Contributed by Max Rosenberg
On Wednesday, March 9th 2011, Kevin Love of the Minnesota Timberwolves recorded his 52nd consecutive double-double breaking the record set by Moses Malone in 1976. In that season (his rookie season as he only played two games in the 1975-76 season) Malone averaged 13.5 points and 13.4 rebounds per game with the Houston Rockets compared to the T-Wolves Love who is averaging 20.8 points and 15.8 rebounds through 66 games. In terms of fantasy value (the reason you’re on this website) Love beats Malone in both those categories. However, Malone also averaged 2.8 blocks per game, which if Malone were playing this season, would be tied for the league lead with Andrew Bogut of the Milwaukee Bucks. Love’s bonus comes in the form of his 1.4 three-pointers made per game which ranks him 5th amongst all PF/C in the league this season only behind Channing Frye, Ryan Anderson, Matt Bonner and Al Harrington(yes, Al Harrington is playing basketball this season). Malone did not have the option of even using the three-point line in 1976 as it was not added until the 1979-80 season. In terms of field goal percentage, Malone has Love beat but only by a slim 0.9%, .48% to 47.1%. Even more insane is the fact that Malone didn’t even start all of his games, only starting 70 of the 80 he played that season.
But the question is in the world of fantasy, who would you rather have, Love or Malone? Moreover, where do these two players rank all-time on a list of the best fantasy seasons known to the NBA? Clearly, if Love continues this streak (no reason he shouldn’t other than his nagging injury) Love’s season is better even without the 2.8 blocks you would get from Malone. But what about other huge performances we have seen. Sure, if fantasy were around the Wilt Chamberlain 100 point would surely be enough to win any owner his week in a head to head league. Same goes for the 12 three-pointers made in a single game by Kobe Bryant in 2003 or (can’t believe I’m writing this) Donyell Marshall in 2005 as a member of the Toronto Raptors. As for rebounds, Wilt has 55 in one game in 1960 while 30 assists from Scott Skiles in 1990 would be enough to clinch your week for sure! The record for steals is 11 held by both Larry Kenon of the Spurs and Kendall Gill of the Nets. Elmore Smith blocked an absurd 17 shots in 1973 while Bubba Wells didn’t help you out in 1997 holding the record for quickest disqualification, getting ejected 3 minutes into a game in 1997.
With Love and Malone though, we are talking prolonged greatness. A player that if drafted could help you win a category week in and week out. If you own Love this season he could be single handedly winning you rebounds in a rotisserie league. Some Highlights for season greatness include a 72.7% field goal percentage by Chamberlain over a whole season, Jose Calderon’s 98.1% free throw percentage, Ray Allens’s 269 three-pointers, Wilt’s 50.4 points per game or 27.2 rebounds per game, John Stockton’s 14.5 assist average, Alvin Roberston’s 3.67 steals per game or Mark Eaton’s 5.56 blocks per game or the worst guy award to Rasheed Wallace’s 2000-1 season where he amassed 41 technical fouls.
However, after all of those stats, only one player rises to the top for ultimate fantasy season supremacy. In 1961-62, Oscar Robertson averaged a TRIPLE DOUBLE. 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists over the course of a season is completely insane. LeBron James is probably the only player who could ever duplicate or even come close at some point. This season he is averaging 26.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 7.1 assists and that’s with the help of the three-point line, something Robertson didn’t have.
So there’s your quick history lesson, putting Love’s nutso season into a historical perspective. As always, I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @maxmillien