Fantasy Focus: The Double-Double

It’s been seven years since a player has been able to produce consecutive 25 point, 15 rebound and five assist efforts.

In just 22 appearances this season, Kevin Love has achieved the feat twice. 

This season, there have only been five such performances, and Love has tallied them all.

Since 1985-86, Shaquille O’Neal holds the record for most 25 point, 15 rebound, five assist efforts in a single-season, posting 12 during 2000-01, the year after winning his lone MVP award.

The 6-foot-10 forward has always had a knack for accumulating double-doubles, in 309 career games, Love has tallied 215 career double-doubles, including 21 this season.

Kevin Love has grabbed at least 10 rebounds in 21 of his 22 appearances and his season-low for the year came against Cleveland when he totaled eight.

The two-time All-Star is beginning to establish himself as one of the most complete players in the game. The 25-year-old ranks fourth in scoring, averaging 24.7 points per game and leads the NBA in rebounding, pulling down 13.8 misses per game.

The 2012 3-point Shootout champion set a career-high Friday night, knocking down eight attempts from beyond the arc and missing just once, part of a 42 point, 14 rebound effort against San Antonio.

Minnesota has come to expect Love to be the team leader in scoring and rebounding, but this season, he has become a reliable passer.

Love has dished out 91 assists, second to only point guard Ricky Rubio on the team, and is averaging a career-high 4.1 assists per game.

No players has performed as consistently as Love this season and Minnesota is hoping his efforts can finally snap a nine-year playoff drought.

Biggest Surprise: Isaiah Thomas– Sacramento Kings

A return to the starting lineup has transformed Thomas into one of the top point guards in the league. Ever since Sacramento ended the timeshare at the position by dealing away Greivis Vasquez, Thomas has flourished, averaging 24.3 points on 51 percent shooting from the field, has converted 8-of-15 attempts from 3-point range, made each of his 15 free throw attempts, along with 7.0 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game.

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Biggest Letdown: Josh Smith– Detroit Pistons

Twenty four games into his tenure with the Pistons, Smith has yet to establish himself as the max player he envisioned last summer. Five months after signing a four-year $54 million contract, the numbers for Smith are all down, as he’s average four fewer points, two fewer rebounds and one less assist per game than last season, all while shooting just 38.5 percent from the field, the lowest of his career. During the past week, Smith averaged 12.7 points on 35.7 percent shooting, five rebounds and four assists.

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Pick ‘em up: Terrence Ross– Toronto Raptors

Toronto is now starting each game with three guards in the starting lineup, with Ross no longer a featured player off the bench. Friday night against Philadelphia, Ross demonstrated his fantasy potential, producing 24 points, connecting on 4-of-7 attempts from 3-point range, along with five rebounds, a steal and a block. Ross hasn’t established himself as a distributor yet, dishing out just 69 assists in 95 career appearances, but if he is able to become a decent passer, he would deserve a roster spot on any fantasy team.

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Put ‘em down: Enes Kanter– Utah Jazz

The third-year center has quickly fallen out of the primary rotation in Utah, over his past three games, Kanter is playing just 14 minutes a night and producing averages of just 3.7 points and 1.7 rebounds per game. The Jazz are featuring a smaller starting lineup, with Derrick Favors at center and Marvin Williams at the power forward positions. Until Kanter can secure more minutes, fantasy owners should look for production elsewhere.

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Injury watch: Larry Sanders– Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks originally gave Sanders a six-week timetable to recover from surgery to repair torn ligaments on his thumb as the result of a bar fight. After four weeks, Sanders has been cleared for basketball activities, the first step towards his return to the floor. The 25-year-old center has played just three games this season, averaging 2.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. The Bucks are hoping to have Sanders, one of just three players to shot over 200 shots last season, back in the lineup before the end of the calender year.

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Stat of the Week: Chis Paul– Los Angeles Clippers 

Paul sat on the bench for 15 minutes on Saturday night and still was able to completely dominate Washington. In 33 minutes, Paul connected on 11-of-14 attempts from the field, shooting 78.6 percent for the night and with five of those shots coming from 3-point range. Paul finished the night scoring 38 points along with 12 assists and three steals. Paul joins Nate Archibald, Wilt Chamberlain and Clyde Drexler as the only players in league history to shoot over 78 percent from the field while totaling 38 or more points and 12 or more assists in the same game.

About Brendan Galella

Brendan Galella founded Shatter the Glass to make the NBA even more accessible to basketball fans. Composing player rankings, team evaluations and intriguing observations, he hopes to turn every reader into a dedicated and educated basketball follower.

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