NBA Narrative Watch: The Clash of Jimmy Butler and the Timberwolves

Hello DFS community, welcome back to the NBA Narratives article. I’m going to highlight my favorite NBA storylines for this upcoming week. I am a believer that narratives matter, and even if there’s no scientific proof it impacts a player’s performance, they are just a fun part of DFS.

Let’s do a quick recap of how some of the narratives from last week panned out:

Polish Heritage Day – Marcin Gortat, as expected, destroyed on his heritage day, laying down the Polish Hammer for 31.5 DKFP at a $3,400 salary. He continues to crush on Polish Heritage Day and has become an auto play for me when that event happens annually. It was reported that 8% of the arena that day were Polish fans, and even the President of Poland gave a speech on the big screen during halftime. So yeah, Gortat was motivated.

The Vengeance of Noah Vonleh – Vonleh had a #RevengeGame against his former team, the Trail Blazers. Vonleh finished with 39 DKFP, his seventh highest fantasy output this season. There was definitely some vengeance distributed that day by Vonleh.

The Gasol Brothers – We had a Marc and Pau Gasol family reunion, and both actually crushed. I was surprised Spurs coach Gregg Popovich gave Pau some run, but he put up 23 DKFP in a surprise 20 minutes of playing time. Marc, on the other hand, was a one-man wrecking crew, dropping 54.5 DKFP on his brother’s team. This will make for some good conversation at their next family BBQ.

A Lovers Battle – This was my favorite narrative last week: the Khloe Kardashian lovers battle featuring ex-boyfriend James Harden and current father of her child, Tristan Thompson. Thompson was a major disappointment, finishing with just 18.75 DKFP. Harden, on the other hand, showed Khloe what she was missing with a 43/12/10 triple-double and 88 DKFP in just 30 minutes of playing time. Wow.

Let’s now highlight some of the narratives I’m watching for this upcoming week:

Sunday, January 13 – Showtime Vengeance: On Sunday, the Cavaliers roll into Los Angeles to face the Lakers in what will be a game that will have some revenge. This would’ve been a prime spot for LeBron James and Larry Nance to dish out vengeance, but both are out due to injuries. Instead, it will be up to Jordan Clarkson ($5,700) to handle this narrative. Clarkson has been playing well lately, finishing with at least 20 DKFP in eight of his last nine games. He’s a GPP option for me on this slate and could be a decent play if given the minutes. The Cavaliers rank dead last in defensive efficiency so they will need his scoring in order to keep up with the Lakers.

Tuesday, January 15 – The Fury of Jiminy Buckets: Ah, my favorite narrative of the week. On Tuesday, the Timberwolves head into Philadelphia to face former teammate and practice-buddy Jimmy Butler. You know there will be fireworks (and technical fouls) in this game given the bad blood between Butler and the Timberwolves. There’s plenty of merit to just rolling with a game stack here. Butler dislikes the Minnesota organization. Butler dislikes Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. This is also a revenge game for Dario Saric, who was part of the trade that sent Butler to Philadelphia. There’s just so much to love here and I can’t wait for this game.

Wednesday, January 16 – This Cousins Ain’t No Family Member: Anthony Davis and the Pelicans take on the Warriors on Wednesday. While DeMarcus Cousins is unlikely to make his 2019 debut in this game, there’s still an interesting narrative here as Davis called Cousins an “enemy” after he signed with the Warriors in the offseason. In an interview, Davis said the following: “I wish the best of luck to him and we’ll see him three maybe four times this year, and try to beat him. Now he’s the enemy. Anybody who’s not on the Pelicans is an enemy to me. He went from a teammate to an enemy.” Uh, wow, he used the word “enemy” a lot there. When these two teams met earlier in the season, Cousins and Davis got into a discussion on the sidelines that looked like there was some bad blood between the two. I wish Boogie was playing in this game, but I don’t mind rostering some AD here knowing this will be his chance to show Cousins what he’s missing out on. Davis only had 45.5 DKFP in that meeting, but he did drop 67.5 DKFP against the Warriors last year.

Saturday, January 19 – Shaqtin’ A Happy Birthday Fool: On Saturday, Lakers center JaVale McGee celebrates his 31st birthday against the Rockets. Houston actually ranks among the bottom third of the league in defensive efficiency, so this isn’t as daunting of a matchup as it may appear. The problem with McGee is his minutes have fluctuated all over the map lately, ranging anywhere from the mid-teens to low-twenties. McGee did play 30 minutes when these two teams last met, finishing with 22.25 DKFP. His size and athleticism are actually a decent fit against Clint Capela, but this is strictly a GPP-only play.

Saturday, January 19 – Farewell, D-Wade: Finally, Dwyane Wade and the Heat stroll into Chicago on Saturday in what will be Wade’s last game at United Center. The Heat do play the Bulls again on January 30, but that game will take place in Miami. Wade spent one season in Chicago but this is also a special game because there’s a #HometownNarrative given he’s from Chicago. Wade is averaging just 25 minutes per game this season, but he’s still been able to post respectable numbers when given enough playing time. If you think Wade is given extra leash here to ball out against his former team in front of his hometown, get some GPP exposure.

Thanks for reading, and good luck this week. Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter (@allanlemdfs) and let me know what your favorite NBA narratives are this week. May variance be on your side.

I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is fathalpert) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on. Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.