The Brooklyn Nets finally have Brook Lopez back on the court, though they’re still being careful with their talented big man as to not risk any additional injury to his foot.
Lopez missed seven games because of the injury, but recently returned this past Friday at home against the Detroit Pistons. He had nine points, four rebounds and three blocks in 24 minutes, while shooting 4-of-10 from the floor.
The next day, he played 25 minutes in a 83-82 loss to the Chicago Bulls, finishing with 18 points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Lopez was extremely efficient in his limited playing time, and it’s only a matter of time before he starts logging the normal amount of his minutes he was accustomed to playing before he went down.
So far this season, Lopez has been much more active on the glass, after disappointing on that front over the past two seasons. He came into the league and was a force on the boards, averaging 8.1 boards as a rookie and 8.7 as a sophomore. However, he then averaged just 5.9 rebounds the following year and 3.6 the season after that.
Through the early stages of this season, Lopez is averaging 6.9 rebounds to go along with 17.9 points per contest. He’s shooting 52.3 percent from the floor and has been much improved defensively also, swatting away an average of 2.5 blocks a game.
With Lopez back and Andray Blatche proving he can contribute with extended minutes inside, the Nets are now in a good position. There’s a great chance Blatche will continue to get more minutes at the expense of Kris Humphries, as Lopez has proven that he deserves to be on the court as much as possible. His efficiency offensively is too good to ignore.
That’s a good problem to have for Brooklyn coach Avery Johnson though, and the Nets should continue to be a profitable selection with one’s NBA picks going forward.