Saturday, December 21, 2013

Brooklyn Nets: It Just Got Worse; Brook Lopez Suffers Broken Foot

From the desk of:  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

Another Bad Break;
Brook Lopez' Career Continues To Be Haunted By Injuries.

Back To The Drawing Board For Jason Kidd.
Kevin Garnett Must Now Fill A Role
He Was Not Acquired To Play.

More and more it seems Brook Lopez and Deron Williams were destined to never play together.  I'm starting to believe that.  The mailman brought bad news this morning.  The ballerina brothers have been separated once again.

Brook Lopez', the Brooklyn Nets' and their fan's worse nightmare has been realized.  The team's top scorer is down, and will likely miss the rest of the season with a fractured foot, the same right foot and ankle, that has plagued, if not ruined, the center's short career.

The initial damage may have come against the Clippers, when Brook left the game in the third quarter after rolling his ankle.  He then missed the Detroit Pistons game, and returned Friday to face the Sixers, when it is believed he once again fractured his three-time surgically repaired foot.  Lopez played the entire game.

Without Brook Lopez, the Nets bench depth will now play a starting role.  Andray Blatche will lead the M*A*S*H unit, backed up by Mason Plumlee and Reggie Evans.  I do hope the rotation settles in that way.  In fact, I would even suggest Plumlee should start, so as to continue having Andray Blatche coming off the bench together with Paul Pierce, which is a role Blatche has been most effective playing since his arrival.  After an education under Coach K at Duke, Plumlee will at least play a fundamentally sound game, and adds athleticism on the floor.

Andrei Kirilenko may yet become a factor this season, but the biggest x-factor becomes Kevin Garnett, who may slide over to center, while the others fill in at power forward.  That's not necessarily good news, considering Garnett missed Friday's game for sake of rest.  Brooklyn now desperately needs a little more of the old KG, or at least the one who averaged 15 points and 8 rebounds a game during his last five years in Boston.

That's a questionable proposition, and unfortunate, because Garnett was not brought here to fill that roll.  He was supposed to be a supplementary player, and a mentor to Brook Lopez.  Without trying to be critical, what the Nets got over the first 1/4 season was a Kevin Garnett that looked like the player who contemplated retirement prior to being acquired by Billy King.  Garnett is averaging 6.5 points and 7.2 rebounds in 22 minutes for Brooklyn.  A small increase in minutes, and just 10 points per game would greatly help the Nets at this juncture.

Any way you shake it, the Nets must account for Brook Lopez' 20 ppg average, and need more than just the big back-ups chipping in.  For as well as he's been this season, Joe Johnson must now take extra special precautions to ensure he stays relevant.  The Nets can not afford to have Johnson  disappear for quarters, halves, and games at a time, similar to last season.  Mister Big Shot must now factor all the time.

Two more factors loom large.  Jason Kidd was only beginning to reap the benefits of his post-Lawrence Frank decision to move the ball through Brook Lopez.  The new offensive scheme also substantially benefitted Joe Johnson's style of play, while having Paul Pierce coming off the bench worked better than imagined.  Now it's back to the drawing board for Coach Kidd, who has to rethink everything yet again.

Of course, once again all fingers point to Deron Williams.  While D-Will has always been looked upon as this team's star, Brook Lopez without a doubt buttered this team's bread.  Williams will need to exert his presence on the floor, unlike perhaps, he has so far while playing for Brooklyn.  That's been mentioned before, but it's true.  If the Nets need just a little of the old KG to get them through this crisis, then Deron Williams needs to recapture a measure of his star play from Utah again, and quick.  To his credit, Williams has played very well since returning from his own ankle injury, but now his team needs more.


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