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The Wire Troll: T.J. McConnell Delivering Off the Bench

March 18, 2023 | By RotoRob | comment on this post
T.J. McConnell has been productive for the Indiana Pacers.
T.J. McConnell has owned the Bucks this season. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Welcome back to another week of Fantasy basketball. March Madness is here, which means tons of college basketball goodness… and the NBA home stretch. While you’re league is distracted by the tourney, raid the wire.

This week, Lonzo Ball‘s knee woes are worsening; the Nets have no plans to shut down Ben Simmons (knee); and Draymond Green earned a suspension after racking up his 16th technical foul of the season.

And now, let’s get to this week’s…

Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire Picks

T.J. McConnell, PG, Indiana Pacers (ESPN: 8.6 per cent; CBS: 23 per cent): It’s been about three and a half years since we last gave McConnell some love, and while that paid immediate dividends, he didn’t shoot as well in the second half. However, with Tyrese Haliburton (knee) out, McConnell has been lighting it up with three straight games of 12 or more points, making him a hot addition this week. On Thursday, he turned in his second stellar showing against the Bucks this season, recording a double-double after scoring a career-best 29 on January 16. (He also likes to haunt his old team, the Sixers — see video below.) McConnell has seen a nice uptick in PT in March and — other than a minor back woe — has remained healthy this season after missing most of 2021-22 in the wake of wrist surgery. He’s been around long enough for you to already have the scoop on his game: he really knows how to run an offense efficiently when he gets the chance.

Torrey Craig, SF/PF, Phoenix Suns (ESPN: 1.7 per cent; CBS: 10 per cent): We pimped Craig back in November, and he enjoyed a solid run for a few weeks before fading recently. However, with Kevin Durant (ankle) still out and not scheduled to be re-evaluated until the end of March, Craig is worth considering again given the run he’s getting. Craig plays a solid two-way game, and while he doesn’t provide much scoring (and his touches have been dropping for a while), he can help you with boards, treys, blocks and steals. His shooting touch has regressed once again this season, but he’s put up career bests in assists, blocks and points. At the very least, Craig is a DFS option worth considering.

Nick Richards, C, Charlotte Hornets (ESPN: 6.5 per cent; CBS: 26 per cent): Okay, so some foul trouble led to a real stinker by Richards on Friday, but he’d been rolling, racking up a couple of double-doubles recently, while flirting with them consistently. He’s enjoyed a career-best effort this season, currently ranking seventh in the NBA in FTr, although if you’re seeking help in treys, look elsewhere. When Charlotte traded for Richards, we really liked his mobility.

Rodney McGruder, SG, Detroit Pistons (ESPN: 0.7 per cent; CBS: 2 per cent): It’s been over three years since we last recommended McGruder, but he didn’t shoot that well that month, and then barely played for the rest of the season. Mea culpa. However, he’s scorching now, scoring 20 points on Thursday (with six of his seven FGs from beyond the arc) for his fourth straight game of at least 11 points. McGruder’s bucket count is way up so far this month, and for a guy that’s taken plenty of DNP-CDs this season, it’s great to see him getting a chance to start — and produce. Roll with McGruder as a DFS or deep league option while he’s hot.

Others to Consider

Jordan Nwora, SF, Indiana Pacers (ESPN: 1.9 per cent; CBS: 9 per cent): Nwora has been set free from Milwaukee and is starting to show his scoring potential, with nine straight double-digit point efforts and plenty of treys. He’s pitching in on the offensive glass more lately, and is getting way more touches as a Pacer than he ever saw as a Buck.

Austin Reaves, SG, Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN: 11.1 per cent; CBS: 30 per cent): Reaves has become a real fan fave in L.A., scoring 13 or more points in seven straight, with plenty of boards, dimes and good percentages. Over the last month in particular, his FG percentage has been really strong while he’s also been seeing more PT.

Andrew Nembhard, PG/SG, Indiana Pacers (ESPN: 4.7 per cent; CBS: 30 per cent): Wow, plenty of Indy options this week, right? Nembhard is another Pacer benefiting from Haliburton’s absence, scoring 24 points on Thursday (with five assists) for his fourth straight game of 14 or more. Nembhard has actually been seeing plenty of minutes for most of the season, but his production is spiking now.

Isaiah Livers, SF/PF, Detroit Pistons (ESPN: 0.9 per cent; CBS: 11 per cent): Livers is currently dealing with a hip woe (day-to-day), but was rolling to the tune of at least 13 points in three of four before that. He’s dealt with his share of injuries early in his career, but Detroit considers this kid to be an important piece going forward, so expect him to get plenty of burn upon his return.

Isaiah Hartenstein, PF/C, New York Knicks (ESPN: 3.4 per cent; CBS: 13 per cent): Hartenstein’s PT is down this month, but he’s played 24 or more minutes in three of the last four, and always delivers good percentages, boards and blocks. He’s a solid backup, ranking third in the NBA in ORB percentage, and makes for a nice deep league option — and possibly more if starter Mitchell Robinson continues to struggle.

RotoRob Tune of the Day

French electronic duo Daft Punk formed in 1993 and remained active until 2021. In 2001, they released their second studio album, Discovery, which includes the acid minimalist “Superheroes,” featuring a Barry Manilow sample.

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