May 14 - First off, yeah -- I know. Brilliant pick of Drew Gooden. I'm sure you could hear me yelling at my TV screen in the fourth quarter as Drew sat on the pine. The intention was there. I wanted to save my Mavs and Spurs until things clarify in that series. When you do that, you hope for more than 14 points out of a guy. Sure, it backfired.
But, we move on. Plenty to consider in this game due to so many closely contested battles. Competition is good. No one likes blow-outs, and there is no better promotion for the NBA than a hard-fought playoffs full of seven game series.
Although, it makes our lives very difficult. Who is the favorite? Who is going to win each series? Right now, I have absolutely no idea. Ok, I have an idea, but I have very little confidence in that idea.
For today's slate of games, we have the option of picking a player from one of two match-ups, both of which are in a 2-1 battle. No clear favorite, no clear underdog -- other than the fact that one team has two wins and the other has one.
Let's take a closer look at the match-ups and the players we have used so far:
Heat at Nets
Suns at Clippers
We've taken four players from the Suns-Clippers series. Our plan was certainly not to be in this position, having taken two or more players from each team. Last round, we felt forced to pick Suns with the Lakers up 3-1. When the Suns bounced back and advanced, we were left two players short for the second round. When Round 2 opened, the Clippers were viewed as the underdog, so we jumped on a couple of Clippers while we awaited things to clarify in the Heat-Nets series. The Clippers bounced back, and Boris Diaw was picked on Friday.
On one hand, I'm tempted to pick Elton Brand. I just can't bring myself to do it. It doesn't make sense. If I make this pick, I will have the following Clippers available from which to choose:
On a day of many options, RJ is the best choice.
Ron Hoskins/NBAE/Getty Images
The nice thing about the Clippers is that they are very deep. However, no top tier stud remaining. I'd love to keep five viable Clippers available.
The other issue is that we've already used three Suns. Given that the series victor is far from determined, we want to avoid having picked three players from each team.
And then we have the Heat and Nets. A nice, clean slate, other than having used Vince Carter last round with the Nets down 2-1 to the Pacers. Following are the players we have available to us from these two teams:
Clears things up, right? Not really. To tell you the truth, I've re-written this article three times now. I started with Brand. Then I switched to Wade. But now, I have a pick I am confident in: Richard Jefferson.
I was happy to see the Heat play well in Game 3 and regain the home court. The Heat were the favorites heading into the series, and they have regained that status. I could potentially pick Wade and not lose much if the Heat advance, given that I still have five semi-decent to very good options remaining.
However, I am confident that the Heat will advance, so I am going to pick off my remaining Nets while I can. Sure, this is a roll of the dice. If the Heat lose the series after picking Richard Jefferson today, I am left with two viable Nets options for this and future rounds. That would sting.
But, I don't expect that to happen. Also, note that I am picking Jefferson and not Kidd. While Kidd may be considered the more valuable player in some fantasy scoring formats, Jefferson has a slight edge during both the regular and post season in this game (Jefferson is averaging 29.5 to Kidd's 27.3 during the Playoffs).
So, Jefferson is my pick. What's the worst that can happen? One thing I know: He'll do better than Drew Gooden did on Saturday.
Pick it, lock it, don't look back.