Before we jump into today's lineup, I have to get something off my chest. The new "Meet the Hoopers" State Farm commercial is awful. First, why did it go with four guys who haven't even sniffed a ring? (OK, I know Kevin Love technically came within two games of winning a title, but he's only played in one playoff series.) None of the other guys has even played in a conference finals series.
Second, shouldn't Chris Paul have been the mom? He's undoubtedly flashing the softest facial features of the bunch, plus he's basically the mom of the Clippers (unless you count Doc Rivers.)
I hope we don't have to suffer through four different iterations of these commercials all the way through June.
OK, rant over, on to the predictions:
|Point Guard||Mike Conley||$6,200||vs. Lakers|
|Shooting Guard||Will Barton||$7,000||@ Thunder|
|Small Forward||Kostas Papanikolaou||$3,300||@ Thunder|
|Power Forward||DeMarcus Cousins||$9,900||vs. Blazers|
|Center||Enes Kanter||$4,500||vs. Nuggets|
|Guard||C.J. McCollum||$7,200||@ Kings|
|Forward||Amir Johnson||$4,400||vs. Knicks|
|Utility||Marc Gasol||$7,300||vs. Lakers|
C.J. McCollum ($7,600) @ Kings
Damian Lillard might return Sunday to play in his home state's capital. But even if he does, I like McCollum's chances against the Kings. Sacramento is ranked dead last against opposing shooting guards, according to DraftKings. The Kings are tied with the Warriors for the fastest pace of play in the league and have the seventh-worst defensive rating, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
McCollum ranks second on the Blazers and just outside the top 20 overall with a usage percentage of 26.1, per Basketball-Reference.com. He'll get plenty of opportunities in Northern California.
Mike Conley ($6,200) vs. Lakers
The Lakers can't guard opposing point guards, and the Grizzlies aren't good enough to completely run away from them. Conley has quietly turned it on over these past couple of weeks, averaging over 34 fantasy points per game since December 14.
He'll easily outsmart Jordan Clarkson, Lou Williams and D'Angelo Russell with his ambidextrous finishing ability and intelligent distribution. Hopefully, the Lakers will keep it close enough for Conley to play 35 minutes.
Enes Kanter ($4,500) vs. Nuggets
Kanter is becoming a beast on the offensive glass. Per Basketball-Reference.com, he has 13 offensive rebounds in his last two games and has posted double-doubles in three of his past four outings.
In fact, Kanter is averaging 1.36 fantasy points per minute in his last four games. He even cracked the Oklahoma City's crunch-time lineup in its loss to the Bulls Christmas Day. He's also a nice play when there's blowout potential, because he racks up tons of fantasy points against the other team's scrubs.
Enter the DraftKings $35K Sharpshooter contest this weekend. Use the promo code BLEACHER REPORT when you sign up.