With a trio of three pointers on Sunday, Brook Lopez now has 129 treys for the season. His prowess beyond the arc been seen as a curiosity: how a seven-footer who in his first eight seasons hit only THREE such shots suddenly became a deep threat. Isn’t that interesting?!
But as the numbers mount, Lopez’s success is more than some curiosity. He leads the Nets in three pointers ... and If he can make 23 more three’s in the Nets’ last five games —a tough task but doable— he will surpass Dirk Nowitzki’s record of 151 three’s by a seven-footer. The Mavs star did that in 2000-01. Other than Nowitzki, no other seven-footer has hit as many treys as Lopez has this season. Andrea Bargnani topped out at 121 in 2009-10. Kristaps Porzingis? The Knick forward currently has 112. Marc Gasol? He has 96.
Lopez is almost certain to top Nowitzki’s record for most three-point attempts in a season by a seven-footer. Lopez has shot 370 three’s thus far this season, 20 fewer than Nowitzki in 2000-01. Obviously, Nowitzki is a better marksman. He shot nearly 39 percent from deep that season. Lopez is shooting a little better than 35 percent.
Not bad for a guy who had taken 31 three-pointers in his NBA career prior to this year, including 24 the last two years. It’s not as if he couldn’t shoot before. Bobby Marks, the Nets former assistant GM, says he’s not surprised, having watched Lopez shoot the long ball at the Nets East Rutheford training facility for years.
“I saw the range right when we drafted him in 2008 in summer league,” Marks told NetsDaily. “You could tell right off the bat that his mechanics were good but he was labeled a center and at that time 5's didn't evolve their game beyond the three-point line.”
Marks, now with the The Vertical, added that as years went by, Lopez would constantly work on the shot either before or after practice.
“I think the coaching changeover with Lawrence, Kiki, Avery, P.J., Jason, Lionel and the interim Tony Brown had an impact on him never really having confidence to use it in a game setting,” Marks noted. “Seven coaches in a nine-year stretch will certainly do that plus each one had a different style on how they played.
Marks said Lopez’s weight also played a role in this. Before he injured his foot, Lopez’s weight would fluctuate between 290 and 295 pounds. Now three years after missing the 2013-14 season, Lopez is around 265-270 and is much more fluid.
Lopez has long enjoyed taking the three. At one open practice at Ramapo College a few years back, Lopez fired one three-pointer after another ... from half-court ... to the ooh’s and ahh’s of fans. He didn’t make many but he showed his range.
There’s also the new offense Kenny Atkinson installed. It puts a premium on the long ball. The Nets have already broken franchise records for attempts and makes. Also, you have to think that the Nets shooting specialist and director of player development, Adam Harrington, had something to do with it.
Whatever, Brook Lopez is now an accomplished marksman. Watch out, Dirk.