Steps to Navigate the Third Round

We've made it to the third round of the NBA playoffs, and I would imagine that very few of us have played a mistake free game so far. Perhaps you picked LeBron James in the first round, or picked a few Celtcis because you decided to trust the process. Either way, this post will be done under the assumption that you have a full roster of players available. If you don't, you will just need to adjust your strategy accordingly. I'm down Horford and Tatum myself.

In the third round, the game finally shifts a little bit away from the strategy of "best player from a losing team", but only a little bit. There isn't enough time in the NBA finals to pick between two teams, so a few of the players on the teams that advance need to be picked in the third round. At most, you will need to pick 21 more players. Let's take a look at the 17 best options from the 4 teams still playing:

Al Horford 25PRA
Jayson Tatum 21 PRA
Jaylen Brown 21 PRA
Marc Morris 20 PRA
Terry Rozier 19 PRA (Higher in the playoffs)
Marcus Smart 19 PRA

LeBron James 46 PRA
Kevin Love 22 PRA

James Harden 45 PRA
Chris Paul 32 PRA
Clint Capela 26 PRA
Eric Gordon 23 PRA
Trevor Ariza 18 PRA

Golden State:
Kevin Durant 39 PRA
Steph Curry 37 PRA
Klay Thompson 27 PRA (Results may vary :P)
Draymond Green 27 PRA

You should prepare for all three series to end after 5 games, including the NBA Finals, so you want to make sure that you only save 5 star players for the Finals. If the NBA Finals goes 6 or 7 games, you can always pick from the remaining pool of players. If we assume that we get a Cavs vs. Warriors NBA Finals (because, you know, things never change), here's a tentative pick plan you could have:

East Finals
1. Horford
2. Rozier
3. Tatum
4. Brown
5. Morris
6. Smart

West Finals
1. Harden
2. Paul
3. Capela
4. Gordon
5. Durant
6. Ariza

NBA Finals
1. Curry
2. Klay
3. Draymond
4. Love
5. LeBron

Notice that Kevin Durant was picked in the West Finals. That's because there is nobody better on Houston worth picking. I mean, you could pick Ryan Anderson (15 PRA) and save Kevin Durant for Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Or alternatively, you could just pick Jeff Green (15 PRA) in the NBA Finals if need be.

The third round strategy appears to be as follows:

In the East, Cleveland only have two must pick players in LeBron and Love, so save them for later and pick Celtics early and often, as the Celtics have six must pick players. Only pick LeBron and Love if it's starting to look like Boston will take the series.

In the West, you are going to need to correctly guess who wins the series, since each team has four must pick players. That is going to be tough. You are allowed one mistake (as you will want to pick at least one from each team, as shown above with Durant being picked), so if you need a few games to better understand the series, pick one player from each team.

The third round should be very interesting. I feel like there will be a decent split of people who think Houston will win and people who think Golden State will win. Unlike previous years where Golden State and Cleveland were obvious, this should make for some fun Drive to the Finals!


  1. Ryan Anderson vs Green will come down to which matchup they’ll perform better.

    1. Yep. I also used Jeff Green and Ryan Anderson as an example, but you could insert pretty much any of the other Cavalier support players into that. Kyle Korver, JR Smith, and Tristan Thompson are all viable options too. I'm sure there's more too. Cavs are LeBron, Love, and then a bunch of other guys.

  2. Nice analysis, Tangent. I think it's obvious to start picking a Celtic (even if I also already used Horford and Tatum) and a Rocket, as they play at home and have more players available. Even maybe PJ Tucker could be an option. I didn't really know which order, but I will pick Brown after some rest days, just in case. He also could face some good defenders in the Finals if they advance (Klay, Ariza or Tucker), so I don't mind picking him now.

    1. I'm starting with Terry Rozier, and then going Jaylen Brown in Game 2. We shall see which order ends up coming out on top!

