All-Stars Offer Praise for Lopez's Play

HOUSTON—Brook Lopez has spent more than four seasons earning this first All-Star appearance, making impressions on his top competition along the way. The Brooklyn Nets' first All-Star drew deservely high praise for his post play and continued growth as a leader and overall player.

Here's what the All-Star big men and Eastern Conference coach Erik Spoelstra had to say about Brook:

WESTERN CONFERENCE
Tim Duncan
, 14-Time All-Star
San Antonio Spurs

"Honestly, I haven’t played Brook a whole lot (seven times) but he's a very skilled big. Was able to see him play a week or so ago, and it was great to see his development and how he’s become the go-to guy. Great skill package and he’s going to be good for a lot of years."

Zach Randolph, 2-Time All-Star
Memphis Grizzlies

"Brook has been playing great: his offensive game, his big body, the way he can control himself. He can handle the ball in the paint, and his touch – he can shoot the 15-footer and he’s just a big presence on the court and he’s got many more All-Star teams to play in."

LaMarcus Aldridge, 2-Time All-Star
Portland Trail Blazers

"Brook's more dominant. I think he’s imposed his will on teams more this year. I think he’s been there, the one person that’s been really steady for the Nets. I think that’s been big for them."

David Lee, 2-Time All-Star
Golden State Warriors

"You know, I played against Brook for years and years being in New York, and he’s an unbelievable offensive player, a guy that’s now added leadership to his resume. And he’s just been consistent. He’s a guy that really battles every time he’s out on the floor, and he really deserves it."

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Coach Erik Spoelstra
Miami Heat

"People say that there isn’t really a center position anymore. Brook’s proving there still is a need for guys like that, even if there are few of them. He’s improved gradually each year, and now that he’s healthy, he’s a dominant presence."

Kevin Garnett, 14-Time All-Star
Boston Celtics

"Just being able to play through the duration of the year, I think Brook’s coming into his own. Looks to have a sense of high confidence in himself this year, and I don’t know if that’s from getting healthy or whatever. It seems like he’s embraced his role. He and Deron are a good 1-2 punch, and when you add in Joe Johnson, and the emerging nature of what Brooklyn’s doing, he’ll fit right into the pieces and become one of the emerging if not dominant big men in the league."

Tyson Chandler, First-Time All-Star
New York Knicks

"You know what? I’m very glad that Brook is here, because he is here deservingly so. He’s one of the few big men that are left in the game. He’s done an excellent job since he’s been on the floor and been healthy."

Chris Bosh, 7-Time All-Star
Miami Heat

"I think just having confidence and being one of the leaders of that team. Just really stepping up. They dump it to him down there a lot, and he has to deliver. Just relying on his talent, just playing basketball the way he does. And being aggressive, I think that’s helped him a lot."

Joakim Noah, First-Time All-Star
Chicago Bulls

"I think he’s somebody that’s dealt with a lot as a player, dealing with inuuries, all the issues they had with the Nets. I think going to Brooklyn was a new beginning. I think he’s enjoying every minute of it. I can just tell he looks happy on the court. He’s probably the best with his back to the basket – he’s probably the best post player we have in the NBA. He’s a helluva player."



BONUS – #4centers
With NBA Commissioner David Stern's appointment of Brook Lopez to be Rajon Rondo's injury replacement, the East has five players who primarily play center for their teams: Lopez, Kevin Garnett, Chris Bosh, Tyson Chandler and Joakim Noah. After Brook joked last week about a four-center being a "good look for center-kind," I took the liberty of championing the #4centers cause.

Eastern Conference coach Erik Spoelstra who plays "positionless" basketball in Miami (though he's quick to point out he'd play a dominant big man at center if he had one available) joked about going with either with multiple centers or a lineup of 6-foot-9 players. As for the centers themselves, Tyson Chandler revealed it had been discussed in various combinations, Bosh and Noah said they hadn't lobbied Coach Spo, but Noah said he might start.

Join the #4centers movement on Twitter and stay tuned for updates all weekend!

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