NBA / Jan 29, 2010 / 1:30 pm

This Will Be The Last All Star Game That Won’t Feature Brook Lopez

The All-Star reserves were announced last night, and as expected, every writer, NBA analyst and fan had something to say about the coach’s selections. Among the biggest snubs that people have been fuming about are: David Lee, Josh Smith, Chauncey Billups, Chris Kaman, Aaron Brooks and Monta Ellis (For me personally it was Kaman and J-Smoove).

On top of the popular choices, there were a couple of names like Brook Lopez and Andrea Bargnani that were thrown around in the Dime office’s All-Star debate this morning. As I’ve mentioned over and over in the past few months, Lopez is personally enjoying a solid second-year campaign (19 ppg, 9.4 rpg and 2 bpg). With the Nets having a terrible season (understatement), it’s almost impossible to justify giving him any All-Star votes this year.

But just because he’s not deserving of going to Dallas, doesn’t mean Al Horford is better than him. In my opinion, Lopez is the second best center in the East behind Dwight Howard. In fact, I believe Lopez has more big man skills than Superman and will be better than him in a few years. Barring injury, Brook Lopez will soon be the best center not only in the East but in the entire NBA. He will definitely be a perennial All-Star starting next season.

“He could be dominant force in the NBA,” says Utah Jazz power forward Paul Millsap. “At 7-feet, he’s got a nice touch around the basket. Great footwork. If he keeps working on his game, we could be talking about an All Star for years.”

Although the Nets are awful this season, they won’t be for too much longer. The team has a talented young core consisting of Lopez, Devin Harris, Yi Jianlian, Courtney Lee, Terrence Williams and Chris Douglas-Roberts. Add the fact that they have enough cap space ($31 million next season) to entice a couple of high-profile free agents this summer as well as the possibility to get a top 3 pick in the 2010 Draft, and the Nets could be a playoff caliber team next season. If you want to play best case scenario, the Nets could have a 2010-11 starting lineup consisting of Brook Lopez, LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, Devin Harris and John Wall.

Lopez already has the tools to be a great center. He doesn’t have Howard’s athleticism or Yao’s height and length, but you can argue that he’s the most fundamentally sound big man to enter the NBA since Tim Duncan. On offense, he can run the pick and roll, has several post moves, a steady 10-15 foot jumper and makes good decisions on the block.

“We do an efficiency rating for every player, and Brook is fourth in the league among all centers,” team president Rod Thorn told The Star Ledger last week. “That’s after Howard, David Lee and Chris Kaman.”

Lopez also shoots at an efficient rate. He hits 50 percent of his attempts and shoots an impressive 82.1 percent from the FT line (he also gets to the charity stripe over 6 times per contest). He does a good job protecting the paint on defense and can rebound and block shots at a high volume. The combination of his size, talent and age (21), makes Lopez the leading candidate for the league’s next best big man.

Can Brook Lopez be the best center in the NBA in two years?

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  • Dayinho

    He’ll dominate with Bynum and Howard.Definitely.

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    question about Brook lopez is his desire. he seems to play ball because he is tall, not because he has a passion to succeed and be great at it.

    I’ve been saying (on here) all year the the NJ Nets have the best/promising core in the league and they have the brightest future.

    They will be Portland of the Eastern conference.

  • Leroy Shonuff

    I been saying this…but nobody will listen. Him and Durant will run the nba soon. Just watch…and by the way…wall aint that nice

  • IG

    Nets should trade Devin Harris (4/8.4 mil) for Leandro Barbosa (2/6.6 mil) and Rob Lopez (2/1.7 mil). Build around Lopez twins with Yi, CDR, CLee, TWill, and Barbosa. Dev Harris will excel in the up-tempo Suns system and then take over for Nash one day.

  • hahns

    lol wtf??? brook lopez is going to be better than dwight howard and people are agreeing??

    alright- lopez has a very polished post game- something that we don’t see many young players having anymore (which is a shame) so the kid has skills. and he has the height too- so physicals are there. but in terms of athleticism, dwight howard dominates. the nba is a league all about athleticism. its the reason why jjredick and adam morrison don’t get any pt- yeah jj might have one of the best shots in the nba, but he simply doesn’t have the athleticism to get more pt than he does. lopez will not be better than dwight howard. yes- he may be more skilled than him- but atheleticism makes up ground for a lack of skill.

