This summer the Brooklyn Nets chose to resign Brook Lopez to hold down the fort during the franchises rebuilding process. Lopez is shooting a career low 48 percent from the field so far this season. He will likely not be making his second All Star game appearance due to the slight decline in offensive numbers and the recent uptick in the caliber of big men in the Eastern Conference.
Lopez is taking 15.8 field goal attempts per game in 33 minutes this season, both of which are his most since the team was based in New Jersey. Yet, he is struggling this season.
It is important to note that defenses have had the luxury of zeroing in on Lopez because of the lack of consistent offensive threats around him compared to past seasons. However, excuses such as this doesn’t mean All Star game voters will take it easy on him. Despite Brooklyn using him at the highest rate since before his first major injury in 2011, Lopez has actually seen himself fall in the pecking order of big men in the Eastern Conference.
Andre Drummond leads the pack of recently emerged big men as he averages 18 points and 16 rebounds and will likely start if the voters give him the respect he is deserved. He’s not much a shot blocker but his rebounding skills are reminiscent of a young Dwight Howard. Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy also coached Dwight Howard during his best years under the same system that he currently runs in Detroit but with Drummond as the lead dog in the paint.
Pau Gasol is having yet another age defying season averaging a double-double for the fifth time in his career. He finds himself at the center position regularly with Hoiberg at the helm allowing him to block shots at the highest rate of his career at more than two per game.
Paul Millsap has taken on a much greater role with the Atlanta Hawks since DeMarre Carroll defected to Toronto. He is collecting career highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks. Not to mention those new career high numbers are on top of him making the last two All Star games.
Other big names like Chris Bosh, Kevin Love and Hassan Whiteside make the competition even more difficult to make it in, let alone in one of his worst seasons. Not to mention that Lebron often starts at the four in All Star Games taking away another possible big man landing spot for Lopez on this year’s All Star team.
If there is any optimism for Lopez to make the All Star team this year it is centered on averaging over eight rebounds per game for the first time in six seasons. But it likely won’t be enough to overcome this year’s competition. Not to mention Brooklyn’s small market isn’t going to be inflate the amount of votes he gets
Nets fans haven’t found much to rally around this season. Lopez having a slower year, their exciting rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is out until March with an ankle injury and the Nets one of just three teams in the league without 10 wins as we approach 2016. The cherry on top of the lack of excitement surrounding this team is how they won’t even have a first round draft pick to look forward due to the Pierce-Garnett trade in a year where they should be in the lottery.