Whenever Brook Lopez touched the ball Wednesday night against the Knicks, it seemed like he was greeted by the swarming bodies and arms of New York defenders. The result? A difficult night from the field for the center, who was 5-18 and was only able to get to the free throw line three times, as the Knicks doubled him at nearly every opportunity.
While speaking with NAS at practice at the PNY Center today, Lopez said he’s not going to be deterred by the increasing amount of attention he seems to be drawing from opposing defenses.
“Obviously when it comes to the double, there’s going to be another guy open,” Lopez said. “I just got to work on keeping my composure and seeing what I need to see instead of all those arms.’
The good news on Wednesday for Lopez was despite all the doubles, he only turned the ball over twice. On the flip side, he didn’t register a single assist, so he knows it’s a work in progress.
Lopez already has a bigger bulls-eye on his back headed into this season as he’s likely the second scoring option after Devin Harris now that Vince Carter is suiting up for the Orlando Magic. With Devin Harris missing so much time in preseason, it’s unknown how defenses will be able to react to Lopez’s touches once the team is at full-strength.
With Harris expected to miss tomorrow night’s game against the 76ers, Coach Lawrence Frank called the following three practices before the season opener Wednesday in Minnesota “vital” for the club.
“It is what it is,” Frank said of the team’s current injury issues. “I think we’ve had enough time to evaluate. So we started to sit down with individuals … Starting Sunday guys got to know who’s playing and who’s not.”
Added to the injury list for tomorrow night’s preseason finale is possibly Rafer Alston, who is suffering from an allergic reaction, Frank said.
As for Lopez, with offensive options dwindling around him, he said he remains focused on improving his post game and learning from the preseason experience.
“I’m definitely confident in myself as a one-on-one post player,” Lopez said. “As those double teams come it can only benefit me. I have to see it live and play against it in order to learn from it.”