Brook Lopez has been playing well through out this preseason, averaging nearly 15 points a game in only 20 minutes while blocking close to 3 shots a game. The silky-smooth seven footer has always been one of the top face-up big men in the game with a good post game as well. In the pre-season, Brook also looks to have improved on his interior defense, which he has been improving on the past couple of years.
Lopez also beefed up over the offseason, gaining 15 pounds and will play at 290 this season. As much of a force as Brook Lopez is offensively, he needs to work on a couple key areas in his game if he wants to take the next step.
Rebounding: Brook averaged 7 rebounds a year for the Nets last year, and with Reggie Evans eating up glass it doesn’t come as much of a surprise. This pre-season (in only 20 minutes a game mind you) Brook is only averaging 3 rebounds a game. Reggie Evans’s minutes will look to be cut this year with the addition of Kevin Garnett, so this puts the burden on Lopez to outrebound the likes of Tyson Chandler, Roy Hibbert and last year’s playoff nemesis Joakim Noah. Lopez has all of the tools to be a good rebounder, a good wingspan, nearly a 30 inch vertical leap and now with the weight he has gained. Lopez won’t have as much pressure on him with the additions of Paul Pierce and KG, and at least 9 rebounds a game like earlier in his career wouldn’t be a crazy goal to attain for Brook.
Toughness: Although Lopez does have a career number in blocks per game, he tends to be soft on defense sometimes defending players in the paint. Throw out all of the Kevin Garnett will make him tougher, because while that may be true in spurts, Brook will be the only person that can push himself to be tougher as a player. I think with the depth the Nets have this year up front with Andray Blatche, Reggie Evans, Kevin Garnett and Andrei Kirilenko I believe that Brook won’t be as hesitant to pick up fouls. Brook has looked good this pre-season, bodying up defenders without fouling.
Brook Lopez has continued to develop and stay healthy since his broken foot, but with offseason ankle surgery and decreased shot attempts who knows if he can take the next step in development. If Brook can stay healthy and toughen up against top teams, he can help the Nets tremendously.
In my opinion, Brook won’t truly become an all around great player until KG and Paul are gone, but I will think he will improve his toughness and rebounding this year, let me know what you guys think!