Delayed Praise:The league gives love for Brook Lopez
His voice may sound eerily similar to the one of Jeff Spicoli’s in “Fast Times At Ridgemont High”, but if you’ve watched a New Jersey Nets broadcast, you noticed Brook Lopez’s demeanor is far different than the one Sean Penn portrays.
Lopez has been as solid as a rock in his rookie season. Quickly changing Josh Boone’s status as starting center of the Nets, to a player collecting more dust than Patrick O’Bryant could ever imagine.
For the most part this season, the skills Lopez has shown in his game has gone unnoticed. You could equate this to playing for the Nets, or simply because of Derrick Rose, O.J. Mayo, and Russell Westbrook.
Gradually, this has changed. As the year has gone on, Lopez has gotten better, and has drawn the acclaim he rightfully deserves, winning Eastern Rookie of the Month for January and February. To support my claim of Brook’s development over consistent playing time, look at his numbers in the past 18 games:
15.8 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.78 BPG.
With all of this being said, respect NBA minds are letting their praise be known for Lopez. Patrick Ewing, who has played a big hand in the development of Dwight Howard and Yao Ming, said this on Brook:
“From what I’ve seen he’s doing a fantastic job of clogging up the middle for them, scoring when they get him the ball, rebounding, being a force in there. I know he’s a very good player right now, and if he wants to and he works at it he can be a outstanding player.”
From Patrick Ewing the former star big man, to Pat Ewing the ego builder. For good reason though, and the praise doesn’t stop with Patrick. Nets back up guard Keyon Dooling played with Dwight Howard, so it’s hard not to respect his opinion when it comes to decent centers in the league.
“He has the combination of size, skill, timing and determination. I think Brook has all the traits that will make him a dominant center in this league.” Dooling would then go on to say “From a skills standpoint, Brook is as good as I’ve seen at this tender age”
Even Brook Lopez has gotten in on the action. Praising himself in what definitely won’t make the “Most modest top ten”. In Brook’s words:
“People think it’s ridiculous, but I think I can be one of the best ever. I’ve thought that my whole life”
I’ll spare myself that thought because I’m all about low expectations. But look at the numbers, in terms of Points per game, Lopez’s average has done nothing but rise all year. And guess what? Lopez doesn’t even have a consistent go-to move on the low post. To me, that’s what other organizations should fear when playing New Jersey for years to come. That, and worrying about Devin Harris’s blazing speed which will certainly compliment Lopez even further as he becomes a main option as opposed to his current status
As a fan, my excitement is quite obvious for this kid. You could probably attribute a lot of this to the past draft blunders of the Nets. The last big man we drafted in the first round has been a bust, and was arrested yesterday for the second time this month after throwing a monitor into a cell phone store. (No, I can’t make this up)
Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe got the 10th pick right with Brook Lopez, while others before the Nets clearly missed the boat. While it seems Vince Carter may be on his way out this summer, Thorn and Vandeweghe seem to have found a player that will anchor the Nets franchise for years to come.