NBA Playoffs Best Ball is upon us, and the combination of playoffs and the best ball format makes for some interesting drafting tactics and strategizing.
Just like regular best ball drafts, you’re drafting players for a period of the season (in this case, the beginning of playoffs until the end of the final series), with no trades, no waiver wires, no swaps. Draft your team and then sit back and watch your points roll in as we calculate your best starting lineup for each ‘game week’.
Unlike regular NBA best ball though, the playoffs bring with them a set of specific ploys and tactics when drafting your team. With regular season best ball there is an expectation that your players can score in almost all game weeks (barring injury) – playoffs add an extra level to that, as drafting a player from a team that doesn’t make it past the first round can severely impact your ability to put up big points.
So what are some strategies to consider for NBA Playoffs Best Ball? Here’s a few:
The ‘Ride the Winners’
This may seem like an obvious tactic – trying to draft players from teams that are likely to make it all the way to the finals. Thinking that the Warriors are going to win the championship? Then maybe Durant is who you want to go for, seeing as the deeper a team goes in the playoffs, the higher the potential for games-played is.
A player that is potentially going to play 28 games is surely going to outscore a player that goes out in the first round. So is it better to take a bench player on a winning team, rather than a star that might go out early? Maybe, but not necessarily.
Consider taking a player that averages 15 points a game on a championship team vs one that collects 40 points on a team that goes out in the second round. If that winning team sweeps their way to an NBA Championship, that means they’re only playing 16 games, and scoring a total of around 240 points. Compare that to a star that might play two 7 game series and go out after 14 games, in which case you’d be looking at 560 potential points.
While these numbers may be extreme on both ends, they paint a picture of some of the strategy involved and lead us to our next tactic.
The ‘Go for Broke’
Forget about a winning team, draft a winning player! Paul George is averaging about 49 points per game for the regular season, so maybe forget about how far the Thunder will go in the playoffs and just count on him putting up those big points for you early. While he might not be as valuable as a star player that goes further, he possibly deserves to be going late in the second round. If he can put up around 350 points in that series, that’s still a bigger upside than a player that puts up 30 points a game before going out after two 5-game series for a total of 300.
It can always be a risk taking a star on a 7 or 8 seed team, but they tend to score way more consistently in the playoffs. The big concern is that they get wiped out in a 0 – 4 series and only manage to be in your scoring roster for one game week. Perhaps instead you want to chase teams that are going to push series to the full seven games…
The ‘Grind it Out’
Better than a bench player that might sweep their way to a championship is a starter for a 3, 4, 5, or 6 seed team that has the potential to grind their way to the conference semifinals playing back to back 4 – 3 and 3 – 4 series, for a total of 14 games. Here again we’re talking about the difference between 200-300 points for a bench player on a championship sweep and 500-600 point player on a two round, 7 game series team. If you’re able to grab a stud player on team that’s able to go deep in three straight series, and you’ve nailed your pick.
The ‘Guaranteed Games’
One way to make sure you have a player make it into the second round is to make sure that you draft players that have a matchup in the first round – either
The balance between picking stars on low-seed teams, starters on mid-tier teams, and bench players on potential conference winning teams is what makes the tactics of NBA Playoffs Best Ball so fun.
Who is still going to be left scoring points at the end? Did those that have fallen off put up enough points early on?
These are only a few of the things to consider. Get yourself in an NBA Playoffs Best Ball on DRAFT and see if you agree with the community ADP (average draft position) or find a few diamonds in the rough that have been overlooked and are sitting deeper in the pack.
Either way, remember that the only thing as good as watching your opponents jump to the top of the leaderboard in the first two rounds of the playoffs only to see them slow to a crawl by the conference finals, is watching your opponents slowly try and catch your enormous early lead and fail.
This post was written by Easty