Two Sweeps Anyone?

With the Cavs taking care of business on the road and the Warriors protecting homecourt, we have two 2-0 series in favor of the favored. Do I hear whispers of sweep?

With the Hawks hurting, the Cavs are now gearing to bring brooms in Games 3 and 4 at home even without Irving. First Carroll, now Horford and Korver. Carroll seems to be good enough to play although we can no longer get his average PRA. Korver was showing his usual self before hurting his ankle. They just can't get a break. 

Tentative picks..
Game 3: DeMarre Carroll
Game 4: Kyle Korver (if healthy and 0-3; otherwise, Bazemore)

The Rockets are more likely to get a win or two in Houston, but Harden knew they really needed a road win as he slumped to the ground in agony at the end of Game 2. It will be hard to win Games 5 and 7 in Golden State. Unlike the other series, this is more likely to go at least 5 games as the Rockets really had a chance to win any of the first two games. So I can now get Terrence Jones into the mix.

Sure picks..
Game 3: Terrence Jones
Game 4: Klay Thompson
Game 5: Draymond Green

If Warriors sweep, much better. Will gladly go Green-Thompson-Irving-James-Barnes in the Finals.

Bad days in DTTF.

Who Will Guard LeBron?

I'm The Atlanta Hawks minus DeMarre Carroll do not look like an All-Star team anymore. He is the LeBron-stopper and without him, the King will have his way. Who's gonna stop the train now?

Paul Millsap had some degree of success guarding LBJ, but remember that before Carroll's injury, Millsap kept getting switched to LBJ and repeatedly got eaten on one-on-one ball.

Kent Bazemore scored a point per minute after Carroll's injury. He also officially replaces Carroll in our pick plans, but bumped later in the series as a last resort. UPDATE: Carroll will not play Game 2. Bazemore gets my pick!

Will Kyle Korver get more touches without Carroll? I am getting giddy about that guy. I keep on waiting for his normal game but that has not happened yet. Maybe the loss of Carroll can wake him up.

The loss of DeMarre Carroll to injury has put a damp on our pick plans in this series. I now wish Cavs sweep just to soften the loss off Carroll in DTTF.

My pick: Paul Millsap. Better on the road than at home in the playoffs. Game 1 stinker was an aberration. Hopefully he gets some of Carroll's rebounds. A cold pick at 11% owned, that hopefully should beat the 23% owning Korver. UPDATE: Bumping Millsap to Game 5 or elimination game (DTTF note: Unrestricted Free Agent this summer).

For those who still have Jeff Teague, he is the hottest pick at 27% owned but that should not derail you from picking him. You've seen him outperform Irving, and with the latter aggravating his injury, Teague should continue to perform well in Game 2.

Without Carroll, how many points will LeBron make?

UPDATE TO UPDATE: Scratch all that. Changed pick back to Millsap. Hawks tweeted Carroll starts. Thanks K and Anonymous!

Dwight Howard Out?

Based on my pick plan I can jumble Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and Josh Smith for Game 2.

I originally penciled-in Thompson because he usually bounces after poor games and that I saw he gets a lot of touches, shots and attacks to the baskets in Game 1; they just didn't go in.

However, with the absence (or minutes restriction) of Dwight Howard due to injury, Terrence Jones and Josh Smith may get extended minutes especially if they do a lot of small ball. Their coach admitted they cannot employ their favored big ball without Howard.

My pick: Josh Smith
Friday: Paul Millsap
Saturday: Klay Thompson (if 1-1) or Terrence Jones (if 2-0)

Please blast in the comments on the status of Howard. If they plan to play him unrestricted, I might switch back to Klay.

All-Star Hawks

For Wednesday's game, everybody seems to be picking a Hawk almost exclusively. Here, look at the hottest picks...

Hot Picks:
  • D. Carroll (22%) 
  • A. Horford (22%) 
  • J. Teague (19%) 
  • P. Millsap (12%) 
  • K. Korver (11%)

That's a staggering 86% picking a Hawk starter. This shows the value of the Hawks starting five. With all the talk in this round between MVPs James (past), Curry (current) and Harden (future?), remember that four of the Hawks starting five got to the All-Stars. That is how the media and the coaches respect that group.

Now for the pick, really, you can just jumble them up this round, and try to pick the best Hawk on his best night. It's guessing time!

Horford is the default pick for the standard strategy of best player in team about to lose. If you want to play it safe, he is your guy.

Carroll is the hottest pick. If you are nursing a lead in your league, stay with the hot picks so that the majority of your trailers will remain behind you. Note that Carroll is the top 2 hottest picks for three straight games (1-3).

