With The End in Mind

So who do you think will win? The Grizzlies win on paper. The Spurs win on experience. I am banking on experience. I pick the Spurs over the Grizzlies in 7 games, but that can easily go the other way. I hope the Spurs advance, but I will not be surprised if the Grizzlies do.

However, my pick on Sunday does not depend on who wins or lose. You see, I want to reserve 5 good picks for the Finals. Heat will surely advance, so I have LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. So that leaves me looking for two more (Mario Chalmers and Ray Allen may do, but they are not consistent 20-PRA guys) from the West.

For the Grizzlies, I already used Marc Gasol and Mike Conley (and Zach Randolph in DTTF). I want to try to avoid picking Tony Allen (and Zach in 1-N-Done), at least until Spurs lead 2-X.

For the Spurs, I want to avoid picking Tim Duncan and Tony Parker at least until Grizzlies lead 2-X. The rest of the Spurs and Grizzlies are open for picking for Games 1 and 2. I will start with Manu Ginobili at 20 PRA average. If you are in a similar situation, you may pick Kahwi Leonard (hottest pick Sunday) as an alternative.

For those in a different situation, just try to avoid picking the top 2 players from each team at least until one leads 2-X. For 1-N-Done, this is an adamant strategy as you will want your top players to take advantage of the 4X multiplier in the Finals. For DTTF however, this strategy does not matter as much as picking the best player in the losing team.

So, how will you approach picking in the Conference Finals?


  1. I have a dilemma, I still haven't used Z-Bo and i can't decide on when i should use him or should i save him as some sort of trump card?

  2. I actually think this is the Grizzlies year. I like SA, but the Warriors exposed them as the aging team they are and one that struggles defensively. If the Warriors had any sort of inside game at all (or a fully healthy David Lee) they might have pulled off the upset.

    Grizzlies have a tenacious D, and reliable inside scoring. Z-Bo is unstoppable and so it really comes down to how Tony Allen and Conley match up with Ginobli and Parker. I think the injury to Parker and Ginobli's age gives Memphis the edge.

    Which I guess means I'll be with you on picking Ginobli or Leanard for game 1 but expecting a different outcome.

    I'm not convinced this is the Heat's year. They've really been exposed by both Boston (regular season) and Chicago (post season) as a team that struggles to score if LeBron and Wade don't have it going, and they rely far too much on generous whistles and getting to the foul line to pull out close games. Their defense is good, but everyone realizes now that quick ball movement and controlling the boards puts them on their heels.

    If Chicago was healthy, or even healthier, that series goes 7 games and Chicago might have pulled off the upset. When I look at Indy, I see a team who plays just as tough a D as Chicago, but has depth and athleticsm to avoid those fatigue fouls that won the Heat the close games. They are bigger and have the post scoring that Chicago lacks. Hibbert is really the X factor. If he can play like he did in the wins against NYK, Miami doesn't have an answer and their usually go-to of putting LeBron on a scoring center won't work...Hibbert is way too big and strong for him...so is David West.

    I can honestly see an upset (I know I said this about Chicago - but that was before Hinrich, Deng and Rose all stayed on the bench). Indy is younger, healthier and much more athletic.

    It will really depend on the whistles. Miami has survived on favorable calls all season against great teams so if that keeps happening the Heat win easily. But if the calls are even and Hibbert and West can stay on the floor, I see Indy taking it to 7 and even pulling off the upset.

    Hill's concussion and Wade's ankle also play a big factor. Without Hill the Pacers could lose today and going to 7 games could wear them down against a fresh Miami team.

    I guess I'll play guys like Allen and Chalmers early and save the big 3 in the case Indy goes up by 2 games using Wade, then Bosh, then LeBron in that order should my prediction play out.

    1. Seda, using Allen or Chalmers is definitely an option if you want to play wait-n-see.
      For me, not because Miami may lose (I think they still win), but because I already used Hibbert (and Paul George in DTTF) and I want to just plainly wait-n-see too.

  3. And now for something completely different.

    The conference finals is where the strategy changes in DTTF. In the first round you try to pick only really good players, after all, you have 8 teams that are going to be eliminated, so that should carry you for 2 weeks. But, alas, there are always these upsets that make you pick players from teams who advance, e.g. me picking Z-Bo and Marc Gasol in games 2 and 3 of their series against the Clippers. Not only am I missing them now (we are even talking about them reaching the finals), I didn´t even get good points from those two, especially Z-Bo.

    In the second round there are usually two series on the same day (with the pairings switching in the middle this year), so you have to be careful who to pick. In an ideal world you have four teams to be eliminated, that might be enough. But this year? All of the series were tied after game 2, the number 1 in the West lost in 5, the number 2 in the East is on the brink of getting ousted, the number 2 in the West hat more problems than they should have had. Priority number one is not wasting too many players from the eventual finalists.

    And now we are here: Conference Finals, only one game left per day.

    What you need: Good picks for three more series.
    What you have: Four teams.
    If you can save 3 really good players and 2 good ones for the Finals, you are set. That means you can pick from all teams in the conference finals, not only the losing teams.

    I have: All Heat, all Spurs, all Pacers minus West, and I am missing Gasol and Randolph. Should the Knicks prevail in seven games, I am more or less screwed, as are most DTTFlers. That means, I should be able to pick at will in the East and more carefully in the West.

    The first two games are in San Antonio, so I think I will start with two Spurs players. Who? Good question. I don´t know yet. Maybe I´ll know tomorrow.

    But that is my strategy, and it didn´t help me too much this year around. So no need to listen to me ;)

    1. Good insight, Alex.
      And also the Spur-playing-at-home bit, that is an additional reason to pick a Spur.
      With your tendency to pick in contrast to the masses, I'll guess you will not pick Kahwi :)

    2. Indeed. I was torn between Kawhi and Manu, and after I saw that Manu had to good first games in the series against the Lakers and the Warriors (admittedly, game 1 in the 2nd round went two overtimes) I picked him. Same as you. Make of that what you want ;)

    3. Spurs win and several players had stinkers; Duncan, Z-Bo, Manu.

  4. I have all Spurs, all heat, all grizzlies and all pacers minus paul george. I am thinking about going with either duncan or leonard, or duncan or ginobili? thoughts?

    1. Among Duncan, Duncan, Leonard, Ginobili...

      Duncan if you are playing DTTF.

      Ginobili if you are playing 1-N-Done. You want to save Duncan unless later in the series when it becomes too evident Grizzlies will win.


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