Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
We are only a couple of games into the 2010-11 NBA season, but one of the first things we should be looking for in a late-round selection or free agent pickup is opportunity. The opportunity to play can be seen in a boxscore through court time.
So look at your favorite site, hopefully The Sports Network statistics pages, and search via minutes played per game. There you will see at the top of the list familiar names like Gerald Wallace, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Roy. All obviously well-known stars and likely players you can't trade for at any price.
But interspersed among them are players seeing more time on the court than in previous seasons and those are the guys you should be targeting. They will show the most improvement, statistically.
Carlos Delfino, Milwaukee (ADP 182) - Delfino began his career in Detroit as a point guard, but when he was traded to Toronto in 2006 he began to spend more time at small forward than at point guard because the team already had two good guards in Jose Calderon and T.J. Ford. He continued to play at the forward spot after moving to Milwaukee last season and at 6-foot-6 he's become a respectable rebounder pulling in around five rebounds per game. He opened up his 2010-11 campaign with a team-high 19 points on 7-for-12 shooting. With Ersan Ilyasova backing him up, Delfino should continue to see big minutes.
Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers (ADP 81)- Griffin was just a seventh-round selection because he missed his entire first season with a knee injury. However, he might be in the top-five in pure athleticism and opened the season and his career with a 20-point, 14-rebound effort on Wednesday. If you have him, hold on tight, but if you are thinking of trading for him, do it quickly before these type of games become a regular occurrence.
Roy Hibbert, Indiana (ADP 72) - I touted Hibbert in the preseason because he's the only inside game on the Pacers roster. He showed up big in the season opener with 28 points and nine rebounds and more importantly played 33 minutes. If he can stay on the court, he'll continue to produce good numbers.
Luis Scola, Houston (ADP 77) - With Yao Ming limited to around seven minutes per quarter, Scola will have plenty of time to score and rebound. He's averaging 35.5 minutes over the first pair of games and posting 27 points per game and 16 rebounds per game. He's another player, like Hibbert, that the less-than-fanatical fantasy player might trade because he's not that well known outside of Houston.
Arron Afflalo, Denver (ADP 229) - Afflalo had a very good preseason and continued that play into the opener. He scored 22 points on 8-for-11 shooting in 35 minutes of floor time and it looks like he's going to be taking over the scoring that used to go to J.R. Smith. He's only owned in 38 percent of all leagues, so could be had for just a waiver claim.
Wilson Chandler, New York Knicks (ADP 120) - Despite not starting, Chandler played 29 minutes and took a team-leading 18 shots. He converted 10 of them for 22 points and added eight rebounds and two blocks. On the run-and-gun Knicks, Chandler could continue to be a stats-filler all season long. He's owned in around 70 percent of all leagues so there is a chance he won't cost you much to put on your roster.