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Fantasy Basketball Picks: Top DraftKings NBA DFS Lineup Strategy for Pacers vs. Lakers Showdown on December 9

Pearce Dietrich gives his top NBA lineup advice for Saturday’s fantasy basketball contest on DraftKings between the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Lakers.

New Orleans Pelicans v Los Angeles Lakers: Semifinals - 2023 NBA In-Season Tournament Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

The NBA In-Season Tournament Final concludes the inaugural NBA endeavor in Las Vegas on Saturday night. The up-tempo, upstart Indiana Pacers will face the veteran-led Los Angeles Lakers. To add even more excitement to the evening, we have another DFS Showdown contest to play on DraftKings. Let’s highlight some players to consider for your fantasy basketball lineups.

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $400K NBA Cup Special [$100K to 1st] (IND vs LAL)

Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Lakers

Captain’s Picks

LeBron James ($17,400 CP): This game has all of the pomp and circumstance. No other player has ever been more associated with pageantry than LeBron James. Take nothing away from what he has achieved during his career, but it’s always about what he has achieved. This is a new one. This is a new honor — another trophy for an already busy mantle. Of course, James wants to win the inaugural In-Season Tournament. James might not come off the court in the final on Saturday night. The Lakers do not play again until Tuesday. With game two of a back-to-back on Wednesday, he probably won’t even play on Tuesday. This could be a 40-minute night for LeBron. Throw the stats out, although the ageless wonder has been incredibly efficient this season, and lean heavily into the narrative. The old man — almost 40-years-old — has the chance to do something special on Saturday. He’ll play 40 minutes and could carry a 40% usage rate.

Tyrese Haliburton ($18,600 CP): The other option is the other star — some might say the real star. The sports books disagree. The Lakers are significant favorites (-175). The DFS diehards pumping out articles, lineups, projections, podcasts and YouTube shows do not see it the same. Haliburton has been the man this season. He averages the fifth most Points-Rebounds-Assists per game. The next best player in this contest is the man 15 years his senior. James ranks 12th. Again, throw out the stats and run with the narrative. Will the In-Season Tournament Championship be dominated by the veterans or the young upstarts making a name for themselves?

UTIL Plays

Anthony Davis ($11,400): This might be an NBA initiation for some DFS players. New NBA DFS players are dabbling in fantasy basketball for the first time. The regulars are returning as Saturdays shift from college football to NBA. Typically, Christmas Day is a popular moment to begin investing time in this product. The In-Season Tournament Final may have moved this day of interest forward on the calendar. With this being the case, let’s touch base with the basics. Minutes, usage rate and pace matter more than team or player. The best NBA DFS plays, play in fast-paced games and hog the ball. Haliburton and James are the biggest ball hogs on this NBS DFS Showdown Slate. The third option is Davis. He is the obvious pivot away from the popular LeBron James pick. This could easily be Davis’ night. The win might mean more for LeBron James. The King could be deferential and let Davis dominate.

Bruce Brown ($6,600): Haliburton has been the man and the Pacers have been the team this season. Every night, they deliver exactly what DFS NBA players crave — fantasy points. The Pacers play at the fastest pace (104.1 Pace) and have the highest rated offense in the NBA (123.5 Offensive Efficiency Rating). To go along with those key data points, the Pacers have the third-worst defense. Every game is filled with fireworks. Bruce Brown is becoming a star in these nightly shootouts. He made his name winning the 2023 championship with the Nuggets. Now, he’s after the jersey sales. Brown averages the third-most Points-Assists-Rebounds per game for the Pacers. He only carries a 15.4% usage rate, but that’s across 32 active minutes. Brown has the ability to stuff the peripheral stats on the box score. This is a championship game where there will be a lot of grinding. The peripheral stats could be the key to taking down the NBA DFS Showdown GPP on Saturday night.

Austin Reaves ($7,800): This is a paced-up spot for the Lakers. Reaves should get extra shots. There will be additional opportunities for assists and rebounds in the up-and-down game. How fast will this game actually be? Faster than you think. The Pacers are 16-4 to the over this season — 80% of the time, they go over the projected total. That total is 241 tonight. Someone is scoring DKFP. A DFS value pick or two will come through. Reaves doesn’t start but he averages 29.1 minutes per game and carries a 21.3% Usage Rate (a sustainable rate with the Lakers’ second unit). Normally, Reaves would be easy to click on as a value pick in a paced-up spot. There is one concern. This is a spotlight game. If LeBron James doesn’t come off the court, the Lakers’ second unit usage rates will be in question.


D’Angelo Russell ($7,400): This is not the night for secondary options. It’s the finals. It’s for stars and surprises. Russell will step aside for James and Davis. In the semifinals, Russell only played 22 minutes in the Lakers’ blowout win. In the quarterfinals, he only played 24 minutes in a much closer game. He shot 3-for-11 from the field in that game. He was 4-for-10 in 26 minutes on Dec. 2. The arrow is not pointing up for Russell.


The kids took out the Bucks and the league took notice. The Pacers don’t play a lick of defense, but it doesn’t matter right now. In a seven-game series, they will struggle, In their nightly one-and-done track meets, they gas their opponents. This is not the matchup the old men in L.A. want.

Final Score: Pacers 131, Lakers 114

Set your DraftKings fantasy basketball lineups here: NBA Showdown $400K NBA Cup Special [$100K to 1st] (IND vs LAL)

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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is greenflagradio2) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and do not constitute a representation that any particular strategy will guarantee success. All customers should use their own skill and judgment in building lineups. I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.