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Thursday, December 1, 2011
Brook Lopez: The good and bad

By Mike Mazzeo

Brook Lopez is a very interesting player to evaluate. He’s 23, 7-feet tall and averaged over 20 points per game last season. Also, he’s never missed a game during his three-year career.

A durable center that can score the basketball. They don’t exactly grow on trees.

And yet, he continues to be scrutinized for what he doesn’t do -- rebound and defend.

Lopez’s statistics are a bit confusing. He averaged 8.1 rebounds his rookie year, 8.7 rebounds in his sophomore campaign, and then 5.9 boards his third season.

According to John Hollinger, Lopez ranked 65th out of 67 centers in defensive rebound rate.

Not good.

He’s also not that good at defense. His pick-and-roll defense is suspect, and he’s not exactly fleet of foot.

The Nets are seriously considering moving him to the power forward spot because of his propensity to take long jumpers.

Lopez took a career-high 5.8 shots per game from 10-23 feet. Meanwhile, his shot attempts at the rim fell from 6.6 to 4.8. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Lopez averaged 6.2 points per game of offense inside five feet of the basket.

By comparison, Orlando’s Dwight Howard -- a Nets trade target -- averaged 11.6.

Again, it should be pointed out that for all his flaws, Lopez is a borderline All-Star soon entering the prime of his career. He’s a very proficient free throw shooter (80 percent for his career) and can block shots (1.7 per contest).

The Nets should be glad to have Lopez. At the same time, if they can move him for a player of Howard’s caliber, they should.