(Photo Credit: USA Today Sport via Reuters/Kyle Terada)
PG - Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans
This seems counterintuitive on the surface given Curry's rough shooting night in Golden State's Game 3 loss and James Harden having a solid 25-point, 12-assist effort in a Game 3 win at Utah.
But if there is one thing the Warriors have done well throughout their four-season reign of terror, especially in the playoffs, it is bouncing back from a loss. Not counting the NBA Finals, the Warriors have lost consecutive games just twice while running through the Western Conference gauntlet.
And Curry has never shot below 35 percent in back-to-back playoff games spanning 77 career postseason games. With a cost more than 20 percent less than Harden, it makes sense to use Curry over Harden in a bid to create flexibility to select Anthony Davis (more on him later).
Alternate option: Rajon Rondo, New Orleans Pelicans vs Golden State Warriors
It is not every day one recommends a point guard coming off a four-point performance against the NBA's best team, but not every point guard is #PlayoffRondo. While expecting him to put up another 21 assists is unreasonable,
Rondo has now reached double figures in assists in six of his seven playoff games, averaging 13.9 overall, and the fact this will be an up-tempo game in which the winner likely will have at least 110 points, Rondo is a good fall-back option to rack up assists while finding 3-pointers from other sources when opting to bypass Curry.
Low-cost option: Ian Clark, New Orleans Pelicans vs Golden State Warriors
Clark is more of a combo scoring guard like Curry compared to the pass-first Rondo, but after his 18-point effort in Game 3, the Pelicans backup guard should be brimming with confidence to help New Orleans square this series.
There is a risk here considering he had totaled 22 points in his previous five points before Friday night's breakout game, but with Jazz guard Ricky Rubio only questionable and likely coming off the bench, Clark is the selection here because it is better to have Eric Gordon as the low-cost option at shooting guard.
SG - Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans vs Golden State Warriors
Whatever adjustments Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday had to make after his disastrous Game 1 of this series in which he made just four of 14 shots, he has made them. Holiday has totaled 45 points in the last two games, hitting 19 of 38 shots while also totaling 15 rebounds and 13 assists.
Overall, Holiday is averaging 23.9 points and 6.1 assists while connecting on 51.9 percent of his shots and has added three steals and three blocks for good measure.
Alternate option: Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans
Much like Curry, it is difficult believing Thompson will have a third straight off night shooting, and even while going nine for 22 on Friday night, he totaled a team-high 26 points. Thompson has averaged 24.8 points in his last eight overall games in New Orleans, shooting 50 percent overall and 44.1 percent (30 for 68) from beyond the arc.
Low-cost option: Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz
While the Rockets punched the Jazz in the mouth early in Game 3, Gordon made sure Houston had their foot on Utah's neck throughout that 113-92 win as he made eight of 13 shots and scored 25 points off the bench.
Gordon has averaged 16.5 points in his last six games, hitting at least three treys in five of them, and he could again be the swing vote as the Rockets look to take a 3-1 series lead.
SF - Kevin Durant, Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans
It seems like everyone important on the Warriors save Draymond Green (we'll get to him in a bit) is trying to bounce back from that Game 3 loss, and Durant was "held" to a playoff-season low 22 points while being largely anonymous and going eight for 18.
His 3-point shooting continues to be off at 27.1 percent in these playoffs, but with his cost at a low value compared to his potential all-around worth, Durant is hard to pass up at the small forward slot where the pickings are slim.
Alternate option: Joe Ingles, Utah Jazz vs Houston Rockets
In picking between Ingles and teammate Jae Crowder, one statistic stood out: Crowder has averaged 5.5 points on 22.6 percent shooting in four playoff games at home compared to his overall marks of 11.0 points per game on 37.2 percent shooting.
While Ingles endured a brutal Game 3 (along with everyone in a Jazz uniform), he at least had averaged 18.0 points in the previous three home games while making 11 of 18 from 3-point range. Ergo, Ingles over Crowder.
Low-cost option: Trevor Ariza, Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz
The Rockets are 4-0 in the playoffs when Ariza reaches double figures, which he did in Game 3 by scoring 11 points and hitting a pair of 3-pointers. It is hard to expect anything from Ariza, but with a lack of scoring options at the small forward position behind Durant, almost anyone can be a potential low-cost pick for cap flexibility.
PF - Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans vs Golden State Warriors
After two off games in Golden State, by his standards at least, in which he totaled 46 points and 25 rebounds, Davis re-discovered his world-class status with 33 points, 18 rebounds and four steals in Game 3.
He is now seven for seven in double-doubles, averaging 30.1 points and 13.1 rebounds in these playoffs, and also has totaled 16 steals, 16 blocks, and 13 assists. The gap with him at power forward is more pronounced at power forward than center, so slotting him here versus center makes more sense.
Alternate option: Nikola Mirotic, New Orleans Pelicans vs Golden State Warriors
Mirotic notched his third double-double of the postseason with 16 points and 13 rebounds in Game 3 and continued to show a spark from beyond the arc by making three of five there.
He is a strong candidate to be a utility pick considering he has grabbed at least eight rebounds in all seven postseason games and has averaged 16.6 points and 9.7 rebounds overall while making 44.2 percent (19 for 43) of his 3-point attempts.
Low-cost option: Jae Crowder, Utah Jazz vs Houston Rockets
While tabbing Ingles over him at the small forward spot, Crowder could be used at the power forward spot as a potential source of 3-pointers. The undersized sixth man has made 37.0 percent of his 3-point attempts and also is pulling down 4.8 rebounds per contest.
C - Draymond Green, Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans
When not trying to get in the head of Rondo or throwing shade at TNT studio analyst Charles Barkley, Green has been Golden State's best player in this series and is undervalued while averaging a triple-double through the first three games while finishing one rebound and one assist shy of recording them in all three contests.
He has added a solid shooting percentage from 3-point range, going five for 11, and is shooting 53.6 percent overall. Green and Davis are arguably the two closest to must-play in DFS at this point while they bang away at each other.
Alternate option: Clint Capela OR Rudy Gobert, Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz
Given how little separate their games besides their DFS cost, Capela or Gobert is a choose-your-adventure play if you don't have the space for Green. Both will likely shoot over 60 percent from the field, finishing with a low double-double (think around 15 points and ten to 12 rebounds).
It really comes down to which team you have confidence in to win Game 4. This space likes Capela because the Rockets likely have a gear for this game the Jazz cannot match.
Low-cost option: David West, Golden State Warriors @ New Orleans Pelicans
West is merely filler here as a last-resort option to round out a lineup given Jazz forward Derrick Favors is questionable with a hamstring injury suffered in Game 3. West likely will not get over 12 minutes unless this game gets out of hand, so make it a point to use him only in case of emergency.
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