Panda's Picks 11/11 NBA - Bamboo Brew and a 6-Game Slate Overview

Welcome to another edition of Panda’s Picks! If you have any feedback on how I can make this better please do so in the comments! If you like what you see, go ahead and give me the thumbs up and I wouldn’t be mad if you gave me a follow on Twitter. There’s not a whole lot to love on this slate, but a lot to like!

Timberwolves ( 111.25 ) @ Pistons ( 113.25 )

PACE: MIN – 1st DET – 24th
OFF EFF: MIN – 21st DET – 11th
DEF EFF: MIN – 16th DET – 23rd
REB RATE: MIN – 19th DET – 5th

Exploitable Stats:


30th in made 3P% allowed


24th in points allowed in the paint
26th in steals allowed per possession
30th in assists allowed per possession

The Pistons get a huge boost here facing the league’s fastest pace team and their middle of the pack defense on a back to back. The problem is they’re priced up everywhere and the length of the injury list is getting shorter. Blake is back and to a lesser extent so is Frazier. Rose is questionable and if he plays the hit is even larger. Even if Blake and Rose, if he suits up, were to see limited minutes, especially Blake, they’re not going to be out there just for the exercise. These are still minutes and usage that will be taken from others.

So what does this mean? Well, to me it means I’m mostly off the Pistons. Even if we build an argument that the increased pace will offset the likely minute and usage loss of certain Pistons, we’re still paying a premium for them, and I’m shopping for deals. Blake’s price on DK is manageable if we can project him for a full workload, but even then, there should still be rust, PF’s are not a cake match-up versus the Wolves and as we continue to work through this slate we’ll find that there are some primo PF spots on this slate.

I really don’t like playing elite C’s when facing other elite C’s. They make each other work and wear each other down. Foul trouble happens too often. Something Drum and KAT can both fall into here. The problem is C as a whole is weak today, especially on FD, where we don’t have those C eligible PF’s at our disposal. So, although I don’t like them, they’re more a potential necessary evil there depending on your build approach. For what it’s worth, neither has really had a prime game against the other since KAT’s been in the league.

It’s hard to break down the Wolves, not knowing if Teague or Napier will play. Wiggins has been beastly with Teague out, but the price is getting up there and although this isn’t a bad spot, it’s not a can’t miss situation here. I’m not willing to write him off, but my exposure will be limited.

Core Plays: N/A
Outer Core Plays: N/A
Mantle Plays: Karl Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins (if Teague is out), Jeff Teague (if he’s in), Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin (if no minute limit), Luke Kennard (if Rose is out)
Crust Plays: Robert Covington

Mavericks ( 107.5 ) @ Celtics ( 111 )

PACE: DAL – 18th BOS – 17th
OFF EFF: DAL – 1st BOS – 4th
DEF EFF: DAL – 19th BOS – 5th
REB RATE: DAL – 7th BOS – 29th

Exploitable Stats:

Dallas: N/A

Boston: N/A

The story here is clear, with Hayward out with a fractured hand, who will benefit the most for Boston?

What we know is, in their last game against the Spurs, where Hayward exited late in the first half, they elected Marcus Smart to start the 2nd half, moving Brown up to SF. I think it’s fair to expect the same here. We also know it was Javonte Green who checked in for Smart and Grant Williams who subbed in for Brown in the 2nd half. So we can guess that each may see a boost in minutes moving forward, especially Green who wasn’t a part of the rotation. Green seems more like a long shot dart, while Grant Williams may have some viability if you really want to dive for value.

The bigger question is, with Hayward out, who was playing more of a point-forward role with Kemba off the ball, how will they adjust their offense? The logical assumption would be that they’d put the ball in Kemba’s hands more, giving him a boost, while looking for Kemba himself along with Brown and Tatum to take on an increased scoring load.

From a DVP perspective, SF/PF is where Dallas has struggled the most this year, lining up well with the potential increase in usage, scoring and possibly minutes that Brown and Tatum could see. This is also where and why Grant Williams could be viable. He hasn’t shown much upside when given the opportunity, but if you’re desperate for a cheap forward I wouldn’t completely write him off. Tatum and Brown’s prices are high enough that I don’t think they’re must plays, but they certainly deserve our consideration. If Kanter returns, one would assume his minutes would be limited and that muddies up Boston’s front court to unplayable levels and Marcus Smart seems a little too high priced for my liking considering this isn’t really a plus spot for him. He’ll also likely be expending most of his energy trying to keep Doncic in check.

