Fantasy basketball: Checking in on Kyrie and Luka

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Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic have played five games together so far in Dallas, and the Mavericks’ loss to Indiana on Tuesday night dropped them to 1-4 in those games.

But in terms of fantasy production, how has Irving’s move to the Mavs changed his fantasy production as well as that of Doncic and others on the team?

Here are AndrΓ© Snellings, Eric Karabell, Jim McCormick, Eric Moody and Steve Alexander to explain.

More open 3s to be had

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Nobody should be surprised at how well Doncic and Irving play together, but their pairing has opened up 3-point opportunities for others. Bench options Tim Hardaway Jr. and Christian Wood have played particularly well recently as opposing defenses seem less inclined to bother with them. Hardaway hit 10-of-19 3-pointers in the past two games. That’s what he gets paid for, though he is a streaky shooter. Wood’s minutes are considerably lower than usual, but his efficiency is up; he’s averaging 13.9 PPG in only 19.1 MPG in February. We should also watch newcomer Justin Holiday, a journeyman with 3-point potential who pushed Josh Green to the bench. Fantasy managers in deep league could see value here. — Karabell

Less room for complementary options

This is the rare superstar pairing of playmakers that hasn’t required or resulted in much statistical accommodation. Luka has been quite Luka-ish; which includes a rich 36.3% usage and elite scoring efficiency in his last four games, down from a wild 38.8% usage rate prior to Irving’s arrival. Irving has seen his usage dip from 30.3% with the Nets to a more reasonable 27.2 rate with Dallas, although his actual shot diet appears nearly identical. If anything, it’s that there isn’t as much room for the complementary offensive options on Dallas to surface, with the likes of Green, Wood and Hardaway all due for lower offensive floors and ceilings amid this pairing of high-usage stars. — McCormick

Cutting into one another’s production

What I’ve noticed so far is that both are down a couple of shots per game since Kyrie got to Dallas; Kyrie from 20.5 to 18.3, and Luka from 22.3 down to 20.8 FGA. Both, however, are shooting slightly better from the field during that stretch, so both are only down slightly in scoring. The more interesting effect has been on assists; Kyrie’s are up, from 5.3 APG in Brooklyn to 6.9 APG in Dallas. For Luka, it’s been the opposite, down from 8.2 APG pre-Kyrie to 6.8 APG since Kyrie’s arrival. Luka has only two games over six assists in that stretch, one of which came in a game that Kyrie sat. Kyrie also got the last shot on Tuesday, with the chance to win at the buzzer. This all tells me that, so far at least, the partnership has taken slightly more from Luka than from Kyrie. — Snellings

Luka has 10 triple-doubles this season but hasn’t had one since Jan. 21, nor has he been particularly close. Kyrie is eating into his assists (and scoring) a bit and bigs like Dwight Powell and Christian Wood are about to be joined by Maxi Kleber (hamstring) to steal rebounds away from him. But unless your league rewards triple-doubles and you were counting on them from Luka, the fantasy impacts haven’t been too noticeable. He’s still been a first-round player over the last two weeks and even though the Mavs aren’t winning like they’d hoped, Luka and Irving seem to be getting along swimmingly. And Irving’s numbers, outside of scoring a point less in Dallas, haven’t changed much. He’s exactly the same in turnovers, steals and 3-pointers, he’s up in both shooting percentage categories, rebounds and assists, and he’s down slightly in blocks. For adding two superstars together, at least in terms of fantasy, the results have been almost negligible, which is good news for both players. Now they just need to figure out how to win together. — Alexander

Needs time to gel

Doncic has landed a legitimate co-star in Kyrie Irving who is arguably the best ball handler in the league. Doncic will have to get used to not always having the basketball in his hands. Doncic’s usage rate is 38% this season, which is eerily similar to the rate he had the three previous seasons. For the Mavericks to win a championship, Doncic must relinquish some control. LeBron James and Michael Jordan finally achieved the success they desperately sought once they realized this. Since Dallas does not have a reliable big, they can build the offense around this dynamic duo and perimeter shooters. Doncic’s fantasy production could be slightly lower moving forward. — Moody

Source: espn.com

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