  • hahns

    btw- if you switched dwight howards’s second year and brook lopez’s second year, i bet the nets would have more wins than 3…

  • http://dimemag.com Dime Magazine

    This is Gerald

    @IG

    I know this is looking too far down the line, but assuming the Nets get the first pick and get John Wall. Do you keep Harris? It probably wouldn’t be out of the question if the Nets are secretly shopping Devin and I agree, Phoenix would be a good fit considering Nash isn’t getting any younger

  • Reddi Red

    @ hahns – I’m not so sure my friend.
    i think you are right on the athelitism side of things, BUT….
    DHoward is predictable and one dimensional. he is a great player, but you can’t spread the floor with Howard in. he is NO threat more that a couple feet from the rim and he is a horrible passer.
    BLopez can catch and shoot (to some degree so far) and that allows the floor to be spread out for more 1 on 1 penetration. He also plays pretty good with his back to the basket. his FT% is higher than Howards.

    I think the combination of these things could eventually make him an all around better player than Howard.

  • Reddi Red

    i destroyed the word athleticism

  • Leroy Shonuff

    @hahns…athleticism is overrated. Brook is athletic enough. Just like Duncan, if you combine nba level athletic ability and a great skill set, you can have a great player. It’s not like we are talking about aaron gray here. Dwight is an explosive athlete, but Brook will be the better player in the next couple of years. Better O game now and he is improving defensively.
    Brook will be a legitamate superstar soon. Just watch. Plus John Wall aint that good

  • http://dimemag.com Dime Magazine

    This is Gerald

    @ hahns

    Dwight is ridiculously athletic but at the same time he’s not improving. I agree that if you switch places and put Howard on the Nets, they’d be better than 3 wins (4 now). Howard is still better than Lopez now. But Lopez is catching up and in a few years, I expect to be better than Dwight. Lopez is someone who has shown continual improvement. He turns it over less and is a better passer. Howard has not shown he’s improved his free throws or his post moves.

  • joshua

    if the nets get wall

    they should trade harris for butler

    both teams would benefit nets would get a good veteran SF who could be the leader of all that talent

    and the wizard get a allstar PG (assuming they are going to void arenas his contract or trade him they have to do one of the 2)

  • control

    Dayinho

    How long should people wait before they put a ceiling on Bynum’s “potential”? The guy has done nothing but shown flashes here and there, other than that…nothing. He’s at the point where he’s got to put up or shut up, and so do the people who jock for him. Can’t hype him up for shit until he does shit now.

    Brook is solid, I wonder why his twin can’t do the exact same thing…?

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    Yeah I agree with everything this article says. His ceiling is definitely Duncan. With traditional big man almost being extinct in the league it won’t take much for him to be the best center a few years down the line. IMO Dwight has pretty much come close to maxing out his abilities.

  • smoothy

    of course his ceiling is Duncan…. Duncan is the best “15 Feet and In” player of of all time!

  • JoeCozi

    brook lopez is a beast and will only get better…

    @ heckler…people been talking about portlands potential for four years now…think potential is thrown out the window!!

  • JoeCozi

    brook lopez is a beast and will only get better…

    @ heckler…people been talking about portlands potential for four years now…think potential is thrown out the window!!

  • Me

    cant believe yall still throw bynums name around. dude is trash give it up already.

  • Joe

    About time Brook got some notice. This guy has the total package and while he’s no Dwight Howard athletically, who is? He is still more athletic than most centers and has the size, skill, BBIQ and desire to win. But the Nets should dump Devin Harris, who makes everyone around him worse/

  • NJQuestCat

    Athleticism is important but the NBA is NOT about athleticism. Sean Williams was athletic but his skillset was sh*t…

    brook’s got a great skillset and shows constant improvement. I think his brother could be very good as well.

