Hard to gauge Love's keeper value

April, 8, 2010

Kevin Love started for the Minnesota Timberwolves in place of Al Jefferson, who was out for personal reasons Wednesday night. Unsurprisingly, Love put up 17 points, 18 rebounds and three assists.

I bring this up because it's important to consider Love's value as a keeper candidate heading into next season. Frankly, it's a little concerning that Love has been stuck coming off the bench most of this season, even though he has played a decent amount of minutes and has continued rebounding and scoring at an impressive rate. The fact that the Timberwolves haven't come up with a satisfying way of playing Love and Jefferson together in the starting lineup is a hindrance to Love's overall fantasy value.

This is not a situation that has any obvious reason to change next season, and even though Love managed to be a top-60 player based on per-game stats, you have to wonder how valuable a big man who doesn't block shots and shoots 45 percent from the floor can be. Basically, one of two things need to happen: Either he needs to start picking up assists at an even more impressive rate, or he needs to start making a ton of 3-pointers. Both of these things are possible, but until Love shows that he can put up these stats on a consistent basis, the points and rebounds might not be enough to make him worthy of being a high-round keeper possibility.

Looking Back

Stephen Curry, Warriors: 27 points, 8 rebounds, 14 assists, 7 steals against the Timberwolves.
Kevin Durant, Thunder: 33 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks versus the Nuggets.
Danny Granger, Pacers: 33 points, 5 3-pointers, 7 rebounds, 5 assists against the Knicks.
Manu Ginobili, Spurs: 10 points (5-14 FG), 3 rebounds, 4 assists versus the Suns.
Brook Lopez, Nets: 5 points (1-6 FG), 4 rebounds, 7 assists against the Bucks.
Gerald Wallace, Bobcats: 8 points (2-6 FG), 6 rebounds versus the Hornets.
J.J. Redick continues to be a productive contributor for the Orlando Magic, but he gets you 3s, points and not much else. Redick had 16 points and four assists against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night, and should certainly continue to be this productive for the rest of the regular season, so if you need help in those categories, he's a good option to consider. … For the Wizards, Nick Young followed up his 29-point outburst against the Golden State Warriors with 21 points against the stout Magic defense. Not only is he getting as many shots as he wants at the moment, he's looking more and more like a decent keeper possibility heading into next season. … Ben Gordon is finally getting playing time again for the Detroit Pistons, and has been making the most of it. He put up 22 points and seven assists against the Atlanta Hawks, and, if you recall, he was a great fantasy player for all of last season, so he could be a difference-maker down the stretch. … Jason Kapono keeps starting for the Philadelphia 76ers, but he has made only six 3-pointers in his past five games, and doesn't do anything else that will help you in fantasy. … With Chris Paul hurt again, it's looking like Marcus Thornton and Darren Collison are going to continue to put up huge numbers the rest of the way; make sure they're in your lineup. … If you need rebounds, go ahead and play Kurt Thomas for the Milwaukee Bucks the rest of the way, as it looks like he'll be the one getting the bulk of injured Andrew Bogut's minutes.

Looking Ahead

Last time the Los Angeles Clippers faced the Sacramento Kings, Eric Gordon had a great game, finishing with 23 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the floor. I've been waiting all season for Gordon to get going, but he's a good bet to at least put up some numbers for you against the Kings again this time around. … In that same game, Carl Landry went wild for the Kings, but I'm looking forward to seeing how he fares against Marcus Camby. Obviously, Landry's good enough to warrant a spot in your lineup, but Camby is the sort of defender who should be able to give a guy like Landry major problems. … So far this season, J.R. Smith is averaging 18.0 points in just 27.3 minutes per game in three contests against the Los Angeles Lakers; basically, if he's on your fantasy team, this is a good night to get him into your lineup.

Seth Landman is a fantasy basketball analyst for ESPN.com.



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