It’s Officially Brook Lopez’s Time to Shine


May 1, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) grabs a rebound in front of Atlanta Hawks small forward DeMarre Carroll (5) during the second quarter of game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After the Nets got rid of almost all of their veterans either last season or in the offseason, it became very clear who the leader of this team is. Brook Lopez has been a Net since being the 10th pick of the 2008 draft, and he has consistently proven that he can be a go-to player. Despite a past full of injuries, Lopez has become reliable for the team in recent years. He has a lot of talent, and he will be looked to as the go-to option on offense and for leadership.

Since coming into the league in 2008, Lopez has been nothing short of spectacular. As a rookie, he averaged 13 ppg and 8.1 rpg, and he turned into the post presence that everyone knew he could become. Possessing superior post moves has allowed the Nets to run their offense through him for years, at least until players like Deron Williams and Joe Johnson made things complicated. Lopez is the kind of player that a team can feed the ball to in the paint, and he can not only score, but he can create shots for others. His post passing has always been one of his biggest assets. His assists per game went down once Deron Williams arrived, but early in his career, he was asked to take on more responsibilities than he has had to in the past few years.

May 1, 2015; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Atlanta Hawks power forward Paul Millsap (4) reacts after making a shot and being fouled in front of Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez (11) during the first quarter of game six of the first round of the NBA Playoffs at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

After a couple injury-riddled years (2011-2012 and 2013-2014), people were not sure if Lopez could ever return to his 2012-2103 all star form. However, despite all the doubt surrounding him, he had a terrific bounce back year, and he showed that he can be the top option on the team. Even though he lost his job to Mason Plumlee for a while, he still came off the bench and provided the team with the scoring that they desperately needed.

Lopez is also a very underrated shotblocker and interior defender. He has a career average of 1.7 bpg, and in his best season, he averaged 2.1. He is a player that the Nets can rely on to be a rim protector and defensive anchor.

Despite all of Lopez’s strengths, he still has one major flaw: rebounding. Since coming into the league, he has never shown that he can be a lockdown rebounder who can keep opposing teams off the offensive boards. Since the Nets are looking to be going small in their lineup this season, Lopez will have to take on a much bigger rebounding role. He needs to prove that he can pick up the rebounding slack, because none of the other four projected starters will be getting double doubles regularly. If he can improve his rebounding, he will instantly make the team a lot better.

Now that Deron Williams is gone, Lopez will have a much less drama-filled season, where he can get back to work as the Nets’ number one option. Despite all the criticism both he and the team have received, he has stuck to his word that he wants to stay with the Nets for his entire career. He is a hard worker and a great teammate, and he looks to be headed for another great year. Look for him to make a bigger impact than he ever has in his career so far.

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