NBA Narrative Watch: Ex-Kardashian Boyfriend James Harden Faces Tristan Thompson

Hello DFS community, welcome back to the NBA Narratives article. I’m going to highlight my favorite NBA narratives 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.

We have a bunch of fun narratives this week, ranging from revenge, bobbleheads, and my favorite one of all, the #ExBoyfriend narrative. Here are the top narratives I’m monitoring this upcoming week:


Croatian Heritage Night

The Knicks are hosting Croatian Heritage Night on Friday, which is good news for Mario Hezonja. He’s has found a groove lately like Stella, dropping 29+ DKFP in back-to-back games. He also played at least 25 minutes in those two games and seems to be back in the rotation. Rostering a player from the Knicks is a risky proposition because the minutes are never secure, but there’s some intrigue here at just $3,900 if he continues to see minutes on his Heritage Night.

Polish Heritage Day

I never roster Marcin Gortat, but there’s one day per season that I at least consider it, and that’s on Polish Heritage Day. On Sunday, January 6, the Clippers host the Magic on Gortat’s special day. Gortat has balled out historically on this special event. Here are the stat lines of his last three Polish Heritage Games:

March 5, 2016 – 8 points, 17 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 blocks, 1 steal
February 4, 2017 – 12 points, 17 rebounds, 1 block
January 13, 2018 – 16 points, 13 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal

Polish Heritage seems to bring out the best in Gortat, and I will at least give him a good, hard look on Sunday given his prior history with this day.

The Vengeance of Noah Vonleh

It never feels great (or safe) rostering a Knicks player, but on Monday, January 7, Noah Vonleh and the Knicks take on the Trail Blazers in what will be a revenge game for Vonleh. He spent three seasons with Blazers before getting shipped off last year to the Bulls. The move was purely financial, as it allowed the Blazers to avoid the luxury tax. While Vonleh never averaged more than 4.4 points per game as a Blazer, he’s averaging career highs this season in nearly every statistical category due to the fact he’s been given more playing time in New York. Vonleh was loved in the Portland locker room and is finally shining as a starter this season. He can run into foul trouble from time to time, and you never know what the Knicks will do in terms of playing time, so this is purely a GPP play for me.

Getting Iggy With It

Speaking of Vonleh and the Knicks, they head into Oracle Arena the next night, Tuesday, January 8, and take on the Warriors in what will be an Andre Iguodala bobblehead night. The first 10,000 fans will receive an Iggy championship edition bobblehead. Iguodala has really struggled this season, averaging a career-low 5.3 points per game. The 34-year old will generally see around 20 minutes per game as a defensive specialist off the bench, but it seems like it’s come to a point where his days as a DFS target are coming to an end. While I love this narrative for Iguodala, and maybe he’ll be given some extra playing time in what may be a blowout given the Knicks are playing the back end of a back-to-back, Iguodala is a fringe GPP play at best here.

The Gasol Brothers

On Wednesday, January 9, the Spurs take on the Grizzlies in what will be a Gasol brother reunion. Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol meet again, although this season, Pau hasn’t been a player we’ve needed to target in DFS. The Spurs haven’t utilized Pau much to the point we can’t use him in this spot. I have much more interest in brother Marc, who continues to start and have big games occasionally. While Memphis is a top 5 team in terms of defensive efficiency, the Spurs rank in the bottom half of the league, making this an exploitable matchup for the Grizzlies. And if you want another narrative, this happens to also be a Kyle Anderson #RevengeGame.

Serbian Pride

This one is a little off the wall, but on Thursday, January 10, the Clippers and Nuggets face off in a game that features two of the best Serbian basketball players in the world: Nikola Jokic and Boban Marjanovic. Jokic is a walking triple-double and in play regardless of the slate, and considering the Clippers play at one of the fastest paces in the league, there should be a bunch of stats he can rack up here. Boban occasionally draws the start and has seen his minutes see-saw over the course of the season, so he’s more of a fringe tournament option given his lack of consistent minutes. I would love to see these two face off.

A Lovers Battle

Finally, on Friday, January 11, we have the Rockets taking on the Cavaliers, when former boyfriend of Khloe Kardashian (James Harden) faces the current father of her child (Tristan Thompson). When these two met back in November, Harden finished with 66 DKFP while Thompson had 53. The biggest concern in this spot is the fact the Cavaliers are so bad, and there’s genuine blowout potential. I have no idea if there’s any bad beef between the two, but their first meeting had a ton of fireworks and was a joy to watch from a DFS perspective.

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.