The 2023 NBA Finals get underway this week as the Denver Nuggets play host to the Miami Heat in Game 1 on Thursday night. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. ET from Ball Arena with a broadcast available on ABC.
Nikola Jokic ($21,000) - There’s no getting around it. Jokic is expensive, but it’s with good reason as he’s a consistent producer in DFS contests. He put up 79.5 fantasy points in Game 4 against the Lakers as he recorded another triple-double, averaging 71 DKFP throughout the conference finals series. He’s generally good for at least 65-70 fantasy points consistently on the low end, and I’d expect him to put in a big performance at home for Game 1.
Jimmy Butler ($20,100) - Butler is another viable option, though his fantasy numbers overall pale in comparison to Jokic. You’re not getting much of a price break with Butler’s salary at just $900 cheaper than the Joker’s, but you know he’ll put in a good performance. He averaged just under 50 DKFP per game against the Celtics and is a solid option if you’re looking for ways to shave off a little salary in the captain spot.
Jamal Murray ($10,800) - Murray is a little more expensive than what I usually like to throw in as a flex play, but he’s been so good recently it’s nearly impossible to leave him off. Murray averaged 56 DKFP per game against the Lakers, topping out at 68 fantasy points in Game 2 as he put up at least 31 points form the floor in three of the four games.
Caleb Martin ($7,400) - Martin had some solid performances in the ECF against the Celtics, putting up 48.25 and 48 DKFP in the final two games. He hit four shots from downtown in each of those games, scoring 21 and 26 points from the floor, respectively. He’s cheap enough that he won’t eat up a ton of your salary cap and you can expect him to turn out at least 30-35+ DKFP in Game 1.
Aaron Gordon ($6,600) - Gordon has had some great performances, but he lacks the consistency needed to make him a solid fantasy option. He scored 42.5 DKFP in Game 4 against the Lakers, but finished with less than 20 in the first three games of the series. He’s vital to the Nuggets on the floor, but he’s hard to count on from a fantasy perspective.
Bam Adebayo ($9,200) - Adebayo will be going up against Jokic under the rim all night, and that usually means stat lines will drop a bit especially in Game 1. Adebayo has averaged 7.8 rebounds per game through his last 10 outings, but that average drops to just 4.5 against the Nuggets in the regular season. He hasn’t been too consistent with his fantasy output throughout the postseason either, and I’d say it’s best to stay away from him at least for Game 1 at this price tag.
The Nuggets are coming into this game with a lot more rest than Miami, and they’ll be amped as they enter their first-ever NBA Finals. They’re playing in front of their home crowd at Ball Arena and are poised to get a big win in Game 1. The Heat might be able to keep it somewhat close, but I think the Nuggets end up on top after 48 minutes.
Final score: Nuggets 121, Heat 115