Birthday: April 1, 1988
Hometown: Fresno, CA
Years Pro: 4
Nickname I Kind Of Gave Him: The Brookie Monster
How He Got Here: The Nets drafted Lopez 10th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft.
Contract: After playing out his rookie contract, the Nets signed Lopez to the maximum allowable contract under the CBA, earning him four years and around $61 million. Per the new CBA, Lopez technically cannot be traded until January 15th.
And thus, the Brook Lopez era was born.
As a first-grader, Lopez declared he would play for Stanford and eventually the NBA. Looks like he knew what he was talking about. A notorious goofball, Lopez's NBA career hasn't exactly gone as planned. After a promising first two seasons, the colossal Californian with Andre the Giant's voice faltered his third year, lacking effort defending the paint and attacking the glass. Frustration, calcium deposits, and mononucleosis all have some share of blame for his rough third season. Then, with a chance to redeem himself, a broken left foot ultimately knocked him out of his fourth season, allowing him to play just five games in 2011-12.
Now, with a clean bill of health (allegedly) and his most talented teammates ever, the graphic novel fiend has a chance to simultaneously return to his playing roots as a back-to-the-basket bully on both ends, while expanding into a defensive role that he'll have more energy for. It's on him to exert it.
Lopez is a flat-out scorer. Few if any players in the league can boast his bevy of low-post moves; when you think you've solved his right hook he'll deke you into an up-and-under. Lopez is loooooong - standing about 7'1" with a wingspan of 7'6" -- he can nearly reach the rim without leaving the ground -- making him an easy target for tip-ins and alley-oops.
What Lopez gives a team on the offensive end, he takes away defensively. The NBA has shifted from the Shaq-size era to a moment when the best centers blend speed and athleticism. Alas, Lopez lacks the defensive fleetness to cut off guards driving the lane. His most-maligned weakness, however, is his rebounding: after posting average-not-great rebounding numbers in his first two seasons, Lopez completely abandoned board-banging in 2010-11, averaging just six rebounds per game.
Three revealing numbers
1) 246. Once a model of durability, Lopez played in 246 consecutive games -- the entirety of his first three seasons -- before the foot injury shut him down for 61 of the season's 66 games in his fourth year.
2) 14.6% or 9.9%? Over 164 games in his first two seasons, Lopez posted a total rebound percentage of 14.6% -- about average for a big man. In his third and fourth seasons, Lopez’s total rebound percentage dipped to 9.9% -- below the league average for <i>all</i> players.
3) 19.2. Lopez’s career PER of 19.2 is the third-highest of any center in the NBA since he joined the league, trailing only Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum.
On the court:
Off the court:
The entirety of last season? He only played five games due to injury in a contract year. But for the sake of video (and comedy), we'll go with his embarrassing caught-on-tape tirade from the bench, cursing out Avery Johnson:
From the Coach
“Brook is a skilled center. There are very few centers that can do what he can do on the floor, especially offensively. He can pass, he can score inside, he has a good jump shot, he finishes inside, he runs the break. I think for Brook to take that next step is to be more of a defensive presence in the paint, increase his rebound attempt percentage. Hard foul when he needs to foul. At the end of the games when we go to him, especially mismatches, get us buckets, if not make the correct pass. …Brook is a very talented player. We’re hoping it’s all going to come together this year.”
Fun fact: Most people know that Brook Lopez is the biggest comic book fan there is, both in the literal and figurative sense. Fewer know that he's a writer himself. "My twin brother and I, we're always writing, creating stuff. A lot of it's action & adventure, but it takes from a lot of different genres." When asked about the pieces, he kept it hush-hush: "Robin would bite my head off."
Off the court: Unlike some of his southern starting mates, Lopez has taken to Brooklyn quickly. “I’m here almost every day,” Lopez said at the team’s media day, whether it’s checking out Bergen Comics or getting his hair cut by the Madison Park Boys & Girls Club.