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Fantasy Basketball Waiver Wire: Last call for productive Hornets Tre Mann, Nick Richards

February 18th, 2024

In the lengthy absence of Mark Williams, Nick Richards has stepped up his play across several categories and is a great pickup in fantasy basketball leagues. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Special to Yahoo Sports

Two-thirds of the NBA regular season is in the books, and All-Star weekend is here; now is the time to rest and recharge heading into the stretch run of fantasy basketball leagues. But before unplugging for a few days, you may want to check the waiver wire one more time because it’s probably still overflowing with potential. This week’s column identifies five players to snag and reminds readers about another nine players still available in more leagues than not.

Trey Murphy III, New Orleans Pelicans (48% rostered)

Murphy is not having the type of statistical season that many expected. However, the talent is still evident, and it’s seldom a bad idea to add a high-upside player who is underperforming. The Pelicans have quietly been one of the best teams in the league this season. Whether an injury to a teammate results in more playing time for Murphy over the final third of the campaign or not, it wouldn’t be surprising if he’s a bit more involved going forward. After all, he started the season recovering from injury, and having made only 30 appearances thus far, it’s possible he’s not even in mid-season form yet. If New Orleans is going to make a deep run in the playoffs, it will need Murphy to hit his stride and play up to his full potential.

Nick Richards, Charlotte Hornets (46% rostered)

Mark Williams (back) has been sidelined since the second week of December and is still three weeks away from being re-evaluated. As such, Richards remains a worthy pickup in virtually all formats, as he has averaged 10.3 points (68.1% FG, 68.6% FT), 8.7 boards, 1.3 blocks and 1.1 assists in 29.3 minutes across 31 appearances during Williams’ lengthy absence.

Tre Mann, Charlotte Hornets (41% rostered)

Mann averaged 9.2 minutes per game across 13 appearances — for a grand total of 117 minutes — with the Thunder this season prior to being traded to Charlotte before the deadline. While Mann went from one of the league’s top teams to one of its worst, he has been much more involved in his new home. In fact, he’s on pace to have played more minutes with Charlotte this season by the end of the next game — which will be just his fourth in a Hornets uniform — and he has already dished more dimes. Through three games with the Hornets, Mann is averaging 13.7 points, 7.3 dimes, 7.0 boards, 2.0 threes and 1.3 steals in 30.3 minutes. As such, it’s safe to say Mann is getting a chance to shine in Charlotte. LaMelo Ball (ankle) has missed 11 consecutive contests and has appeared in only 22 games thus far this season. It should not shock anyone if the club continues to opt for caution with its young, injured players (Ball, Williams), which bodes well for the fantasy values of Mann and Richards.

Keyonte George, Utah Jazz (34% rostered)

George is rewarding those who have been patient with the rookie and his inconsistent play thus far this season. He’s now back in the starting lineup, with averages of 16.0 points (48.1% FG, 42.9% 3PT, 81.3% FT), 4.1 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 threes and 0.8 steals in 28.4 minutes over the last nine games. It wasn’t long ago that Utah was the hottest team in the league. However, having lost four in a row and seven of the last 10 contests heading into the All-Star break, the Jazz could be on the verge of falling out of the race for a spot in the Postseason Play-In Tournament. If this recent slide continues, it might mean even more minutes for George going forward, although if he continues to play at the level we’ve seen from him over the last few weeks, he’s going to play heavy minutes regardless.

Grant Williams, Charlotte Hornets (27% rostered)

It’s not exactly a secret that losing teams produce some of the most overlooked fantasy contributors. Silly season arrives early for teams that are already nearing elimination from playoff contention, and good players on bad teams can be especially excellent pickups. Williams got off to a strong start with Dallas this season before totally falling off. Now, however, he leaves a situation in which the offense revolved almost entirely around one or two players, to one in which the ball figures to flow more freely to a plethora of players. There’s only so much Williams was going to accomplish in his old role as a floor-spacing forward for a Mavericks team content to run pick-and-rolls and isolations for Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving. Williams will likely get to tap into his unique skillset much more in Charlotte.

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That means more touches at the elbows and in the middle of the floor, which is where he thrived initiating offense at the college level. Because the Hornets don’t have any elite, playmaking shot creators like Dončić or Irving who can break down a defense entirely on their own, Williams can more frequently occupy the spots he’s most comfortable in without spoiling the spacing for teammates. There aren’t many non-Dončić post touches to go around in Dallas. There should be more in Charlotte.

Recent recommendations still rostered in less than 50% of leagues: Jalen Suggs, Marvin Bagley III, Markelle Fultz, Ayo Dosunmu, GG Jackson II, Andre Drummond, Amen Thompson, Kelly Olynyk

This content was originally sourced and posted at Yahoo! Sports – News, Scores, Standings, Rumors, Fantasy Games »
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