NBA Narrative Watch: The Kyrie Irving Reunion Tour

Hello DFS community, welcome back to the DFS 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.

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

Shabazz Napier Homecoming – It seems like Shabazz Napier felt right at home against the Celtics, dropping 32 DKFP against his hometown team at just $4,600. Napier’s role continues to increase with Spencer Dinwiddie out with an injury, and he took advantage of it in front of his friends and family.

The Collin Sexton Bobblehead Game – Despite Collin Sexton getting his own bobblehead night, it was a bit of a disappointment considering he finished with just 19.25 DKFP. He only cost $4,400 that night so he likely didn’t destroy your lineup at that salary, but I had higher hopes for the rookie.

The Rise of Kenneth Faried – Faried claimed his matchup against his former team, the Nuggets, was just another game since basketball isn’t an emotional game for him. He finished with a respectable 31.5 DKFP in his revenge game, extending his streak to five straight games with 30-plus DKFP.

The Vengeance of Blake Griffin, Part II – Griffin played a team-high 42 minutes in a loss to his former team, the Clippers. He did finish with 47.25 DKFP and a solid double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds, but it just wasn’t enough. I was hoping for a bit more from Griffin in this spot, but 47.25 DKFP is still nothing to sneeze at.

Let’s now look at some of my favorite narratives for this upcoming week:

Tuesday, February 5 – The Return of Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving returns to Cleveland on Tuesday, the organization he spent his first six seasons with. This is just the second time as a Celtic that he’s facing his former team in Cleveland. This season, Irving missed one meeting against Cleveland and dropped 41.5 DKFP in their other meeting, both of which were in Boston. There are genuine blowout concerns here assuming the Celtics are at full strength. The Celtics won those two games by 20 and 33 points, and a non-competitive game may cap the ceiling of Irving. For now, I’m viewing Irving as more of a tournament option given the blowout concerns.

Editor’s Note: Irving (hip) has been ruled out for Tuesday’s game vs. the Cavs.

Wednesday, February 6 – The Shaun Livingston Bobblehead Game

It’s awesome that Shaun Livingston gets his own bobblehead night considering what he’s meant to the Warriors organization, but this is one narrative I’m not super high on. Livingston has only topped 20 DKFP five times this season, and his season-high is 26 DKFP. His salary makes him easy to fit in but considering he’s averaging just 15 minutes per game this season for the Warriors, his upside is capped in this offense. As much as I love a bobblehead narrative, this is likely one I will pass on.

Wednesday, February 6: The One-Two Punch

I was really looking forward to this game featuring Nikola Mirotic of the Pelicans and Bobby Portis of the Bulls, but it’s unclear if Mirotic will make it back in time from injury for this showdown. If you recall, Portis punched then-teammate Mirotic in a 2017 practice when the two played for the Bulls, causing Mirotic to suffer a concussion and facial fractures. It’s unclear if the two ever fully made up from that incident, making this matchup even more intriguing. However, Mirotic has missed several games lately due to injury and could miss this meeting, while Portis has yo-yo’d between a starting and bench role for the woeful Bulls. For now, I’m considering Portis merely a GPP option.

Thursday, February 7 – The Reunion

On Thursday, the Lakers and Celtics face off in what will be a reunion for LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. I used to love pairing these two in DFS when they faced off knowing they will both be bringing their A-game. More recently, it sounds like the two have possibly made amends with rumors of James being willing to play with Irving again. Irving had reached out to James back in January to apologize for their falling out in Cleveland. While I have doubts the two will ever be teammates again, it doesn’t mean we can’t attack this narrative for DFS purposes and jam them both in our lineups.

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.