And then there were four. With the Nuggets pulling off yet another impressive comeback, both Conference Finals are finally set. Teams will mostly play every other day moving forward, so Yahoo will stretch their next slate from Thursday through Friday. Let's discuss some players to target for your lineup, as well as a few to possibly avoid.
LeBron James, LAL vs. DEN ($54): With the Clippers having been eliminated, the path to the NBA Finals might be a little easier for James. He torched the Nuggets in three previous meetings this season, averaging 28.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 11.7 assists. While he will do a significant number on your budget, he has arguably the highest floor of any player that is available for this slate.
Goran Dragic, MIA at BOS ($26): Dragic's stellar playoff run continued in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals when he scored 29 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. He finished with 45.4 Yahoo points and has now scored at least 33.5 Yahoo points in seven of the last eight games. His salary is starting to climb, but it's still reasonable given his recent run of success.
Guard to Avoid
Kemba Walker, BOS vs. MIA ($26): It was another rough shooting performance for Walker, who went 6-for-19 from the field in Game 1. Across the last five games, he has averaged only 14.8 points while shooting 35.7 percent from the field. Until he shows signs of coming out of his funk, he's an awfully risky option.
Jayson Tatum, BOS vs. MIA ($43): With Walker struggling, Tatum has been more aggressive on the offensive end of late. He's averaged 22.7 shot attempts across the last three games, which propelled him to score at least 29 points in each contest. He's also recorded five straight double-doubles, averaging 26 points, 12 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks during that stretch. With the Celtics looking to even up the series, look for Tatum to continue his productive ways.
Jae Crowder, MIA at BOS ($19): Crowder has proven to be a valuable addition for the Heat. He's stepped up his game in the playoffs, averaging 17.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.4 assists across the last five games. The key is that he averaged 34 minutes a night during that span. As long as he continues to see that amount of playing time, he should continue to be productive.
Forward to Avoid
Michael Porter Jr., DEN at LAL ($18): Porter has the ability to go off on the offensive end whenever he takes the court. However, his playing time isn't always consistent, which has contributed to him scoring seven points or fewer in two of the last three games. It also won't help his cause here that the Lakers are one of the best defensive teams in the league. Crowder is only a dollar more and is a much safer option, so it might be wise to steer clear of Porter.
Bam Adebayo, MIA at BOS ($31): Adebayo recorded a block for the ages in the final seconds of Game 1, rejecting what looked to be a sure-fire dunk by Tatum. It was an exclamation point on an excellent overall performance that saw him finish with 44.7 Yahoo points. The Celtics don't exactly have much size up front that can give him trouble in this series, so look for Adebayo to once again thrive in Game 2.
Daniel Theis, BOS vs. MIA ($16): If you want to fade Adebayo, it's slim pickings in terms of budget-friendly options. Theis wasn't overly productive in Game 1, scoring 16.3 Yahoo points. The silver lining was that he logged 35 minutes. Playing time shouldn't be hard for him to come by moving forward, so at least he should have opportunities to contribute.
Center to Avoid
Nikola Jokic, DEN at LAL ($45): It feels strange to put Jokic here based on the performance he is coming off of in Game 7 against the Clippers. He had a triple-double through three quarters and finished with 71.9 Yahoo points. However, the Lakers are a tough matchup for him with Anthony Davis being one of the best and most versatile defensive big men in the league. Across four meetings with the Lakers during the regular season, Jokic only averaged 16.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists. I wouldn't be surprised if Adebayo finishes with a better stat line, which would be big considering their $14 difference in salaries.