Last year was a pretty good year for Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez. He got a maximum extension and backed it up by making his first All-Star team. It can easily be argued that the fun going comic book lover was the best offensive center in the NBA last season.
The 25-year-old gets a lot of flak amongst fans. There are so many jokes about his low rebounding rates and many comments about him being “soft”, but you cannot argue against his phenomenal production last year.
The seven-footer averaged 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 0.9 assists last year on a very solid 52 percent from the field. He also averaged a career high 2.1 blocks. Not only that, he also posted a PER of 24.7, which ranked fifth in the league. Lopez was only behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony in this area.
Lopez is obviously not the fifth best player in the league, but this shows the kind of jump he has made in his game. PER is not a perfect stat, but a great indicator of really good players and Lopez is just that. He can beat you in so many ways on offense. His repertoire includes a variety of post moves, drop shots and jumpers. Lopez has a brilliant touch around the rim and a good looking stroke on his jumper.
His defense is still bad, but is improving as shown by his increase in blocks per game. The problem was that he was out of place a lot and didn’t rotate properly. He was able to use his length to recover at times though to get the block.
The Nets have had quite the offseason. They pulled off the biggest move of the summer when they traded for future Hall of Famers Kevin Garnet and Paul Pierce from the Boston Celtics. Assuming everyone is healthy, Brooklyn’s starting line-up can be unbelievably good. These two players will be joining the already great talent of Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.
There are a lot of questions about just how good this team can be, but if they are healthy and if they can come together, the offense should flow beautifully. Lopez could be seeing better looks at the basket meaning more efficient production. He could also be seeing fewer shots with such a talented starting lineup.
More importantly is the defensive end of the floor. Garnet is one of the best ever at being the anchor of a team’s defense. It will be interesting to see the kind of relationship that will develop between him and Lopez. Garnet has a pretty aggressive approach when it comes to mentoring. So Lopez may not clash well with Garnet, but at the same time Lopez wants to get better and he wants to win. Expect him to listen and learn from the perfect player to teach him.
Overall, Lopez is already a great player. He is already a top offensive player and is still improving. Yes, he needs to rebound a little more and get better defensively, but he is still young. Not only that, but he is also in great a situation to continue to get better. Look for many more All-Star teams featuring Brook Lopez.