This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
The Bucks find themselves on the brink once again after a surprise series loss to the Heat in last year's playoffs, and they will try to bounce back and even the series against the Nets at home. We'll try to select the best multiplier and utility spots for FanDuel's single-game offering.
Read my recent article for a more in-depth analysis on building single-game contests.
Brooklyn Nets @ Milwaukee Bucks (-5) O/U: 220.5
With Kyrie Irving out and James Harden limited, Kevin Durant willed his team to victory with a game for the ages. He brought Brooklyn back from a huge deficit and scored a whopping 49 points in the Game 5 win. As one might expect, his salary has risen accordingly, and we will have to evaluate if he's worth going with on the road at Fiserv Forum.
Kevin Durant, BKN ($16,000)
Giannis Antetokounmpo, MIL ($15,000)
James Harden, BKN ($14,000)
Khris Middleton, MIL ($13,500)
Jrue Holiday, MIL ($12,500)
Jeff Green, BKN ($11,500)
Blake Griffin, BKN ($9,500)
At first glance, it's reasonably safe to give James Harden ($14,000) limited exposure tonight. Harden played a ton of minutes in Game 5, but his injury struggles were quite apparent, as he struggled shooting the ball and didn't have much lift. Harden was limited to a catch-and-shoot role and made no attempt to risk injury by slashing inside for contested layups.
The injury limitation compromised his usually potent arsenal, and his shot showed considerable rust. There is some reason to consider him, however. No single guard showed up to absorb Irving's production, and while Durant did most of the heavy lifting, the supporting cast of the backcourt did very little in comparison. While he's an MME consideration, The motivation to spend 14k on him will be shallow in my builds.
Kevin Durant ($16,000) and Giannis Antetokounmpo ($15,000) are obvious candidates to yield the top scores in tonight's matchup. Although overshadowed by Durant in the loss, Giannis still managed an excellent stat line, with nearly 60 FDFP in the contest. He continues to struggle at the free-throw line, and after Tuesday's loss, his ability to close games in clutch situations is certainly suspect. Despite those deficiencies, an elimination game can summon superlative numbers for the team in jeopardy, and his usage tops the team by a wide margin.
Let's assume we opt for Durant and Giannis at the top, and in MME builds, we mix and match them between the 2x multiplier and 1.5 multipliers. Going this route leaves us with $9,997 per player. We are then faced with deciding on our utility players and who we might find depending on who we put in the 1.2x modifier.
Khris Middleton in 1.2x - $7,750 per player
This is the most expensive multiplier play unless you are opting for Harden. The field at this level is littered with the previously mentioned guards who failed to fill Kyrie Irving's shoes. We find out very quickly that our ability to make a sturdy build with a Durant/Giannis/Middleton build will be difficult, as both Nicolas Claxton ($7,500) and Bobby Portis ($7,500) are unsuitable candidates for production.
Jrue Holiday in 1.2x multiplier - $8,250 per player
With this option, we are now able to make plays with Pat Connaughton ($8,500), Landry Shamet ($8,000) and P.J. Tucker ($8,000), and I like the utility selections in that order. There is some variance associated with this avenue, as Middleton's numbers have not been where we've wanted them in this series. The only option for Middleton appears to be a pivot off of Durant or Giannis, so as the third-best scoring option for the Bucks, this build has a lot of upside potential.
Jeff Green in 1.2x multiplier - $9,000 per player
Using Green opens up the ability to select a slightly higher tier of players that includes Blake Griffin ($10,000), Bruce Brown ($9,500) and Joe Harris ($9,500) to pair with the players mentioned above in the 8k range. I like the Griffin/Green combo that you can get here, but you'd have to settle for Shamet in the final spot. I should mention now that Blake Griffin and Pat Connaughton are high on my wish list, and right now, there is only one way to get them that works well.
Putting Griffin and Connaughton in a 1.2x/UTIL combination allows us a lot of flexibility. With $10,500 available for the final spot, we can take some risks with Harris, Brown, or the yet-to-be mentioned Mike James ($9,000).
CONTRARIAN BUILD OPTIONS
There are a couple of different avenues in the multiplier that allow for even better utility selections. If we swap out Giannis for Middleton, we are left with $10,167 per player. This route opens up Jeff Green as a 1.2x option, and we could even allow for Holiday again, provided you spend 9k per player in the utility spots. We have seen Middleton mimic Giannis' numbers, and of all the available players, he is the most intriguing pivot for a Giannis removal. The big question is just how potent will Giannis be in this must-win game. Still, the inclusion of Middleton and the fade of another elite player is an avenue that you should consider.
Another potential contrarian way to go is to get Brook Lopez ($11,500) involved. While you can only get combos like Connaughton-Brown/Harris with Giannis and Durant still in the fold, a swap to Middleton along with Lopez allows for players like Griffin and Green once again.