The NBA released their third tallies of All-Star ballot voting yesterday, and two Nets found their names listed: in the backcourt, Deron Williams is (a distant) third behind Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo, and Joe Johnson, and in the frontcourt, Brook Lopez is 15th.
Yes, the logic of All-Star Voting doesn't exist, yes, Brook Lopez isn't a flashy name, and yes, the fact that the ballot removed "center" as a position this year works against him. But there aren't fourteen better frontcourt players in the East. There aren't fourteen better frontcourt players in the NBA.
I went through some of this yesterday on Twitter, but because some of you may not use the highly addictive social media service (or didn't happen to be on it while I was ranting about this very subject), let's look over some facts about Brook Lopez.
- Brook Lopez leads NBA Centers in PER (Player Efficiency Rating), with a 25.61 PER. He is fifth in the NBA in PER, behind LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, and Chris Paul. Kobe Bryant is sixth.
- The gap isn't close. The second-best center in PER is Javale McGee, at 22.30. That's a PER difference of 3.31. The difference between Brook Lopez and the second-best center is bigger than the difference between McGee and the 12th-best center, Dwight Howard.
- Brook Lopez is seventh in the league in blocks per game and eighth in block percentage.
- Brook Lopez trails Andrew Bynum in All-Star voting. Here's a record of what Andrew Bynum has done on the court this season.
- Lopez also trails Amar'e Stoudemire, who has played in two games. Here's his most notable moment.
- Brook Lopez has the exact rebound rate of Javale McGee and a higher rebound rate than Nikola Pekovic, Chris Bosh, Kendrick Perkins, and Marc Gasol.
- Brook Lopez ranks in the top 12% of NBA players both offensively and defensively per Synergy, and has scored more points off cuts than any player in the NBA despite having missed seven games.
- The Nets improve defensively with Lopez on the court. Over the course of the season, the Nets defense is 3.4 points better per 100 possessions with Brook Lopez on the floor. Overall, Lopez has the second-best on-court defensive rating of any Brooklyn Nets player, trailing just Reggie Evans.
- In the last four games under P.J. Carlesimo, Brook Lopez has averaged 30.6 points and 10.1 rebounds per 36 minutes on 61.7% shooting, and the team has allowed just 92.8 points per 100 possessions with Lopez on the floor -- the best mark on the team in that time.
Again, anything wholly dependent on a worldwide sampling of highly biased people is bound to come with some unsurprising, ridiculous blips. But it's a shame that fans haven't seen just how much Lopez has improved this year. You can debate Lopez's defensive merits, but the team's undeniably better with him on the court. You can moan about his rebounding, but it's better than many quality centers. You absolutely can't deny his offensive touch. To see him 15th in the voting, behind illustriously pedestrian names like Shane Battier and lead bowlers like Andrew Bynum, is downright absurd.