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Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 4:23 pm  |  60 responses

Top 50: Brook Lopez, no. 40

The definitive ranking of the NBA’s best players.

by Sean Ceglinsky / @seanceglinsky

From California straight to the League.

From the perceived easy-going beach life, with palm trees as far as the eye can see in the oftentimes scenic backdrop, straight to the grind and rigors of battling down underneath the basket with fellow post players for boards and buckets in the NBA.

It’s a path some individuals only dream about.

It’s a path successfully navigated by Brook Lopez.

At least, it appears as if he has been successful.

Entering his fourth season in the League, provided the pending lockout doesn’t spoil things this time around, Lopez is poised to take yet another step in his overall development and rightfully add his name to the mix among the upper echelon of centers.

His potential has never been questioned. Accordingly, his selection at this position in the SLAMonline Top 50 countdown is worthy, by most standards.

Not too shabby for a dude whose family has roots out in the San Fernando Valley, less than 30 minutes from the California coastline. High school followed in centrally-located Fresno. A short jaunt up North to Stanford for college was the next order of business.

He’s a Golden State product through and through.

Lopez was on the fast track right from the start. In fact, last year, he checked in at No. 33 in this poll. All signs pointed to big-time breakout effort from him.

At first glance, his averages of more than 20 points per game and 6 rebounds for the Nets a season ago were respectable numbers. Throw in a 79 percent clip from the free-throw line and 49 percent shooting from the field, and you have the makings of a star.

Nevertheless, some thought he fell off ever so slightly.

Perhaps playing in New Jersey has something to do with the lack of recognition. Whoever has a say in this matter, by the way, better have their head checked.

Nonetheless, the bar has been set high for Lopez.

In his first three years in the NBA, he has career averages of 17.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Come on people, that’s about as consistent as it gets.

For the all of the doubters, the naysayers, it’s all good.

Haters beware, the negativity serves as motivation.

Lopez, most likely, would like nothing more than to silence all of his critics. An uptick in his numbers across the board would do wonders for his image.

Rest assured, fantasy basketball aficionados are well aware of the upside he possesses. Lopez figures to fly off the board in drafts all over the country.

Who knows, this time next year, Lopez could be on the verge of climbing up the charts. Maybe even jump into the top 25 in these very same rankings.

If anyone can do it, the California kid is the man.

SLAMonline Top 50 Players 2011
Rank Player Team Position Pos. Rank
50 Luol Deng Bulls SF 8
49 Andrew Bogut Bucks C 7
48 Ray Allen Celtics SG 9
47 Marc Gasol Grizzlies C 6
46 David West Hornets PF 15
45 Kevin Martin Rockets SG 8
44 Andrew Bynum Lakers C 5
43 Brandon Jennings Bucks PG 11
42 Lamar Odom Lakers PF 14
41 Gerald Wallace Blazers SF 7
40 Brook Lopez Nets C 4

Notes
• Rankings are based solely on projected ’11-12 performance.
• Contributors to this list include: Maurice Bobb, Shannon Booher, David Cassilo, Bryan Crawford, Sandy Dover, Adam Figman, Jon Jaques, Eldon Khorshidi, Ryne Nelson, Doobie Okon, Ben Osborne, Quinn Peterson, Dave Schnur, Abe Schwadron, Dan Shapiro, Irv Soonachan, Todd Spehr, Tzvi Twersky, Yaron Weitzman, DeMarco Williams and Ben York.
• Want more of the SLAMonline Top 50? Check out the archive.

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  • http://dimemag.com Royal

    ….Ok then

  • http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7021031/the-nets-nba-economics Allenp

    He fell off because he forgot how to rebound and decided he wanted to shoot 20-foot jumpers. Pissed me off completely.

  • http://dimemag.com Royal

    You know what …..after reading the article I really don’t mind him being on the list.I still don’t think he is better than the previous centers listed.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    20 and 6 in 35 minutes a game are NOT respectable numbers.
    The 20 points, sure. But Brook Lopez is a legit seven feet, the six boards per is unexcusable.

