This article is part of our PrizePicks NBA series.
The long wait is finally over with the NBA Finals tipping off Thursday. With this pressure-packed Game 1 comes another opportunity to win some cash on PrizePicks. For those unfamiliar with the platform, it provides a unique spin on DFS in which you pick two, three or four players and predict if each will go over or under their projected fantasy score.
If this is your first time playing on PrizePicks, be sure to sign up using our promotional offer. New members who sign up and make their first deposit get a free 2-pick entry to win $25 and a 25 percent first deposit instant match. For the instant match promotion, the maximum deposit is $4,000 for $1,000 in promo money. If downloading the app, use promo code: WIRE.
Here are some players to target and avoid while creating your entry.
Players to Target
Kawhi Leonard, TOR: Over 54 FP: Regardless of what happens in this series or during the offseason, the trade that brought in Leonard has been a massive success for the Raptors. He carried them to their first appearance in the Finals by averaging 29.8 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.2 steals and one block in their six-game defeat of the Bucks. If they are going to keep up with the Warriors' prolific offense, Leonard will need to continue to jack up all of the shots that he can handle. This might seem like a big number to hit, but he's produced a fantasy score of at least 56.3 in three of his last four games.
Draymond Green, GS: Over 44 FP: No Kevin Durant (calf)? No problem! The Warriors didn't need their star forward on their way to dispatching the Blazers in a four-game sweep during the Western Conference Finals. One of the main reasons they were able to advance with such ease was the strong play of Green, who averaged 16.5 points, 11.8 rebounds, 8.8 assists, 2.3 steals and 2.8 blocks in the series. Even though there is a chance that DeMarcus Cousins (quadriceps) returns for Game 1, it's unlikely he would play significant minutes considering he's been out for a month and a half. Look for Green to hit the over based on his ability to contribute in multiple areas.
Andre Iguodala, GS: Under 23.3 FP: One of the key benefits of the Warriors advancing so quickly was that is gave Iguodala (calf) plenty of time to rest. He wasn't able to play in Game 4 against the Blazers, but he's listed as probable for Thursday. With Durant sidelined, he's a key rotation player who should log somewhere around 30 minutes. While his playing time likely won't be a concern, his lack of involvement in the offense is. His limited role has resulted in him producing a fantasy score of 23.3 or fewer in four of the five games that he has played since Durant went down. The Raptors are a good defensive team, making the under an appealing route to take with Iguodala.
Players to Avoid
Klay Thompson, GS: 37 FP: Even with Durant out, the Warriors still clearly have plenty of offensive weapons, the best of which are Thompson and Stephen Curry. Thompson shot an uncharacteristically low 37.9 percent from the field in the Western Conference Finals, but his increased usage rate still helped him average 21.5 points per night. The area of concern is his lack of contributions outside of the scoring column. Case in point: he only averaged 3.8 rebounds and three assists per game against the Blazers. This isn't a particularly big fantasy projection for him to hit, so there is a chance he could hit the over even if he doesn't contribute many rebounds or assists; with that said, this just feels too close to call.
Kyle Lowry, TOR: 36.2 FP: With the Raptors failing to get over the hump during the playoffs in recent years, this trip to the Finals has to feel especially sweet for Lowry. He certainly played a key role in getting them there, averaging 19.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.2 assists against the Bucks. He's going to have his hands full on the defensive end in this series, so it wouldn't be a big surprise if he finds himself in foul trouble at some point. If he can avoid that though, he could be in for a big night. With some better options available, it might be best to keep Lowry out of your entry.
Kevon Looney, GS: 21 FP: A lot of Looney's production is likely dependent on the status of Cousins. Looney has done an excellent job filling in for him and Durant, but he will lose some minutes if Cousins returns, even in a limited role. Since Looney doesn't receive a lot of scoring chances to begin with, the risk might not be worth the reward.