The NBA playoffs get underway Saturday with four games on the schedule. Two series in each conference will play their first game, including the defending champion Warriors taking on the Spurs and the up-and-coming Sixers getting their first taste of playoff action against the Heat. Letís add to the excitement of the day by trying to bring home some money on DraftKings as well with the players below who all have favorable matchups.
Damian Lillard, POR vs. NO ($9,200): Lillard led the Blazers to the third seed in the West with his 30.5% usage rate that ranked 11th in the league. He excelled against the Pelicans in their four matchups during the regular season, averaging 26.5 points, 5.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.5 three-pointers per contest. The Pelicans not only allowed the most points per game (110.4) of any team in the playoffs, but they also allowed the second-most in the league as a whole this season. Look for Lillard to have a big Game 1 and series in general.
C.J. McCollum, POR vs. NO ($6,800): Lillardís running mate McCollum had another strong offensive season, averaging 21.4 points per game with a 26.5% usage rate. His value didnít all come from his scoring though, also averaging four rebounds, 3.4 assists and one steal per contest. The Pelicans allowed the fourth-most DraftKings points per game (53) to opposing shooting guards this season, making McCollum someone to consider for your entry.
Dejounte Murray, SA at GS ($5,500): It appears Murray will luck out on the defensive end of the floor as Stephen Curry (knee) is not expected to play in this series. Murrayís numbers donít exactly jump off the page, but he did average 10.1 points, seven rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals as member of the starting five this season. The Warriors played at the fifth-fastest pace (101.9 possessions per game) in the league during the regular season, which might leave Murray with a few added opportunities to provide value Saturday.
Ben Simmons, PHI vs. MIA ($9,400): With Joel Embiid (eye) already ruled out for Game 1, Simmons will be tasked with leading the Sixers in their first playoff series since ďThe ProcessĒ began in Philadelphia. Simmons was stellar in the final eight regular season games that Embiid sat out, scoring at least 40 DraftKings points six times. His ability to stuff the stat sheet in multiple categories should give him a high upside again Saturday.
Robert Covington, PHI vs. MIA ($6,300): Covington shot 41.3% from the field this season, the first time he topped 40% from the field since his rookie season in 2013-14. He still took plenty of shots from behind the arc, averaging 6.9 three-point attempts per game. Heíll be tasked to carry more of the offensive load with Embiid out, but he also provides tremendous value with his ability to create steals. Heíll get plenty of minutes as well, making him a viable mid-tier option for your entry.
Al-Farouq Aminu, POR vs. NO ($4,900): Aminu had one of the best seasons of his career this year, averaging 9.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.8 three-pointers per game. He was even better in four games against the Pelicans, averaging 11 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.8 three-pointers per contest. Considering the Pelicans played at the fastest pace (102.7) during the regular season, the extra chances to provide value makes Aminu a cheap option to consider.
LaMarcus Aldridge, SA at GS ($9,700): Aldridge was tasked with leading the Spurs offensively this season with Kawhi Leonard (quad) out, finishing with a 29.1% usage rate that ranked inside the top 20 in the league. He was dominant in his first four meetings against the Warriors this season, averaging 26.8 points, 11 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 blocks per contest. There is no return in sight for Leonard, so expect Aldridge to have a huge role again for the Spurs in Game 1.
Jonas Valanciunas, TOR vs. WAS ($5,500): Valanciunasí inconsistent playing time was often a source of frustration during the regular season and he ended up averaging a career-low 22 minutes per game. His numbers didnít suffer much though because he posted a career-high 22.7% usage rate. He does have the ability to put up some big numbers when given extended minutes, so he might be worth the risk based on his upside if you donít want to pay up for Aldridge.
Richaun Holmes, PHI vs. MIA ($4,000): Cheap value plays at center are hard to come by with only four games on the schedule, but the injury to Embiid creates an expanded role for Holmes. In the last eight games of the season with Embiid sidelined, Holmes averaged 9.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and one block per contest. His upside isnít great, but heís priced low enough to still be worth considering Saturday in tournament play.