As we get ready to start some real basketball, the focus turns directly to Brook Lopez, who Avery Johnson has praised continually this off-season. Al Iannazzone talks to Avery about the plan for Brook and how the Nets are going to (hopefully) get him the 4th quarter touches he never seemed to get last season:
Johnson couldn’t stand seeing film of Lopez being pushed off the low block last season. He has Lopez in the gym early some days for extra lifting and strength exercises. Johnson wants Lopez to stand his ground, power over people and dunk more and also make his presence felt on defense.
“He can be a special player,” Johnson said. “He can be a special center. Not many centers have the whole package. But he’s going to have set himself apart in the fourth quarter of games. When we can throw him the ball in the fourth quarter and he can keep his position and score against single and double coverage and make the right passes when necessary and block shots at the end of games and rebound, that’s when he’ll really start to elevate himself.”
There was nothing more frustrating last season than watching Brook Lopez have a monster first half and then disappear in the second. While some of that is obviously on Brook, the team, who clearly lacked any kind of cohesive coaching under Kiki Vandeweghe, seemed to move away from what was working without a legitimate reason. If Avery finds a way to correct this, it’s going to give the Nets an additional 5 or 6 wins without even trying in my humble estimation.