    2. Good news for you, as I use to pick in the wrong order xD

    3. Not so far. Brown already at 19PRA after 1 quarter!

    4. Not bad, though my first idea during the week was Marcus. And I guess he will not do so much when I will pick him

  3. Alright time for my round 2 recap! Beware of 5/3 to 5/5
    Date -- Google drive pick (PRA) ---- Fantasy postseason (PRABS+bonuses-TOs)
    4/30 -- Terry Rozier (43) ----Jayson Tatum (30) Great results, only issue is that those came in a winning effort!
    5/1 -- Jrue Holiday (40) ---- Nikola Mirotic (30) Super Great results game wise as these scores came in a losing cause, the Pelicans winning would have been great for the league just not for these contests.
    5/2 -- Joe Ingles (32) ---- Rudy Gobert (33) Strong performances and although I was worried a first since the Jazz won this game but since the Rockets won the rest these are very good results!
    5/3 -- Jayson Tatum (25) ---- Terry Rozier (38) This is where I chose to "Trust the Process" (and the odds) too much as I got good scores..... and a Celtics 2-0 lead which they've never blown in 37 franchise occurrences. With the Celtics winning G1 at home and the Raptors dropping home court in G1 my biggest mistake on FP (and 2nd worst on GD) was taking more Celtics (the reverse of my G1 combo) instead of Raptors (even if Toronto had won G2 would they win a game in Cleveland?), all the more fitting that these teams went up 2-0 and down 0-2 respectively (and eventually 3-0/0-3)!!!!!!!!!!!!
    5/4 Jrue Holiday *repeated* [O] -- Anthony Davis (65) Well it's obvious that I made my worst mistake in GD not realizing I double picked JH as Nikola Mirotic was suppossed to be used in this spot on GD. To be in 7th after this round despite a zero is incredible!
    Anthony Davis was picked correctly on FP as he had his best score of the playoffs and was on the series losing team!
    5/5 Kyle Lowry (37) -- DeMar DeRozan (15) Strong showing in a losing cause for KL which is perfect for these games, DeRozan on the other hand appeared ready for vacation by the 4th quarter as he never was on the floor that entire time despite this game being close. Meanwhile although I finally stayed away from the Celtics/76ers waiting for the 76ers to tie up the series before I pick anymore Celtics since the underdog Celtics going up 2-0 was a shock NO WAY could they possibly make it 3-0 this time winning on the -525 series favorite's home court! ALAS somehow they did, that means I'm about to lose most of the 76ers as they were supposed to be a MORTAL LOCK in that series and as a result this was only the 1st Eastern conference date in the 2nd round I players from the series losing teams!
    5/6 Donovan Mitchell (37) -- Jrue Holiday (29) STRONG picks check! Players teams' lost check!!
    5/7 DeMar DeRozan (19) -- Kyle Lowry (19) This was definately the worst average between both games as the Raptors were down 0-3 so they could careless, but since I knew they'd lose and I thought the 76ers (the initial -525 favorite) had a good chance at extending the series I still picked them but unfortunately I only took 1 76er a game as a result!
    5/8 Anthony Davis (54) -- Donovan Mitchell (35) Two great players on elimination night and I was amazingly the only person to have Davis left (yes the double Jrue Holiday pick maybe thrown as an excuse but Nikola Mirotic would have been my pick if I noticed)!
    5/9 Joel Embiid (43) -- Ben Simmons (29) Strong efforts on elimination night, they almost pulled it off (then I would have reversed these picks on 5/11 which was the 2nd of 3 straight days off)!
    Wow can you believe we are already in the 2nd half/round 3 of the playoffs?! This is where things get really tough!

