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1. T.J. McConnell hit 9-of-10 shots for 18 points, seven assists and a steal in Sunday’s loss to the Hawks after racking up eight dimes and three steals on Friday against the Jazz. To say McConnell, a 6’ 1” reserve point guard for the Pacers, is hot would be quite an understatement. While the averages of 12 points, 3.6 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 1.6 steals are fantasy worthy for their standalone value, the guy is shooting 69.1 percent in the month of April. To put that in perspective, Zion Williamson is at 57.1 percent in April, while MVP favorite, Nikola Jokic, is at 54.3 percent for the month and just under 57 percent on the season. Heck, even looking at the entire season McConnell is among the league leaders at 57.5 percent, which is almost mind-blowing. He’s also averaging a season-high 27.9 minutes for the month and is taking eight shots a game, hitting most of them. He’s also a very good, yet low-volume 3-point shooter and the only things he doesn’t really do is hit many threes and block shots. The Pacers are in the middle of a four-game week and they go 3-4-5 to end the regular season. And the best news is that he’s not really a rest candidate, either, hopefully leaving him free of the silly season shenanigans that are coming for a lot of players. I’m anxious to see what he does on Wednesday against the Thunder, especially with the Pacers now as banged up as any team in the league.
2. Kevin Huerter’s season of mediocrity, or dare I say, disappointment, seems to have come to an end now that spring is here. He went off for 23 points, nine boards, three assists, two steals, a block and five 3-pointers on 8-of-12 shooting against the Pacers on Sunday in what was arguably his best game of the entire season. He backed that up with 15 points, three 3-pointers and three steals on Tuesday. He’s now scored in double digits in nine straight games and is finally peaking at a time the banged-up Hawks probably need him most. The numbers for April are inspiring with 14.2 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.1 steals and 2.1 3-pointers on 50 percent shooting. And if you throw out his April Fool’s Day joke when he failed to score in 16 minutes, the numbers look even better. I’ve had trust issues with Huerter all season but the Hawks trust him again and he’s averaging 31.1 minutes this month. And if that’s good enough for the Hawks, it’s good enough for my fantasy teams. The Hawks finish up 4-3-4 on the weekly schedule grid.
3. Bruce Brown isn’t consistently posting mind-blowing fantasy numbers but he does have recent games in which he hit double digits in rebounds three times (and in two straight) and he’s scored in double figures in four of his April games. He’s also a bit of a steals machine and is shooting it lights out this month. His April numbers come in at 9.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.8 blocks and 52 percent shooting. He doesn’t shoot or make many 3-pointers, but with both Kevin Durant and James Harden hurting for the Nets, the minutes should be there for Brown, especially going forward as the Nets continue to rest their studs in order to make sure everyone’s healthy for the playoffs. Brown is getting almost 27 minutes a night and has played at least 30 minutes in two of his last four games. Even when Harden and KD are healthy Brown’s going to be worth a close look and with news that Harden may now be out until the playoffs start, he looks like a must-start player. Brown had 11 points, 11 boards, four steals and a 3-pointer on Tuesday against the Pelicans and might just now be getting ready to heat up. Brooklyn finishes up 4-3-4 on the games-played schedule grid.
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4. Luguentz Dort, who is dealing with a hip injury, has only played four games in April, but what a four-game stretch it has been. He had 15 points, five boards, a steal, a block and two 3-pointers on April 10, a career-high 42 points, seven rebounds, three dimes, four steals and seven triples on April 13, came through with 26 points, six rebounds, three steals, a block and three 3-pointers on April 16 and then capped off the run with 29 points, four rebounds, a steal and five 3-pointers on Sunday against the Raptors. Unfortunately, he was rested on Monday, allowing Darius Bazley to go off, and is questionable for Wednesday. I don’t think Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is going to play again this season for the tanking Thunder and Dort’s April averages of 28 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.5 blocks and 4.3 3-pointers on 51 percent shooting are screaming for fantasy managers to pick him up. And the best news is that the Thunder play five games next week, right in the heart of the fantasy playoffs. Make sure he’s not still sitting on your waiver wire. The Thunder finish up the season 5-4-3, meaning Dort and his teammates should be popular pickups right now in preparation for next week.
5. Joe Ingles is hot, mainly due to Donovan Mitchell’s sprained ankle, and has scored in double digits in six straight games, hitting at least 18 points in four of his last five. He had 21 points, four boards, five assists, a block and five 3-pointers on Monday against the Lakers and racked up 20 points, three boards, 14 assists (one off his career high), three steals and six 3-pointers on Saturday, also against the Lakers. In two games without Mitchell, he’s averaging 20.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 9.5 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.5 blocks and 5.5 3-pointers while shooting lights out. For the month of April, he’s at 13.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 0.9 steals and 3.4 3-pointers, but those numbers are going up with Mitchell on the shelf. The Jazz go 4-4-4 to finish out the season and Ingles is going to play a massive role for them the rest of the way.