Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Kobe Bryant may be 33-years-old and in his 16th season, but it appears that head coach Mike Brown isn't worrying about his star wearing down. Bryant leads the league in minutes played, field goal attempts, field goals, free throws made, points and turnovers. Bryant is also dealing with a bad wrist and pre-game injections that led some fantasy owners to trade him early in this abbreviated season. Those who made the move may end up regretting it as Bryant has played through pain and performed at a high level in the past.
If you are looking for a sell-high player - think Celtics guard Ray Allen. Through the first seven games he's ranked 10th in the league in scoring averaging 20.4 ppg, four points-per-game more than he has in his past two years with Boston. He's also taken advantage of the addition shots available because Paul Pierce was missing games with a foot injury. At 36-years-old and in a season where teams are playing 66 games in less than 113 days, I don't think he can keep up this pace.
Philadelphia 76ers center Spencer Hawes is another guy playing well above expectations. Hawes averaged 7.2 ppg and 5.7 rpg last season and has career numbers of 8.5 ppg and 5.7 rpg. Through the first seven games of 2011-12, he's ranked fifth in rebounding at 10.6 rpg and is averaging 12.6 ppg. Neither number will continue all season long.
In the world of rebounding, there is Andrew Bynum (15.7 rpg), Kevin Love (15.0) and Dwight Howard (14.6) and then there is the rest of the league.
Jarrett Jack, newly appointed point guard in New Orleans, may not be Chris Paul, but he's producing very good statistics. The Georgia Tech alum is averaging 16.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg and 7.7 apg. As a seventh-round selection on Draft Day, he's giving you an excellent return on your investment. By the way, Paul, the No.3 overall selection, is averaging 15.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg and 9.3 apg for the Los Angeles Clippers.
If only DeMarcus Cousins could play more minutes. Cousins is averaging 14.6 ppg and 10.1 rpg in just 25.8 minutes-per-game. That's not a coaching decision, it's a foul problem. Cousins leads the NBA in fouls with 39 in just eight games (4.9 per game). If he averaged 36 minutes-per-game his numbers would look like 20.4 ppg and 14.2 rpg and he'd be a top fantasy property. There were also the persistent rumors that he's asked to be traded. I wouldn't be afraid to put him on my roster. Remember, he's just an immature 21-year- old. He also seems to have a better relationship with new head coach Keith Smart than former head coach Paul Westphal (fired after a 2-5 start) which could help turn around his 2011-12 season.
Ninth-round fantasy selection Ryan Anderson of Orlando (ADP 107) might be this season's biggest surprise through the first two weeks. He's showing that he's a complete ballplayer averaging 18.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, shooting 39.7% from three- point range on 8.1 attempts per game and 88.5% from the foul line. Those are huge increases over 2010-11 when he averaged 10.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg.
What do Indiana Pacers forward Tyler Hansbrough (12.9 ppg, 7.1 rpg), Utah power forward Derrick Favors (8.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg) and Miami Heat center Joel Anthony (3.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg) have in common?
Answer: They are the NBA's version of a "black hole." The trio are the only players in the NBA who are averaging 20 minutes of playing time and have yet to record an assist.