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Fantasy Basketball Breakouts, Busts, And Locks - Charlotte Hornets 2022 Outlook

Welcome to a new series that we are debuting here at RotoBaller in order to start getting you ready for the 2022-2023 fantasy basketball season!

If you play fantasy football, you'll probably recognize the format here as we had a series of preseason NFL articles that followed the same outline. The idea here is to hone in several players from each team that we see as values for the upcoming season or that are possibly being drafted too high this preseason.

In this piece, you'll find a fantasy basketball breakout candidate, a fantasy basketball bust candidate, and a fantasy basketball lock (think steady production and being drafted correctly) for the Charlotte Hornets based on early ADP for fantasy basketball drafts for the 2022-2023 season. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@Maxadelphia) for more fantasy basketball insight (amongst other things).

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Fantasy Basketball Breakout: P.J. Washington

Floated in trade rumors over the summer, Washington was ultimately not moved and looks to return to his 2020-21 form. In 2020-21 Washington had the best year of his 3-year career and averaged 29.4 fantasy points per game.

With Miles Bridges being outed as a massive scumbag, and Montrezl Harrel's departure for Philadelphia, Washington figures to start for the Hornets at PF. A promising sign that Washington can seize this opportunity: despite seeing decreases across the board in statistical output, Washington has raised his season +/- rating each year since joining the NBA.

Washington currently profiles as a 10th-round pick, but he projects to have more minutes than most other Forward options in this range. Washington was the center of a huge piece of off-season drama with infamous baby mama Brittany Renner, and this off-season he got married to his new girlfriend. Washington fell out of favor early in the regular season after a poor preseason. A better mental state this year should pay dividends.

 

Fantasy Basketball Bust: Gordon Hayward 

Another Hornets player who had their name floated around in the trade market, Hayward seems the most likely piece on the Hornets roster to be moved at some point this year after rumor floated around that he wanted a change of scenery.

The oft-injured former Butler star might benefit from a change of role. He hasn't played more than 53 games in a single season in the last 3 years, and last year had one of the worst statistical years of his career. I'm not ready to call Hayward completely washed yet, but his +/- dipped again last year after falling off a cliff his first year in Charlotte.

Already missing pre-season games and with a potential trade that would leave him with less of a role, I'll be letting someone else deal with that headache.

 

Fantasy Basketball Lock: LaMelo Ball

LaMelo took a major step forward in his second year in the NBA and raised his fantasy PPG total by 7 points from year 1 to year 2.

This year, he lost the guy who had emerged as a clear and reliable second option. I would expect his usage rating to surpass 30% this year, which would firmly put him in the elite tier usage-wise and likely vault him up the fantasy leaderboards.

Ball's current ADP is a bit hard to track. Some places have him ranked in the 5-10 range, some have him as deep as the 15-20 range. If you're able to get him in the late first or early second round, I think he's a phenomenal value.

 

Conclusion

The Hornets had one of the worst off-seasons in the league with the Miles Bridges incident, and not addressing their needs for size on the interior. It feels inevitable that they'll be a carbon copy of last year; the defense will be poor, and the offense will have to score a lot of points to keep games competitive. The Hornets won't be great, but they'll be fun to watch for sure.

As for fantasy purposes, I think the Hornets are a bit undervalued across the board. Miles Bridges was a huge contributor on this team, and it's rare that a volume player like that disappears without a clear inheritor. The Hornets have a very shallow rotation and that makes for tighter and more consistent fantasy output from role players.

 

Thanks for reading and good luck in your leagues this year!



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