Boston, as you’d expect has been stout on the defensive end this season. I love playing Luka, as much as anyone, but with the other options we have on this slate and considering where his price is I think we can safely fade him. This game aligns much closer to his down outings against Orlando and Denver this season than any of his other games where he’s excelled.

The obvious play from Dallas is Porzingis. Boston has struggled upfront, and even if Kanter returns I wouldn’t expect that to change. They’ve especially struggled with PF’s, ranking 16th in blocks allowed, 24th in assists allowed, 29th in rebounds allowed, 25th in 3P%, 28th in 3PM, and 28th in FGM to the position. He’s priced much too low on DK, and after having rested on the 2nd half of their recent B2B, he should be ready to go with no reason to be concerned he won’t take on a heavy workload.

I see no upside in the rest of the Mavericks, considering the opponent, their prices, and what the rest of the slate has to offer.

Core Plays: Kristaps Porzingis
Outer Core Plays: N/A
Mantle Plays: Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker
Crust Plays: Grant Williams

Grizzlies ( 106 ) @ Spurs ( 117 )

PACE: MEM – 6th SAS – 13th
OFF EFF: MEM – 28th SAS – 8th
*DEF EFF: MEM – 26th SAS – 17th
*REB RATE: MEM – 21st SAS – 2nd

Exploitable Stats:


25th in points allowed in the paint
26th in blocks allowed per possession

San Antonio: _ N/A_

Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Memphis has been atrocious against SG’s. They single handedly revitalized Evan Fournier off the scrap heap. This isn’t just an Evan Fournier thing either. We can talk about sample sizes being too small, and that’s fine. The trend is there. Of course no one should be excited to throw Bryn Forbes into a line up, but if you ultimately are looking to pay down at SG, especially on FD where you have to have two of them I think he’s very viable.

The next thing is Dejounte Murray. The truth is, Memphis is beatable everywhere. They’re 26th in defensive efficiency for a reason. Murray is underpriced, especially on DK. One of the biggest hurdles in rostering Murray has been his minutes. We saw him hit 26 two games ago and although he went back to 24 against Boston in his next game, he undoubtedly lost a couple minutes due to the game blowing out. So, I think it’s safe to project him there.

It’d be foolish to not point out the absurdly low price tag on LaMarcus Aldridge on DK. $6,300 is much too low for this spot. Yes, he’s losing usage to Murray and has posted multiple duds this season, he has also posted scores of 57, 46.24, and 39.7 in his 9 games this season. As we can see in the exploitable stats above, Memphis is 25th in points allowed in the paint, where LMA spends a good portion of his time. They’re also in the bottom 3rd in the league in rebounding and DVP against Centers, where LMA spends a large portion of his minutes.

DeMar DeRozan also is under-priced on DK here, but not to the extent of Murray and Aldridge, and I don’t necessarily think it’d be wise to load up on Spurs. So, basically I’m not against having exposure, but he takes a back seat in my driving force for winning lineups today. I can also say the same thing about Rudy Gay who is playable if you need a cheap SF, but we should be able to find guys with more upside for our line ups.

Memphis on the road, in a pace down spot, against a somewhat formidable defense and elite rebounding team are pretty easy to fade. The one play I don’t hate on FD is Jae Crowder, as the Spurs are giving it up to SF’s in the form of the 26th worst in rebounds, 22nd worst in assists, and 29th worse in steals, all stats that Jae needs to accumulate to be a factor on this slate.

Core Plays: Dejounte Murray
Outer Core Plays: LaMarcus Aldridge ( DK )
Mantle Plays: Bryn Forbes
Crust Plays: DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay, Jae Crowder ( FD )

Rockets ( 125.5 ) @ Pelicans ( 119.5 )

Pace: HOU – 2nd NOP – 3rd
Off Eff: HOU – 5th (tied with LAC) NOP – 13th
Def Eff: HOU – 25th NOP – 27th
Reb Rate: HOU – 23rd NOP -24th

Exploitable Stats:


26th in points allowed in the paint
26th in made 3P% allowed
26th in 3PA’s allowed
25th in steals allowed per possession

New Orleans:

29th in points allowed in the paint
28th in 3PA’s allowed
26th in opponent offensive rebounding %
25th in assists allowed per possession

Buckle your seatbelts or whatever cliche you prefer. On 10/26 these teams played to a 126-123 score with Houston getting the victory at home. Tonight the action shifts to New Orleans, while the same expectations for another shootout remain.