    Also, I believe John Wall is overrated as well.

  • jirohkanzaki

    superman is still inferior to the best power forward in nba history the unathletic tim duncan. there is more to basketball than athleticism and that is brains.

  • jirohkanzaki

    old-timer and 330-lb shaq humiliated howard in the all-star game going bet dwight’s legs and driving past him…the kid needs to keep his head in the game and not just try to jump at everything…

  • dlee9

    How come no talk about Andrew Bogut?

    Seriously, dude has game. I know most people do not get to watch Milwaukee play, but for those who do, we see a 7 foot center who is basically plays with both hands and is just as fundamentally sound as any other center out there.

    If Andrew Bogut played on a team like the New Jersey Nets, he’d easily average 20-10.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @Gerald from DIME

    good article, but a couple things.

    1)Did you not watch last nights Bos/ORL game? It’s clear that everyone has been wrong and Dwight actually has some post moves (11pts in the 4th) and it’s obvious Van Gundy doesn’t order the team to throw him the ball enough. So how can you say Brook will be better than him, when Brook is pretty much the same age and is done as far as skill growth. He doesn’t have a high ceiling. Dwight is still a pup yet is a MVP candidate. Look at the effectiveness on the game. Dwight is a game changer Lopez (I really like dude too) is a very good player.

    2) John Wall to start next to Devin Harris? seriously? He is a carbon copy of Devin Harris. a line up of
    C Lopez
    PF- Amare
    SF- Lebron
    SG-Wall
    PG- Harris
    this lineup leaves Lopez as the BEST SHOOTER on the team!! don’t you think it would be smart to surround Lebron and Devin with at least ONE shooter? Perhaps this should be line-up
    C- Lopez
    PF- Amare
    SF- Lebron
    SG- Xavier Henry
    PG- Harris

    Stop jumping on the band wagon. Xavier is the best player in college ball with Evan Turner a close 2nd. John Wall just has raw talent, but so similar talents Keyon Dooling and Antonio Daniels…get it together

  • Michorizo

    I like articles like this … where a writer notes his opinion on upcoming talent … Lopez over Howard in a few years? I know that this is something I will be watching for the years to come…I haven’t really watched Lopez much…I think I saw him cram on his bro, but not much else.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @Michorizo

    correction, you saw his brother “Robin” cram on him “Brook”.

  • http://dimemag.com Dime Magazine

    This is Gerald

    @Chicagorilla

    Yeah I saw a little bit of the game, they had a little TV playing it during the Knicks game. He definitely brought out some post moves in the game, and yes, he can bring them out every now and then. The problem is he doesn’t do it consistently. Even though they won last night, Dwight has not stepped up and improved like he should have. His FT are worse and he disappears a lot in games. I’m not saying he’s hit his ceiling by any means, but I think Brook is developing at a faster rate and is blessed with more skills overall.

  • Chitown 23/33

    @ Chicagorilla

    Usually I’m right there with you basketball wise but seriously…Henry the best player in college ball. He’s about the third or fourth best player on his team. He’s is strictly a catch and shoot guy. His ceiling is Micheal Redd. At worst maybe Mo Pete. I think Turner is worth an argument, but Henry has shown very little ability to get his own shot or create for others and he hasn’t even been shooting it that well since conference play started and the competition got better.

  • JH

    I agree that people often overlook Bogut…but he’s been in the league longer and doesn’t have as high of a ceiling.

    What about Hibbert though? any thoughts on his future in the L? The kid has size and seems to play well (when given time) in Indiana.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    @Chitown

    Xavier is 6’6 215lbs with a great build and a high IQ on the court. He can post up (which he doesn’t do much of in college because he has talented bigs) he can shoot it and I have seen him create many shots for himself. One dribble pull-ups, two Dribble pull ups. He has a nice enough handle that he will only improve in that area, but as long as he can shoot off the dribble he is fine. And he’s pretty athletic to be a shooter.
    The kid will be much better in the NBA where the game is more wide open.

    Evan Turner is the best all-around player in college ball, he just has to develope a better shot and he’d be a top pick in almost any year.

