Fantasy Basketball 2021: Daily Fantasy Advice for Tuesday's NBA Playoffs

Zach Buckley@@ZachBuckleyNBANational NBA Featured ColumnistMay 25, 2021

Fantasy Basketball 2021: Daily Fantasy Advice for Tuesday's NBA Playoffs

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    Tuesday's three-game NBA postseason slate offers options to the daily fantasy community.

    The night isn't light on name recognition or the giant numbers attached to it. The schedule features, among others: LeBron James, Luka Doncic, Kawhi Leonard, Jayson Tatum and the Brooklyn Nets' Big Three.

    All of the above are worth the viewing attention of any hoops fan, but which names are also worth a big chunk of your DFS budget? And which support players should you be seeking out to support your lineup's cornerstones?

    Again, you have options, but since you came here for advice, we're breaking down our top lineup picks from three different fantasy tiers.

Lineup Anchor: Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

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    Charles Krupa/Associated Press

    There are a number of different directions you can go for your centerpiece, but three players caught my attention: Devin Booker, Luka Doncic and Jayson Tatum.

    Booker's playoff debut looked like a leap to the next tier of stardom (34 points and eight assists). Doncic almost always puts absurd numbers on the stat sheet, and Saturday's Game 1 was no exception (31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds). Both would be fine selections.

    But Tatum edges them out for two reasons.

    One, he is everything for Boston's Jaylen Brown-less offense. Tatum didn't have the cleanest playoff opener (30 percent shooting with five fouls and four turnovers), but he was clearly driving this attack. He took at least four more shots than each of his teammates (20), accounted for 11 of the team's 26 free-throw attempts and initiated enough sets to accumulate five assists and four turnovers.

    Two, his defensive matchup is about as good as it gets. The Brooklyn Nets ranked 22nd overall and second-worst among playoff participants in defensive rating this season. Tatum cleared 30 points twice in three tries against this defense during the regular season. If he doesn't break that number on Tuesday, he'll be a disappointment.

Key Support Player: Tim Hardaway Jr., Dallas Mavericks

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    Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

    While all shooters can heat up, only the elites go nuclear.

    For much of the past few weeks, Tim Hardaway Jr. has been on one of those fire-breathing tears.

    Between April 29 and May 12, he engineered a sizzling eight-game stretch with 26.0 points per game on 55.7/49.4/88.9 shooting. To open the postseason on Saturday, he needed just 13 shots to net 21 points, going 8-of-13 from the field and 5-of-9 from distance.

    The Los Angeles Clippers aren't short on talented defenders, but they don't always stay connected the way you must to contain a sniper like Hardaway.

    Considering Doncic will never miss the 29-year-old when he's open, the scoring wing should be poised for another offensive eruption.

Bargain Sleeper: Nicolas Batum, Los Angeles Clippers

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    While series openers are infamous for eliciting overreactions, an 0-2 stumble can be reason to panic. Especially for a team that starts the series inside its own friendly confines.

    The Los Angeles Clippers should feel a sense of urgency (if not outright desperation) when they return to action on Tuesday. They don't want to head to the Alamo State down two games to none against the Dallas Mavericks.

    Luckily, Dallas' 21st-ranked defense should offer some get-right opportunities for a Clippers offense that paced this season in three-point shooting and promptly went 11-of-40 to start the playoffs. If L.A. can turn things around on Tuesday, veteran Nicolas Batum should be at the center of those changes.

    The 32-year-old is a secondary distributor, floor-spacing shooter and, at times, support scorer for this offense, plus a reliable vet who has the trust of Clippers coach Tyronn Lue.

    On Saturday, Batum was the only Clipper to log 22-plus minutes and post a positive plus/minus (plus-6 in 32), and he tied for the team lead with three triples and ranked second with seven rebounds.