Millsap has the second highest PRA and it is baffling to see that only 12% of DTTF is picking him. Maybe people are saving him for an elimination game. If you want some sneaky pick, now is the time. Or in Game 2 when he is owned at 10%.

Korver may be the dark horse. He's been quiet the first two rounds, and the Hawks are pressed to shoot more threes to even stand a chance against the Cavs. Wait for him to have a good game before picking him.

Teague gets my pick, and that is partly because of Irving's injury. There is always opportunity when the opposing player is hobbled. It can be argued that Irving will get even healthier as the series go, and that he will be at his most cautious state in Game 1. Even if Irving does a John Wall and plays well, I still like Teague in a Game 1 at home. I'm not expecting high PRA; his 20s will do.

Hope the Cavs steal Game 1.

Plan To The Finals

With Rockets and Hawks picked too early last round, and with limited amount of good PRA players remaining from now to the Finals, sometimes it makes it easy to plan ahead if you can list all the players in a spreadsheet and pin each into the games they may be picked in.

On the table here, I listed all the top 21 players left in all four teams and highlighted the top 12. As you can surmise, 21 represents the worst-case scenario of three Game 7s, and 12 represents the best-case scenario of three sweeps. It took me several attempts to assign each into games, and I think this is one of the best versions.

In the East Finals, I still have plenty of Hawks to pick and so my top four Hawks (Millsap, Carroll, Teague and Korver) are pinned into Games 1-4. Of course, I can interchange the four into games I feel each will perform better. I will keep on picking those four until a Game 5 is imminent. Like for example if the series gets tied at 1-1, then Shroder gets into that mix. The hope is that the Cavs win that series because if not, then we'll all be in a lot more mess than we already are. By the way, only 9 out of 14 ESPN 'experts' say Cavs win it.

In the West Finals, I have a shortage of quality Rockets to pick (also the reason I did this table) and so I have to pin my top four players in this series into Games 1 to 4. That includes three Warriors (Curry, Green, Thompson). I'll maybe start with Josh Smith in that series and then those three Warriors. If both teams get at least 1 win each, then Terrence Jones gets into the mix, and so on. All ESPN 'experts' say Warriors win it.

All PRAs in this table are playoffs averages (without the missed games, like Irving and J.R. Smith). If you think a player will perform better on Game 1, home, away, elimination or any other factor, feel free to bump that player up in the list.

Note that I don't have Harden, Howard, Ariza and Horford anymore. If you still have them, do adjust for them too. Also Jason Terry may be bumped out of this Top 21 list (you're still the man JET! MFFL!) and Patrick Beverley into Top 12 list, if the latter becomes available for the West Finals.

In Game 1, I pick Stephen Curry (SURPRISE! This is MADNESS!). The Splash Brothers play better against the Rockets than against the Cavs. Especially that Beverley is not playing, Harden and Terry form a very poor defensive backcourt. Draymond Green plays better versus the Cavs than the Rockets, so maybe he gets bumped into the Finals.

Good luck to us all!

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Bye Magic Eight, Hey Final Four

After two rounds, I'm 9 points out of Top 10% (Kenny Smith is 889 points at PCT 90). I had two sub-20 PRA picks, and I already used Harden, Howard and Ariza from the West, and Horford from the East. I am guessing most of DTTF have 3 or 4 of those Final Four ballers already used, but maybe the top 5% still have at least three teams intact. It will be tough for me to crack PCT 97 at end of the 3rd round. If the West series goes 6 games or more, I may pick a Warrior or two too early just to avoid picking duds this round.

Here is my not-set-in-stone pick plan:
05/19 Terrence Jones
05/20 Paul Millsap
05/21 Josh Smith
05/22 Jeff Teague
05/23 Corey Brewer
05/24 DeMarre Carroll

If Warriors lose two games at any point, I'll start cracking at Curry, Green and Thompson. I have to keep at least the Cavs whole for the Finals. Cavs have to really steal a game at Atlanta.

Time to pull out some tricks this round!

Game 7: Clippers @ Rockets

If you have a strong feeling on who will win Game 7, you should stick to your guns and pick your best available player from the losing team.

I don't. Like some of you, I think this can go either way. The Rockets have the homecourt advantage and the momentum. However, both teams know those advantages are muted if we base it on what has happened to the games in this series. Weird unexpected games. It is not outwordly to say too that the Clippers can snatch Game 7. It will be a rumble.

My pick is my best remaining player in this series, DeAndre Jordan. If the Rockets win, good gracious. If Clippers win, just have to get Jordan's PRA, accept the loss, and move on.

Ah the West Conference Finals will be tricky.