Brook Lopez, once the centerpiece of a blockbuster trade that would’ve sent former Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard to Brooklyn, has acquitted himself nicely this preseason by leading the team in scoring in four of its first five games. Lopez’s scoring abilities are undeniable, but the 7-footer still leaves a lot to be desired as a defender and a rebounder.
In support of the latter, Lopez recorded double-digit rebounds once this preseason in a Nets win against the Washington Wizards. His defensive deficiencies and poor health were motivating factors for the Nets’ pursuit of Howard during the offseason. Howard, a five-time all-star, is the best center in the NBA because of he’s a tenacious shot blocker and rebounder. Although slighted by the Nets, Lopez found it within his heart to forgive the organization when he received a lucrative multiyear contract to stay with the team. Howard, who was eventually traded to the Los Angeles Lakers, will play his first game with L.A. on Sunday though he is still recovering from back surgery. Nothing is set in stone that Lopez will stay with the Nets for the duration of his contract. Perhaps Howard will make his way to the Nets after all since he is in last year of his contract and has expressed a desire to explore free agency by season’s end. As a result, we may see Lopez donning the colors of another NBA franchise. But as long as Lopez is with the Nets, if he is healthy, I believe his play will dismiss the notion that he’s a “scrub,” but in fact talented enough to become an all-star caliber center.
- 76ers vs. Nets recap: Brook Lopez impressive on the inside in 10-point preseason loss (newyork.sbnation.com)