by Cub Buenning

Dear Brook,

Hey, I thought I would take this opportunity to not only congratulate you on being named No. 33 in the now legendary SLAMonline Top 50, but to formally introduce myself, as well.

My name is Carmelo Anthony.

If you pay attention to the national media closely (and you know we ALL do) it seems like we might be sharing the same locker room soon. I am sure that you sBrook Lopezpent much of your offseason thinking about sharing a frontcourt with this (Derrick) Favors kid, but I think you’ll enjoy sharing space on the low block with me, even more!

Yes, I have won a lot of games in my career, won a national championship in college, played in the Western Conference Finals just a couple seasons ago and brought home Gold from Beijing.

Yes, much has been made about my “wish list” of acceptable teams to play for and yes, New Jersey wasn’t really high on that list, but y’all are moving out to Brooklyn soon and that could work.

But, what really makes me excited about this possible move (ignoring that I’d be going from one of the sunniest, friendliest and cleanest cities in the world to kind of the opposite) is the thought of playing with an actual center; a back to the basket, space-taking, shot-blocking, rebounding 7-footer. The closest thing I have ever known to a legitimate center was a 6-11 skinny dude who liked to shoot set shots from the top of the key. That’s not what you are about.

What you are about is consistency, effort and production. Impressive for a dude who has only played two years of professional ball. You haven’t missed a game in that time — started all 82 last year, averaged 19 and 9, shot 50 percent from the floor and 80 percent from the line. As part of a struggling, rebuilding team, you were the brightest part of the “bright side” of winning just a dozen games.

To be honest, I was thinking about you even before certain media outlets started these rumors between us over the past week. As I was dealing with my pre-wedding build-up, I was peeping our “JV” squad out in Turkey for the World Championships. I was really proud of what they got done and was blown away/scared of what Kevin Durant is becoming, but I just wondered what the team would have played like with you anchoring the middle. I know you have been “sick as a dog” all summer, but I also know you could have given them an inside presence while also being able to keep up with the pace that Chauncey, Lamar and the young bucks laid down on their way to gold.

So, Brook, keep your head up and try not to listen to all of the other rumors surrounding me and Chicago, New York or even Houston. New York has nothing to offer the Nuggets, Chicago might already have made enough moves this summer, and I’m not going to Texas, you can believe that!

Get yourself healthy, and I might just see you when camp breaks next week!

Sincerely,

Carmelo Anthony

P.S. Don’t believe those rumors that I wrote this same kind of letter to Derrick Rose, either.

SLAMonline TOP 50 PLAYERSOVERALL RANKPOSITION RANK
PlayerTeamPosition2010200920102009
Ray AllenCelticsSG50361110
Gilbert ArenasWizardsSG4934109
Lamar OdomLakersPF48331410
John WallWizardsPG47NR13NR
OJ MayoGrizzliesSG4646912
Al HorfordHawksC45NR6NR
Jason KiddMavsPG44451210
Joakim NoahBullsC43NR5NR
LaMarcus AldridgeBlazersPF42391312
David WestHornetsPF4131128
Monta EllisWarriorsSG40NR8NR
Andrew BogutBucksC39NR4NR
Yao MingRocketsC38NR3NR
Brandon JenningsBucksPG37NR11NR
Zach RandolphGrizzliesPF36NR11NR
Stephen CurryWarriorsPG35NR10NR
David LeeWarriorsPF34NR10NR
Brook LopezNetsC33NR2NR

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’10-11 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Jeremy Bauman, Maurice Bobb, Erildas Budraitis, Sean Ceglinsky, Ben Collins, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Manny Maduakolam, Eddie Maisonet, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Charles Peach, Branden Peters, Quinn Peterson, David Schnur, Todd Spehr, Kyle Stack, Adam Sweeney, Dennis Tarwood, Tracy Weissenberg, Lang Whitaker, Eric Woodyard, and Nima Zarrabi.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.