  • ctkennedy

    The NETS is garbage…somebody got to get the numbers …but he dont strike no fear n u at all …on the O or D end of the floor …does he have skills yes so does Chris Kaman ..thats aint sayin nothing….would u really take him over Andrew Bogut…SMGDH

  • Overtime

    oh…wow. I havent read it yet, but just wow

  • http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7021031/the-nets-nba-economics Allenp

    Six boards and under 50 percent from the field. That’s garbage. For real.
    Dude has all the gifts, at this point, it’s a mental thing.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    I’m in the same boat as overtime, I’m bout to read it, but I don’t see any way this can be justified. I’m just flabbergasted by this. smh

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    So you all realize your saying the Nets have the 4th best center in the league, and a top 3 PG? Meaning they will be a 7 seed at best, despite being on of the most “skilled” (according to the top 50) 1/2 punches in the league….does that make ANY sense? Brook Lopez just finished 3rd to last among ALL centers in the NBA. ALL CENTERS, in rebounding Rate. This is supposed to be the 4th best center in the league & a top 45 player? please…he got defensive rebounds at a lower rate then Andrea Bargnani for goodness sakes…

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    Brook Lopez over Andrew Bogut, Marc Gasol and Andrew Bynum? I am disappoint.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    This just doesn’t make sense. Chris Kaman is a better Center…

  • Darius

    he should def be puttin up at least 10 boards a game. I like him but I rather have Marc Gasol

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    So uhm, Dwight, Horford, Noah. Joakim Noah is about to be the 3rd best Center in the NBA? lol really

  • http://redoftoothandclaw.ca/ niQ

    On another note, with Kris Humphries at power forward, don’t expect Brook Lopez to hit 10 rebounds per game any time soon.

  • KH10

    Let’s hope Brook reads this comments section and goes hard next season (whenever that is) dude is a giant and has serious offensive skills as well as being a very good shot blocker.
    He belongs on this list, but proves again that Boguts number shouldn’t have been called this early.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    Kris Humphries only averaged 10 rebounds a game. Derrick Favors was at 5RPG in 19MPG in New Jersey. The Lakers had 3 players average more then 8 rebounds per game. Chicago had 2 above 9.5 – Kris Humphries takes approximately 0 rebounds away from Brook Lopez

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    niQ Why? Humphries is a good rebounder not a great one. K-Love you could make that argument for Lopez playing with him. But not the Hump. Were not saying he should grab 10 boards a game. We’re saying he should grab more than 5 or 6 or whatever he is grabbing. Gasol, Odom and Bynum all grab around 10 a game on a night in night out basis. There is absolutley NO excuse for his dismal rebounding. I haven’t looked at the stats, but i’m willing to bet that at least 2 guards grabbed more boards than him a game. D-Wade and Fields most likely.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    dammm it nbk..

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    I’d take Noah over Horford, but I know I might be in the minority on this.
    I know Horford’s a better scorer, and has made the all-star team.
    But I think Noah just does more for a team when healthy.
    In either case though, I don’t think Noah OR Horford deserve to be placed higher than Bogut or Bynum, and certainly Brook Lopez doesn’t deserve to be higher than them either.
    Also, if Bargnani makes this list I will seriously consider boycotting this website until the top 50 has concluded.
    Nah, not really, but I’ll be p*ssed.

  • theedit

    I’m sorry but there’s no way Lopez is better than Odom, no way. I’m not saying Brook isn’t good, he sure is, but Odom is one of the most versatile players in the game and a two time champ.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    sorry Lakeshow, as soon as I seen, (Bill Cosby Voice) filth flyin and filth you know I gotta say somethin.

  • DJ MBENGA

    BROOK IS BEAST. BUT I DUNK ON HIM WHEN I CHOOSE TO. HE NEED TO REBOUND BASKETBALL BETTER. HE GOT GOOD MEDICAL BUD HOOKUP IN NORTHERN CAL. DJ MBENGA IS NUMBA 1!!!!

  • http://slamonline.com datkid

    this ranking is terrible…. just awful

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    Slam done lost its damn mind with this one.
    Can someone explain to me how Lopez is regarded as a better center than Bogut, the same cat that’s a perennial double-double threat and the best shot-blocker in the L?

