Wednesday’s slate features one-game contests for Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.
If you’re new to single-game formats, be sure to check out these guides by Matt LaMarca:
- 5 Tips to Dominate the DraftKings NBA Showdown Format
- How Does the Single-Game NBA Format on FanDuel Differ From DraftKings?
Kevin Durant (calf) is a game-time decision for Game 5. In theory, KD’s presence should make life easier for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but there’s only so many shots to go around; Steph and Klay have both seen a decrease in their per-minute fantasy production with KD on the floor.
Still, even if KD is active, it’s hard to know how healthy he will be and how long he will play. As I write this, we have him projected for 27.6 minutes — enough to put Curry firmly behind Kawhi Leonard for the No. 1 spot in the value rankings in our NBA Player Models. If KD gets ruled out, Steph’s ceiling would increase, but I would still consider Kawhi the higher-floor play. If KD does play, he may attempt to conserve effort defensively and on the glass, making him a high-risk, high-reward tournament play.
Why is Kawhi Leonard the No. 1 value? Since the postseason started, he’s averaging 31.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.6 blocks, which has translated to a +9.89 Plus/Minus and 77% Consistency Rating. In the Finals, Kawhi is hanging 30.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 blocks a night on Golden State, good for a +11.54 Plus/Minus and 75% Consistency Rating.
While Klay Thompson‘s fantasy numbers have suffered with KD on the court, KD’s presence could open things up for Klay in this game if KD ends up being more of a decoy. Klay is a solid floor play with sneaky upside.
You would think Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka would be negatively correlated, but Gasol’s only negative correlation is to Kawhi (-0.10). Gasol’s minutes have been in the 26-31 range this series, giving him a higher floor than Ibaka even though they’re relatively even in terms of Projected Plus/Minus.
Serge Ibaka is averaging the most DraftKings points per minute (1.35) on the Raptors save for Kawhi and is coming off back-to-back games in which he played just 22 minutes in each, yet he exceeded salary-based expectations by more than 10 points. Capable of posting big numbers in every category but assists, Ibaka is the top value among players with below a five-figure salary on DraftKings.
Danny Green has exceeded value in only six of 22 games this postseason, but two of those have come in the last four. Green is always liable to go missing like the nets of playground hoops, but he’s still the top value under $5,000.
Shaun Livingston‘s minutes will likely go unchanged regardless of KD’s status — he has played double-digit minutes in every game this postseason. Our models project Livingston for the highest ceiling among players with a DraftKings salary under $4,000.
After this piece is published, FantasyLabs is likely to provide news updates on a number of players. Be sure to stay ahead of your competition with our NBA News Feed.
Pictured above: Toronto Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard (2)
Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports