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Johnson on Lopez: "He's One of the Top Centers in the NBA"

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After talking NBA playoffs with Evan Roberts and Joe Benigno for more than 16 minutes Tuesday, Avery Johnson talked about the Nets and particularly Brook Lopez, deflecting Roberts' questions about the possibility of the Nets getting Dwight Howard in a trade for Lopez.

"He had a nice finish to our season and played in 82 games. That is pretty rare for an NBA player, especially for a center," said Johnson. "If you look at his production, he got better, he even had a few games where he had 10-plus rebounds and he's 23 years old, okay?"

"We feel we got him going in the right direction," he added. "We have a terrific point guard and Brook Lopez is, in our opinion, one of the top centers in the NBA. He's still getting better and then we have some parts in betwee that we're still working on."  Johnson said Lopez was starting weight training soon, but didn't mention whether he has had minor surgery on the calcium deposit in his right arm.  As of last Wednesday, team officials said he had not.