Saturday, May 19, 2012
King says Lopez 'making good progress'
By Jared Zwerling
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- On Saturday during the third-annual Nets draft combine, which features potential second-round picks, center Brook Lopez popped out from behind closed doors at the PNY Center to take in some of the action.
Lopez, who missed all but five games this past season with right foot and ankle injuries, was in his adidas sneakers -- not in a walking boot, which he had been wearing for the past month. Then, when the first day of the combine concluded (the second day is Sunday), he worked on his outside shot and some court exercises.
Addressing reporters, GM Billy King confirmed that Lopez got a check-up on May 16 and said he's "making good progress" in his recovery. He still expects the team's starting center to be 100 percent healthy come training camp.
"[The doctors] said everything's progressing nicely," King said. "He's on track. He's doing everything -- just no running and jumping at this point. It's good to see Brook shooting."
Lopez hasn't been the only Net at the team's training facility of late. Deron Williams was there on Friday, and he also dropped in on Saturday morning at around 8 a.m. (He didn't speak to the media.) In fact, about half the team has already been stopping by -- and it's only been three weeks since the season ended.
King said the impact of the shortened season's jam-packed schedule hasn't seemed to be an issue, in terms of guys needing more rest. But the appearances may have had a little something to do with extra motivation from the GM himself.
"Also, Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams and MarShon Brooks [have been here]," King said. "So a lot of our guys have been back in the gym. As I told them, I said, 'You can take time off, but if you start working out, you get ahead of the game.' Really what they're doing is spring training."
Here are some other noteworthy nuggets from King:
1. On his trip to Turkey: "Turkey was good. I was able to watch the [Euroleague] Final Four, see some good games. I obviously saw Deron there, I saw Mikhail [Prokhorov] there. It was a good trip." (King didn't discuss details of his time spent with either of them.)
2. On meeting with Bojan Bogdanovic -- the Nets own his draft rights (from 2011), but he has one season remaining on his contract with Fenerbahce in the Turkish League: "We had a good meeting. He's anxious to come over and play. In due time, we'll talk about his contract so we can get him out. He had the NBA League Pass and watched all our games, so he's as anxious as the day we drafted him."
3. On Gerald Wallace, who has a player option, but has publicly said he wants to return to the Nets next season: "We've had conversations with his representatives because actually we can talk about the potential of [an] extension if he opts in. We'll leave that there." (The Nets likely won't make a move with their free agents until they know Williams' definite plans.)
4. On the Nets' potential draft pick(s): "I always look at the draft as if we like a player, then we go find a pick, whether we end up with one, two or three or 57. We'll be aggressive. The good thing about having all these GMs and personnel here is getting a chance to talk and try to make deals." (The Nets will only have a lottery pick if they land a top-three selection. If they end up between six and nine, the pick will go to the Portland Trail Blazers, based on the Wallace trade. No matter what, though, they'll have the 57th pick.)
5. On his philosophy when analyzing prospects: "The one thing I learned from Donnie Walsh when I was an assistant coach in Indiana, he said, 'If this is where you're making your evaluation, you're too far behind.' We've seen these guys play 5-on-5 in college, so this is just another part of the process. What we base our decision on is really what they've done with their college program. This is more just to get their real measurements, see if they pick up the NBA pick-and-roll and the coaching."
6. On what he's looking for from the players during the combine: "We try to see how the guys pick up stuff from the coaches, see how they play 5-on-5, how they share the basketball, who's in shape. We had some casualties of guys not in shape, and that's what it really comes down to. ... If you can find a guy with an NBA skill, that's what you're looking for. If a guy can do everything, then they're Dwyane Wade, LeBron James -- they're the All-Stars. But if a guy can do one or two things great, an NBA skill, that's what you look for."