Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez, in the midst of the best season of his career, was snubbed from the Eastern Conference All-Star reserves in favor of Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah, New York Knicks center Tyson Chandler, and Miami Heat center-ish Chris Bosh.
The coaches vote for players, and coaches cannot vote for players on their own team. It was suggested by Charles Barkley, Chris Webber, and Chris Broussard that coaches did not want to vote for Brooklyn Nets players because of Avery Johnson’s firing. If that’s the case, choosing not to vote for an All-Star caliber player because of an ownership choice is a decision so mind-bendingly moronic I can’t even begin to wrap my head around it. If coaches make their decisions on who the best players in the conference are based on something not involving the players, then not only should coaches not be allowed to vote, they should be given an immediate crash course on reality and the cognitive process.
Anyway, on to Brook Lopez. Brook Lopez is averaging 18.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 29.4 minutes per game. That adds up to 22.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks per 36 minutes. He’s shooting 52.1% from the field. Let’s take a look at the list of players in the NBA currently averaging 22+ points, 9+ rebounds, and 2+ blocks per 36 minutes on 50% shooting or higher:
- 1) Brook Lopez
Oh. That’s it.
The Nets outscore opponents by six points per 100 possessions with Lopez on the court, best on the team that’s currently the third-best team in the East. The team allows just 101.4 points per 100 possessions with Lopez on the court. That’s better than all other Nets rotation players not named Reggie Evans. That’s better than the New York Knicks with All-Star Center Tyson Chandler (103.7). That’s better than the Miami Heat with All-Star Center/Forward/Whatever position Heat players play Chris Bosh (102.2).
Brook Lopez is fourth in the NBA in PER, the all-encompassing statistic invented by John Hollinger, behind only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Chris Paul. (And please don’t moan at me about how PER is flawed, because every statistic is flawed.) I don’t know the last time a player who was fourth in the NBA in PER missed an All-Star team, but I’m going to bet it’s been a very, very long time. He’s isn’t a bad defender anymore. He’s not a bad rebounder anymore. He’s more agile. He’s got a touch around the basket nearly unmatched in the league. He’s even treating double-teams with the efficiency of a veteran, one of his biggest issues in his first two years. He’s perhaps the most skilled offensive big man in the league, and has scored more points off cuts than any player in the NBA.
Two Boston Celtics were named All-Star starters. The Celtics are 8th in the East. The starters are selected by fan voting? Then look at the two Chicago Bulls players were selected as reserves by the coaches. The Bulls are 4th in the East. The Nets are 3rd, and have zero All-Stars.
The coaches can vote for whoever they want, for whatever idiotic reason they choose. Look at the production, look at how the team’s performed with him on and off the court, look at how he compares to other frontcourt — nay, other players across positions — in the Eastern Conference, and you can only come to one conclusion: Brook Lopez is one of the best 12 players in the Eastern Conference this season.
Yes, I’m biased. But in my defense, I’m also right.