For as long as Brook Lopez has made his NBA living, the 7-footer has always loved extending his shot selection as far as the top of the key.
But could the Brooklyn Nets center be working on taking things a step – or two, or three – even further?
Earlier this week, ESPN New York’s Mike Mazzeo reported Lopez was seen jacking up a number of three-point attempts in a workout with Nets assistant coach Joe Wolf. The notion of Lopez looking to add long-range shooting to his repertoire would come as a rather unforeseen revelation not only given the fact that he converted a mere 1-of-10 attempts from behind the arc this past season, but also because he is just 1-for-17 from deep throughout his career, which began in 2008.
I’m not going to immediately point to Chris Bosh – the Miami Heat center who drained some rather important three-pointers en route to the team’s 2012 and 2013 championships – as proof that Lopez tacking on additional distance to his range could be a colossal benefit for Brooklyn as a whole.
Instead, I’m going to mention a much more recent, non-traditional example of this phenomenon. One that Cleveland Cavaliers fans can still painfully see knocking down some momentum-swinging threes if they close their eyes.
To label Green a center is as hilarious as the video of the Husky puppy whose adorable bark has been replaced by a piercing expletive after being told to speak. After all Green is 6’7, 230 pounds.
But did that keep Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr from utilizing Green as his center over the last few games of the Finals after opting to go ultra-small, which ultimately proved to be the difference in the series?
Did it keep Green from providing a boost with a total of four three-pointers over the last three games?
Not one bit.
No, Lopez isn’t an undersized center that will allow Brooklyn to play small and push the pace, but the point is that possessing a center that can step out beyond the three-point line is an outstanding asset and could very well be the next wave to hit the league after witnessing a team close out a championship with the aid of such a commodity.
Because, in reality, it all comes down to one thing: Spacing the floor.
For the Nets, players with the ability to slash to the rim such as Bojan Bogdanovic, Jarrett Jack and Markel Brown most certainly wouldn’t mind some extra space to operate in the lane. And as the organization seeks to bring in more athletic wings, the same concept will apply.
Of course, having a center spend time that far out on the perimeter can negatively impact offensive rebounding and second-chance opportunities, however, I’m sure Lopez wouldn’t be purchasing real estate in that location anytime soon.
But quality spacing can also be beneficial for defensive purposes as well. Lopez, who already slows the Nets down tremendously in terms of transition defense due to his size and lack of athleticism, would have an easier time of getting back on fastbreaks if he’s lining up three-pointers from time-to-time.
In the grand scheme of things, having Lopez expand his range that much further would do Brooklyn less harm than good. So as long as he’s in the gym this summer, he might as well just keep jacking ‘em up.
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