The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets start their Western Conference Finals series on Friday night with Game 1 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The Lakers had been awaiting the winner of Nuggets-Clippers and were probably a bit surprised with the outcome. Instead of the Battle for L.A. we get a less appealing matchup. Nothing against the Nuggets, though, they’re a great story and this should be an exciting series. Let’s look at some fade and value options to consider for the DraftKings Showdown contest.
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Players to Fade
Michael Porter Jr. ($8,400)
I’ve been perpetually fading Porter in these contests, mostly because he’s extremely volatile. The price on Porter has been inflated since the NBA bubble started up. He had a string of great performances in the seeding round and has been riding that ceiling. The production hasn’t been nearly as effective. My biggest concern with Porter is when he’s on the court he could get stuck on LeBron James a bit. If that’s the case, fouls could become an issue and coach Mike Malone could opt for better defenders in Jerami Grant and Torrey Craig.
Kyle Kuzma ($7,000)
Kuzma is similar to MPJ in that his price is too high for what we get out of him. Throughout the playoffs, Kuzma has come off the bench and is averaging just 11 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. His price was down in the $5K range at the end of last series and now it jumped back up to $7K, which isn’t offering us any value really. Kuzma has a similar ceiling as Porter but we’re seeing it play out way less often than the Nuggets rookie. There’s just not a lot of reason to pay up here when there’s better value.
Danny Green ($4,800)
Green struggled through the first round and was better against Houston in the second round. He eventually got it going in Games 4 and 5, combining for 24 points on 6-of-11 shooting from outside. Green is one of those veteran players who has been here before and knows what it takes to hit big shots in the spotlight. The Lakers have had issues with scoring outside of LeBron and Anthony Davis. Green could become an OK third option if he can get hot from outside. Think of a very, very poor man’s Ray Allen for the Heatles.
Alex Caruso ($4,000)
Rajon Rondo (back) is being listed as questionable for Game 1 on Friday. If he sits, the Lakers will get some more minutes in the back court off the bench. Most of that playing time should trickle down to Caruso, who has been playing 20+ minutes pretty consistently anyway. With that in mind, Caruso is a strong value play regardless of Rondo’s status, but keep an eye out there. Both Caruso and Green could be popular pivots if Rondo is ruled out.