Nets All-Time Top 25: No. 5 Brook Lopez
Steady center carried the responsibility of a franchise leader
The selections for the Nets All-Time Top 25 Team were made by the author, with no input from the Brooklyn Nets organization. Selections were based on a combination of individual performance, team success and their contribution to it, and longevity with the franchise.
No other player has had a Nets career quite like Brook Lopez, who bridged eras during a transitional time for the franchise to became the face of the team and a signature player in Nets history.
Lopez’s nine seasons with the team are the most of any player in franchise history, although due to injuries that cost him most of two seasons Buck Williams remains ahead of him in total games played. In his final game as a Net though, a 25-point effort against the Boston Celtics, Lopez did eclipse Williams as the franchise’s all-time leading scorer, finishing with 10,444 points as a Net.
He persevered to get there.
Drafted 10th overall out of Stanford in 2008, Lopez made a strong impression as a rookie, stepping right into the starting lineup and averaging 13.0 points and 8.1 rebounds and shooting 53 percent to earn a spot on the NBA All-Rookie First Team. With the trade of Vince Carter that season, Lopez moved into a leading man role for his second season and averaged 18.8 points, though the team struggled to a 12-70 record.
In his third season, as the Nets left the Meadowlands for the Prudential Center and the second of Lopez’s three home arenas as a Net, he upped his average again to 20.4 points, starting all 82 games for the second straight year and playing all 82 for the third consecutive season. But the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season was over quickly for Lopez, who played just five games due to foot injuries.
As the Nets moved to Brooklyn for the 2012-13 season, Lopez returned in prime form, earning his only NBA All-Star Game selection before finishing the season averaging 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game while shooting 52 percent. The very next season, though, another broken foot limited Lopez to just 17 games after he had gotten off to a scorching start with 20.6 points per game on 56-percent shooting through late December.
Lopez returned to help the Nets to their third straight playoff appearance in 2015-16, and averaged 20-plus points per game in each of his final two seasons in Brooklyn. Over nine seasons and 562 games as a Net, Lopez averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game, shooting 50.6 percent from the field. In addition to points, he is the franchise’s all-time leader with 972 blocks and is third in franchise rebounding with 4,005.