So much for being concerned about Brook Lopez.
The Brooklyn Nets center, who underwent a procedure on his foot this offseason, showed off more than 10 pounds of extra muscle that he put on this summer in his debut on Tuesday night against the Washington Wizards.
The commitment to continue improving is clearly already there. One of my biggest concerns for him was that he would allow the additions of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to make him complacent, which would stunt his growth process dramatically.
But that sort of dedication in the weight room makes it obvious that it’s quite the opposite. Lopez still believes he’s a valuable wheel that will keep this team moving forward, and he’s completely right in thinking so.
Now Lopez must make sure that he takes complete advantage of the added bulk in the low post. He needs to punish defenders that allow him to get deep before the entry pass to him is made. He’s one of the most skilled overall centers in the league, but it can be as simple as backing defenders down once he has solid position.
That’s where having Garnett at his side will prove to be one of the greatest influences of Lopez’s career. Garnett has always been a ruthless post player no matter how thin he may seem to so many of his opponents. He’ll help Lopez channel that physicality and use it to the best of his ability.
It seems like Lopez should be the least worried-about Nets player.