As the New Jersey Nets moved across the city to become the Brooklyn Nets, many fantasy owners wondered which Brook Lopez would be making the trip. The 2009 All-Rookie First Team selection or the injury-plagued center that only played in 5 games last season.
Lopez heartbreakingly missed 77 games throughout the entire 2011 season after breaking a bone in his foot. Unfortunately, Lopez injured the foot again during the regular season, which caused the team to eventually shut him down for good.
The center has never been an injury risk before last year, as he hadn’t missed a game in any of his first three seasons in the NBA. However, last season’s debacle has many fantasy owners simply staying away from the Brooklyn big man.
Lopez averaged 19.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 0.8 blocks a game last season. With his foot injury in the past, Lopez will be able to rebound much more consistently in 2012, so fantasy owners should expect him to come closer to posting double-digit rebounds.
He is 7’0”, 265 pounds, but yet the center has the smooth jump shot of a shooting guard. He has always been able to put the ball in the basket, averaging 17.4 points a game throughout his career, and will now get more open looks as the team has a much better supporting cast to help spread the ball around.
The 24-year old still has a lot of basketball left in his legs, so the fact that he was not drafted inside the top-50 in any fantasy format gives him immense value this season. Lopez has looked healthy in the early part of this season, as he scored 18 points and grabbed 11 boards in his preseason finale.
Lopez is a natural scorer, which from the center position can be absolutely priceless in fantasy terms. He will quickly get back to his pre-2011 form and anchor the Nets’ frontcourt once again. Look for him to average 18 points a game this year and add between 7-9 boards on a nightly basis.