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The Lopez - Plumlee Debate: Is it over?

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Mason Plumlee looked a bit like Kenyon Martin Tuesday night in Brooklyn, what with the great dunks --six in all, the dramatic blocks --three in the boxscore; and the emotion, the emotion, the emotion.  They were chanting his name at one point as the and Joe Johnson led the team back to a win.

But before the game, in two thoughtful discussions, Devin Kharpertian and Tim Bontemps looked at the Nets "big" future and saw things from different perspectives.  Much was made of Lionel Hollins post-game senior moment where he supposedly couldn't remember Lopez's name and Howard Beck's analysis of the team's future in which he suggested Lopez was on the trading block. It might appear the debate is over. Plumlee, say league sources, is virtually untouchable while Lopez is on the block.

Kharpertian wrote before the game of how there is some overvaluing of Plumlee ... and some undervaluing of Lopez.

Of Plumlee, he wrote...

Plumlee’s got serious limitations, and he’s best when he’s not expanding his game. He’s adept at finding the occasional crevice in an interior defense, darting inside for an easy dunk or reverse dunk, and he has the athletic ability to occasionally contest well at the rim. His recent success isn’t an accident, or an aberration: he’s the most exciting thing about this team right now.

But he doesn’t do much else.

And of Lopez, he noted...

He made his mark not just with his soft touch and solid post play, but also with his timing, finding space as Joe Johnson and Deron Williams drove to the basket and diving in for layups and dunks with the defense distracted. (Roughly half of Lopez’s baskets off cuts were assisted by Williams.) He led the team in scoring, not because he was the first option, but because he was the finisher, much like Plumlee is now.

The problem is that Lopez hasn’t been that player this season.

Whether he's slowly regaining his timing or is now a step slower following two surgeries this summer is TBD.

Bontemps thinks the solution is bringing Lopez off the bench, something he has done eight times in his Nets career, seven times his rookie year ... and Tuesday night.

Lopez would destroy any backup center he faced, which would not only benefit the Nets but would help him, as well, as he tries to get comfortable playing again after missing all but 17 games last season after his latest injury to his right foot. While Lopez began to play better in the games shortly before he suffered the back injury, he understandably looked like someone rounding his game back into shape after spending nearly a year away from the court.

Will the Nets be willing to be patient and see whether some sort of Twin Towers can ultimately work? Probably not. Bottom line is that there are few people who think their skills are complementary. And what Kevin Garnett, who's having a resurgence but is 38. It's unlikely the Nets would sit him. although his and Mirza Teletovic's production Tuesday left a LOT to be desired.

You would think that someone would be able to figure out what to do with two seven-footers, age 24 and 26.  That's a luxury most teams would love to have ... and not debate.