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Saturday, September 25th, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  55 responses

Top 50: Brook Lopez, no. 33

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

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 PLAYERS OVERALL RANK POSITION RANK
Player Team Position 2010 2009 2010 2009
Ray Allen Celtics SG 50 36 11 10
Gilbert Arenas Wizards SG 49 34 10 9
Lamar Odom Lakers PF 48 33 14 10
John Wall Wizards PG 47 NR 13 NR
OJ Mayo Grizzlies SG 46 46 9 12
Al Horford Hawks C 45 NR 6 NR
Jason Kidd Mavs PG 44 45 12 10
Joakim Noah Bulls C 43 NR 5 NR
LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers PF 42 39 13 12
David West Hornets PF 41 31 12 8
Monta Ellis Warriors SG 40 NR 8 NR
Andrew Bogut Bucks C 39 NR 4 NR
Yao Ming Rockets C 38 NR 3 NR
Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 37 NR 11 NR
Zach Randolph Grizzlies PF 36 NR 11 NR
Stephen Curry Warriors PG 35 NR 10 NR
David Lee Warriors PF 34 NR 10 NR
Brook Lopez Nets C 33 NR 2 NR

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.

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  • qasclk

    I think we all know who the number one ranked center in the league is… Dwight Howard!

  • Z-man

    Brook and Melo are gonna be good together.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    ^ that won’t be true a few years from now.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    i forgot to say book it!

  • MikeC.

    I’m confused. Is Brook Lopez the #33 ranked player, or is it Carmelo Anthony? It says Brook Lopez at the top, but the writeup was all about Carmelo. I’ll have another coffee and read it again.

  • AT33

    what are you talking about playing in the western conference finals? gold from beijing? dude ur mixing up players!

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    i really like the progress of Lopez. I don’t hate Howard, he’s nice imo as a person and a player as well. But with the way he seems to be just contented with his game, soon enough we’ll be talking about who’s the best center between Bogut and Lopez. 7 years going on 8, and you still have the same moves for the past 5 years? And unlike a perimeter/swingman player, he only needs to focus on one area which is the post.. then still?

  • Overtime

    lol at MikeC and AT33.
    Cosign J. Like I said in the Yao Ming post, if Yao was healthy i’d always take him over Howard, and Lopez and Bogut are now forcing their way into that conversation too.
    Out of the two, I’d choose Lopez. Great offence, by shooting very very good percentages, hard worker, good work ethic, and very good on defence and rebounding

  • http://www.bluefont.com Hisham

    cub buenning suffers from obsessive compulsive including of denver nuggets into all stories disorder. i like it!

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Lopez still have ways to go but he’s half way there. He’s got strength and fundamentals to go with a nice touch. Just need to get to the playoffs to have some serious bruises.. With Dwight, it seems the overflowing athleticism somehow slowed his growth on offense. Because it worked to his advantage most of the time, he seemed to have that mentality of “if it aint broken dont fix it”.

  • tavoris

    J-developing as a post player is exponentially more difficult than it is for wing players. 1) a larger guy has to run about 15% more than the smaller guys do. 2)they must operate in a more confined space, with plenty of ridiculous restrictions on the same space. 3)Footwork is essential, but it’s difficult to master when you are being bumped 100% of the time.
    That’s why so many bigs these days have more developed perimeter games. Post play isn’t easy dude.
    Howard isn’t all that polished in the post because his superior athleticism is really only confined to jumping straight up and running straight ahead.
    Ultimately, anybody who doesn’t understand that different players have different ceilings (despite their effort) doesn’t really understand basketball that much. One look at Dwight’s physique should put to rest if he puts in the work.

  • http://www.twitter.com/hurstysyd Hursty

    Wait, so Marcus Camby doesn’t classify as an ‘actual center’? It’s not like he rebounded, ran the floor or played defense. Yeah, that guy was an awful um, power forward.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    tavoris- I never questioned the amount of work Dwight put in all these years. But he himself seemed to be contented with his post game. Remember what he answered when he was criticized to the lack of post moves? Then he had Pat for a long time. Patrick Ewing. Also for a guy with that INSANE physical gift, an ADDITIONAL footwork and a little more post move won’t be too hard. Even a little. (ask Shaq). But i can serioulsly count how many tools he have on offense. A spin and dunk, which isnt perfect despite having incredible quickness. An alley-oop. A super ugly running hook. And an attack to the basket dunk. Howard may not reach KG or TD on offensive moves, but one could wonder on why he’s the same guy on offense all these years. Were talking about 7 years man. 7 freaking years.

