In his Nets Insider column over at the Yes Network, Al Iannazzone discusses the idea of Deron Williams making his teammates better. It was something many of us predicted would happen – a la Jason Kidd 10 years ago – but Al is looking specifically at the production of the Nets’ frontcourt:
One player can’t win games every night, but he can make a difference, and Williams has — measurably. Again, it’s the Raptors, but Lopez averaged 29.5 points, and Humphries put up 19 points and 17 rebounds in the two games. Staying with Lopez, everyone has been on him all season about his lack of double-doubles. Granted, it took all of regulation and three overtimes in O2 Arena, but Lopez had an oh-boy game with 34 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocks, almost his first triple-double. Since the Williams acquisition, Lopez is averaging 24.2 points and 8.2 rebounds, and Humphries is averaging 15.8 points and 13.2 boards.
Lopez is the player most worth watching here for obvious reasons. He was hailed as a franchise center before the season started, but a dip in his shooting percentage and the further erosion of his rebounding skills, have caused a number of people to dream about Dwight Howard in 2012. While Howard is a clear upgrade over Lopez, no matter how good he’s playing, if Lopez keeps this up, that talk should quiet down over the short-term. I would love to see the Nets find a way to win with Lopez still on the roster. I still think he’s a very good player.