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Love is the Best Bargain

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - While Kevin Durant and LeBron James get plenty of attention and media coverage, in the fantasy world they are simply doing what was expected of them, and therefore giving their owners "fair market value."

And while Slam Dunk Champion Blake Griffin is a highlight reel every night, he too isn't much better than a "fair market value" because he doesn't shoot three-pointers, isn't very good from the foul line and doesn't block many shots for a big man (29).

No, when it comes to overachieving this season, the No.1 candidate for the "2010-11 TSN Best Bargain Award" is Minnesota big man Kevin Love.

At your fantasy draft last October, Love was just a middle fourth-round selection (ADP 41) after a 14.0 ppg, 11.0 rpg sophomore season.

Fantasy owners apparently failed to realize how much the presence of center Al Jefferson was holding him back. It didn't take people long to see the "new" Love after Jefferson was sent to Utah for a couple of first-round draft picks.

Love opened the season with three double-doubles, but it was in game No.8 that he gave fantasy owners and Timberwolves fans a sample of what was to come. Against the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers, Love scored 23 points, grabbed 24 rebounds and even handed out five assists. Three days later, the former UCLA Bruin topped that performance with a 31-point, 31-rebound, five assist effort versus the New York Knicks.

For the season, Love has an NBA-best 51 double-doubles in 56 contests, including a current streak of 42 straight games. He leads the NBA in rebounding at 15.5 rpg to go along with a 21.1 ppg scoring average and 2.4 apg. In addition, he's shooting a career-high 47% from the field, 42.5% from three-point range and 87.6% from the foul line.

In other words, he's doing almost everything a fantasy owner could want and is playing like a top-three fantasy value.

Even better news is that he's improving every month. Love averaged 14.0 ppg and 13.0 rpg in October, 20.1 ppg and 15.4 rpg in November, 22.7 ppg and 16.1 rpg in December and 23.6 ppg and 16.0 rpg in January.

Love may have been added to the NBA All-Star game only as a replacement for the injured Yao Ming, but in the fantasy world he's been an All-Star all season long. And he'll likely be one for many years to come.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at sschwarz@sportsnetwork.com.

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