It’s no secret that even with Jeremy Lin in town, it’s Brook Lopez’s team, and rightfully so. The 7-footer, who’s already going into his ninth NBA season is coming off a year where he averaged 20.6 points and 7.8 rebounds in a healthy 73 games of action. As we know, the Nets have since pushed the rebuild button and with a new look roster, despite all of its turnover, Lopez is presumably here to stay.
For now, at least.
So how dependent are the new look Nets on their all-star center Brook Lopez? Well, according to newly acquired veteran power forward Luis Scola very.
"First thing is for everybody else around him to learn what’s best for him," Scola said after day two of training camp on Wednesday afternoon. "He’s our guy and we’ve got to make him happy."
Scola himself is an NBA veteran of nearly a decade now, and in his past he’s been an integral part of some significant playoff runs including the 2014 Indiana Pacers to made it to the Eastern Conference Finals, and two playoff semifinals exits with the 2009 Houston Rockets, and last year’s Toronto Raptors.
The Argentine big man is well-traveled and understands what it takes to win games in this league, and he’s trying to get the message across that Mr. Lopez is the key.
"He’s not the one who needs to drop anything, we have to go around him and figure out what’s best for him," Scola said. "(Whether) he likes us to pop, he likes us to roll, to spot-up from three, cut, move, what is it, what is it he likes the most. All those things are going to make us more effective, it’s going to help us win more games, they’re going to put whoever does those things on the court more often, which is what players want, and everything is going to be better off."
By the numbers, Lopez is coming off an excellent season. For his career he averages over 18 points and seven rebounds per contest, and more importantly, he’s healthy. Scola may very well play alongside Lopez in the starting line-up to serve as two third of the Nets front court.
While starting in all 76 appearances for the division champion Raptors last season, Scola averaged 8.7 points and 4.7 rebounds in 21.5 minutes per game, but it’s worth mentioning 6-foot-9, 36 year-old forward has grown increasingly comfortable away from the rim, hitting 40.4% of his threes last season, by far the best of his career.
Playing with a center like Brook, who occupies the real-estate down low better than most NBA centers, may be an ideal situation for Scola and the Nets moving forward.
"If he’s happy, if he’s playing well, our chances to win grow immensely, so this is what we’ve got to achieve," Scola added in regards to Lopez. "He’s been working very hard all this week – he’s the best player on the team and he’s our franchise guy, with that comes along responsibility. That’s just working hard, giving it all you have, being there every day for us, and we’ll live with the results, good, bad, or whatever."