Day One, First Pick

I was pondering being tricky in my picks, even putting James Harden in there (haha okay okay!). However, it's too early and I like to continue with my pacing strategy from last year -- consistency and reliability early on, then informed risks late. So for Round 1 and the Conference Semis, expect my picks to be unexciting. Then some risky lane changes in the Conference Finals and the Finals.

On Day 1, we have four matches. Our polls and various articles have had mixed results regarding two of them -- Wizards@Raptors and Mavericks@Rockets. These two matches can go either way and it is way too early to decide. Even those with inside information (like one of our readers) and those who are die-hard fans (me!) should not rush into this because there are other options. It is better to wait and see.

As for those teams that are expected to lose, here are the top players according to season average PRA:

  • Anthony Davis (NOH) 36 PRA. Most popular pick, and most can understand that. Best player on losing team -- that has been the most popular strategy in this game since 2010, plain and simple. He also missed 14 games due to injuries, so it is wise to pick him early just to be safe.
  • Tyreke Evans (NOH) 28 PRA. A viable pick for those who can wait to pick Davis at home. However, let me convince you otherwise. Here are Tyreke's PRAs against the Warriors: 19 (away), 47 (home), 11 (away), 27 (home). Home and away numbers strategy, anyone?
  • Michael... MCW (MIL) 23 PRA. His numbers fluctuate, but if he can surprise people with his Philadelphia numbers, he can be the steal of the day. He certainly stuffs up the sheet, and is a triple double threat if he wants to. A pick for the cunning.
  • Giannis A... Greek Freak (MIL) 22 PRA. His actual average against the Bulls this year is 17 PRA. This is not a knock on his abilities, it is just a testament to the Bulls' suffocating defense. Pick him maybe at home or at elimination as a last resort.

With limited choices and my daily Round1 target of 30 PRA, the Unibrow gets my pick.


I told you it is unexciting.

May your Day 1 pick propel you!


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46 comments:

  1. I agree with your reasoning here. As tempted as I am to go with Ellis for reasons explained in my previous post and before Parsons gets back, I'm afraid that I might be *too* cute with the pick and mess it up. It's simply not the time to pick from that series. Ditto for Toronto-Washington. As for the Bulls, I'm in the minority that thinks that series is 50-50. Besides, I like picking forwards in their first playoff game, but guards are tougher. For lower percentage shooters, nerves are more influential and it's tougher to get hot. Especially a nervy shooter like MCW.

    Bottom line: Davis all the way.

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    1. Day 3 is cramped up too, so for those picking Davis on Game 2, MCW is my recommended alternative (albeit not too sold)

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    2. I currently have Evans for my Day 3, but his performances on the AWAY side of things as you mentioned have me a bit worried. The reason I like MCW at home is he NEEDS to show that home crowd that he's the future face of the franchise. He hasn't really had a time/reason to display like that he will first home game of the playoff birth.

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  2. I feel like picking tyreke tomorrow because jrue will eventually take back the starting pg spot sometime this series or at least gain more minutes at pg as each game goes on..anyone agree ?

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    1. I also thought about this, but I don't think Tyreke's minutes will change regardless of Jrue's minutes. He should be solid through & through, but I do prefer him at home vs away as Taong stated.

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    2. I'm with Jerry. Evans will get his minutes.

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    3. I'm bummed about my Davis pick (not my decision, but simply his performance), but I'd be even more bummed I picked Evans. Ouch!

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    4. Wow I typed that to start the 4th. Luckily he added to his stats!

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  3. Thank you!! Awesome analyz in first day of the playoffs

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    1. Nah, Davis is a no-brainer for no-frills pick. Our awesome readers on the comments give a deeper analysis on stuff I miss

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  4. The safest game to pick from for today is definitely GSW-NOP since the Pels won't win this series, I'm just really worried that this could turn into a blowout at the Roaracle.
    The other team to pick from would be the Bucks but they're just not consistent with their PRA's...
    So I guess Day 1 already poses some difficult decisions!

    Great to be back good luck and
    PLAYOFFS BABY

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  5. Ok , I analized the numbers of Davis and Evans during this season against GSW, and as Taong said before, Evans plays way better at home than away. This doesn't mean Tyreke is going to have a 15 PRA match tonight but normally numbers don't lie. Davis played just twice against GSW this season due to injuries but his numbers are amazing: 41 PRA at home and 48 (!!!) away. My only concern is the possibility of a blowout game who could ruin Davis performance sitting on the bench in the 4th quarter.

