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NBA DFS Showdown Picks Breakdown (Thursday, Jun. 2): Fade Steph Curry?

Thursday features Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors starting at 9 p.m. ET. This is expected to be a competitive series, with the Warriors listed as 3.5-point favorites in Game 1. They’re also modest -150 favorites to win the series.

Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your lineups. Also, make sure to check out my article if you’re looking for a refresher on the single-game format.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.

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NBA DFS Stud Picks

The Finals are typically headlined by superstars, and this matchup certainly has some excellent players to choose from. However, it lacks a true fantasy stud. Only two players are priced above $9,200 on DraftKings, and neither player is priced above $10,600.

Jayson Tatum is the closest thing to a fantasy stud in this matchup. He’s blossomed into a more complete player in his fifth NBA season, and he’s put his full skill set on display during the postseason. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in nine of his past 10 games, with the lone exception being Game 4 vs. the Heat.

Tatum has seen a slight decrease in per-minute efficiency during the postseason, but he’s made up for it with tons of playing time. He’s currently projected for 42 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s finished with at least 40.7 minutes in 13 of 18 postseason contests.

Tatum leads all players in median and ceiling projection in this matchup, and he also stands out as one of the best per-dollar investments. He should carry the highest ownership on the slate, but he’s tough to avoid.

Steph Curry is the other stud option, and he’s been the best player in this series on a per-minute basis over the past month. The only problem is Curry hasn’t needed to carry a massive workload this postseason. The Warriors are loaded with scoring threats, and Curry has had no problem deferring to them at times. His 30.8% usage rate during the regular season represented a significant decrease from his average in 2020-21, and he’s only seen a slight increase during the playoffs.

Curry is also coming off a very pedestrian series vs. the Mavericks. He averaged just 23.8 points per game, his fifth-lowest average in any postseason series. The previous five all came significantly earlier in his career.

Curry will also have to contend with the best defense in the league. The Celtics are an absolute juggernaut on that end of the court. They finished first in the league in defensive efficiency during the regular season, and they’ve limited playoff opponents to just 86.8 points per 100 possessions in halfcourt sets. That’s nearly nine points better than the average mark during the playoffs.

Curry will have to deal with the tough on-ball defense of Marcus Smart, and they also have plenty of length to contest on drives. Overall, Curry owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of -3.6 on DraftKings, which is the fifth-lowest mark in our NBA Models.

Curry still possesses an elite ceiling, but he hasn’t put it on display very often recently. Considering the matchup, I doubt we see it on Thursday.

Jaylen Brown is the only other player who can potentially be considered a stud. He’s served as the 1B to Tatum’s 1A during the playoffs, but he was vital in their series vs. the Heat. He averaged 24.1 points, 7.1 boards, and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 48.8% from the field and 40.4% from 3-point range.

Brown has also displayed a ceiling that is nearly as high as Tatum and Curry. He provides decent savings compared to both players, making him a viable pivot.

NBA DFS Midrange Picks

Marcus Smart has been dealing with a right ankle sprain, but he’s officially been removed from the Celtics’ injury report in advance of Game 1 of the Finals. Smart was excellent in Game 7 vs. the Heat, finishing with 47.75 DraftKings points over 40.8 minutes, so it’s not surprising that he’s good to go.

Smart has been outstanding for the Celtics during the postseason in general. Excluding the game where he got injured, he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in seven straight contests on DraftKings. He’s also averaged more fantasy points per minute than he did during the regular season.

However, Smart is projected for just 34 minutes in Game 1. That could be a bit modest, but it’s enough to keep him from being a solid option at his current price tag. His projected Plus/Minus lags far behind most of the other options in this price range.

Klay Thompson remains one of the hardest players to handicap on a nightly basis. He’s a one-dimensional scoring threat, which makes his fantasy production volatile. On nights where his jumper is falling, he has the potential for a monster game. On nights where it isn’t, his floor is cavernous. Klay can get hot against anyone, but the matchup vs. the Celtics is troublesome. They’ve allowed the fifth-lowest frequency of 3-point attempts during the postseason, and they rank fourth in opponent 3-point accuracy. I’m okay with being underweight on him relative to the field.

