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NBA DFS: Core Four 8.25

NBA DFS: Core Four 8.25

With Brian back killing it on Picks and Pivots, I’ll be shifting to a new piece. We were using a “Games to Target” theory, but as the field gets smaller that doesn’t make as much sense. Instead, we’ll focus on a Core Four for the slate moving forward. There’s only two games tonight so the NBA DFS: Core Four 8.25 and other parts of the lineup are going to be chalky. That’s not exactly a bad thing with some good chalk to eat in the first player.

Luka Doncic

This is a fun and respectful point of contention with myself and Brian today. Brian (very justifiably) is on the Luka fade train tonight and that train of thought makes absolute sense. Especially on a two game slate, you have to take some chances to get to the top of the board. However, the only way I’m fading Luka is if I’m playing at least 20 lineups and then just one or two without him.

Luka is coming off an all-time playoff performance and may not have Kristaps Porzingis. Even if KP plays, A. he almost can’t be 100% on that knee and B. Luka has ceiling with KP. Just look at Game 1 when Luka went for 65 DK. Game’s 2 and 3 saw him under 30 minutes because of foul trouble and the original ankle injury. Porzingis will be under-owned tonight but I’m eating the Luka chalk and trying to find differences elsewhere. He has the highest ceiling, although the next two players are right behind him.

Kawhi Leonard

I’m not sure if anyone mentioned this to Kawhi, but he is allowed to guard Luka at the end of the game. Just food for thought for one of the best defensive players in the league. Anyways, the second true stud comes down to Kawhi or Donovan Mitchell. I was eyeing Mitchell but Nick brought up a great point on the live stream – what happens if Mitchell doesn’t score 50 real points? You’re very likely to be disappointed, so we’re riding with Kawhi.

He’s much more stable and I have to think we get a very motivated Kawhi tonight. That loss was embarrassing after choking a 20 point lead away and Luka was hitting shots over Reggie Jackson. The floor for Kawhi so far has been 53 DK and he’s covering for Paul George. He’s missed a double-double by one rebound the last two games and he’s on court for 40 minutes a night. I’m on board.

Jamal Murray

We’ve been very expensive so far and Murray isn’t cheap by any stretch, but he’s not expensive enough. For Denver to stave off elimination tonight, Murray is going to have to go nuts. He is going to be scoring dependent and the price can get scary. However, the ceiling is absolutely there with a 59 DK game and 82 last time out. The common thread in those two games? Denver was actually competitive in those two.

I don’t believe the Nuggets roll over and die. Furthermore, there’s got to be a game where the Jazz don’t shoot the lights out of the gym. They’ve been flirting with 60% from the floor for much of the series. Murray likely needs to put up 30 real points tonight and play almost the entire game. He was on the court for 43 minutes last time and I’d fully expect that again.

Ivica Zubac/Boban Marjanovic

We need someone cheap for NBA DFS: Core Four 8.25. With the other three in this lineup, spending on Nikola Jokic or Rudy Gobert simply isn’t possible. Instead, let’s use this spot to save some money and get the ability to wait on Porzingis news.

I’m slotting Zubac at the C slot and that may be different right off the hop. If KP does sit, you can swap to Boban and have an upgrade in mind elsewhere. My belief is that many spend up and pair Joker or Gobert with Luka. That leaves Murray or Kawhi “lower” than maybe some think. Instead, Zubac plays about 20-24 minutes a night and Montrezl Harrell has been abysmal so far this series. To wit, here’s his plus/minus on the floor so far.

Game 1 -7

Game 2 -15

Game 3 -5

Game 4 -19

For those scoring at home, the Clippers have been out-scored by 46 points when Trez is on the floor. FORTY. SIX. POINTS. By contrast, Zubac is a +35 in four games. They couldn’t be on more opposite ends of the spectrum and I think we’ve established LA can’t treat this series with anything but seriousness. Zubac is the better player right now. He’s not likely to put up 40 DK, but a rock solid 20-24 DK will do just fine in this slot.

Players to Consider

With three high-priced players, we do need some fillers. I will have two lineups tonight, one with this core and one that works with a Luka/Lou Williams/Kawhi foundation. Some players that I’m looking at to accomplish that are –

Seth Curry, Trey Burke, Monte Morris, Royce O’Neal, Reggie Jackson, Tim Hardaway Jr., Jordan Clarkson, Maxi Kleber and Landry Shamet.

Stick around in Discord today and best of luck on this slate!

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