Looking through the Basketball Reference page for Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell, it tells me his nickname is “Floor General.” Is that even a nickname anymore? I thought that was a ranking in Space Force. It’s like showing up for your first day of work and your boss calls you “Coffeeboi” and for the next year, you smile cheerfully while you pour the Folgers, always wondering what could have been had you brought donuts on your first day. Yet, T.J. “Floor General” McConnell is the kind of guy you’re not supposed to get excited about. He’s the kind of guy you plugin when you’re a month into the season and D’Angelo Russell is missing his 10th game due to bilateral leg weakness, which is absolutely contagious in Minnesota. So! Let’s dive in and see what the backup guard on the Pacers is going to do for your fantasy basketball team.
Availability: Rostered in 41% of Yahoo Leagues and absolutely off the pre-season draft charts. You can acquire him for a cup of gas station coffee that was left out overnight.
Assists: Imagine you’re me for a second: [you fall asleep, dead tired from homeschooling three kids in the pandemic] [you wake up only to write fantasy sports material] And we’re back! OK! Here are my unfortunate RazzJam guards: D’Angelo Russell, Victor Oladipo, and Kyrie Irving. Pre-season me: “I’m unbeatable!” One month later me: “I need a guard!” [insert GIF of The Weeknd running through mirror maze]. So! McConnell is fourth in the NBA in assists per minute with a ridiculous 10.1 dimes per 36, behind Russell Westbrook and ahead of Trae Young. In his last ten games, he’s topped six assists eight times, with double-digit assists in three games. Why isn’t he rostered in like 80% of leagues by now?
Shooting: Hey! Finally a player I don’t have to hedge. The Floor General is shooting .504 from the floor, which is actually lower than his career average. Whew! Regression to the mean is coming! He doesn’t really shoot threes, but when he does, he hits at a .375 rate. Something’s going on with the small sample size and his free throws, though, because he’s usually 80% from the line, but this year he’s 33%. So, regression fans get ready: he’s likely to improve across the board soon. Keep in mind, the Pacers have been a bit of a mess this year with trades. It’s going to take a while for lineups to start meshing (<–my therapist’s word for teamwork)
Usage: McConnell is playing more minutes than he has in years, with nearly 25 minutes per game. Unfortunately, his usage is at a career-low 13%. Could that mean more regression towards his career average of 16-17%? Probably. McConnell’s part of five of the top 10 most-used lineups for the Pacers, and he’s been grinding 30+ minutes this past week, topping 40 minutes on February 15. Upside!
Fantasy Summary: You’re looking for a McConnell you can trust, and we’ve got a guy who has a track record of shooting well and dishing out dimes. Even better yet, he’s snatching nearly two steals per game. His playing time is rocketing over the last week, and he’s available in almost all formats. So, if you’re like me and need that B-team guard with upside, grab yourself the Floor General and dominate the court.
Let me know what you think of T.J. McConnell down in the comments, and have a good week everybody!