  • whoooo!

    too add to Hursty, Melo had Camby AND Nene at the same time! and he’s had defenders in Martin and Anderson. it’s ridiculous to play the “he needs a big man” card when that hasn’t been a problem. realistically, there’s only like 5 legit post-scorers in the league anyways.

  • SchW

    Not a good article at all… Whocares about ´Melo! you should write more about Brook since it is his place on the top 50 list!

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Tavoris- Howard has enough talent for just settling to what he have. He may never have Tim Duncan’s or some others ceiling, but as i told earlier his gifts are enough for him to adapt some of the TD’s or the KG’s post moves. Not all but some. As a baller myself i did, and assuming you are the same, i think you know how to adapt some moves too, despite our ceilings.

  • NJ4Life

    Honestly I could write about how this should’ve been more about Brook and less about Melo. I could say that Brook should be higher, and that he was conveniently put at 33 to coincide with trade rumors, given the content of this article. But I won’t . I’ll just be content with the fact the my team’s center made the 50 after playing just two years in the league. Besides, he might be playing next to Melo soon.

  • Bruno

    no way brook lopez’s better than anyone in this rank … maybe only better than horford, david west or yao but i’ll take the other ones before him anyday anytime

  • http://www.dimemag.com Royal

    ^^^My Lakers would jizz themselves if the Nets offered Brook for Lamar. Then we could use Andrew Bynum to get Melo.I wish G.Ms thought like you Bruno lol

  • tavoris

    @J-He does have a few moves. He doesn’t get nearly enough touches to show anything tho. The guy got NINE shots a game…and he was shooting like 65% from the field for most of the season. Every now and again, Dwight throws in a reverse pivot to a lefty jump hook.

    I’d put more blame on his post game on SVG’s complete imbalance in offensive variety over anything Dwight hasn’t done.

  • http://www.twitter.com/TheDiesel Anton

    @qasclk – yes, Dwight dominates with 10 shot attempts per game and just tears apart the elite teams in the 4th quarter as he sits on the bench.
    Brook it!

  • tavoris

    Oh, and KD has ONE post move: Fade away over the left shoulder.

  • tavoris

    Royal-your lakers would jizz themselves to get Brook for anybody not nameed Pau or Kobe.

  • slick ric

    I cant say brook the second best center in the league.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Tavoris- its also part of him resorting into passing the ball or forcing a shot that result to a charge when he’s trapped. That was exposed so many times. Because he lacked footwork that would that would enable him to create a better attempt he often resorted to passing the ball, hence lessen some attempts. That’s footwork is not impossible to achieve with his footspeed. I don’t blame it all on SVG. I think they were together enough for Stan to see those things that were not seing and give him a chance to do it.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    I’ll point out an example. See that running hook.? Instead of running and literally throwing brick, he could’ve used a ball-fake and stop then step inside the non-pivot foot for a lay-in. (see: Pau Gasol). Again he’s very capable of doing that with his quickness and footspeed, yet were seing the same all the time.

  • tavoris

    @j-that goes back to what I said earlier-Dwight is great at running in a straight line and jumping straight up.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    * That footwork.. @ 1:44

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    tavoris- i recognized that. He is. But in actually making a field goal through that move, No. he always bricks that move.

  • tavoris

    J-you realized that u just agreed with me

  • JTaylor21

    @Tavoris, are you talking bout KD or KG? Also DHow is OVERRATED because someone with all his strength, speed, and athletic ability to avg. only 18PPG is ludacris. People always like to use the excuse that his teammates shoot too much 3PTs but the reason why is because they don’ want to give it to Howard and watch him throw up brick after brick. The rockets with Hakeem also shot a lot of threes, so I don’t buy that argument. He’s being allegedly working with one of the greatest center of all-time and doesn’t have ONE measly post move to show for it. Dude is TOO busy pumping iron like he’s trying to compete for Mr.Olympia or something.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Brook Lopez is going to be the best center in the East soon. At least, offensively. Okay, he already is the best offensive center in the East.

