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38. Brook Lopez, C, Nets

Brook Lopez plodded along as usual last season to help carry the Nets as much as one could.

Lopez plodded along as usual last season to help carry the hapless Nets as much as one could. That it was all for naught is less a reflection on him than on the roster. No big could have redeemed a group that lacking and that inexperienced, especially when considering that post work has become a spatially collaborative enterprise. He did what he could under the circumstances—including dropping 20.6 points per game on 51.1% shooting from the field in a similar portioning of offense to years past. The bulk of it came from the post, though Lopez has also diversified his offense with plenty of rolls and cuts to avoid systemic stagnation. Those skill sets have even less overlap around the league than one might think. Very few of the league’s post specialists have a good sense of how to move and duck in at an opportune moment for an easy score, yet Lopez bolsters his efficiency on touches of that very kind. There’s only so much that a defense can do when a 7-footer slices through the lane for a deep, unexpected catch. Lopez takes that opportunity and runs with it, creating an additional lane of accessibility for his skilled offensive game. Thanks to wrinkles like this, Lopez could still function as a primary or secondary scoring option on a very good team. There just isn’t much in his game to actually elevate lesser players around him—especially given that Lopez is only an occasional passer from the low block and largely just a passable interior defender. He works, in good times and bad, as something of a monolith. (Last year: No. 38)

+ A qualified and comfortable mid-range shooter
+ Blends backing down and facing up opponents from the block
Slow feet all but lock his team into a particular defensive style
Remains an underwhelming rebounder

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