As part of an SB Nation theme day, each blog is posting on a player (or players) on their respective team who they think should be an All-Star. And while some believe you can make the case for 2-3 players on the Nets, I happen to believe that Brook Lopez should be a lock to make the team. Yes, a lock.
The unfortunate thing for Lopez, first of all, is that they got rid of the center position on the ballot and replaced it with a simple, yet ineffective "frontcourt" tag. So, in the voting process, three forwards were voted starters, based on their popularity (Kevin Garnett) and, well, stellar play (LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony).
You could easily make the case that Lopez should/could start at center in the Eastern Conference. Easily.
First, Lopez is 17th in the NBA in scoring at 18.5 points per game, first among all centers in the Eastern Conference, and fifth in the NBA in PER (25.23). He's been nothing short of efficient and effective on the offensive side of the ball. We've already talked about the improved range on his jumper, which has helped open up the offense, and increased efficiency, shooting 51.7 percent from the floor.
He's averaging 7.4 rebounds per game, which isn't great, but not bad in just under 30 minutes per -- if you extend out to starter's minutes, he's at about 9.4 rebounds per 36 minutes. He's also improved greatly on the defensive side of the ball, blocking a career-best 2.1 shots per game. His help defense has been tremendous, as well, making it hard for teams in both cuts along the baseline and in pick and rolls.
More importantly, really, the Nets are 23-11 with Lopez in the lineup, and 2-5 without him.
The best case, however, is made in the player comparison between Brook and Dwight Howard, the starter for the Western Conference.
The numbers don't lie.
You can certainly try to make the case for Tyson Chandler or Joakim Noah in the East, sure, but both Chandler and Noah are top-heavy, less of the complete player than Lopez is, or has become.
So, with that, I think it's more than reasonable to say that Lopez should be an All-Star this year -- heck, you could even say that he should probably be starting this game, right?
- NBA All-Star Game Theme Day - SBNation.com