Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
It used to be that a top fantasy center was a treasured item, to build your team around and be the envy of at least half your league.
But in today's game, there are so many power forwards who also qualify for the spot in the middle, that the position is no longer dominated by just a few "aircraft carriers" as the late, great Al McGuire used to say.
While Shaquille O'Neal, Andrew Bogut and Marc Gasol all easily fit into McGuire's description of an "aircraft carrier" the position has become diluted with the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Elton Brand and Channing Frye. Al Horford is really a power forward playing in the middle as is Amare Stoudemire and Chris Bosh.
But in the fantasy world of 2010-11, they can all play the No.5 position for your team. The result being that it takes some of the strategy out of the game, but that's a discussion for another day.
Dwight Howard may be a legitimate candidate for NBA Player of the Year, but in the fantasy world he comes up way short to our winner to two categories which he can't overcome with his defensive prowess. Howard will take home the runner-up prize today.
The 2010-11 TSN Fantasy Center of the Year goes to Minnesota big man Kevin Love.
Love put on quite a display this season, posting 53 consecutive double-doubles along with his amazing statistics. Beyond the statistics shown below, the double-double streak shows outstanding consistency during the season. But the coup de grace was his touch from beyond the arc. Love made 88 three-pointers while still shooting at a high percentage (41.7%).
Howard finished second because he could match Love's prowess at the foul line (85.0% to 59.6%) and his zero made total from three-point range on seven futile attempts. If not for those two categories, Howard's 2.4 blocks and 1.4 steals might have been enough to put the Magic big man at the top of the list.
Falling to third place among the fantasy centers is last year's No.1 center Pau Gasol. It's not that Gasol played much worse than in 2009-10, it's just that Love and Howard were spectacular.
Coming in fourth is Zach Randolph, who truly belongs at the power forward position as he plays alongside Marc Gasol in Memphis. But since he's eligible at center in most leagues, he belongs at the No.4 spot on this list. Randolph posted a solid 20.1 ppg and 12.2 rpg this season.
Rounding out the top-five is another power forward disguised as a center - Amare Stoudemire. Stoudemire loves playing in the Mike D'Antoni up tempo offense and scored 25.3 ppg along with 8.2 rpg. The big man's numbers did drop in the second half (26.1 ppg before the All-Star game vs. 23.5 ppg after), following the acquisition of another scorer - Carmelo Anthony.