The 33-24 Brooklyn Nets take on the 20-37 New Orleans Hornets tonight in New Orleans for the first time this season, making the Hornets the second-last team to take on the Nets all season. (The Mavericks face them twice in March). This should be a fun game to watch, even though the Hornets aren’t very good, because of the many ways the big men should (and have) intertwine(d) with Nets center Brook Lopez. We could have a weird one on our hands tonight.
Here’s three Brook Lopez-related relationships to watch tonight:
1) Brook Lopez vs. Anthony Davis. The hardcore basketball matchup of the night, Davis’s skill list runs longer than his wingspan — he’s a lanky, quick forward who was raised as a point guard and now roams the lane with the ferocity of a pterodactyl given tyrannical size. He’s also got the most famous non-facial hair facial hair in the NBA — an eyestache that sits atop his eyes like a visor. Davis’s numbers don’t scream star — he’s averaging just 12.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game — but that’s in limited minutes as a 19-year-old. Truthfully, only two rookies in NBA history have put up a combined total rebound rate, steal rate, and block rate as good as Davis: he and fellow 2013 rookie Andre Drummond. Watching Lopez’s length contend with Davis’s is sure to be my favorite matchup of the night.
2) Brook Lopez vs. Robin Lopez. Duh. Who doesn’t like seeing two seven-foot Californian twins that co-write comic books born on April Fool’s Day with Andre the Giant voices, women’s names, and inversed first-middle initials face off against each other in athletic competition? These two learned how to play basketball from each other, and in a perfect chicken-egg conundrum, no one is sure if Brook’s offensive touch came from Robin’s hounding defense, or Robin had to develop his defensive streak to keep up with Lopez’s inside-outside game. On the court, both Lopez twins are effective players in distinct ways, and both are in the midst of the best seasons of their respective careers.
3) Brook Lopez vs. Ryan Anderson. New Brooklyn Nets fans may not know the significant history between Lopez and Anderson, who were drafted 10th and 21st, respectively, by the then-New Jersey Nets in the 2008 NBA Draft. Lopez and Anderson forged a quick friendship based on their similar situations — leaving warm California for New Jersey being one of those — and produced some videos of the two attending Comic Con and trick-or-treating in New Jersey. These two likely won’t guard each other on the court, after the Nets traded Anderson in the third-worst trade in franchise history, how will Lopez react to seeing his once-best friend on the court for yet another team, sharing a uniform with Lopez’s twin brother Robin? How deep does this triangle go? Will the hole in Brook Lopez’s heart ever be filled again? We need answers.