Al Horford is one of the best options on this slate. The old man continues to get the job done at a high level, and he’s impacting games in a variety of ways. He scored at least 33.5 DraftKings points in the final four games vs. the Heat despite an average usage rate of just 11%. He should continue to pile up the peripherals against the Warriors, especially if Robert Williams will continue to be limited.

On the other side, Kevon Looney has filled a Horford-like role for the Warriors of late. He’s not playing nearly as many minutes as the Celtics’ big man, but he has been highly efficient when on the court. He’s averaged 29.2 minutes over his past six games, and he’s scored at least 31.5 DraftKings points in four of them.

Unfortunately, Looney’s price tag has gotten significantly more expensive on DraftKings, making him much tougher to trust vs. the Celtics. He’s best deployed on FanDuel, where he leads the slate with a 92% Bargain Rating.

You can argue that Andrew Wiggins has been the Warriors’ second-most important player during the playoffs. He has dominated from a Net Rating perspective, and he’s provided fantasy owners with plenty of value as well. He’s scored at least 34.25 DraftKings points in six of his past eight games, and he’s displayed a far more complete skill set than he has in the past. He’s pulled down at least five boards in six straight games, which gives him more safety than during his tenure with the Timberwolves.

Wiggins is one of the best pure values of the day on DraftKings. His price tag has dropped by nearly -$1,000 for Game 1, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 99%.

Draymond Green was once one of the best fantasy big men in basketball, but those days are in the past. He hasn’t needed to do nearly as much offensively for the current iteration of the Warriors, which has severely capped his upside. He’s had just two games with more than 40 DraftKings points during the postseason, but he’s had eight games with less than 30.

That said, he has played some of his best basketball recently. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in five of his past six games, and his usage rate has been up over that stretch. He may not be the same player he was in his prime, but he’s still capable of paying off his current salary.

Jordan Poole is the biggest X-factor for the Warriors. He has been a revelation offensively, and he’s coming off a phenomenal series vs. the Mavericks. He averaged 16.4 points in just 28.0 minutes per game while shooting a blistering 63.6% from the field.

Still, I’m worried about Poole’s fantasy impact in this series. He’s been such a negative defensively that I’m not sure how much the Warriors will lean on him. He’s currently projected for 30 minutes in our NBA Models, but I would probably take the under on that number. Poole also seems unlikely to continue to make nearly 65% of his field goal attempts, so he’s a regression candidate moving forward. His price is reasonable, but I won’t have much of him on this slate.

Robert Williams is the Celtics’ X-factor. He told reporters that his knee felt good after the Game 7 win over the Heat, but he was limited to just 14.7 minutes in that contest. He’s been limited for most of the postseason, but there’s a massive difference between 26 and 15 minutes. If he can get back to around 26 minutes – something he’s done for most of the playoffs – he has the upside to provide value at his current salary. He’s one of the best per-minute producers in this contest, posting an equivalent mark to Brown over the past month. He’s currently projected for 24 minutes in our NBA Models, giving him some buy-low appeal.

Derrick White rounds out this price range. The midseason acquisition struggled to find his footing with the Celtics, but he’s been an essential part of their rotation during the postseason. If Williams is more limited than expected, White figures to be the biggest beneficiary. That gives him some viability at $5,400.

