If you’re an insane person like myself, you buy into NBA narratives whenever you can. Tonight is the perfect night for such an occasion, with Kawhi Leonard heading back to Toronto to face his former team the Raptors, whom he helped win a Championship last season.
If you’ve watched Kawhi and followed his career, you know he’s very even-keeled. To be quite honest, he’s just a really weird dude. Leonard is quiet and usually level-headed, so chances are this won’t be anything different for him. It’s just another game. But deep down, somewhere inside of him, you know there’s a narrative fire raging, ready to be unleashed in the form of a massive DFS outing.
At $8,700 on DraftKings, the price is pretty reasonable, though this matchup isn’t great. The Raptors are a very good defensive team, allowing opponents to shoot just 41.4% from the field, second-best behind Milwaukee. Toronto likes to slow things down, which doesn’t hurt Kawhi necessarily, considering he’s more of a halfcourt scorer anyway. But the Raps are fifth in defensive rating and have a ton of length for Leonard to deal with. I can’t say I’d fade this narrative — because it’s so huge — but I mean, I’m kind of leaning that way.
Bucks streaking toward 16 wins in a row
Giannis Antetokounmpo is also streaking toward another MVP award. Milwaukee is seeking its 16th straight win tonight, hosting the New Orleans Pelicans. Here are some stats from the streak, courtesy of NBA.com:
— This is the Bucks longest win streak since 1970-71, when the team had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Oscar Robertson. It’s currently third in franchise history and one away from tying for second. The longest streak was Feb. 6-March 8, 1971 when Milwaukee won 20 in a row.
— The Bucks have outscored opponents by a margin of 34 points over the four games prior to Monday vs. Orlando. The game vs. the Magic was the seventh time the Bucks won by less than 10 points during the streak. It’s a mixed bag of opponents who have played Milwaukee close (OKC, CHI, ATL, POR, UTA, ATL, ORL).
— Giannis, the reigning MVP, is looking to add to his trophy case this season. He’s got nine straight games of at least 25 points and above 50% shooting from the field, the longest stretch since Amar’e Stoudemire with the Knicks in 2010. He’s got a shot at catching MJ if he reaches 11.
— If the Bucks win tonight, it’s their best 25-game start to a season ever at 22-3.
Jabari Parker back in Chitown
This isn’t as huge a deal compared to the above narratives, but Parker has played well for the Hawks this season and returns to his hometown to face his former team. The Bulls signed Parker last offseason as a project on a two-year deal with an option for the second year. Things didn’t work out and he was traded to the Wizards. Now with Atlanta, Parker has stepped up with John Collins out, averaging 16.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game, starting 19 of 24 contests. He’s priced at $6,100 on DK for tonight’s slate and isn’t a bad GPP option. I’d imagine he’ll want to show up in front of friends and family.
Brad Stevens back in Indiana
The Boston Celtics will head to Indiana to take on the Pacers tonight. Stevens is a native of Zionsville, Indiana, and we all know him from his days coaching Butler University, which is located in Indianapolis. Stevens led Butler to two straight Final Four appearances back in 2010 and 2011. The Celtics have been playing pretty good ball lately and I’m sure they’re hyped for Stevens’ homecoming tonight. This isn’t so much a DFS narrative, but more for the betting side. The Celtics are +1 on DK Sportsbook in basically a pick ‘em.