The Suns scrapped out a Game 4 win on the road in which both teams shot the ball extremely poorly. It was a rough game to watch if you were looking for teams to rack up fantasy stats unless you were rooting for rebounds. The team at Advanced Sports Analytics shares their thoughts on what to expect for Game 5.
Low-Multiplier Building Block
Paul George (1x // 1.5x)
As we have seen this postseason, when a superstar has to carry a team on his back, he will typically shoot the ball 20+ times and have a usage percentage somewhere between 35 – 40% with at least 40 minutes played. That is precisely what we have seen from George since Kawhi Leonard’s absence after Game 4 of the Clippers-Jazz series. Prior to Game 5 of that series, George had played over 40 minutes just six times during the 11 games Leonard was active.
Furthermore, during that same time frame, George cracked the 20 field goal attempt barrier just 3 times and broke the 30% usage ceiling just once. In fact that 30% usage game happened in Game 4 against Utah so I am guessing Leonard’s knee wasn’t feeling right near the end of that game. Since then, George has played more than 40 minutes 5 times out of 6 games, attempted at least 20 field goals each time, and has not dipped below 32% usage. As a result, George has earned at least 55 SuperDraft points each time during that six-game stretch except for Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals (WCF). George is the anchor you need for your roster construction tonight.
Ivica Zubac (2x // 3.5x)
Only once during the NBA postseason have the Clippers lost a game by double digits and that was by exactly 10 points during Game 1 against the Mavericks in the 1st round of the NBA playoffs. That means we should expect another close game and a tight 6 – 7 man rotation of players with at least one of them not named George having a strong game. This drastically narrows the options we must consider when trying to find a player who correlates well with George’s success. Zubac’s correlation coefficient with George since Game 2 of the WCF is 0.72 which is very strong. Of course, this is a small sample size of just three games but nonetheless, Zubac has shown up in a big way in the WCF with a double-double in those 3 games along with strong shooting percentages from both the field and free-throw line.
The results have been impressive: SuperDraft scores of 31.25, 47.00, and 33.50 for WCF Games 2, 3, and 4, respectively. Finally, consider the fact that Chris Paul and Devin Booker have not shot the ball well during Games 3 and 4 with a combined FG shooting of 24-84 and three-point shooting of 3-22. Let that sink in for a bit. Those are awful percentages of 28.57% and 13.63%. Zubac and George are the two tallest players on the court for the Clippers and they each play significant minutes. That is a lot of opportunities for rebounds, especially with at least 20 failed attempts from behind the 3 point arc. Zubac could be a great choice for the Champion spot tonight given his high multiplier.
Devin Booker (1.05x // 1.6x)
Game 1 of the WCF seems like an anomaly for Booker. He had a fantastic game with superb shooting from the field (15-29) and perfection from the free-throw line (7-7). That was also the first triple-double of his career with 40 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists. Clearly, he stepped up in a big way with Paul’s absence. Since then, Booker has not come close to his superstar status. He has shot a putrid 18-59 from the field, 2-15 from three-point range, and averaged just 20 points per game. This is a player who typically has a 48% FG%, 35 three-point%, and averages about 25 – 26 points per game.
Clearly, something is off with him and perhaps it could be the stifling defense of George and company. After all, the Clippers rank in the top 10 in most defensive stats and George ranks as #1 with defensive real +/- for shooting guards. Since the start of the 2019 – 2020 season, when George joined the Clippers, Booker has played the Clippers five times during the regular season with just one decent stat line of 30 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists on 10-20 FG shooting. George did not play in that game. The other four games featured George where Booker struggled with his shot, especially with 3 pointers (3 for 19 shooting).
While Booker has proven he can have a great game against the Clippers during the WCF, the other three games and his regular-season struggles against the Clippers (especially when George is on the floor) seem to indicate that Game 1 was probably a fluke.
This article expresses the personal views of the writer and does not reflect the view(s) of SuperDraft in any way.