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NBA DFS Values & Punts

  • Grant Williams ($4,800 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel): Williams played a prominent role for the Celtics in their series vs. the Bucks, but his role decreased dramatically against the Heat. He played less than 30 minutes in each of their final two games of that series, and Williams needs as much playing time as possible given his mediocre per-minute production. He’s a bit too expensive for my liking.
  • Otto Porter ($4,000 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Porter is questionable for the Warriors, but he should step back into the rotation if he’s active. Unlike Williams, Porter is an excellent per-minute producer, averaging 0.93 DraftKings points per minute this season. That means he should be able to return value in around 20 minutes.
  • Payton Pritchard ($3,400 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel): Pritchard is a “break glass in case of emergency” option for the Celtics. He’s not really part of their rotation at the moment, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t play in this contest. However, he can give them some scoring punch off the bench if called upon.
  • Jonathan Kuminga ($2,800 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel): Kuminga is young, but he has been a per-minute monster when given a chance to play. He trails only Tatum and Curry in per-minute production over the past month. However, if Porter can return to the lineup, Kuminga will likely pick up a DNP-CD. Even if Porter doesn’t play, Kuminga lost minutes to Nemanja Bjelica in the Warriors’ last outing. He’s extremely risky on this slate.
  • Moses Moody ($2,000 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel): Moody doesn’t possess nearly the same upside as Kuminga, and his spot in the rotation is just as precarious. Gary Payton II is currently questionable, and he will almost certainly grab Moody’s minutes if he’s able to play. That said, Moody has some viability if GP2 is ruled out.
  • Gary Payton II ($1,600 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel): Head coach Steve Kerr said Payton isn’t guaranteed a spot in the rotation even if he can suit up on Thursday. There might be some truth to that, but I have a hard time believing it. Payton played significant minutes for the Warriors before getting injured, and he even started a few playoff contests. Kerr’s comments could also keep Payton’s ownership down, making him an outstanding tournament option.
  • Nemanja Bjelica ($1,400 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Belly came seemingly out of nowhere to post back-to-back games with at least 12.1 DraftKings points. He could retain his spot in the rotation if Porter is ruled out, and he’s always been a strong per-minute producer.
  • Damion Lee ($1,000 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): The Warriors have the opposite problem as the Celtics: they have so many quality players that there isn’t enough room for all of them. Lee has gotten some run during the postseason, but he likely needs multiple players to be ruled out to have viability on Thursday.
  • Andre Iguodala ($1,000 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel): Iggy is also questionable, and his big-game prowess is undeniable. He could definitely get back into the rotation if he’s able to suit up.

Thursday features Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors starting at 9 p.m. ET. This is expected to be a competitive series, with the Warriors listed as 3.5-point favorites in Game 1. They’re also modest -150 favorites to win the series.

Let’s dive into some of the top plays on the slate using the FantasyLabs Tools and metrics.

Also, don’t forget that for large-field tournaments, you can utilize our Lineup Optimizer to effortlessly create up to 150 lineups, or use our Lineup Builder if you like to hand-build your lineups. Also, make sure to check out my article if you’re looking for a refresher on the single-game format.

Note: Projections and Leverages Scores/Ratings may change throughout the day after this article is posted. The NBA DFS landscape changes quickly. Consult the Player Models directly for any updates as we get closer to lock.

Start Your PRO Trial Today

Lineup builder and optimizer

Real-time DFS models

Data-driven analysis & tutorials

NBA DFS Stud Picks

The Finals are typically headlined by superstars, and this matchup certainly has some excellent players to choose from. However, it lacks a true fantasy stud. Only two players are priced above $9,200 on DraftKings, and neither player is priced above $10,600.

Jayson Tatum is the closest thing to a fantasy stud in this matchup. He’s blossomed into a more complete player in his fifth NBA season, and he’s put his full skill set on display during the postseason. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in nine of his past 10 games, with the lone exception being Game 4 vs. the Heat.

Tatum has seen a slight decrease in per-minute efficiency during the postseason, but he’s made up for it with tons of playing time. He’s currently projected for 42 minutes in our NBA Models, and he’s finished with at least 40.7 minutes in 13 of 18 postseason contests.

Tatum leads all players in median and ceiling projection in this matchup, and he also stands out as one of the best per-dollar investments. He should carry the highest ownership on the slate, but he’s tough to avoid.

Steph Curry is the other stud option, and he’s been the best player in this series on a per-minute basis over the past month. The only problem is Curry hasn’t needed to carry a massive workload this postseason. The Warriors are loaded with scoring threats, and Curry has had no problem deferring to them at times. His 30.8% usage rate during the regular season represented a significant decrease from his average in 2020-21, and he’s only seen a slight increase during the playoffs.

Curry is also coming off a very pedestrian series vs. the Mavericks. He averaged just 23.8 points per game, his fifth-lowest average in any postseason series. The previous five all came significantly earlier in his career.

Curry will also have to contend with the best defense in the league. The Celtics are an absolute juggernaut on that end of the court. They finished first in the league in defensive efficiency during the regular season, and they’ve limited playoff opponents to just 86.8 points per 100 possessions in halfcourt sets. That’s nearly nine points better than the average mark during the playoffs.

