It's not too late. Play Drive to the Finals Now!

By Jon Loomer

Previous Expert Picks

May 13 - Struggling? We knew it was coming. We knew we'd reach the one game days and the unpleasant pick days eventually. That's why we've been helping you plan for it. If you've listened, your points reflect it -- not to mention you have a deep player pool from which to work with.

The problem is that -- although entertaining -- the tight match-ups are doing us no favors. As each series seesaws back and forth, we are left with two options: 1) Stick with our gut and continue picking players from the teams we initially viewed as the underdog; or 2) React to the momentum shift and pick players from each team.

Today's Expert Pick
Player: Drew Gooden, CLE
Opponent: Detroit
Regular Season Averages
May 12 -- Boris Diaw
May 10 -- Chris Kaman
May 9 -- Larry Hughes
May 8 -- Sam Cassell
May 7 -- Josh Howard
Previous Expert Picks
The first option is inevitably a significant gamble. What we all want is as close to a clean slate next round as possible. The Experts have not picked any players from the Heat, Pistons or Spurs. We've picked one from the Nets and Mavericks, two from the Clippers and Cavs, and three from the Suns. Let's break it down by match-up for today's games:

Pistons (0) at Cavs (2); Pistons up 2-0
Spurs (0) at Mavs (1); Spurs and Mavs tied at 1-1

You can do a couple of things here. You can take a risk and pick Dirk Nowitzki. If you do, you are making the assumption that even though the Mavs have stolen home court that the Spurs will rebound and take the series.

You can also play it conservative and grab a player from the Cavs (other than LeBron James or Larry Hughes, players we have already used). The problem here is that your options are not particularly pleasant, with Drew Gooden and Zydrunas Ilgauskas highlighting your options. Neither player is averaging over 20.0 PRA during the postseason.

There is more to consider here. The Cavs could be disposed of quickly, maybe even in four games. If that happens, then the Mavs and Spurs will be playing on a day by themselves on a minimum of two days (they may play Game 7 on the same day as Suns-Clippers, if that series goes so far). On these two and possibly three days, you will have no choice but to use a player from the Mavs or Spurs. So have no concerns: You will have opportunities to pick Dirk down the road, even if the Mavs don't advance.

Don't laugh, Gooden is the way to go.
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/Getty Images
My biggest concern here, though, is that I am not convinced that the Spurs are a surefire favorite. They might advance. They might not. Regardless, it will be a fight. And the last thing I want to do is pick Dirk today only to see the Mavs move up 2-1. You are then wondering if you should be picking Tim Duncan. Next thing you know, you've picked multiple players from both teams.

The solution? Pick Cavs. It's not pretty, but it is the good, conservative option. Today, I am picking Drew Gooden as I wait and see what happens between the Mavs and Spurs. If the Spurs go up 2-1, I begin giving more thought to picking Dirk. If the Mavs go up 2-1, it was expected since they are on their home court. In that case, I continue to hold off. I don't plan to pick anyone from that series until someone has three wins.

The result? We take some lumps while we wait. But when all is said and done, you won't be leaving any talent on the table.