  • PlanetAsia14

    Good placing on the list for him, he’ll do well regardless of the Melo trade, or not this season.

  • tavoris

    jtaylor21-kg…my bad
    and, how is howard overrated when he’s the best scorer-while getting the least shots? I can’t think off the top of my head EVER where a player has led a team in scoring three straight years while 4 other players on the team take more shots than him. The Magic have been a consistently good defensive team. No other players on the Magic even try to guard people-their entire D is to funnel players to Howard.
    I admit he could be better (passing out of double teams is a bigger problem than post moves), but he FAR from overrated. Plus, the dude hasn’t even turned 25 yet, has he?

  • TrailBlazing&SportingLisbon

    fair spot

  • junglebobjoe

    so no chris kaman on the list?

  • JTaylor21

    @Tavoris, someone that’s 6-11 275 with elite athleticism should not be avg. 18 pts, simple as that. There’s no other big man that’s even close to him physically yet he struggles against each one. Dude is not a bum but he’s most DEFINITELY overrated because even though he’s a great defender, he’s defensive numbers pale in comparison to other past DPOY like Hakeem and Deke. He’s the best center in the league but would be lucky to crack the Top 10 in the 90s.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    The number of truly great centers we’ve had in the league post-2000 is just sad.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Tavoris- sorry late post very busy + need to watch UFC.. Anyways, bottomline is Howard SHOULD be better in the post than what he is now. I don’t think he’s overrated because of what he can do on defense. But with all his physical gifts no way he should be like this on offense. His touches aren’t just a result of their offense but also from him passing the ball and unable to create shots because he’s often stucked/trapped due to lack of footwork and moves. It must always start with him. Footwork needs.. well a lot of work. 7 long years as i said. SUPERB athleticism. Mediocre improvement is somehow unacceptable.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    Well, it sucks that the Brook Lopez article is more about Carmelo Anthony than about Brook Lopez

  • http://www.twitter.com/gerardhimself Gerard Himself

    hoopistani: not really. Anyways, as a Nets fan I hope Lopez will be around for a loooong time. Sometimes he was really frustrated last season, but let’s be honest, can you blame him? The Nets holdovers from last season, like Harris, Williams and Lopez just need a couple of wins to really have fun again. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lopez would make the All-Star squad this year (obviously not as a starter)

  • http://www.slamonline.com Cub Buenning

    Sorry for writing such a cryptically confusing article for some of you. I just switched up the direction of my piece when all of this Melo/Nets talk heated up this week.

    Hursty, I did mention Camby; (set shots from top of key) he is a great weakside defender (pretty bad on the ball) and a strong defensive rebounder, but that’s about all. He’s not really a true center. But like has been commented, there aren’t many true centers in the league like Brook. I’m also looking for Robin to have a breakout season and make this list next year…… (You may recall that I was a Lopez gusher back in their college days)

  • tavoris

    @Cub-I didn’t see anything confusing. It looked like Melo was saying “I recognize that ur a beast, and that’s why I’m gonna let this trade happen” to me.
    Good Stuff, dude

  • http://www.twitter.com/jtrain73 Jono

    Hi Cub Buenning. This is a sack of sh!t. Melo is staying in Denver.

  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Tavoris and J
    Y’all really should stop arguing. Both of you are pretty much right.

  • ryder

    Brook Lopez is the most overrated player in the NBA. He’s an inefficient scorer for a big man (.499 FG% and he doesn’t take 3s), subpar rebounder (8.6 rebounds in 36.9 mins is terrible), subpar shotblocker (1.7 blocks in 36.9 mins), and a subpar man-defender. A good bigman should excel in those categories. He is, however, an excellent FT shooter and he gets to the line quite a bit. I’ll also cut him some slack for being (1) young, (2) the main offensive option on his (3) terrible, terrible team, but can we please slow down the hype-train on this guy? He’s a long way away from being a plus-bigman.

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