Better late than never: Nets’ Lopez gets All-Star nod, replaces Celtics’ Rondo
Nets general manager Billy King recently called Brook Lopez’s All-Star snub “a disgrace.”
NBA Commisioner David Stern must have been listening.
Less than a week after Brooklyn’s top scorer and second-leading rebounder was denied a trip to the Feb. 17 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, the commissioner’s office on Wednesday evening decided to give the 7-foot center a spot on the Eastern Conference squad in place of injured Boston point guard Rajon Rondo.
Lopez, who missed all but five games last season due to a series of foot injuries, has been the catalyst of the Nets’ rise in the East during their historic first season in Downtown Brooklyn. The Stanford product was averaging 18.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game entering Wednesday night’s marquee matchup with the defending NBA champion Miami Heat at the Barclays Center.
Though he didn’t openly campaign for the spot, Lopez has to feel vindicated after being skipped over when the East reserves were named last Thursday night.
The longest-tenured Net, who is in the midst of his fifth season with the New Jersey/Brooklyn franchise, didn’t miss a single contest during his first three seasons with the club. He sat out seven games earlier this year with a mild foot sprain, watching the Nets go 2-5 in his absence, a slump that doubtlessly hastened the exit of former head coach Avery Johnson following a brutal 3-10 December.
Brooklyn has rebounded under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo, posting a 13-4 mark since Johnson’s dismissal to climb back into the Atlantic Division race.
After being mentioned in almost regular trade rumors involving fellow center Dwight Howard over the last two-plus seasons, Lopez has settled into his role with the Nets, providing a strong inside option for perimeter stars like Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.
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