NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks: Kyrie Irving is Back! (May 24)

Friday brings Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, and after a nip-and-tuck affair on Wednesday, how will the teams top that action? Tonight’s DFS contests lock at 8:30 p.m. ET on DraftKings and FanDuel. There are several options in the player pool worth analyzing to find the top NBA DFS building blocks and NBA DFS picks. Let’s dig into the NBA DFS picks and core plays like Kyrie Irving, Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels.

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NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today: Friday, May 24

NBA DFS Picks: Building Blocks

Kyrie Irving: Mavericks at Timberwolves

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings: 40.05 | FanDuel: 39.64
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 44.2% | FanDuel: 40.9%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $7,700 | FanDuel: $8,100

Yes, Luka Doncic was awesome in Game 1, and he projects to have the most fantasy points in this matchup. Of course, salary is a thing and Doncic costs a pretty penny, particularly on DraftKings for those who elect to use him in the multiplier slot. He does have the second-best fantasy point-per-dollar ratio in the player pool, but putting a team around him can be tricky.

No team led by double digits on Wednesday, and the average lead for the entire game was just 2.10 points. Doncic did have 15 points in the fourth quarter, but do not lose sight of Kyrie Irving putting up 24 of his 30 in the second half of the game. The 30 points were his most in the last seven games; heck, the same thing could have been said if all he did was tally those 24 in the second half. Irving launched 23 field goal attempts, matching his Game 7 figure against Oklahoma City. This volume was one more attempt than the 22 he had in Games 4 and 5 combined.

Going forward the Mavericks are going to need someone from the frontcourt to step up, but it is clear that Irving and Doncic are going to be a handful for the Timberwolves. Irving was a steady presence, which is great to see considering his last few years of … well, let’s focus on the positive. He has proven to be a capable secondary scorer when needed, but he is also picking up a lot of the facilitation duty and playing strong defense. Perhaps he has mellowed in his age-32 season, and this iteration of Uncle Drew could really make some noise against the young Minnesota squad.

Rookie Dereck Lively II and Daniel Gafford continued to split the center minutes, with the veteran drawing the start. This makes sense as it helps preserve fouls for Lively, who has been the better of the two in the fourth quarter. Each should see around 22 minutes, with the extra going to Lively if he is effective. Foul trouble for either big man could give a boost to the other, but there is nothing wrong with playing both on the same roster.

P.J. Washington had a healthy 40 minutes, but he had only 10 field goal attempts, with eight from behind the arc. It looks like he is going to be tasked more with rebounding and defense, still getting up some shots, though nothing near his 18, 23 and 19 in the middle of the last series. Daniel Jones Jr. rounds out the starting five, and he does just enough to be a neutral fantasy option who won’t destroy lineups, but he won’t elevate them much either.

Josh Green had just 13 minutes on Wednesday, well below the 18.4 he averaged in the preceding 10 postseason games, but that could have been an anomaly. It also could have been a shift by coach Jason Kidd to get Washington out there more for his size, where he has a couple inches and 30 pounds on Green.

Somehow veteran marksman Tim Hardaway Jr. did not have a single field goal attempt in 10 minutes, although he did have four rebounds and a steal. He should see something in the 10- to 12-minute range most nights, but the team does not have to force him out there as it did in prior seasons. Jaden Hardy will get a few minutes backing up Doncic and Irving; however, anything more than 10 to 12 will be as a result of a lopsided game, or foul trouble for another player.

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Jaden McDaniels: Timberwolves vs. Mavericks

Stokastic’s Fantasy Point Projections
DraftKings:24.64 | FanDuel: 24.86
Stokastic’s Rostership Projections
DraftKings: 35.1% | FanDuel: 26.5%
DFS Salary
DraftKings: $4,900 | FanDuel: $5,700

Jaden McDaniels led the Timberwolves with 24 points, topping 20 for the third consecutive game. The former University of Washington Husky is known more for his defense than his scoring, but perhaps an evolution is underway.

In the last two regular seasons, McDaniel averaged 50.4% from the field on 8.9 attempts, so his 51.8% success rate is not a complete surprise, but yet it is at the same time. His salary is starting to get a little tough on FanDuel ($10,500), but he is a core play on DraftKings ($6.000).

To be clear, Anthony Edwards did not have a bad game, and if he had made one more layup or had a couple more free throws, he would have been the featured player for this section. He did make his first All-NBA Team, landing with the second unit. In Wednesday’s game, he had 19 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists and two steals while being -1 on the court. Expect a return to his lofty DFS form soon and likely tonight.

It was a rough night on the glass for Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid, who had seven, seven and five rebounds after each reached double digits in Game 6 of the Denver series. It would be a shock to see all three reach that plateau again in the same game, but just 19 combined caroms is not a good trend against the Mavericks, particularly when the series travels to Dallas.

This trio is fine for fantasy purposes, with Towns looking best on DraftKings and Gobert getting the nod on the blue site. Reid is about neutral on each platform, so lean on personal preference and salary cap constraints to be your guide.

Kyle Anderson had his best fantasy performance in a while, so it will be interesting to see if that was a mirage or the start of a trend with a new opponent. Mike Conley was not particularly enthralling, but he did get 31 minutes and was helped by a pair of steals. Nickeil Alexander-Walker was dreadful from the field, which ultimately opened the door for Anderson. That could easily reverse course tonight, but Alexander-Walker has a tenuous hold on his slim minutes advantage.

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Today’s Top Sports Betting Pick

Karl-Anthony Towns is a strong option in the DFS world, though there is also some value with his under 2.5 made 3-points prop. This wager is currently available at -130 on DraftKings and PointsBet. Looking at the -148 “true odds” (how OddsShopper measures the potential expected ROI of a given wager), we can see there is a desirable 5.4% expected ROI with the current line.

By using OddsShopper to do the heavy lifting when researching favorable bets, we can quickly spot inefficient lines like this one, and having accounts at multiple sportsbooks allows us to pivot to the best number quickly.

We can see that the current line on the trio of operators stands out dramatically when compared to the -172 offered by Pinnacle, a sharp book. Be a savvy shopper!

NBA Bet Pro has Towns projected for 34.5 minutes and 2.16 made 3-pointers, which is just below the 2.5 milestone, though it does not account for a variable range of outcomes. That can be measured by the 50% probability for the under on this wager.

In the 12 postseason games where Towns has seen action, he has splashed three or more triples four times. In two games he landed on two, and in the other six he had one or zero. In the last game, he had nine attempts from downtown, making only two. He easily could reach three on this same volume tonight, but will he get that volume?

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Final Thoughts on NBA DFS Picks & Building Blocks Today

Get all the latest news and updates for NBA DFS picks today on the Stokastic NBA Live Before Lock Show at 8 p.m. ET on YouTube, breaking down all of the key elements for today’s slate, including even more on Kyrie Irving, Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels. Brought to you by Sleeper – new users, use this link to receive a $100 first deposit match! Full details here.

Eric "EMac" MacPherson won the 2007 Fantasy Baseball grand prize (trip for two to the MLB All-Star game) in the Roto format on ESPN. He won again in 2008, this time in the H2H format. As one of the early adopters of daily fantasy sports, EMac has been providing content for baseball and basketball as well as both professional and college football since 2012 for a variety of websites including DraftKings Playbook, FanVice, RotoWorld, Daily Fantasy Bootcamp, and RotoGrinders. He is well into his third decade of fantasy sports and has a wealth of knowledge and experience. Follow him on Twitter @EMacDFS or contact EMac by emailing [email protected].

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