Lopez Must Put ‘Brook’ In Brooklyn

 

When comic actor Charles Grodin (The Heartbreak Kid, Midnight Run) penned his sardonic autobiography a couple decades ago, he entitled it “It Would Be So Nice If You Weren’t Here: My Journey Through Show Business.”

If Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez were to slap a headline on his journal entries for 2012, he could pretty much use the same thing, swapping “Nets organization” for the reference to show biz.

For the first six months or so of 2012, it looked like the best thing Lopez could do for the Nets would be to leave. Leave, that is, specifically as the centerpiece of a package of players and draft picks shipped to the Orlando Magic for All-Star Dwight Howard.

Instead, Lopez will be the Nets’ center piece for their dramatic first season in Brooklyn. Never mind that snazzy Maserati in the showroom, kids. We’re driving home in the Buick!

Lopez and still-teammate MarShon Brooks made an appearance at the Nets’ inaugural team store at the Barclays Center, and Howard Beck of the New York Times wrote about the big man’s reset button getting pushed:

Lopez is one of two Nets (along with Kris Humphries) remaining from the humiliating 2009-10 season, when they lost a franchise-record 70 games. He chuckled when it was suggested he had earned this moment.

“I’m pumped,” he said. “Throughout that whole process, everyone kept talking about Brooklyn and stuff like that, how exciting it was going to be. So I just focused on making myself a better player, helping my team in any way possible. And with all the talk I heard about Brooklyn, I knew it was just something I wanted to be part of. It was something that was going to be big.”

Yeah, well, that’s what Nets fans felt about Howard. When the dominating diva, early in his soap opera-ish final season in Orlando, cited the Nets as the one destination he would accept via trade, Lopez immediately became expendable. Chattel frankly, an asset to be moved, a salary to match up against Howard’s per NBA trade rules, a facilitator of greater days ahead for the franchise with which he had spent his first four NBA seasons.

Problem was, the Nets and the Magic failed to work out a trade by the in-season deadline. Soon after the offseason opened for business, Lopez signed a fat contract extension that rendered him untradeable until Jan. 15. That was that, as far as the Orlando option, and Howard soon enough wound up with the Lakers.

“One of the top young centers in the NBA,” Nets GM Billy King said of Lopez’s re-signing. “We have witnessed his growth as a player over the past four years and we are very pleased that he will remain in a Nets uniform as we begin our new era in Brooklyn.”

Hey, everyone can use a new set of steak knives, right? Forget the Cadillac.

The Nets need to hope now that bygones can be bygones, that Lopez reacts more like Pau Gasol than Lamar Odom and that he actually plays up to the potential he showed through the 2010-11 season.

Last season was essentially wiped out by a broken foot that limited Lopez to five games. And his meager stats, pro-rated to 36 minutes, showed 25.4 points but only 4.8 rebounds per game. That’s the category for which Lopez takes the most heat and that number is exactly half what he averaged (9.6 per 36) as a rookie. It’s been in decline ever since.

The competition figures to be plenty stiff, too. Howard is out West now, but Andrew Bynum (the Lopez of the Lakers) has relocated to Philadelphia. Samuel Dalembert moves East, joining Milwaukee. All-Stars Roy Hibbert and Al Horford are in their prime, as is the always-solid Joakim Noah.

Brooklyn’s first season could depend on Lopez staying healthy, getting better on the boards and staying as enthused about the team’s big move as he was this week. He attended the arena’s ribbing-cutting ceremony Friday, Beck wrote, and spent a fair amount of time walking around the joint. He logged overtime Monday, too, with the fans.

Lopez lingered long after the autograph session was over.

“I want to spend as much time as possible here,” he said of the arena. “This is really our home now.”

Like him or not.

