Brook Lopez: Player Profile

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Name: Brook Lopez

Position: C

Date of Birth: April 1, 1988

Hometown: Fresno, CA

Height: 7’0”

Weight: 260

Experience: 3 years

Drafted: 1st round, 10th overall by the New Jersey Nets in 2008

College: Stanford

2011-12 salary: $3,076,983

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  • Offense: Lopez has turned into one of the most reliable low-post scorers in the NBA since his rookie season, using a variety of moves and counter-moves to keep defenders off guard down low. Lopez scored 0.96 points per possession out of the post last year, a very good number, and is adept at scoring from either block.

    Lopez increased his shot attempts from each space on the floor in every year of his career, except — curiously — at the rim, where his attempts declined from 6.6 per game in 2009-10 to just 4.8 per game in 2010-11. However, that number increased to 6 per game in games Lopez played with Deron Williams, so I’d expect that number to improve again in 2011-12.

    Lopez can spot up with range out to 18-20 feet, though he relied on that jumper as a crux of his offense in 2010-11, averaging 3.6 attempts per game from 16-23 feet. It’s smart for Lopez to use that jumper to stretch the offense, but it’s most useful as a threat than a constant. Lopez’s stroke is excellent at the free throw line for a center, as he’s a career 80% shooter from the charity stripe.

    Lopez normally makes intelligent decisions on the offensive end, though he often struggles passing out of double-teams and grabbed offensive rebounds at a career-low rate last season. Part of that is due to laziness, part of it mononucleosis, and part of it the system set in place by Avery Johnson that keeps Lopez away from the paint in many sets.

  • Defense: The defensive end is where Lopez’s biggest weaknesses flourish. Like on the offensive end, Lopez mostly makes smart decisions within his abilities, but “within his abilities” only goes so far. He’s not proven to be quick enough to cut off guards careening around pick-and-rolls, and often a step behind in help defense. In 2010-11, Lopez often played well off his man, daring him to shoot or attack the basket. In preseason, we’ve already seen him hedge more on pick-and-rolls, though it remains to be seen if he’s still doing it in April.

    While his lack of quickness is a major issue, Lopez still has some physical tools that lead me to believe there’s a decent defender in there somewhere. For one, his 7’6” wingspan is a huge boon defensively, but he’s seen his block rate decline each year in the NBA, from 4.9% his rookie season to 3.4% in 2009-10 to just 3.2% in 2010-11. To compare, 4.9% puts him in Dwight Howard-Tim Duncan range, 3.2% in Jordan Hill-Spencer Hawes range. Additionally, Lopez is a legitimate center with size; he’s listed at 7’ but measured in at 7’0.5” at the 2008 NBA combine, and looks at least an inch or two taller today.

  • 2011-12 Outlook: After a nasty bout with mononucleosis in 2010-11, Lopez was hit much harder by an injury bug in preseason — suffering a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone in his right foot. He’ll be evaluated and is expected to miss at least six weeks, if not more. If and when he returns, Lopez must be re-evaluated, but the injury is likely not to have any long-term effects.

  • Facts of Life: Along with having never missed so much as a quarter in three seasons — a streak that will end December 26th, in the Nets opener against Washington — Brook is a huge (huge!) comic book fan, and has written comic books of his own. In 2010, he impressed ESPN’s J.A. Adande with his understanding of obscure comic references.

    It is also impossible for him to not look awkward in pictures.

  • Twitter: None

  • Relevant Jay-Z Lyric:

    You’re now in a game where only time can tell
    Survive the droughts, I wish you well…
    Survive the droughts? I wish you well?
    How sick am I? I wish you health
    I wish you wheels, I wish you wealth
    I wish you insight so you could see for yourself
    You could see the signs, when the jackets is schemin’
    And the cops is comin’, you could read they mind
    You could see from behind, you could redefine
    The game as we know it, one dream at a time

    -American Dreamin’

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