  • Overtime

    I would genuinely take Marc Gasol over Lopez (And I was a big Lopez fan a while back)

  • BRAVO

    GASOL IS WAY BETTER THAN LOPES!

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    If it’s this offense heavy then with out a doubt Kevin Durant is 1, Melo is 2. Kobe is 3. D-Wade is 4. This is just getting silly. I think Robin Lopez would average 15 and 10 given the mins his brother gets. 15, 10 > 20, 6 for a center.

  • http://slamonline.com Tae

    Lopez over Bynum? Naw

  • Irfan

    He doesn’t deserve to be on that list. He seemed good two years ago, he was quite bad last year. No rebounding (and he made Mr. Kardashian look like a better basketball player) and no agressivity in the paint. Not a good defender too. Bogut & Gasol are way better than him right now, Bynum seems to be also, Odom obviously is (and can play center too).
    As for the fact that he scores quite a lot… well… what other choice does NJ have? Maybe with D-Will on the side he will prove to be better than I think but right now he doesn’t deserve his spot on that list.
    Deng & Odom & Gasol should be top 40 or 30, Jennings & Lopez out of top 50.

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

    Brook can easily improve his rebounding, imo. This ranking is a bit too high for his numbers last season, BUT talent-wise Brook Lopez has the potential to be a top 5 center.

  • http://www.bulls.com Enigmatic

    “agressivity”…I like that. I might steal that.

  • Irfan

    By the way 49% shooting from the field for a center in the NBA isn’t good. It’s below average.

  • davidR

    nbk, humphries’ numbers aren’t reliable. he was getting nearly 10 boards a game without much playing time. once he started getting 30+ minutes a game, he started getting 12-14 boards consistently.

  • http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/players/3831/gamelog;_ylt=Atpvd2Rb1IWBZDcKN_O2VFz_PKB4 davidR

    click my name to see for yourself. compare humphries’ rebounding numbers the first half of the season while his playing time gets jerked around. now compare it to the second half of the season, when he consistently gets 30+ minutes a game, starts, and cuz derrick favors was traded to utah. he should’ve definitely averaged close to 12 rebounds a game.
    you can bet that brook ain’t gonna average 10 if kris is there

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    David do you know how many guys have both averaged double figures in rebounding on the same team? I don’t, but allot have.. It’s BS to blame his dismal rebounding on having a decent PF rebounder. If Brook was averaging 8 or 9… we could give the kid a break, but if your 7′ and get 35 mins a night and can’t grab 7 boards your not good at your position.

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Im well aware of Kris Kardashians great rebounsing spike, 14.8RPG is what he averaged over the last month of the season. But the other 5 months, it was at or below 10RPG. So your gonna blame a pathetic 6 RPG for a 35MPG center who played ALL 82 games to be a biproduct of 15 or so great games from the “kardashian expirement”

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

    Having teammates who can rebound the ball does impact your rebounding numbers–but you better have more than ONE other guy who can rebound in order for that excuse to work.
    9 boards a game is excusable–even 8. 7 is low; 6 is like… wtf?!

  • guru

    Lopez is not even close to Bogut

  • davidR

    i’m not trying to blame brook’s bad board numbers on kris. i’m just saying, if you’re expecting it to improve this season, there’s a strong chance it won’t, especially if kris starts.

  • davidR

    it’s like what allenp says. brook became a shooter for some reason, doing his work far from the basket. if he continues to play that way for the next season, there is absolutely no way his rebound numbers are going to increase, especially if kris is there planting himself in the post

  • CeeLowe

    Not even gonna read it. Slam doesn’t know basketball if they think Brook Lopez is better than Andrew Bogut. Although I am looking forward to Slam’s write up for #30, Darko Millic.

  • davidR

    ceelowe, this is a prediction for where they feel brook will be for the ’11-’12 season (if there is a season). i’m guessing they feel brook will have a great season, which is possible now that he’s playing with deron. personally, i wouldn’t put him over bogut, but it’s hard to predict how well bogut will do, especially considering how injury-prone he is

  • Zabbah

    Kwame Brown better be #39.

