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Brook Lopez

Seeing is believing, as the Lakers take an unreal victory in Brooklyn

(A MAMBINO live report from Brooklyn for the Nets-Lakers game last night)
“Unreal. Just…unreal.”
I slumped back in my seat time after time, stunned at the game that was taking place in front of me. Quarter after quarter, the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers continued to shake convention in a contest that couldn’t be any less believable. Still, I whispered in amazement for 48 minutes, sometimes with a smile on my face and others with a bewildered scowl, hands atop my head.
The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Brooklyn Nets in their first visit to the Barclays Center last night, 92-83, in a game the Lakers had to have, Brooklyn couldn’t have tried harder to give away and ultimately, Pau Gasol would love to have back.
The Barclays Center is merely a 30-minute train ride away from my apartment. This gigantic iron behemoth is brilliantly located in the middle of New York’s second most heralded borough, crossing almost a dozen subway lines and the Long Island Railroad. It stands out from the surrounding environ of a typical urban center, as if Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum lost the war on July 4th and a spaceship landed in the middle of the BK. The Barclays Center is convenient, marvelous, and most importantly, thanks to its NBA tenants, cheap.
Despite a move out of the swamp in New Jersey to a brilliant, shining, $1 billion dollar arena, the now Brooklyn Nets are struggling to find their place in NYC. Attendance is up to 16th this season, a solid upward trend from finishing no better than 25th in crowd support since 2009. However, like with any expansion or relocation franchise, it’s been difficult to find a fervent, dedicated fan base when a team has little tradition, few marketable stars, and generations of followers tied to another organization. New Yorkers are still very dedicated to their beloved Knicks, and the ticket price to see the now contending Bockers is sky high. For the playoff-bound Nets? There’s a far smaller mortgage to be paid for attending a game in Brooklyn. Knowing all of this before showing up to Barclays tonight, I shouldn’t have been so surprised by the swath of Lakers fans in front of me.
Still, even high fives from strangers clad in Lakers hats and headbands couldn’t distract me from the task at hand–defeating the then 28-19 Brooklyn Nets. LA came into the game short-staffed, with Dwight Howard missing his second consecutive game due to a re-aggravated shoulder injury and Metta World Peace due to a bogus suspension for “punching” Brandon Knight during Sunday’s Pistons game. Chief amongst my concerns were how anyone would be able to check the 6’7″ Joe Johnson, if Reggie Evans would now gobble up 25 boards instead of 16 now that Dwight was ruled out and if Steves Nash and Blake would just spot Deron Williams the 20 he would eventually score.
Amazingly–unreal-ly–this never came to pass.
(Read the rest at Silver Screen and Roll after the jump)… Read more...

Out of the Swamp and Into the BK – Brooklyn Nets Preview

Starting Five: PG Deron Williams, SG Joe Johnson, SF Gerald Wallace, PF Kris Humphries, C Brook Lopez

Key Bench Players:
PG CJ Watson, SG MarShon Brooks, F Mirza Teletovic, PF Reggie Evans, PF/C Andray Blatche, G Tyshawn Taylor

Notable offseason additions: SG Joe Johnson, F Mirza Teletovic, PF Reggie Evans, PF/C Andray Blatche, G Tyshawn Taylor

Notable offseason subtractions: PG Jordan Farmar, SG DeShawn Stevenson, G/F Gerald Green, G/F Anthony Morrow, PF Johan Petro

It was a huge factor,” Williams told us about the Nets moving to Brooklyn. “I don’t think I would have even thought about staying if it (the Nets franchise) was staying in New Jersey.Yahoo!

I had never been to Brooklyn until the press conference, and that was something like I’ve never experienced before. It was unbelievable — all the fans coming out to welcome us. It was something I’ve never been a part of.  I had a great time.“–Joe Johnson from

The one thing Brook [Lopez] always said was he wanted to play in the building [the $1 billion Barclays Center] when it opens“–Nets GM Billy King from ESPN

Whether or not you believe that the wholesale changes to the Nets franchise will make them into a title contender, there’s no doubt that the Nets are made better this year merely by moving out of the New Jersey wasteland and into a civilized country. 