Westbrook and Ingram were the standouts from that game each going over 60 fantasy points and each have a great shot at doing it again.

NO is just getting crushed by PG’s overall this year, ranking 30th in FGM, rebounds and assists, and 29th in steals, 3PM, and FTA. We can safely say Westbrook has a great shot at a triple double here and is severely under priced on DK. The one hitch in that plan is Harden has been the dominant Rocket the last two games, while Westbrook has taken a backseat in the last 2 games since he sat out against Memphis. He did lose some minutes due to the blowout that Haden didn’t, and this is arguably a juicer spot overall then what Chicago or Golden State provided, so there’s definitely room for optimism and I believe anything else would be overthinking.

Harden is always in play. It just comes down to whether you can or want to find a way to fit him and what you may be giving up to do so. This is certainly a spot where another 70-75 type game can take place and avoiding him all-together is most likely a mistake, but going overboard on a slate with much more viable mid-to high end plays then cheaper plays feels wrong.

I actually don’t love anyone else on the Rockets. It would not be surprising to see any of the ancillary pieces do well here relative to their price, but whether it’s Tucker, Gordon, House, or Capela is tough to predict. They could also all do well, without any of them doing well enough to help your rosters. Capela is cheap on DK, big time compared to FD, but NO has actually been respectable against C’s so far and he didn’t do much in game 1 against NO, not that is certain to carry over to tonight.

Lonzo Ball is out again tonight, which should keep Jrue in more of a playmaking role, which should enhance his upside, with JJ Redick joining him in the backcourt. On DK Jrue’s price is getting too low for his upside. He just put up 40 DK points last game against Charlotte on an awful shooting night.

Ingram took significantly less shots last game, but I wouldn’t expect that to be a reoccuring theme here. He’s still an elite play in an exploitable spot, as a main cog in the offense of a team with the 2nd highest total on the slate in the highest total game of the slate. This isn’t a guy that anyone should need to be sold on.

The rest of the ancillary pieces on the Pelicans are similar to Houston, in that their prices don’t leave a ton of room for upside, but any of them doing well should be expected. Josh Hart is the most interesting to me, as his price has come down and has a chance to have his role expand with Ball out. His minutes have been down, which is the concern, but there’s little reason to take him off the floor if he’s playing well. JJ has upside at his price, if his shot is falling. Houston is getting whipped from beyond the arc, so that is certainly possible.

Favors saw his minutes expand last game, as Hayes moved ahead of Okafor in the pecking order. Favors is too cheap if we can project him for 28-30 minutes in this environment. DK wasted no time raising the price on Kenrich Williams, making his a little harder to justify, but remaining a bit more viable on FD. For whatever it’s worth he played 32 minutes in the first game against Houston and only recorded 16.75 DK points and 18.50 FD points. Again though, prior results don’t necessarily imply future results.

Core Plays: Jrue Holiday
Outer Core Plays: Russell Westbrook, Brandon Ingram
Mantle Plays: James Harden, Derrick Favors, JJ Redick, Josh Hart
Crust Plays: Danuel House, Eric Gordon, Clint Capela, PJ Tucker, Kenrich Williams

Raptors ( 106.25 ) @ Clippers ( 116.25 )

PACE: TOR – 11th LAC – 15th
OFF EFF: TOR – 7th LAC – 5th (tied with HOU)
DEF EFF: TOR – 8th LAC – 13th
REB RATE: TOR – 20th LAC – 6th

Exploitable Stats:

Toronto: N/A

Los Angeles Clippers: N/A

Well, this is more of a Raptors revenge game, then a Kawhi revenge game, as he squares off against the team he helped lead to an NBA title last year. You would have to imagine some of these Raptors are a little salty about him bolting, and may find it motivating to beat his new team on their floor. That’s why they beat the Lakers last night, right? To just shove it in “(player-popup #danny-green)Danny Green”:/players/danny-green-940’s face?

I’ll start with the Clippers side, as it’s a bit easier to dissect. On most nights there’s only three Clippers ever really worth playing. Kawhi, Harrell, and Lou. Tonight is no different. The Raptors so far have been weakest on the wings, and relatively stout up front. Considering the match up and his price tag, I’m off Harrell. I don’t hate the play on FD, where the C options are soft, but on DK I have a hard time paying $6,400 when Aldridge is right there, and in my opinion has more upside tonight.