17 Comments

  1. Sheesh says:

    All this fantasy lineups make me sick!!!! we are not playing a video game here be realistic for once

  2. No says:

    LOL
    If BROOK wants a RING, HE will join the HEATLES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    PG:STeve Nash
    SG:DWADE
    SF:KINGLBJ
    PF:CBOSH
    C:BROOK

    SIXTH MAN:JAMES HARDEN(after Ray allen to thunder so the thunder don’t have to pay Jame’s contract)
    DEEP bench: UD

    • Matthias Fellow says:

      Read my comment above idiot, i’ve made this point alwady, please try to be original for once in your life!!!

  3. Matthias Fellow says:

    This makes me laugh thinking of Lopez in BKLN. If rumours are correct, and my sources are normally right, he’ll be traded mid season to L.A, While D12 is being shipped to Miami and L.A get Jo Anthony and Rio. good trade for Heat.

    PG Allen
    SG DWade
    SF The King
    PF Chris Bosh
    C D12.

    Ship it to the HEAT!!!!!!! Back to back, champs 2013. trade Mike Miller though.

  4. Nets Fan says:

    Brook Lopez will make the allstar team next year

  5. OriginalHeatFan says:

    Lopez is a solid center i would be happy to have him as center for a team. Good luck to Nets i hope they do well this season i want to see a challenge for the Miami Heat.

  6. W/E says:

    fragile big men never make it, the center position is the most physical of all, lopez has a fragile body thats y he cant play defence, he cant play physical enough and hes too slow

  7. MIAMIWHO says:

    He will break his foot sometime during the season and not be available for the playoffs.

  8. Belizeboy says:

    That’s a really exaggerated compariosn of Dwight to Lopez. If we were talking about Robin Lopez then the Maserati to Buick comparison would be right on.

  9. Kamote says:

    wow… 4 years already?

    I just hope b. lopez would just do his job at the court. he really needs to be presence though within the paint though wallace and humphries would help with the rebounding. he is a effin center, and centers need to be an anchor in defense and rebounding (except for the MJ bulls where MJ, Pip, Harper and Rodman are great defenders and they have 4 centers). but brook doesnt have that, sure wallace and humphries can help, but he still needs to be the center the team needs him to be. i just really hope this team would be have a better sum than all of its parts, because individually, they aren’t that good.

    • Joe J fan says:

      Individually they are VERY good. D Will an olympian / super-star, J.J. a 6 time all-star, G. Wallace past all-star, Lopez an all-star waiting to happen, Kris H. 13 pts. and 10 boards. Marchon Brooks up and coming star….swingman Josh Childress, Hard nose Reggie Evans, talented Andray Blatch…….

      This should be VERY interesting,…possibly the best back court in basketball.

  10. rich says:

    Brook is a great young center. Let him do what he does best. We have Kris Humphries to do the rebounding. What’s the bid deal about Howard. He has no outside shot, and if you foul him before he dunks he misses the free throw. You’re not comparing a Buick to a Cadillac, but a space station to a deep sea submersible. They do different things.

    • RJ says:

      I agree. But there’s no reason for brook lopez to ever average less than 8 rebounds like he did season before last (6.3 or something, though his offensive boards were still pretty solid). He’s a long 7 feet tall, sort of like pau gasol, so he should be reaching above guys and poking his arm in for tip-ins and things like that, much like gasol. If I were, him, I wouldn’t let myself settle for less than 9 a game, even with Humphries getting 8 or 10 and Wallace getting 6 or 8. He’s too long. He should be a rebounding black hole, but given his frontcourt help (Reggie Evans & Andray Blatche, too, he shouldn’t average less than 8 still.) With a week frontcourt I would say at least 10. I’m 6’1″ and I promise you, if nothing else, I could come in and average 6 per 36 minutes. It’s all about will. Let’s get to it, Brook.

  11. Fefe (Nets) says:

    I’m a lifetime Nets fan and I hope that Brook will keep on improving! I trust in him and my Nets!

  12. mac says:

    lopex can score but he needs to rebound and defend to be an impact player for brooklyn