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Sophomore of the Year?

There's no award to honor the best second year player in the NBA, but if there were, writes ESPN's David Thorpe, it would to to Brook Lopez.  Picked 10th in the NBA Draft, Thorpe says he ranks at the top of the 2008 draft class, in spite of the the Nets record...better than Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook or Marc Gasol.

"Try this mental exercise," writes Thorpe. "If you were starting a team from scratch, who would you pick at the center spot after Dwight Howard?  I'd suggest that Lopez would be close to a unanimous pick if you polled all 30 NBA GMs, and with good reason...Next season should be the first of many trips to the All-Star Game for Lopez."

Courtney Lee also made Thorpe's list at #19, three spots higher than he was drafted.  "He was a steady ship on a rocky sea, making it easy for the Nets' decision-makers to believe in him going forward", Thorpe writes. He also notes Lee was the Nets best defender.