Fifteen of the NBA’s 16 teams have officially qualified for the 2010 NBA Playoffs, leaving final seeding left, as well as the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors remaining to duke it out for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
We still won’t know for sure the seeds until all games conclude on Wednesday night, but we still have a pretty good idea of how it’s going to shape up.
We know the Cleveland Cavaliers will be facing the last team in out of the East (Chicago or Toronto), and the Los Angeles Lakers will be squaring off with the West’s 8th-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder.
A battle with Kevin Durant and his prideful Thunder against the veteran crew of Los Angeles, led by Kobe Bryant is sure to be an interesting matchup, and could possibly even be a type of “passing of the torch” series.
Regardless, it’s never too early to prepare ourselves for Fantasy Basketball playoff games available all over the web, most notably at Fantazzle.com, where the fantasy sports gaming site is unveiling their Fantasy Basketball Playoff Salary Cap game.
Read on for some tips toward success if you plan on lasting (or winning, rather) in any round-by-round fantasy games, or even playoff-long games that last from the first-round of the playoffs, all the way through the NBA Finals.
1. The Bench Isn’t What It Used To Be
An important thing to note when drafting your fantasy team for the playoffs is that you need to forget what you know about NBA benches.
Of course, most teams that actually have solid depth still intend on fully using their 6th or 7th men, but for the most part, NBA teams like to run with their starters as much as they can in the playoffs.
This probably doesn’t mean any ill effects for guys like Atlanta Hawks’ guard/forward, Jamal Crawford, as he basically is a starter, anyways. However, for role players like the Orlando Magic’s J.J. Redick orMickael Pietrus, this could mean limited playing time, at least in close games or the early going of the playoffs.
2. Matchups, Matchups, Matchups…
While you do need to consider every team’s bench (or lack thereof), i’s almost extremely important to realize a good (or bad) matchup when you see it.
For instance, Kevin Durant is averaging 30+ points per game on the NBA regular season, but if he’s going to keep up that production in the playoffs, he’ll have to fend off defensive stalwart Ron Artest.
And if he doesn’t, you’d have to think his bench will have to come to his aid, right? And if not his bench, we can at least start to imagine that star point guard Russell Westbrook will step up his game (or try) to alleviate the pressure on Durant to score.
The same goes for a lot of the other stars, as they’ll be facing extra defensive pressure, countless double-teams, and will be the main focus of the opposition.
Being weary of Dwight Howard’s pending technicals issue, as well as his propensity for foul trouble, is something else to consider. While unpredictable, it’s still a vital part of picking a fantasy roster that can last through the round your fantasy game is playing through, let alone the entire NBA Playoffs.
3. Injuries and Roster Changes
This works a little differently than the bench or matchups, but generally will ultimately work hand-in-hand.
For example, Portland’s Brandon Roy has a torn meniscus in his knee, and is currently expected to be out 4-6 weeks. However, if you don’t keep close tabs on his status and he ends up playing, you could miss out on big-time production.
On the other hand, if you bypass Roy and all stay clear of the guys behind him who will get extended minutes, you may miss out on a potential playoff game, such as Rudy Fernandez orMartell Webster.
Know all the injuries, starting line-ups, and current movement with each playoff team before you set your final line-up.
4. Get Good Value
Sorry, but there isn’t a fifth tip. It ends here. Ironically, this might be the most important piece of information you can take away from this article.
Different games call for different formats and scoring systems, and in turn can differ in what type of value (or salary) certain players are assigned.
If Manu Ginobli is worth $80,000 and Ray Allen is worth $95,000, who do you choose?
Ginobli may be the less “sexy” pick, but he’s been playing better than Allen down the stretch of the season, and is also traditionally a very active player in the playoffs. One might also note that he’s also been in the starting line-up for the Spurs.
Be sure to take a good glance at every player’s value that is available, and act accordingly.
Stay tuned for the 2010 NBA Playoffs matchups and prediction at NBA Soup.com