Today the Brooklyn Nets were dealt a tremendous blow with the announcement that their starting center, and arguably their best player, Brook Lopez, will be out for the remainder of the season with a broken foot. This news adds to the already turbulent season so far in Brooklyn where a team that was projected to challenge the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference has started just 9-17.
In my opinion Lopez is one of the premier offensive centers in the game, granted that is a position that is laughably weak in the NBA nowadays, his presence provided the Nets with a huge edge on the offensive side of the floor. Lopez was averaging 20.6 points per game playing 31.4 minutes a night this season. Those will be tough numbers to make up for. The burden of filling that void will likely fall on the shoulders of Kevin Garnett, Andray Blatche and rookie Mason Plumlee. I am inclined to believe the bulk of the work will fall on Blatche, who is having a good season off the bench for the Nets averaging 11.8 points and 5.9 rebounds and 22.7 minutes a game off the bench. This will be an opportunity for him to prove whether he is capable of being a starting center in the league.
To me this injury is a death knell on the Nets season. They got off to a putrid start but I believed they had the talent to make a run and win the terrible Atlantic Division, which is currently lead by the Boston Celtics who are 4 games under .500. They very well could make the playoffs because of how bad the division is, because I refuse to believe a roster that has Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson is incapable of winning 40 games in a season, which will, in all likelihood, be enough to take the Atlantic. A division title will be little consolation to an organization tha made big moves this off-season in hopes of bringing championship level basketball to Brooklyn this year. They have no chance of being legitimate challengers to the Heat and Indiana Pacers without Lopez.
As always, feel free to tell me how you feel, or why I’m wrong, in the comments.
(all stats via nba.com)