Like Harrell, Lou is much more viable on FD. On DK he seems slightly overpriced, but not enough to ignore. In my mind Jrue is a much more viable play for only $300 more, with Mitchell, DeRozan, and VanVleet right there as well.

This leaves us with Kawhi, who in reverse is much more viable on DK at only $9,400. He doesn’t have that immense upside, but has been incredibly consistent, not dropping believe 50 DK points in his last 5 games, while going over 60 twice in that span.

The Raptors are much more complicated to break down.

We know Siakam and Fred VanVleet will take on a much bigger load with Lowry and Ibaka out as evidenced by last night, where FVV played 39 minutes and Siakam played 42. How much that will impact them tonight is hard to guess. Both are more than viable here on sheer volume and role alone, especially on DK with Siakam where he gets a $1,100 discount form FD.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is the bare minimum on DK and saw 15 minutes last night. Now, OG only played 26 minutes last night, and I would expect that to change tonight, I also wouldn’t expect Siakam to play 42 minutes, so there’s a possibility for more minutes here. He doesn’t have huge upside, but if scraping the barrel, I wouldn’t rule him out. Same goes for Terrance Davis who is also the bare minimum on DK and should see another 15-20 minutes off the bench.

OG Anunoby was huge bust last night, but we know he still has upside. I would expect him to rebound, and see more minutes tonight, possibly tasked with trying to D up Kawhi, but I don’t believe that he’s any kind of must play here. I tend to lean towards believing Marc Gasol plays less minutes tonight on a B2B. Harrell is pretty active and I could ultimately see Boucher seeing equal or more minutes here.

Norman Powell doesn’t have a ton of upside, but is still too cheap for the role he’ll have.

Core Plays: N/A
Outer Core Plays: Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet
Mantle Plays: Montrezl Harrell ( FD ), Lou Williams ( FD ), OG Anunoby, Norman Powell, Chris Boucher
Crust Plays: Montrezl Harrell ( DK ), Lou Williams ( DK ) , Terrance Davis, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (DK)

Jazz ( 109.5 ) @ Warriors ( 101.5 )

PACE: UTA – 27th GSW – 14th
OFF EFF: UTA – 25th GSW – 15th
DEF EFF: UTA – 2nd GSW – 30th
REB RATE: UTA – 10th GSW – 25th

Exploitable Stats:

Utah: N/A

Golden State:

28th in points allowed in the paint
29th in made 3P% allowed
29th in opponent offensive rebounding %
27th in assists allowed per possession

Draymond Green is probable tonight, which shoves everyone on Golden State down a peg to some extent. The Warriors being at home is about the only thing they have going for them in this paced down spot against one of the elite defensive teams in the league. If you want to take a chance on the elite usage of Russell in a certainly low owned spot, I don’t hate it at all, but otherwise I’m completely off the Warriors tonight. For the narrative lovers there’s also Alec Burks revenge. Considering he was drafted by the Jazz and played 7+ years there before getting shipped off to Cleveland, I suppose there’s some validity to it. It doesn’t hurt that he’s shown upside in his price.

Golden State is exploitable across the board, but should be a bit better overall defensively with Draymond Green likely back.

Mike Conley and Donovan Mitchell are both too cheap for their upside, especially Mitchell on DK. A nice bonus for Mitchell is the Warriors are giving up more assists to SG’s then anyone in the league and are exploitable from beyond the arc. Conley takes a little bit of a leap of faith, but do really think he’s going to continue being this mediocre all year?

Bojan has been extremely consistent this season, with only 2 games below 30 FP’s in 8 contests. I like more on FD where his price is the same on DK, suggesting there’s some value there.

Rudy Gobert, like Conley, seems a bit off this year. A little less consistent and a little more up and down. I normally don’t like playing Gobert, as I find his price is usually too close to his ceiling. As a guy who usually doesn’t go over 50 FP’s an 8K+ tag is hard to come to terms with. Here though, on a slate with few quality C’s, and a palatable price against a team getting killed in the paint and on the boards, I can get on board.

Core Plays: N/A
Outer Core Plays: Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert
Mantle Plays: Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic
Crust Plays: D’Angelo Russell, Alec Burks

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