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Best lineup strategy for Pelicans vs. Heat NBA Showdown on Christmas Day

We give our picks for DraftKings featured Showdown contest between Miami and New Orleans on Christmas Day.

New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram and New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball tall with the referee during the second half at Amalie Arena. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Christmas Day slate is the most wonderful slate of the year! To get us started on Friday, we’ve got a matchup between the New Orleans Pelicans and Miami Heat in South Beach. With Florida basically being open, we should see plenty of Jimmy Butler and Zion Williamson jerseys in the crowd in Miami. Here we’re going to go over some lineup strategy and picks for the featured Showdown contest on DraftKings.

Captain’s Picks

Jimmy Butler ($13,800) — Butler is the third-highest priced Captain in this contest and he should probably be the highest priced. There’s a lot of narrative to this pick. We’ve got Butler and the Heat coming off a loss in the opener to the Orlando Magic. We’ve got Christmas Day Jimmy. Big Face Coffee is probably killing it this holiday season! Seriously though, Butler has the highest upside of any player in this contest and has a reasonable price tag. The Pelicans played tough defense in the opener but I’m hoping for Butler’s resolve to take over.

Tyler Herro ($10,200) — I’m not against using a Pelicans player in the Captain’s slot I just think they’ll probably be chalky and there isn’t as much value. Herro started in the opener and played north of 30 minutes. He had a poor shooting night, going 6-of-14 from the floor and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. Herro still finished with 13 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists, so it wasn’t as bad a fantasy night as most. I’m expecting the Heat to bounce back against the Pels and Herro’s price tag is appealing given his upside and role with Miami.

Flex Plays

Zion Williamson ($9,400) — If you don’t want to go with the two Heat players in the Captain’s slot, Zion is your best bet. The Heat started Moe Harkless and Bam Adebayo in the front court in the opener. Bam is a great defender, but he should be matched up against Steven Adams. There is no way Harkless can guard Zion. He’s just too big a body for somebody like Harkless, who is better suited to be playing SF. If this is the case, Williamson should AT LEAST feast on the boards and put up a double-double. Best case is it’s the Zion Williamson Christmas Party!

Duncan Robinson ($4,800) — Again, tough matchup with Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe in the back court for the Pels. Still, Robinson is a starter for the Heat and should see around 25-30 minutes in this game, so at this price tag there’s a lot of value. Robinson played 30 minutes in the opener and scored 14 points on a pretty efficient 4-of-8 from the floor and 3-of-6 from beyond the arc. He also chipped in 5 rebounds. The floor is high for Robinson given the minutes and role.


Lonzo Ball ($7,800) — Ball is slowly turning into a defensive specialist and somebody who maybe can get to a triple-double in the right situation. This game is not that situation. I can see this total going under and this being a low scoring game. If that’s the case, Ball isn’t a high-volume scorer anyway. So really, at this price, we need him to get a ton of assists and rebounds to return value. The Pelicans are a deep team and Ball’s focus will be on defense.

The Outcome

This is a tough game to predict, because I sort of feel like the Heat will bounce back. I also feel like the Pelicans are a very good team and can clamp down on defense while also filling it up. Zion should feast on Harkless, which isn’t good for Miami. NOLA has the perimeter defenders to shut down the Heat. I think it will be the Jimmy Butler show, but it will look a lot like the NBA Finals, when Butler was going off while the Lakers were winning. I’m leaning the Pelicans here.

Final Score: New Orleans 104, Miami 97