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Andray Blatche, Reggie Evans Pushing Brook Lopez in Brooklyn Nets Practices

If the Nets are to succeed at the level they hope to, they will need an All-Star level season from Brook Lopez. Toughness is part of what they need from him.

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The Nets did two things for Brook Lopez this off-season: they signed him to a four-year, $60.8 million contract and signed two bigs to challenge him in practice: Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans. Lopez has admitted the two have been "beating him up" regularly.

Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today profiles Lopez on Thursday and writes that the addition of two talented (in different ways) bigs has pushed the Nets' seven-footer in ways he wasn't pushed in his first four seasons, all of them losing. "He's had to raise the level of his practice habits because of the competition," Avery Johnson said, hinting Lopez hasn't always had the best practice habits.

Said Evans: "I've been telling Lopez I can't settle for nothing less but the All-Star game for him this season. I make practice tougher on him so the game is easier. I don't cut no slack with him. I'm holding him. I'm banging with him."

In an interview with FOX News Latino, Lopez talks about the transition to Brooklyn and his desire to stay with the Nets and how it developed in spite of all the losing.

"It was difficult to envision this sort of change back then, the way it's gone. It's been incredible. But as it got further along I knew the Nets were the team I wanted to be on as they started to show me more and more of their plan. I saw what they were trying to do with this franchise, the moves they were trying to make."