    John Wall has talent and i’m not saying he doesn’t, but at this point what’s the difference between him and Daniels/Dooling/Robert Pack/? Nothing. He has a high ceiling because he’s an athlete, but he isn’t a Lebron type of Athlete and his “Speed” is highly over rated. Westbrook, Collinson, Rose, Chris Paul, Devin Harris and TJ ford are faster and a couple of them are stronger and faster(Rose/Westbrook) so i’m not sold on this kid being the next great.

    The NCAA just needs hype because the college game has fallen off talent wise. Had Wall been in the same class with Rose/Gordan/Mayo/Griffin he’d barely be talked about right now.

  • ballin

    @dlee

    nobody talks about bogut because he’s a former #1 pick who should’ve been averaging 20 and 10 about 3 years ago.

    As somebody else once said, Bogut isn’t even the best center from the 2005 draft named Andrew. (that would be Bynum)

  • MikeC

    I think Brook Lopez’s ceiling is NOT Duncan… Duncan was a finished product when he came into the league. He built the Spurs from the ground up very early on in his career. What makes Duncan special is not just his skills in the post or his overall IQ, but a real mental toughness. He is a no BS competitor who plays with quiet determination each and every game, even as his career winds down. Lopez is a nice player, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like he’s going to be Bogut in a few years… NOT Duncan. Living in NY, I get the YES network, and have checked out Lopez a few times to understand the hype… Don’t get me wrong, he’s a real talent, and I think he will be an all-star in the future, but he’s really much more of a finesse guy than a legit beast at the 5 spot. He’s not a rookie anymore, he shouldn’t play in awe of the opposition. Do you really think a 2nd year Duncan, even if he wasn’t playing next to an aging David Robinson, would have let the Spurs be run out of the gym every night the way the Nets have been all year long. The Nets are basically comprised of a bunch of SFs and SGs with zero interior presence outside of Lopez. He should be pulling down 12 boards every game! I’ve seen him get bullied a little too much underneath for rebounds. He just doesn’t have the same scrappiness and hard-nosed approach that has really made Duncan a beast. If somehow Brook’s finesse and skill set could be combined with Robin Lopez’s somewhat superior athleticism, physical strength, and toughness, he could probably be a close approximation to Duncan. I’m a Knicks fan, and I like what I see from Danilo Gallinari, but wishing he were Peja in his prime don’t make it so. Lopez just doesn’t have that physical presence in the paint that made guys like Ewing, Olajuwon, Duncan, and Shaq such formidable opponents. Lopez is a talent, but for all those Nets fans dreaming of LeBron, stop right there. LeBron wants to win right now, and Lopez just isn’t good enough to make LeBron overlook the complete ineptitude of the Nets this season.

  • chris

    Brook Lopez, LeBron James, Amar’e Stoudemire, Devin Harris and John Wall. yep, you have been smoking somethin, gerald. odds against are at least 100 to 1.the nets ‘young core’ of devin harris, jianlian, cdr, terrence williams really haven’t proven themselves yet, the jury is out if any of them will ever pan out. i agree lopez is the real deal, tho’.

  • Leroy Shonuff

    John Wall is clearly overrated. If anything his career will resemble Telfair. Only if Telfair would of went to college. But him going to college will get him to start somewhere in the league. The best I see Wall doing is having a Kenny Anderson type Career. Which isn’t bad, but his hype makes him look like chris paul or zeke which he’s not. But Brook will be the man. Maybe Brook needs to change his name to Brian or somethins instead of brook…maybe he will get more respect then…hahahaha

  • MikeC

    By the way, everyone else on the Nets is a D-League talent. They didn’t want Devin Harris in Dallas because he isn’t good for much besides taking ridiculous shots and scoring some fast break points (he is like a poor man’s Monta Ellis). CDR is just absolute garbage who only looks good when compared to someone like Trenton Hassell. Courtney Lee is a one-dimensional defender (and not even so good at that). Jianlan wishes he were Keith Van Horn during the Nets’ Marbury years… and honestly, who else is there on that roster?

