“Man, I am tired of that guy. Fuck him.”
Those are the words that Nets’ center, Brook Lopez, appears to say while sitting on the bench after being pulled from a game against the Phoenix Suns. Lopez had entered the game with three minutes remaining, proceeded to brick a shot, and then was pulled by head coach Avery Johnson.
Lopez did not direct the comments to anyone in particular but his intended target was clearly not himself. Why should he be mad at himself when he can levee all the blame on Johnson? Too bad Travis Outlaw just sat idley by as Lopez expressed his displeasure.
He should have had Lopez look in a mirror.
In just his third season, Lopez has seen a significant dip in his rebounding despite being listed at seven feet tall. When a player is that tall and plays the center position, rebounds should come easily, or as easily as possible when other large men are battling for them. His total rebounding average this season is an appauling 5.9 rebounds per game. That is down from 8.6 per game last season.
Lopez’s total rebounding percentage, which is an estimate of the percentage of available rebounds a player records while on the court, has declined as well. This season he is grabbing rebounds at a rate of 10.3 percent. This number is down from 13.5 percent last year and 15.8 percent during his rookie season.
He has recordef four or fewer rebounds nine times this season. During one game, he pulled down just one. Yes, only one rebound against the Milwaukee Bucks on January 8. Only twice has he had more than ten rebounds in a game this season.
One might like to make an arguement that Lopez’s decreased statisitics are because of reduced playing time. However, he is only averaging three fewer minutes per game than he did last season.
It is not just his rebounding that is stupifying for all the wrong reasons. He is shooting more shots but making the same amount as before. The young man from Stanford seems to being making worse shot selection as well
Lopez should be made at himself. It is his lack of effort on the floor that is the cause of his poor play and subsequent benching. Avery Johnson is not a “Camp Cupcake” kind of coach. Lopez could ask teammate Devin Harris all about his coaching style and what he expects of his players. He expects more than one rebound from his starting center.
Until Lopez proves that he can compete at an NBA level under a demanding coach, he will be a frequent feature on the bench and he deserves to be there. Life as a professional athlete is not easy and throwing a tantrum accomplishes nothing…unless you are a super star.