LetsRUMBL NBA Picks: 3 players to watch in Conference Semifinals
The NBA Playoffs Conference Semifinals are still a few days away as the second round of the Association's postseason won't tip off until Saturday April 28. The only game set so far is the Golden State Warriors taking on the New Orleans Pelicans.
So far, the NBA Playoffs have thrown up a few surprises. Steph Curry isn't expected to be back "anytime soon", according to Steve Kerr. He didn't elaborate on his statement, but the point guard is expected back during the Warriors upcoming series with the Pelicans as he is being referred to as day-to-day.
New Orleans' dominance over the No. 3 seed Portland Trail Blazers was another surprise, as was the case when the Philadelphia 76ers moved into the NBA Playoffs Conference Semifinals.
Now, with the second-round nearing tipoff, LetsRUMBL looks at three NBA players every daily fantasy sports team needs.
Jrue Holiday, New Orleans Pelicans
LetsRUMBL average: 39
The Pelicans' dominance over the Trail Blazers was unexpected, but it really shouldn't have been. After DeMarcus Cousins suffered an Achilles injury in February, New Orleans reeled of a 22-8 record and made the playoffs for only the second time since re-branding as the Pelicans.
Jrue Holiday was immense for New Orleans during the regular season, posting the best ever points per game average (19.0) of his career. Holiday's regular season was great, but he turned his play up to 11 when the playoffs started. The guard averaged 27.8 points per game against Portland, a career postseason best. According to teammates, the Holiday that excelled in the first round was a different player than the one before the series started. Holiday is exhibiting a loud, aggressive attitude and it is contagious with teammates.
Holiday averaged over 37 minutes per game against Portland and made 6.5 assists per game. The Pelicans scored over 100 points in three of the four games against Portland; and against Golden State, they could do it again. Golden State allowed the San Antonio Spurs 100 or more points in three of five games. Without Curry to defend against Holiday, the guard will be the catalyst to the Pelicans' offense.
Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors
LetsRUMBL average: 38
Steph Curry has been out of action since March. According to numerous newspaper inches and sports website articles, NBA teams do not fear the Golden State Warriors, if Curry isn't on the court. Without Curry, the Warriors should play right into the hands of the young, hungry Pelicans.
Sure, Golden State eliminated the No. 7 seed Spurs in the first round, but San Antonio is over the hill and drastically needs to re-build. New Orleans is at its peak, and the Pelicans will give Golden State a run for its money.
Curry is expected to return at some point during the second round. That is good news for the Warriors as Curry not only averaged 26-plus points per game during the regular season, but he was the glue to team on and off the court. However, Kerr's statement regarding Curry "not playing anytime soon" can be taken two ways. Either he means Curry won't return until later in the postseason – if at all – or the guard will be back in the next round, but just not for the first game.
Right now, everyone is just speculating on Curry's return as the only real news coming out of the point guard's camp is about his new Sony production deal. If Curry is to play, get him in your DFS team as the Warriors are far better with the guard than without him.
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
LetsRUMBL average: 39
What is not to love about the young, exciting Philadelphia 76ers? The team was great in its first-round win over the Miami Heat. Could the 76ers be the best team in the East? Well, maybe they are, but Philadelphia may have to go through the Boston Celtics, Toronto Raptors or Cleveland Cavaliers to prove it.
Philadelphia's Joel Embiid was a monster in the first round. The center averaged 18.7 points per game, but only played in three of the five games due to injury. The big man also collected 10.3 rebounds per game as the 76ers put 103 points or more on the board each night.
In game 4 and game 5 of the first round against the Heat, Embiid posted double-double performances. Against the Celtics or Milwaukee Bucks in the next round, Embiid should continue his stellar play as he leads the 76ers ahead.