On Tuesday night, Game 6 of the NBA Finals kicks off at 9 p.m. ET, with the Milwaukee Bucks looking to shut down the Phoenix Suns at home.
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The finals were a story of two series. The Suns dominated the first two games, but the Bucks came back strong to win each of the last three. Game 5 was an instant classic, highlighted by some elite defensive play from Jrue Holiday:
– NBA (@NBA) July 18, 2021
With their victory in Game 5, the Bucks now have a chance to close this streak on their home turf. They are currently listed as five-point favorites in Game 6, and they’ve gone down to around -425 to take the title. If they can wrap it up, it would be their first NBA Championship since 1971.
One more victory would also cement Giannis Antetokounmpothe legacy of. He’s averaged 29.2 points, 12.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game during the playoffs, and he upped those numbers to 32.2 points, 13.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. during the final.
He moved to -400 to win the MVP of the final, and adding that to his CV would give him a serious trophy for a 26-year-old. Only one other player in league history has won two regular season MVPs, a playoff MVP and a Defensive Player of the Year award, and his name is Michael Jordan.
Giannis comes out of a sub-par match in Game 5, finishing with just 52.25 DraftKings points. Optimal lineup on DraftKings actually didn’t have Giannis in it for the first time in every series, but it took a lot of factors to make that happen. Not only did Giannis have to post a deadly stat line, but a handful of other players in this contest had to leave as well.
With that in mind, I return straight to the well with Giannis in game 6. He will command massive property, but he is simply the safest investment in fantasy. He’s posted a plus / minus positive on DraftKings in 13 of his last 14 games, and the only exception was the injured game against the Hawks. He leads all players in median, ceiling and floor projected in our NBA models – not surprisingly – but he also ranks first in the projected Over / Under.
Devin Booker has had some breathtaking moments in the last two games. He’s been criticized for not getting his teammates involved early enough in games, but he displayed some of the best shots we’ve seen in the NBA in years. Some of the two difficult mediums he created were extremely impressive.
Overall, he posted a use rate of at least 43.1% in consecutive games, and his 55.5 DraftKings points in Game 5 was his best score of the series. It is only the sixth most expensive option in this contest on FanDuel, earning it a 97% rating.
Khris Middleton also took a step forward in the playoffs. He’s come closest to the Bucks and he’s been phenomenal in that role. He started Game 5 just 1 of 7 in the first quarter, but was 11 of 16 in the last three.
Middleton doesn’t have as many bright spots as Booker, but he’s much better in the outlying categories. He averaged 6.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists in the final, making him the preferred target of both.
Jrue Holidays just had his best game of the series in Game 5. He’s been phenomenal on the defensive end of the court throughout the playoffs, but he’s been hit and miss offensively. He finished with 61.5 DraftKings points on Saturday thanks to 27 points and 13 assists, so I would definitely classify that as a “hit.”
It has similar projections to Booker and Middleton in our NBA models, but it’s cheaper than the two players on DraftKings.
Chris Paul completes that price bracket, and the Bucks have done a great job of neutralizing it in the last three games. Some have speculated he was injured, but I don’t think that gives enough credit to what Holiday has done defensively. The combination of big playoff minutes and vacationing in your chest for 90 feet on every possession is enough to wear anyone out, especially a 36-year-old.
The Bucks coaching staff also deserves some credit. They made the decision to let Booker beat them and focus on the rest of the offense. This capped Paul’s fantasy upside down.
He finished with 44.0 DraftKings points in Game 5, but he shot 60% from the field and a perfect 100% from the 3-point range. This makes him a candidate for regression in Game 6.
Deandre Ayton could very easily be considered a stallion. He just picked up 20 points and 10 rebounds in Game 5, which earned him 40.5 DraftKings points. He’s delivered such performances throughout the playoffs, so there’s no reason to think he won’t be able to do it again on Tuesday. His projected Over / Under only follows Antetokounmpo’s in our NBA models, and he leads all players in the points per dollar projection.
Jae Crowder walked out the gates burning on Saturday. He was 3 of 3 with eight points in the first quarter, and the Suns as a team shot a ridiculous 73.7 percent. Unfortunately, Crowder only took one extra shot in the last three quarters, and he finished with just seven total shot attempts.
Still, he has established himself as the clear No.4 option for the Suns in this series. He just lost 40.1 minutes in his last game and Crowder has great potential with so much playing time. He finished with just 25.75 DraftKings points in Game 5, but he tallied at least 32.0 DraftKings points in each of his previous three games.
Mikal Bridges was super efficient in Game 5. He shot 5 of 6 from the field and a perfect 3 of 3 for 3 points, but still finished with just 26.0 DraftKings points. His minutes were also up slightly, so the fact that he couldn’t put in a better performance when everything went well for him is concerning. It is a bit expensive considering its current role.
Brook lopez is a very attractive low buy option on Tuesday. He only played 21.2 and 19.2 minutes in Games 3 and 4, but that figure rose to 28.7 in Game 5. That didn’t lead to a fantastic good outing – he finished with just 15.5 DraftKings points – but Lopez is capable of averaging over 1.00. DraftKings points per minute. There’s no guarantee he’ll see that much playing time again on Tuesday, but he’s a good bet to bring in value if he does.
Pat connaughton was one of the unsung heroes of the Bucks. No one in this series has scored more than 3 points, and Connaughton has scored at least 23.5 DraftKings points in three of his last four games. That said, its price has climbed to $ 5,200 on DraftKings, and it’s hard to justify that price. His cap has been capped at around 25 DraftKings points, so he offers very little benefit to that salary. That’s a much stronger target at just $ 8,500 on FanDuel.
Bobby portis completes this level and he has played at least 18.3 minutes in three consecutive games. His salary also dropped by -600 after Game 5, which gives him added appeal.
Values & Plates
- Cameron Johnson ($ 4,400 on DraftKings, $ 9,000 on FanDuel): Johnson’s role with the Suns was growing throughout this series, but don’t be surprised if he takes a step back on Tuesday. He was absolutely appalling in Game 5 as the Suns were outscored by -19 points in his 21.9 minutes.
- Cameron Payne ($ 4,000 on DraftKings, $ 8,000 on FanDuel): Payne had a few moments for the Suns during the playoffs, but there just isn’t a lot of work available for him with healthy Paul and Booker. He still has an edge at this price – he finished with 21.0 DraftKings points in 14.6 minutes in Game 5 – but his ownership could be a bit inflated as a result of that performance.
- PJ Tucker ($ 3,400 on DraftKings, $ 7,500 on FanDuel): Tucker’s workload is down for the Bucks, which makes sense in this series. His value comes from his defensive ability against forwards like Kevin Durant, and the Suns don’t really have one in their lineup. Tucker is one of the worst fantasy producers in the league on a per minute basis, so he has to play close to 40 minutes to be relevant. He probably won’t do it on Tuesday.
- Torrey Craig ($ 2,600 on DraftKings, $ 7,000 on FanDuel): Craig has seen a few minutes off the bench for the Suns in this series, but he has yet to manage 7.75 DraftKings points. However, he finished with 6.0 DraftKings points in the game 5 on 1 in 4, so he has the potential for a slightly better performance tonight.
- Jeff Teague ($ 2,000 on DraftKings, $ 7,000 on FanDuel): Teague was a whopping -11 over 7.5 minutes in Game 5, and the Bucks better not play him at this point. Still, he’s screened for about seven minutes in our NBA models, giving him an outside chance to return value.
In the photo above: Giannis Antetokounmpo # 34 of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Photo credit: Jesse D. Garrabrant / NBAE via Getty Images.