And why wouldn’t he?
Lopez, 25, is a dominant force. He toyed with the Utah Jazz on Tuesday, racking up 27 points in just 26 minutes of action. Lopez shot 10-for-13 from the field in the Nets' 104-88 victory.
“He’s very poised. He’s very strong,” Garnett said of Lopez. “He’s a real chill person, but he has a fire. He’s never rattled. I’m not gonna say underestimated, but he’s very strong to go through plays and finish them very well. Probably the best I’ve seen in the league in a while.”
Lopez came out aggressively Tuesday night. He scored 11 points in the first quarter, as the Nets jumped out to a big lead they’d never relinquish.
“I think the guys just found me in good positions,” Lopez said. “They were always looking for me and I was just trying to catch it and finish strong. In general, we just did a good job of attacking the basket, playing inside and out.”
Lopez put some weight on in the offseason. He wanted to be around 280-285 pounds.
“I feel like I’ve gotten in better shape each game,” Lopez said. “It took me a few preseason games to get used to playing that way, but now I feel like I’m getting into it.”
Stat of the night: Tuesday night marked Lopez’s career-high field goal percentage in a game in which he scored 27 or more points (39 games).
Up now: Jason Kidd picked up his first win as coach of the Nets, while Deron Williams looked very much like his old self.
What’s next: The Nets are off Wednesday before returning to the practice court Thursday.
Question: Where would you rank Lopez among NBA centers?