Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Brook Lopez named to All-Star team
By Mike Mazzeo
Special to ESPNNewYork.com
NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez will be heading to Houston after all.
Lopez was selected by NBA commissioner David Stern to replace Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo on the Eastern Conference All-Star team, the league announced Wednesday.
"It's a huge honor," Lopez said in a statement. "First and foremost I couldn't have done it without my teammates. They make my job 100 times easier, playing with Deron (Williams), Joe (Johnson), Gerald (Wallace), they gift wrap me buckets and take a lot of attention away from me on the court. It is something I have been working towards and it's been a goal of mine and it will definitely be an exciting weekend."
This is Lopez's first All-Star selection. The 24-year-old is currently the only player in the NBA averaging at least 18 points, seven rebounds and two blocks per game. He leads all NBA centers in scoring (18.6 ppg) and ranks fourth in the league in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) behind only LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul.
But despite being Brooklyn's most consistent player this season, Lopez finished 14th among East frontcourt players in the fan balloting, and was not selected by the East coaches as a reserve.
"It's validating and I think hopefully it'll be a positive for him going forward," Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo said. "He should be proud, he should be very proud. He's made a commitment on defense and he's making a much more concerted effort to rebound."
The Nets (27-18) are 25-13 with Lopez in the lineup, but went just 2-5 without him, when he missed seven games earlier in the season due to a mild right foot sprain.
The 62nd All-Star Game will be played in Houston on Feb. 17.
Rondo injured his knee last Friday and will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. The fans voted him in as an All-Star starter. The East head coach, who will be determined Sunday, will select Rondo's replacement in the starting lineup. Point guards Kyrie Irving of Cleveland or Jrue Holiday of Philadelphia are the likely candidates.
Lopez becomes the 13th All-Star in Nets' franchise history.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.