Curry will have to deal with the tough on-ball defense of Marcus Smart, and they also have plenty of length to contest on drives. Overall, Curry owns an Opponent Plus/Minus of -3.6 on DraftKings, which is the fifth-lowest mark in our NBA Models.

Curry still possesses an elite ceiling, but he hasn’t put it on display very often recently. Considering the matchup, I doubt we see it on Thursday.

Jaylen Brown is the only other player who can potentially be considered a stud. He’s served as the 1B to Tatum’s 1A during the playoffs, but he was vital in their series vs. the Heat. He averaged 24.1 points, 7.1 boards, and 3.0 assists per game while shooting 48.8% from the field and 40.4% from 3-point range.

Brown has also displayed a ceiling that is nearly as high as Tatum and Curry. He provides decent savings compared to both players, making him a viable pivot.

NBA DFS Midrange Picks

Marcus Smart has been dealing with a right ankle sprain, but he’s officially been removed from the Celtics’ injury report in advance of Game 1 of the Finals. Smart was excellent in Game 7 vs. the Heat, finishing with 47.75 DraftKings points over 40.8 minutes, so it’s not surprising that he’s good to go.

Smart has been outstanding for the Celtics during the postseason in general. Excluding the game where he got injured, he’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in seven straight contests on DraftKings. He’s also averaged more fantasy points per minute than he did during the regular season.

However, Smart is projected for just 34 minutes in Game 1. That could be a bit modest, but it’s enough to keep him from being a solid option at his current price tag. His projected Plus/Minus lags far behind most of the other options in this price range.

Klay Thompson remains one of the hardest players to handicap on a nightly basis. He’s a one-dimensional scoring threat, which makes his fantasy production volatile. On nights where his jumper is falling, he has the potential for a monster game. On nights where it isn’t, his floor is cavernous. Klay can get hot against anyone, but the matchup vs. the Celtics is troublesome. They’ve allowed the fifth-lowest frequency of 3-point attempts during the postseason, and they rank fourth in opponent 3-point accuracy. I’m okay with being underweight on him relative to the field.

Al Horford is one of the best options on this slate. The old man continues to get the job done at a high level, and he’s impacting games in a variety of ways. He scored at least 33.5 DraftKings points in the final four games vs. the Heat despite an average usage rate of just 11%. He should continue to pile up the peripherals against the Warriors, especially if Robert Williams will continue to be limited.

On the other side, Kevon Looney has filled a Horford-like role for the Warriors of late. He’s not playing nearly as many minutes as the Celtics’ big man, but he has been highly efficient when on the court. He’s averaged 29.2 minutes over his past six games, and he’s scored at least 31.5 DraftKings points in four of them.

Unfortunately, Looney’s price tag has gotten significantly more expensive on DraftKings, making him much tougher to trust vs. the Celtics. He’s best deployed on FanDuel, where he leads the slate with a 92% Bargain Rating.

You can argue that Andrew Wiggins has been the Warriors’ second-most important player during the playoffs. He has dominated from a Net Rating perspective, and he’s provided fantasy owners with plenty of value as well. He’s scored at least 34.25 DraftKings points in six of his past eight games, and he’s displayed a far more complete skill set than he has in the past. He’s pulled down at least five boards in six straight games, which gives him more safety than during his tenure with the Timberwolves.

Wiggins is one of the best pure values of the day on DraftKings. His price tag has dropped by nearly -$1,000 for Game 1, resulting in a Bargain Rating of 99%.

Draymond Green was once one of the best fantasy big men in basketball, but those days are in the past. He hasn’t needed to do nearly as much offensively for the current iteration of the Warriors, which has severely capped his upside. He’s had just two games with more than 40 DraftKings points during the postseason, but he’s had eight games with less than 30.

That said, he has played some of his best basketball recently. He’s posted a positive Plus/Minus in five of his past six games, and his usage rate has been up over that stretch. He may not be the same player he was in his prime, but he’s still capable of paying off his current salary.

Jordan Poole is the biggest X-factor for the Warriors. He has been a revelation offensively, and he’s coming off a phenomenal series vs. the Mavericks. He averaged 16.4 points in just 28.0 minutes per game while shooting a blistering 63.6% from the field.