  4. Good news: Marcus Morris yeah!

    Bad news: Celtics won :(

  5. Okay, time for the round 2 round-up. My picks in google-drive and Fantasy Postseason, respectively.
    Starting with google-drive:
    Apr-30: Horford 37 – well, let´s start with a Celtic, everybody says the 76ers are gonna advance, why not?
    May-1: Rondo 41 – good old Playoff Rondo, does not disappoint
    May-2: Mitchell 33 – best pick of the day, right in the middle of his second round PRA of 29, 33, 14, 36, 37, good thing I didn´t pick him in g3
    May-3: DeRozan 27 – ugh, he was the worst of the 3 Raptors that day (Jonas 30, Kyle 33), and DeMar got worse from game to game in that round
    May-4: Davis 54 – who else?
    May-5: Lowry 37 – good, best game after g1 where he got 38
    May-6: Holiday 29 – one game too early, his next-to-worst in round 2
    May-7: Simmons 37 – the perfect pick, I trusted the 76ers to win and force a fifth game, so I saved Embiid, and Simmons even outscored Embiid by 8 PRA
    May-8: Gobert 21 – harumph, I toyed with the idea of picking Ingles (23), but who could have guessed the 30 of Burks?
    May-9: Embiid 43 – pick of the day
    359 if I calculated correctly. Everything clicked with the Simmons/Embiid gamble, Lowry and Rondo were very good, DeRozan could have been worse, all in all a good round 2 for me, and I usually blow this round. Players picked who are still in the playoffs: Horford

    And in Fantasy Postseason:
    Apr-30: Rozier 44 – well, let´s start with a Celtic, everybody says the 76ers are gonna advance, why not? At least that was his best game in the first two rounds
    May-1: Holiday 40 – good pick, his 2nd best this round except that crazy triple-double in the clincher
    May-2: Gobert 33 – good pick, his best this round, I notice a pattern, time to make bad picks to reverse this trend
    May-3: Lowry 29 – his 2nd worst of this round, except for the last game, when nobody bothered with the Raptors anymore
    May-4: Rondo 35 – another against the grain pick, his 2nd best this round, his numbers crashed after this one, good one
    May-5: DeRozan 15 – I don´t want to talk about this pick
    May-6: Davis 39 – I managed to get him in between two 60+ performances, bad timing. He had four games over 60 and only two games with less than 39 (both 38)
    May-7: Embiid 31 – bad pick, his worst this round (55, 42, 45, 31, 46)
    May-8: Mirotic 19 – that day really sucked, as did Mirotic
    May-9: Simmons 29 – not quite as good as hoped, if only I had thought of Saric
    314 points, it started out perfectly and then more and more bad picks crept in. The first half FP and the second half googledrive, that would have been nice (he said, knowing it wouldn´t work). Players picked who are still in the playoffs: Horford (round 1) and Rozier.

  6. Round 3 is the hardest round to get through so picking from the correct series losing team (with maybe one exception per series) is MAKE or BREAK! In the 1st round there's a surplus of options and even in the 2nd round if there is an uncertain series it can be avoided early on until a clear cut winner is emerging, in the Finals it's okay to pick from the winning team BUT in the 3rd round with only 1 game a day and players that still need to be saved gambles have to be made if they are correct you're in great shape but if those players end up advancing you are finished.
    Speaking of which who do the Celtics think they are knocking off the HEAVILY favored 76ers in 5 games AND giving the Cavaliers a 25 point beatdown in G1 of this round. It looks like it's not going to be the one sided series we had last year when the Cavs dominated all 3 games in Boston! Fortunately the Celtics have about 6 good options incase they advance but with 3 being used up I have to not only pick the West correctly but with only 2 reliable Cavs players pray for good results from those not named LeBron James or Kevin Love.

  7. I am picking Clint Capela tonight. I bet for the Warriors to advance, plus they have more viable options to pick from.

    Tomorrow, I will be a little cautious before picking more Celtics. But I don't want to spend main Cavs either. At least by now. I read coach Lue is considering to move Tristan Thompson to the starting 5. He might be a decent option for a 20+ PRA. Just waiting for my feelings after game2 to bet for the winner of this series

    1. I had Capela too. 21 PRA is as expected

    2. I have Tristan too even if I think Lue won’t start him yet. He’s their third most consistent guy whether he starts or not

    3. Hmm I had Eric Gordon picked instead of Capela. Good enough. Capela next

    4. I expected a little bit more of Capela, especially on boards. But it's ok, and GS winning


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