NBA Market Share Report: Honing in on Eastern Conference Playoff Contenders

Look no further than the contentious Eastern Conference playoff race to help build your daily lineups.

Welcome back for another edition of the NBA Market Share Report. If you happened to miss the last installment, be sure to go back and check out the talk about Ricky Rubio and Elfrid Payton and my gushing over Tyler Ulis.

This week, we'll focus on the contentious Eastern Conference playoff race and which players can serve as nice value plays to close the regular season, as well as a big man out West who seems to have found a comfortable new home.

Let us hoop!

Playing With Fire

There’s a theory to be had that, given Boston is the only team ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings they've been unable to beat this season, the Miami Heat would prefer to avoid them in the first round of next month’s playoffs and will therefore turn it up over the last seven games of the regular season in order to better their early postseason matchup.

Coincidentally enough, both Goran Dragic and Hassan Whiteside have been valuable plays as of late, averaging close to 40 FanDuel points per game over the past couple weeks and each coming in below the $9,000 salary mark.

While Dragic continues to be a strong value play when priced below $8,000, Whiteside has served as the standard double-double behemoth with a bonus of two blocks per game and the engine powering the Miami machinery.

Ride the value of Whiteside and Dragic to close out the regular season. Four of their last seven games come against opponents who rank in the top-half of the league in terms of pace, there’s plenty of drive behind fighting for wins, and both players (mostly Whiteside) offer comparable production to top-performers at their respective positions at a reasonable cost.

The Dwight We Like

With the Atlanta Hawks in the middle of a messy Eastern Conference playoff race, it might not be a bad idea to key in on Dwight Howard. Not only has he been a top-10 scorer at his position over the past two weeks at nearly 38 FanDuel points per game, but he’s also been one of the more efficient plays with an average salary hovering right around the $7,000 mark.

In the seven games he’s played over the past two weeks, Howard has reached at least five-times value in five games, including a 53-point outing against the 76ers on Wednesday night. And while his shooting efficiency hasn’t been quite the 63-percent we’ve seen from him on the year, his recent run has shown increased production in scoring (16.7 points per game), rebounding (13.6), and assists (2.4).

Also, don't blink or you'll miss these jump shots.

For a guy who seemed to do a good job of annoying people over the past few/several years, this season has been a nice change of pace. Tucked away in Atlanta, Howard has quietly pieced together an efficient season as one of only six players with at least 50 double-doubles on the year, and he’s a big reason why the Hawks are heading back to the playoffs.

The Bosnian Bear

While our power rankings have the Portland Trail Blazers a favorite to make the postseason, we should all continue to keep our fingers crossed because no one should want to stop watching Project Nurkic right now.

Since joining the Blazers back in mid-February, Jusuf Nurkic has nearly doubled his output as a scorer (15 points per game), rebounder (10.4), passer (3.3), and fantasy producer (35.6). His salary has averaged a friendly $6,700 over the past two weeks, and he’s posted at least four-times value in all seven games, including a 41-point outing against the Heat two weeks ago and a 58-point parade against his former Nuggets team on Tuesday night.

We should all be able to get behind an engaged Bosnian Bear who just wanted to be wanted. His new fit in Portland is fun to watch and wise to roster.

And that'll do it for this week. Remember to appreciate this year's MVP race because it really is the best and toughest we've ever seen.

See ya in the playoffs!