The team recently made their debut on the Barclays Center hardwood, a sparkling, state of the art arena located right on top of one of the busiest public transportation hubs in all of New York City. The Nets were the ugly, toothless, red-headed, lice-ridden step-sister of metro area sports; from their location in the decrepit IZOD Center (formerly Continental Airlines Arena) and later the Prudential Center in Newark, both located well out of city limits to tepid fan support even at the team’s early decade zenith. The former New Jersey franchise had the least cache out of any professional sports team attached to the back page of the Post, including the anonymous New York Islanders

(All of that was very politically correct–the summary is that no one gave a shit about the Nets. Last year, BockerKnocker and I went to a Houston Rockets/Nets game for $2.50 a seat. That wasn’t a typo. Two dollars and fifty cents. Needless to say, I happily footed the entire bill)

Ever since the team‘s move to Brooklyn was made official with the ribbon cutting ceremony at Barclays, the striking black and white BK Nets gear has been ubiquitous around town. With their ownership attached to the greatest rapper alive and their location in the hippest part of town, the Nets somehow became a source of…credibility, a noun that has rarely been associated with a franchise that ranks amongst the country’s most disgraceful. So far, fan support has followed, as evidenced by full arenas in preseason games and general excitement throughout the five boroughs. 

However, like any major market with several competing teams vying for front page attention, the Nets have to actually put it on the floor and churn out consistent victories to matter. To do so, they’ve fortified a team that’s won 58 games in the last three years combined. This past summer, the Nets managed to re-sign four of their starters, including Deron Williams, Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and the Shaquille O’Neal-endorsed “best big man in the NBA” Brook Lopez, as well as traded for six-time All-Star shooting guard Joe JRead more...

Andrew Bynum vs. Brook Lopez: Who provides the best value for a potential Dwight Howard trade

It’s less than two weeks away from the beginning of the NBA season. Usually at this point in the year, there would be some sort of consensus, or at least disputed consensus, on how the season could play out, and where teams would generally finish at the end of the year. This season, no matter who you ask, from the most excitedly overzealous super fan to a jaded old beat reporter, I don’t think that one person could give a correct appraisal for how the 2011-2012 NBA season will look like in June. The swirling rumor mill regarding Chris Paul and Dwight Howard have completely destabilized the entire NBA, from the Lakers to the Clippers, the Rockets to the Knicks and everyone in between. Add in a new set of rules coming from the freshly negotiated CBA, the balance of power in the league will tip, but in what way, I don’t think that anyone really knows.

One of the most hotly debated questions is Dwight Howard’s future (David Stern and the league’s involvement with the Hornets and thus Chris Paul turns that situation into a Tim Wakefield special – unwieldy, unpredictable and fat. Maybe not that last part. But damn, Tim Wakefield has a belly), specifically where he’ll end up. Two of the dispersed rumors would be a deal that either ends with Dwight on the New Jersey-turned-Brooklyn Nets or the Los Angeles Lakers. The Nets package would be headlined by 7’ center Brook Lopez, accompanied with two draft picks (including Golden State’s 2012 first rounder, as well as the Nets own 2012 pick) and the cap space to take up Hedo Turkoglu’s remaining $30+ million dollar deal. The Lakers’ offer would presumably be fellow 7’ center Andrew Bynum, two draft picks (Dallas’ 2012 first rounder and the Lakers 2012 first rounder) as well as a $8.9 million dollar trade exception to pick up the remainder of Hedo Turkoglu’s contract.

So what would you do, given that there seems to be no better options out there?

From my buddy El Miz, I got the following e-mail:

First of all, I think its crazy how overrated you guys (and the Buss family) value Bynum. When I think of Bynum, as at least a somewhat non-partial NBA fan, I see a completely immature 7 footer who has played a full NBA season ONE TIME in his 6 year NBA career. Brook Lopez has played 82 games all 3 years of his NBA career. He is 3 for 3 on playing a full NBA season, compared to Bynum being 1 for 6. Lopez is clearly the better offensive player, they are comparable offensive rebounders, and both are adept shot blockers. Also, Lopez is actually YOUNGER than Bynum is!

I don’t see how the Magic look at the trade offer which is Bynum, 2 picks and the trade exception for Howard and Hedo and then a trade offer which is Lopez, other picks, and also for Howard and Hedo. I don’t think either is a superior proposition, and if I HAD to pick one as the GM of the magic…I’m taking Lopez! Not even in the same ballpark as an injury risk, more mature player, and a better offensive game. Does Bynum have more upside? Yea, but the guy’s a moron.

In some regards, I agree with El Miz here. Andrew is a child; he’s 24 going on 13. I’ve been to a bunch of Lakers games in person and I think the best thing about actually going to the games is watching how guy react in the huddle (which you don’t see on TV). At a majority of them, I see a detached Bynum, removed from everything. It doesn’t look like he’s got a rapport with his teammates, his joking is never reciprocated when he’s talking to guys like Luke or Pau and he’s constantly just staring blankly. The intensity and focus isn’t there. Of course th… Read more...