Derrel Johnson, SNYNets.com
Brook Lopez had a pretty stellar season thus far. And now that the trade deadline is over, we can rest assured that he won't be dealt for Dwight Howard. After earning the first All-Star berth of his young career, Lopez has been mentioned amongst some of the best centers in the NBA.
In Houston, Moke Hamilton caught up with him and Lopez specifically said that he's honored to have shared the court with some of the better centers in the NBA, Tyson Chandler and Dwight Howard.
A reasonable question to ask is whether Lopez's good half was a sign of things to come, and more importantly, where Lopez stacks up against Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks.?
Tyson Chandler is a defensive-minded center who is the defending Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA. He is very efficient offensively, shooting an NBA-best 67% from the field, but that is mainly because of his deficiencies. Chandler primarily shoots the ball in the paint, around the basket, and has very limited post moves, therefore, unless it is a dunk or layup, the chances of Chandler scoring are small. His 6.4 field goal attempts per game validate that.
In his 12-year career, he has averaged as many as 11.8 points with the New Orleans Hornets in 2007-2008 and 12.4 rebounds with the Hornets in 2006-2007. He boasts current averages of 11.4 points, 11.1 rebounds and 1.1 blocks on the season, including three-straight games of 20 rebounds earlier this month.
Lopez has been the best player on the Brooklyn Nets the first half of the season, and with former All-Stars Deron Williams and Joe Johnson on the team, that has been a surprise.
Lopez has not only shown the ability to dominate in the post, but has also shown more range on his jump shot, making him almost impossible for most centers in the league to guard. He leads all NBA centers in scoring, averaging 18.8 points per game. The biggest deficiency Lopez shows is his lack of rebounding. Though Lopez is averaging 7.3 rebounds a game, that is below his career high of 8.6 in the 2009-2010 season and above his career-low of six per game the following season.
Head-to-head this season, Lopez averaged 17.3 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks in the three games he played against the crosstown rival Knicks. Chandler's numbers were similar, as he averaged 17.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and one block in the three games in which Lopez played. It's worth noting, though, that Chandler's numbers were not very consistent. He scored a career-high 28 points the first time the Knicks battled the Nets. In the final matchup, Chandler scored just seven points.
But ultimately, if I were a general manager in charge of signing either Chandler or Lopez, I would choose Lopez. The Stanford University alum is having his best season as a professional and has room to improve. At only 24-year's old, (six years younger than the 30-year old Chandler) Lopez can get physically and mentally stronger as he gets older, and if he is willing to put in the effort, he will also become a better defender and rebounder. Lopez should see more All-Star games in his future.