2011-12 stats: 19.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 49.4% FG, 5 games played
The knock on Lopez over the past two seasons has been his newfound inability to crash the boards, a strange habit for a big man to suddenly pick up (he averaged over 8 boards in his each of his first two seasons, but under 6 in each of his next two). Some have cited the presence of Kris Humphries and his rebounding prowess as a possible reason for Lopez’s rebounding decline, as the Hump has averaged double digit rebounds in each of his two seasons with the Nets. As far as Humphries is concerned, in my opinion, Lopez is on a different level talent-wise and should not be getting pushed out of the paint by a player of his caliber.
Lopez will unquestionably have to return to his 2009 form down low if he wants to take the next step towards superstardom. All the pieces are in place, assuming he is all healed from the broken metatarsal that limited him to five games last year, for Lopez to have a breakout year. It’ll be tough for teams for double him down low due to D-Will and Joe Johnson commanding the respect of the defense out on the perimeter, and he will likely benefit from the playmaking of the two guards.
Offseason report: Signed a 4 year, $61 million contract with Brookyln, worked on rehabbing his foot injury.
Lopez was quoted as saying he is pretty sure he should be ready for the regular season, and self-diagnosed his health as being around “90%” in mid-July (rotoworld.com). Should he be ready for the start of the season, he’ll be an instrumental piece of the Nets offensive attack.
Prediction for 2012-13- Lopez will find instant chemistry with D-Will, and should mesh with Joe Johnson as the season progresses. 20 ppg is a reasonable estimate for Brook, with the upside of 22-23 ppg if JJ and Deron share the ball with him enough. I have high expectations for Mr. Lopez, and can see him pushing for an All-Star bench spot come mid-season (assuming he rediscovers his lost rebounding abilities).
Prediction for 2012-13: 22 ppg, 7 rpg, 1.4 bpg, 50% shooting.