20 tbh. Tomorrow's pick is Westbrook. I know it's a risk using him incase OKC get through, but after the loss of Ibaka, I really see Spurs as a formality to get to the finals.

    Hill, Westbrook then Hibbert.

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  8. Went with Chris Paul on the Clippers elimination game, and he posted up 43 PRA (one off of his playoff high of 44), so I am quite ecstatic with that. Also the Clippers lost, so no drama playing both Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, as the Clippers have since been eliminated. Everything worked well for a change.

    Now we move on to the Conference Finals. In the Indiana/Miami series, I have quite a mess to deal with as I already used Paul George, George Hill, and David West from the Pacers, leaving only Lance Stephenson and Roy Hibbert as good(?) options, and a bunch of scrubs that will be very lucky to get 10 PRA. Unfortunately in my situation, since a sweep is very unlikely here, I am going to have to mix and match Pacer scrubs in with a couple of Heat players to try to make it though this series. So I need to plan for at least 5 or 6 players here. The Heat have at most 8 options on their team, one great one (LeBron for an elimination game if necessary), Wade who can be very decent, Bosh who can completely disappear vs. Indiana (only cracked 20+ PRA in two games out of ten), Mario Chalmers, who can reach low 20's if lucky, and some scrubs capable of posting PRA scores in the upper teens.

    So choices are not good for me to say the least, with already using 3 Pacers, and the 2 best options, before the Miami/Indiana series even started. Indiana doesn't have much of a bench, and really only use 4 players that even post numbers higher than 10 PRA. Of those choices, C.J. Watson, Luis Scola, Evan Turner, and if really desperate, Ian Mahinmi, seems to be it. Scola seems the most capable, then Watson, then Turner, and these are the only three players I would even think of picking, at least until I see something further that would offer a better choice.

    With this game being played at Indiana, I will roll the dice with Evan Turner today, and hope he can crack 10+ PRA, which I would deem somewhat of a success. I definitely don't want any part of Turner on the road. I know this is sad. That's why you do not want to pick from winning teams, in earlier rounds. Otherwise you end up with this mess in later rounds. But it is what it is.

    Sorry posted this on the wrong day's thread initially.

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    1. Turner didn't even play..does that mean you got 0 pra??

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  9. Change of heart for me in the morning. My pick was Lance Stephenson, and then he goes out and calls Wade a ticking time-bomb in the knees in need of a serious running workout in this series. So in Game 1, one of these guys is going to embarrass the other. And if I'm going to place my bets in, it's with the 3 time NBA champion than the guy on the struggling team who has fought with all of his teammates. I'm picking Dwyane Wade today. I'll save my Pacers for later, today has a good of a chance as ever to be the Wade show as he will certainly have extra motivation. Not sure what Stephenson was thinking...... but I can no longer pick him. He might foul out in an embarrassing effort..... Go Flash!

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    1. I'm going to let the Miami Heat absolutely pound the Indiana Pacers into the ground with a thorough beat-down. I'll start picking my Pacers once they have enough time to think about what just happened and adjust.

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    2. I stand corrected. At least Dwyane showed up and had a good game. Did not see that Pacers win coming at all....

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  10. Roy Hibbert. Day 1 Con Finals pick. Took til two hours before tip-off to decide.

    Honestly tried to be fancy with my pick going LBJ, but ultimately decided to play the better way.

    Hibbert at home. Hill next. Stephenson on an elim game (Free agency woes). LBJ in a swing game.

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  11. I know people may laugh but I'm not picking Stephenson or West yet because you never know Pacers could pull this off.

    Whatever happened prior to this means nothing and its now like a new season for them and the determination and hate they have for the Heat means something so I can't pick the top 2 Pacers otherwise their would be no one to pick if they got through. Most have used PG so them 2 are their other main 2 guys that score so that leads me to either Hibbert and Hill.

    Originally I was going to pick Hibbert but have now changed to Hill its just a feeling I have also 19% is quite high and want something different so I can gain ground than go with the crowd of course it could go the other way aswell.

    Come On Hill !!!

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    1. I agree that the Pacers could win, although I don't think they will. Not sure I understand the reason for not picking West or Lance. You say you might want to hold onto them, but wouldn't you just pick George Hill in the finals instead? Seems like you are just trading one Pacer for another. If you really want to hold onto Pacers, go with a Heat player? Just food for though. I like George Hill in any of the games. He is a regular 20 PRA guy.

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    2. I'm not picking West and Lance yet because I've used PG and If they win this series I would have to start picking Scola and Watson in finals and I don't want that. Hill is like 4/5th option on the team so I would rather have West and Lance for the finals then Hill. Heat have 3 main guys the rest won't score well and if they do then it will be a game that no one will pick, it will be just plain luck if they did.

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  12. Evan Turner listed on the inactive player list (don't know how reliable that is), so I will pick C.J. Watson instead today from the list of undesirables I have to pick from.

    If I had the full slate of Pacers players to pick from today, I would have picked George Hill, but that is not an option for me, at this point.

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    1. C.J. Watson, what a beauty of a pick!

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    2. it was a good pick but it was his only option its not like Daytona was going to go for anyone else Watson is the main scorer from their bench

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    3. They didn't pick Hibbert and Stephenson though, so not their only option. Any time you get 16 from Watson, that is a victory. Breathe a sign of relief, a Pacer bench player was not your downfall.... yet.....

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    4. Thanks! I got lucky. Watson turned out to be much better than expected and did almost as well as George Hill (who I would have picked instead had I still had him).

      Initially I was going with Evan Turner at home, but fortunately I saw that he was on the inactive list, and switched my pick over to C.J. Watson. Otherwise picking Turner when he never saw the court, would have been a disaster.

      Unfortunately the Pacers won. So now options are even less, and the Pacers could even make it out of this round, especially since the Heat did not look good at all in this game. Looks like some tough decisions to make on the horizon.

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  13. Well I have to hand it to the Pacers, the truly showed up, made a statement and look like the team of the first 4 months of the regular season that could knock out the Heat. The way the Pacers played in the 1st 2 rounds i felt they were lucky to be here, BUT maybe they were just taking it easy while doing just enough to win while looking forward to this matchup. Of course the taking it easy wasn't DTTF friendly and neither as any Pacer besides Paul George as I've gotten the 3rd straight Pacer that did not have an okay or better showing and this one was a tease. George Hill had 12 PRA after 1 quarter making it look like I had picked the right Pacer... then he gets 5 the entire rest of the game, tying my West pick with 17 for the 2nd worst PRA. However unlike my other picks that went under 25, none of them started hot and then were nowhere to be found, FIVE PRA in the final 3 quarters? Did he get hurt? Ejected? No he became a TRUE INVISIBLE MAN!

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  14. Man should have just stuck with Hibbert, Hill looked like an awesome pick getting 12pra in the 1st qtr. But 5pra for rest of the game was a joke.

    The funny thing was Hill was actually their best player this game infact that was one of the best games I've seen him play unfortunately it didn't equate to a high pra.

    Now when I pick Hibbert next game he'll probably stink it up, 1st round I was picking so well, 2nd round it was awful and now 3rd round hasn't started off well either, very frustrating.

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  15. Am pleased with West getting 29, it was either him or Hill so I'm glad I went with West. Next game I think I will go with Bosh for a bounce-back game. I still think Miami will win the series but at this point you can't save everyone for the finals.

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  16. I'm falling(Mario Chalmers) and I can't get up(13pra) lol

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