  • Celts Fan

    Someone said that Brook was done developing but Dwight was still coming even though they’re the same age and Brook’s only in his 2nd year in the NBA (still getting used to playing at this level, etc.) and on a bad team (aka, no great teammates to distract defenses too much,) while Dwight’s in his 6th year (I think) and has been on a good team the last few years. I don’t get that at all.

    As for Bynum, I see a slightly more skilled Perk. Not too much there superstar wise (but a rock-solid defensive presence that’s a PERFECT fit next to Odom and/or Gasol)

    Bogut’s a good and very solid starting 5. Good for 12/10/2 per, but never gonna be a superstar.

  • MikeC

    I like Wall, I think he has crazy talent, but doesn’t he just look so incredibly injury-prone? The NBA schedule is longer, the competition consist of bigger and stronger players… the kid needs to add at least 30 more pounds to drive into the paint and even hope of not coming out without a torn ACL… and hitting the weight room better not slow him down, because his speed is currently like 50% percent of his game. Wherever he ends up, they better run a whole lot because the opposition will pulverize the skinny little rookie physically in a halfcourt set

  • Rizwan

    @chicagorilla

    Xavier Henry is a better shooter than Evan Turner but he is not a better player.

  • http://250aspirin.blogspot.com DJ Leon Smith

    Even though I’m an Aussie, I’m not a massive Bogut fan, but he’s easily one of the most overlooked big men in the league.

    Andrew Bogut 21.2 PT .714 of 11.2 FG .813 of 6.4 FT — 3P 8.4/1.2 RB 1.2 AS 2.4 BL 0.4 ST 2.0 TO 3.2 PF 33.5 MN 5/5 GS (last 5 games)

  • hahns

    ill concede that i really like the duncan comparison to brook lopez. i think you guys are right- if he can pattern his game after duncan, he might be able to recreate some of that success- i just dont know if hes aggressive enough attacking the boards and just in general. can this guy manufacture a bucket when his team needs him? he very well might be able to in the future- but nevertheless, i still think dwight, historically, will have a better career than brook lopez. lopez does have great FT shooting on his side that duncan and especailly howard dont have.

    but still..dwights athleticism makes him too dominant…brook lopez will never be able to handle dwight howard defensively or on the glass.

    interesting stat: if you look at lopez’s splits, in 2 games against orlando this year, he grabbed an avg of 5 boards and scored 7.5 points. in those 2 games, dwight howard avg’ed 17 boards and 23 points.

    i dont know ho much clearer you can get than that.

  • Ian

    ceiling duncan??? wtf??? a second year duncan with 4 chairs would have more than 3 wins.

  • http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/ProphetGK ProphetGK

    Yea if they get that ridiculous starting lineup!!! I’m thinking multiple championships! Ain’t gonna happen, but I guess New Yorkers can’t complain because LeBron would be right there.

  • Diego

    I concur with dlee9 and DJ Leon Smith above. Bogut is sadly overlooked.

    He has developed into a very nice center; he is just stuck with a not very good team and a small market with basically no nationally televised games. If Bucks were over .500, Bogut would have Horford’s spot in All Star game. He could easily fill in for either Gasol brother or Bynum. Yap about all those Lakers all you want, there is one principal reason the Lakers can win a title: Kobe.

    Unless N.J. gets Lebron or Wade for next year, they are still going to be nicely under .500 and Lopez will be watching the All Star game on the big screen in his parents’ basement with his twin brother. And if N.J. picks up either of those guys, Lopez’s scoring plummets accordingly. Only so many points to go around.

  • QQ

    Lopez better than Dwight?

    Come fucking on.

    I don’t like to sound like a fanboy here (because I know I would), but are you all fucking serious?

    Dwight with no post moves = Perennial All-Star, DPOY, Led his team to the FUCKING FINALS.

    Brook, with post moves = Center on the worst team on the L, that can possibly be the worst team EVER record wise. Reminds me on Amare’s second season, when he averaged 20 and 8 on a losing team, and people were saying that he will be dominant once his team wins. A Suns player won two consecutive MVP’s and his name is NOT Amare. Fuck that argument.