LeBron shined in Game One, but was he the right choice?
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Drive to the Finals
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Pick 'n Roll
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April 25 -- Antawn Jamison
April 24 -- Ben Gordon
April 23 -- Michael Redd
April 20 -- Mike Bibby
April 25 -- No Doubt
April 24 -- Break Out the Abacus
April 23 -- Let's Roll
April 22 -- The Clock Ticks

Posted by By Jon Loomer on April 23, 2006 11:35 a.m. ET


What a day. Don't know about you, but I had my TV tuned in to NBA basketball all day long. Although I was only able to catch half of the Nuggets/Clippers late game, it was a good day of playoff hoops. Nothing incredibly shocking. LeBron put on an amazing debut, though not a surprise. The Spurs were downright dominating in their match-up with the Kings, but again not a major shocker. All of the teams I expected to win, won. So, my Pick 'n Roll bracket is looking solid.

My Drive to the Finals picks? Not quite so hot. I picked Mike Bibby in two leagues and Brad Miller in the third. Bibby did fine, netting me 24 fantasy points. Brad Miller, on the hand, managed only five. Am I wishing I had picked LeBron James and his 54 fantasy points? Not really. It's a marathon. LeBron will do it again. Not to mention the Cavs won that game, so the odds of him being available next round just went up.

The best performances yesterday were as follows:

LeBron James - 54
Dwyane Wade - 45
Shaquille O'Neal - 44
Ben Gordon - 40
Andres Nocioni - 38
Gilbert Arenas - 35
Carmelo Anthony - 35
Tony Parker - 34
Andre Miller - 34
Elton Brand - 32

So was the best move picking LeBron, Wade, or Shaq yesterday? Not in my opinion. All three of those players' teams won in their games, so their "favored" status is firmly established. The true winners yesterday were those who picked Gordon, Nocioni, Arenas, Anthony, or Miller. All of these players played for losing teams and are one loss closer to being eliminated from the player pool.

You may have noticed that I am picking Michael Redd today. No surprise to those of you who read my original Expert Pick prior to the playoff schedule was set when I was initially picking Redd for Day One. My one concern with this pick is that the Bucks could be blown out and stifled defensively by the Pistons, which could limit Redd's minutes and production. Picking him at home may be a better idea, but I am sticking firm to this pick.

I'm starting to plan for the rest of this week as well, and things could get sticky on Tuesday. I will be picking players on teams that are down a game in the series. Monday is a relatively obvious pick as top players I haven't chosen on underdog teams are Carmelo Anthony, Ben Gordon, and Kirk Hinrich. I plan on picking Carmelo. Tuesday, on the other hand, is a mess. Available players include Arenas, Antawn Jamison, Caron Butler, Brad Miller, Ron Artest, and Jermaine O'Neal. I plan on starting Arenas, but I am hoping that the Kings and Pacers even their series to give me more time to pick them in the future.

How about a Fantasy Poll recap? Yesterday, we asked which underdog you picked to win their first round match-up. Following are the results of that poll:

Lakers over Suns - 45%
Pacers over Nets - 18%
Bulls over Heat - 14%
Kings over Spurs - 10%
Grizzlies over Mavericks - 7%
Bucks over Pistons - 6%

So far, none of those upsets have come to fruition. There are a lot of Lakers fans out there, but I do agree that this series is the most likely to result in an upset. This is why I have some serious concerns about my ability to use the three fantasy stars on the Suns. If they lose -- and quickly -- it is highly unlikely I will be able to use more than one or two of those guys before the series is over. At the least, I am hoping for a seven-game series.

We also asked who you are picking for Day Two of Drive to the Finals. As of this second, here are the results:

Kobe Bryant - 43%
Dirk Nowitzki - 12%
Shawn Marion - 11%
Vince Carter - 8%
Michael Redd - 8%
Chauncey Billups - 8%
Pau Gasol - 5%
Jermaine O'Neal - 5%

Let me reiterate: Lots of Lakers fans out there. You can look at this pick in two different ways. If you are one of the 45% who think that the Lakers are going to advance into the second round, you shouldn't be too rushed to pick him now. Maybe a false sense of security? The thing that concerns me about picking Kobe is that if the Lakers advance and you already used Kobe once, you may be forced to pick Laker players in the future when there is only one game per day. At that point, you have Lamar Odom and very little after that. If the Lakers lose Game One, I will be more likely to use him. But, I'll probably wait it out until they fall down by two or face elimination.

Ok, I have playoff hoops to watch. Enjoy your Sunday.