This article is part of our FanDuel NBA series.
Miami faces elimination Monday as the Nuggets will try to take the title tonight in their home arena. The tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. EDT, and some of our builds will depend on the odds finally swinging in Miami's favor.
Before we begin, let's look at Game 4's winning lineup from one of FanDuel's most popular contests.
Nikola Jokic (2x) 116.8
Jimmy Butler (1.5x) 68.85
Aaron Gordon (1.2x) 54.48
Duncan Robinson 19.7
Game 4's biggest surprise was Gordon, who took over the scoring duties during a brief departure from Jokic, who went to the locker room to tape up his foot. The winner got good use out of Butler, who I felt was vastly overpriced, but they took the All-Star over Jamal Murray, a very popular pick for the STAR spot. Game 4 represented a great night from Denver's supporting cast.
Tyler Herro (hand) remains sidelined despite participating in pregame drills. If Miami can extend the series, there's still a chance he could take the floor eventually. He's listed as out for Game 5, however.
Nikola Jokic ($19,000) MVP
Jimmy Butler ($15,000) STAR, PRO
Jamal Murray ($14,500) STAR, PRO
Bam Adebayo ($13,500) STAR, PRO
Aaron Gordon ($12,000) PRO
Bruce Brown ($10,500) PRO (UTIL)
Kyle Lowry ($9,500) PRO (UTIL)
Miami needs to increase ball movement and convert more perimeter shots to keep their title hopes alive. You have to give Butler and Lowry some attention with their backs up against the wall, and inspired play from both veterans is a definite possibility. Still, no amount of elimination intangibles will steer me away from Jokic in the top spot. Despite a hefty cost, he's been the chalk MVP throughout the series and remains impossible to fade.
Naturally, Aaron Gordon enters the fray with a salary increase, but it's not enough to warrant a fade. Unfortunately, we'll have to fade Murray and possibly Adebayo here, especially if we are willing to take a chance on Butler. Adebayo's play isn't Miami's problem, but anemic ball distribution and subpar 3-point shooting are where they need massive improvement. If they can rectify those issues, a big night from Butler would emerge.
If we can fit Lowry or Brown into the PRO spot, we can use the other in a UTIL position. Brown has been consistently hot and made a splash in Game 4, but his salary increase could be prohibitive.
Michael Porter ($9,000)
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ($8,500)
Kevin Love ($8,000)
Duncan Robinson ($7,500)
There are two clear intangibles to take advantage of in the UTIL spot. Robinson is the team's best 3 -point threat, and they'll need a big night in that category to stave off elimination. Secondly, Kevin Love will return to the team for Game 5 after the birth of his child, and despite what can be an exhausting life process, players tend to deliver inspired performances after a major life event. It's an intangible worth considering.
Porter and KCP are obvious alternatives, but they fade from view if you find a way to get Lowry or Brown involved in a UTL spot. I have one build of Jokic/Gordon/Brown that allowed for a Lowry/Porter utility combo, but it's very Denver-heavy and excludes Butler, who I have a bit more faith in. Love or Robinson become more prevalent if you include Butler anywhere in your multiplier builds.
With Miami's elimination looming, tonight could represent my final column of the year. I hope you've enjoyed the content and had a profitable ride along the way! Thanks for reading and subscribing.