    There a two possibilities about game 1:
    1) The Pelicans are excited after their great win against the Spurs and they play a great game losing just in the last minutes, surprising the relaxed Warriors. Game 2 would be a blowout FOR SURE btw.
    2) The Warriors are way too strong and concentrate and want to show from the first game that this can be their year for the title. An easy blowout win. Game 2 would probably be more balanced then.

    Predicting the first possibility, I'd choose Davis today and a Bucks on monday, keeping Tyreke for game 3 at home.
    Predicting the 2nd possibility I'd stay away from the Pelicans today and risk a Bucks (MCW) , keeping Davis for game 2 and Tyreke in game 3 at home.

    This is my personal view, and I'll decide which is going to be better in the next few hours. RIGHT NOW it's DAVIS for me too but I could change to MCW anytime.

    Good luck for your first pick guys! Tomorrow I'll analize the pick for Sunday matchups. Cheers!

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    1. Looking forward for your thoughts for Sunday's pick. I'm still mulling

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  6. I have AD picked for the reasons mentioned previously, but MCW is seriously interesting me...

    There's been a few big games since he's been at the bucks where he's played and shot really well, getting 40+ PRA (against Cavs, Philly which was big for him...) and my Bulls are the type of team who lock down players and improve their D as a series progresses.

    As for Davis - he's led me to Fantasy Gold through the reg season. Just wonder if he goes out to dominate in his first playoff game, or whether it affects him adversely. The Warriors have been chilling for a few weeks now so maybe they need a game or two to warm up defensively.

    But the key for me is AD's injury record. It's been better this year, but not 100% so I'm not risking missing out on him.

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  7. Most likely winner today: Golden State Warriors
    2nd most likely: Chicago Bulls

    Leaning towards picking a New Orleans player, since they will most likely be eliminated the earliest of the losing teams. (Tyreke Evans or Eric Gordon), but concerned on what impact Jrue Holliday will have, as he has been getting minutes to end the season. And if he plays a lot, it will ruin picking Evans or Gordon, whoever suffers the most if Holliday if/when Holliday is playing.

    May go in an entirely different direction because of all this.

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  8. Eric Gordon is not reliable and there's no need to ever pick him. Holiday won't ruin Tyreke's value.

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    1. Hey Jerry how do you see Holiday? Too out of form to be considered i think, but if the series suddenly get balanced he could come in contention. Not many chances btw.

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    2. He's on a minutes restriction still. Too risky to pick.

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    3. Gordon may become interesting if Tyreke is out and Holiday is restricted. No other legit options on NO to be honest.

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    4. If Tyreke is done, it likely pushes me to pick Giannis on the Bucks instead of another Pelican

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  9. Hey there, remember me? Last year I got 10+ PAR in every game day... until the last when Danny Green gave me a lowly 4! That took me from 95% down to 92% and I thought it would be worse, I hope to be 98% or better percentile this time around. I have started off by taking Anthony Davis, broke 2 cardinal rules and now I'm now at a disadvantage because I doubt AD does anywhere close to this poor in game 2 or this bad in any other game of the series for that matter. Those Cardinal rules are A don't pick the highest % picked player unless their team is on the brink of elimination and B don't take a great/up and coming player in game 1 of a series. They put up a mediocre showing at best and then ypu get possibly less than half of their best showing, a big enough gap that the player that gets picked on his best PAR day probably won't make up for it. Still I hope to make up for it.

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    1. He came back and destroyed. If I hadn't picked him it would have broken MY golden rule. So I'm glad I did.

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    2. It looked bad, it really did, with just over 5 minutes left AD had just a combined 20 PAR, at the end he had one if not the ALL TIME GREATEST FINISH! 23 PAR in the final 5:05 giving him 35 in points alone and 43 PAR in all! While I was praying for 30+ and dreaming of 40+, they both came to life! May this great finish to the 1st day be a great sign for what is to come!

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    3. Thanks Taong, same to you (though you may have been back for awhile)!

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  10. AD played the whole game away from the basket. Not sure why, but that stunk.

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    1. He scared us for sure, but I'll take the 43. I have no idea how he even got to 43. Crazy.

      #UnleashPondexter

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    2. Me neither. Unreal 4th quarter by AD when I thought he was gonna be benched for the game mid 3rd with 4 fouled.

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    3. Yeah, stoked to have Stiles here. Must feel amazing to be the defending champ out of EVERYONE! I love it!

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  11. Glad I stayed with Eric Gordon and his "stellar" 21 PRA performance over Tyreke Evans and his nonexistent one.

    Nice recovery by Anthony Davis, as that pick looked to be heading towards disappointment, until he exploded in a big way at the end to save those that picked him, as the Warriors fell asleep at the wheel.

