Lionel Hollins doesn't just want a healthy Brook Lopez. He wants a tough Brook Lopez.
"Just being more aggressive, being tougher, rebounding better. Just being a force in the paint," Hollins said after practice Sunday when asked what he wants from his All-Star center. "When you're 7-feet and 260 pounds, I'd like for him to be a force. I want all our big guys to be like that -- be tougher, be more aggressive, be an inside player. If you're an inside player, a big guy, control the paint and play outside last.
"Don't play outside and never get in the paint."
He was even more critical during practice, when he stopped the scrimmage in full view of the assembled beat writers to lecture Lopez on passing. When asked afterward if he wanted Lopez to be a better passer out of the post --something that is not a Lopez attribute despite some skill there, Hollins was clear there was a larger issue.
"That’s not a priority," Hollins said. "Making Brook a better basketball player is a priority. Being tougher, being more aggressive, thinking that every time the play is for him, but also being a guy that’s passing the ball to his open teammates."
"I’d like Mason [Plumlee] to do the same thing," he added. Hollins of course had two solid passers underneath with the Grizzlies in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Deron Williams agreed. "Brook has to learn how to use his size and strength to his advantage. I don't think (Hollins) is saying, Brook never shoot a jumper because that would be taking away something that Brook is really good at," Williams said. "But I think he wants Brook to establish himself as a low-post presence and I think we as a team need that. That's something we kind of missed last year."
Lopez did not speak with the media afterwards. Meanwhile, Hollins had another message, that there will be no artificial limits on Kevin Garnett's minutes.
"I do expect him to play more," Hollins said. "He’s been in great shape. He’s very sharp. We’d like to see him contribute more than 18-20 minutes." He also said there would no restrictions on back-to-backs. "Sitting out games, I don’t know. I’ve never done that except for getting ready for the playoffs."
Once again, with Alan Anderson sidelined with a sore abdominal muscle, Bojan Bogdanovic played most of the minutes with the starters. Also, Markel Brown has been getting back-up minutes at the wing.
- Lionel Hollins is latest Nets coach to question Brook Lopez’s toughness - Stefan Bondy - New York Daily News
- Lionel Hollins to Brook Lopez: Toughen up - Tim Bontemps - New York Post
- Lionel Hollins calls for tougher, aggressive Brook Lopez - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Hollins expects more minutes from KG - Mike Mazzeo - ESPN New York
- Hollins: Garnett to contribute more this season - Andy Vasquez - The Record
Lionel Hollins wants to paint Brook Lopez as tough in middle - Rod Boone - Newsday
- Lionel Hollins wants Brook Lopez to be tougher - Matt Moore - CBS Sports