Still, I’m worried about Poole’s fantasy impact in this series. He’s been such a negative defensively that I’m not sure how much the Warriors will lean on him. He’s currently projected for 30 minutes in our NBA Models, but I would probably take the under on that number. Poole also seems unlikely to continue to make nearly 65% of his field goal attempts, so he’s a regression candidate moving forward. His price is reasonable, but I won’t have much of him on this slate.

Robert Williams is the Celtics’ X-factor. He told reporters that his knee felt good after the Game 7 win over the Heat, but he was limited to just 14.7 minutes in that contest. He’s been limited for most of the postseason, but there’s a massive difference between 26 and 15 minutes. If he can get back to around 26 minutes – something he’s done for most of the playoffs – he has the upside to provide value at his current salary. He’s one of the best per-minute producers in this contest, posting an equivalent mark to Brown over the past month. He’s currently projected for 24 minutes in our NBA Models, giving him some buy-low appeal.

Derrick White rounds out this price range. The midseason acquisition struggled to find his footing with the Celtics, but he’s been an essential part of their rotation during the postseason. If Williams is more limited than expected, White figures to be the biggest beneficiary. That gives him some viability at $5,400.

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NBA DFS Values & Punts

  • Grant Williams ($4,800 on DraftKings, $8,000 on FanDuel): Williams played a prominent role for the Celtics in their series vs. the Bucks, but his role decreased dramatically against the Heat. He played less than 30 minutes in each of their final two games of that series, and Williams needs as much playing time as possible given his mediocre per-minute production. He’s a bit too expensive for my liking.
  • Otto Porter ($4,000 on DraftKings, $7,500 on FanDuel): Porter is questionable for the Warriors, but he should step back into the rotation if he’s active. Unlike Williams, Porter is an excellent per-minute producer, averaging 0.93 DraftKings points per minute this season. That means he should be able to return value in around 20 minutes.
  • Payton Pritchard ($3,400 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel): Pritchard is a “break glass in case of emergency” option for the Celtics. He’s not really part of their rotation at the moment, and I wouldn’t be shocked if he didn’t play in this contest. However, he can give them some scoring punch off the bench if called upon.
  • Jonathan Kuminga ($2,800 on DraftKings, $8,500 on FanDuel): Kuminga is young, but he has been a per-minute monster when given a chance to play. He trails only Tatum and Curry in per-minute production over the past month. However, if Porter can return to the lineup, Kuminga will likely pick up a DNP-CD. Even if Porter doesn’t play, Kuminga lost minutes to Nemanja Bjelica in the Warriors’ last outing. He’s extremely risky on this slate.
  • Moses Moody ($2,000 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel): Moody doesn’t possess nearly the same upside as Kuminga, and his spot in the rotation is just as precarious. Gary Payton II is currently questionable, and he will almost certainly grab Moody’s minutes if he’s able to play. That said, Moody has some viability if GP2 is ruled out.
  • Gary Payton II ($1,600 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel): Head coach Steve Kerr said Payton isn’t guaranteed a spot in the rotation even if he can suit up on Thursday. There might be some truth to that, but I have a hard time believing it. Payton played significant minutes for the Warriors before getting injured, and he even started a few playoff contests. Kerr’s comments could also keep Payton’s ownership down, making him an outstanding tournament option.
  • Nemanja Bjelica ($1,400 on DraftKings, $7,000 on FanDuel): Belly came seemingly out of nowhere to post back-to-back games with at least 12.1 DraftKings points. He could retain his spot in the rotation if Porter is ruled out, and he’s always been a strong per-minute producer.
  • Damion Lee ($1,000 on DraftKings, $6,500 on FanDuel): The Warriors have the opposite problem as the Celtics: they have so many quality players that there isn’t enough room for all of them. Lee has gotten some run during the postseason, but he likely needs multiple players to be ruled out to have viability on Thursday.
  • Andre Iguodala ($1,000 on DraftKings, $6,000 on FanDuel): Iggy is also questionable, and his big-game prowess is undeniable. He could definitely get back into the rotation if he’s able to suit up.