    I looked at Pondexter as an option, but never ended up playing him, He seemed the most consistent home vs. road in his small New Orleans vs. GS sample size.

    But now that I look at Monday's selection list, I don't even see Quincy Pondexter listed as a player eligible to be picked. So maybe you could not play him today, even though they do list a score for him.

    Who knows what's up with that. Anyone pick him today? If so, great job. So far that was the pick of the day.

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    1. Even so, best case scenario estimates for Quincy Pondexter had him posting 20 to 22 PRA. He destroyed those estimates with his 35 PRA Game #1 total.

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    2. doubt anyone will pick him too many options, if you picked him today great because of the pra but going forward why would anyone pick him.

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    3. He probably will never do that again, so you are right.

      Why would anyone want to pick him? Other than Anthony Davis, New Orleans is a team made up of nothing but scrubs. I doubt anyone else on that team with the exception of either a healthy Jrue Holiday or Tyreke Evans gets anywhere near 30 PRA.

      Plus barring a miracle, Golden State will be one of the first teams to clinch, leaving plenty of time to pick from other teams. If they are not, then there won't be much to pick from New Orleans any way.

      And if for some reason New Orleans actually would win that series (it won't happen), then everyone would be doomed for later rounds.

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  12. That 4th quarter by AD is just a little example of what he could do in the next years..He is amazing, and just 22 years old..Today he honestly played a bad game, at least for 3 quarters, but he still scored 35 and had 4 amazing blocks. He had just 7 rebs defending on Green away from the basket most of the time, and this won't change too much in the next games.
    In DTTF terms I take his 43 PRA with a big big smile considering the situation at the end of the 3rd quarter.
    Game 2 will be easier for GSW, those who didn't pick AD today have to pick him in game 3 imho. Good job AD, now I start to tinker about sunday pick.

    Just 2 words on Raptors-Wizards: maybe it's still too early to pick players of these teams, but as i wrote in the past posts I think Washington will win this series. Game 2 will be on tuesday, when there are also CLE-BOS and HOU-DAL..I won't pick a celtics for sure and i'll wait to pick players from houston or dallas, so i'm starting to think on LOWRY, predicting a bounce back from him.

    Cheers guys!

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    1. Lowry may be a good pick. Either he or Ellis. Both on bounce backs.

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    2. Actually you're right, Lowry on this day & Ellis first home for Mavs.

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  13. Hey everyone nice to be back...I'm really excited about this seasons playoffs. I took a regular season break this yr and watched hardly any games to make it more interesting for me, well also because regular season is boring me past few yrs.

    Anyway my first pick I made was from the Was/Tor game. Why pick from this game ? Well I had a couple reasons...

    Most would have went Davis, I knew he would do well but I think he'll average around 40 this series and I'll be picking him next game because in the home games I want to pick Evans and MWC in no particular order yet, but also the way the games are setup Was/Tor, Dal/Hou all play going forward on days when all the other top teams like LAC, Spurs, Mem, Por play. These teams all have options that I don't want to miss out on. Nets, Bos, Bucks don't have much apart from 1 main pra scorer and it helps they all play on those days with only 2 games allowing me to select most of the guys from the other series.

    Hou/Dal and Spurs/LAC are tricky ones and they can ruin alot of people's picks going forward, Memphis for me will win and Wizards just because of Pierce and his leadership he's giving to Wall in game. if he wasn't on the Wiz team I would have picked Tor to go through. Going down the stretch of that game Wall managed the clock well unlike previous season where he would just drive to the rim and lose possession and the game even though it was close again the fact they held on hopefully proves my point.

    Anyway I ended up picking DeRozen for 32pra which for me seems really good and I don't think he can go that much higher than that.

    Good luck everyone this season...

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    1. nice to have you back Stive08 !

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    2. Evans may be out for the series, so be sure to pay attention to that

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    3. if thats the case may actually not pick another pelican unless someone tries to convince me on the pondx

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  14. Thank god I listened to you guys and picked Anthony Davis instead of Evans since Evans got injured and only got 2 pra..I wouldve been so frustrated if I picked Evans and I feel bad for those that did

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    1. alot of luck in this game, Davis coming back into that game was crazy even though they got close they were never going to win that game why risk him.

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    2. I've watched hundred of NBA games & I don't know that I've ever seen a star player hit the bench with 4 fouls mid-way through the 3rd with his team down by over 20 on the opponent's home floor not only come back into the game but come back into the game and put up 28 more PRA in a situation where it never ever felt like his team could even win. It was a true opening night fantasy miracle.

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    3. agree 1st time ever not only that but he almost actually got injured near the end. crazy!

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