  • Sir Barkley

    @Zabbah & @CeeLowe lol, the way they have ranked them so far its looking that way

  • http://www.slamonline.com Max

    ARE U KIDDING ME?!?
    Mbenga better be on this list too.

  • Bambe

    What abour Tyson CHandler?

  • AD

    i can see why lopez is listed this high……. he’s more valuable to his teamn than the other centers and he’s the second best player…. Plus he’s playn with the Best pg in the league………. with a full season together it will only be a matter of time before the become a good and possibly great duo…. Plus we gettn dhoward……….. DONT EVA SAY THE NETS ARE GARBAGE BOY

  • http://www.slamonline.com Wayno

    Awful awful ranking…he’s the worst player on this list so far.

  • Harlem_World

    This ranking seriously brings into question any credibility for this list. Yes, it’s subjective – but C’MON!! Lopez?? Higher than Bogut, Bynum and Lamar? No. Sorry, just NO. Upside? Yes, IF he develops the right mentality (can you ever develop it if its not in you already?), protects the basket, stops settling for so many 18 footers and REBOUNDS the ball – but the chances of that are slimmer than Kerry Kittles (shout out to the Nets ‘glory days’).

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    This write up didn’t even try to justify the rebounding. You threw 20 points/6 rebounds/49% from the field out there like they alone justify this ranking. I know having Allenp and nbk second guess every spot is tiresome, but for this one they are spot on. And probably should be arguing more. Bogut and Deron Williams is a better combination than Bogut and Brook. Lopez is so stoic. His own GM mentioned that he thinks that Brook is just not a good rebounder, and won’t be ever.
    David West is a better play than Brook. Put him on New Jersey and he will give you 20 and 8 with 50% shooting and 80% free throw shooting. Its not like Brook is an active defender, so you won’t lose much on that side either.

  • http://slamonline.com AllBall

    Why would you want Brook Lopez if your getting Dwight Howard?

  • AD

    @ all ball because they can have 2 dominat big men the compliment eachother…. Brook is like gaso in a sense of style and bynum is like howard

  • http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/7021031/the-nets-nba-economics Allenp

    I didn’t second guess every spot.
    Just Bogut’s.
    He’s the turd in the punch bowl right now, and it’s screwing everything else up.
    No way should he be the lowest ranked center on the list, particularly since his elbow is going to be improved from last year, and Jennings should make some improvement. I’m cool with where Deng and Ray were, just not with all the players ahead of them.

  • http://bleacherreport.com/articles/670447-dwight-howard-and-andrew-bogut-a-tale-of-two-2011-all-nba-defensive-centers nbk

    I don’t have an issue with every spot either. The order of a few are suspect (every Center whose ahead of Bogut) but I would have a lot of these guys in my top 50 as well. My issue’s are with David West & Brook Lopez. Other then that it’s opinion stuff, h*ll I spent yesterday trying to show why BJennings shouldn’t be too hated.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Angel of Stern

    there is about 60 players I would take before brook lopez

  • Irfan

    Also one last thing: amongst the top 38 players in the NBA, 2 are centers. And I don’t think Horford will rank in the top 30. It says a lot.

  • http://slamonline.com Ugh

    The write up was as bad as the position. Who gives a damn he’s from California? So are 40 million other people, and about a million of them are better rebounders.

  • josh

    i would dead set take gortat an chandler over lopez……… just saying…..

  • Rainman

    i was REALLLYY hoping Brook Lopez wouldnt be on this list…seeing as a guy liek Bynum was already listed…

    Look, i dont see the big deal with Lopez. He’s a HORRIBLE rebounder, and by horrible i mena Bargani-eque horrible, and on top of that, doesnt score as much as Bargs!

    Sure, he’s got a little potential, but he needs to be able to rebound a heck of a lot more to be anywhere near a top center. i say so because ppl really bag on Bargnani for being a horrible rebounder(rightfully so) but no1 outside ov Coach Avery Johnson really talks about Brook’s lack of rebounding.

  • Rainman

    and liek most ppl, my comments were beside even reading ur reasoning, so thats saying something wehn ppl outcry automatically.

    Also, cosign guy above me , Gortat over Lopez ANYDAY.

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