Brooklyn Nets

Brook Lopez remains the cornerstone of the Brooklyn Nets and if he has it his way, that will never change for the duration of his career.

By Chip Murphy

Brook Lopez being drafted 10th overall by the New Jersey Nets in 2008 was part of a colossal shift in the trajectory of the franchise. Star point guard Jason Kidd and the Nets had decided to part ways, signifying the end of an era. Someone else needed to take on his role as face of the franchise.

Not just anyone could fill that void.

Lopez has met all of those expectations head on. Since making his initial commitment to the franchise seven years ago, Lopez has had to endure four head coaches, historic losing streaks, poor management, and a bungled move across the river. Despite all of that, his loyalty has not wavered. He has made it clear every second of every day with this franchise that he wants to be a Net. Whether they were in New Jersey or Brooklyn.

Lopez went through a rough stretch last season. Head coach Lionel Hollins was critical of his game challenged his star big man to get better, via Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Lopez is the lovable superstar. He’s a big kid. He is famous for his antics with the press, per Fox Sports. His rant about wanting to be a Wookiee in the next Star Wars movie will go down in history as one of the greatest of all time. No one wanted to watch that guy struggle.

Hollins moved Lopez to the bench when he came back from his injury and the talk was that the team was swaying towards new starter Mason Plumlee. Lopez didn’t complain. Like with everything else, he took it in stride. Knowing that he was the best player on the team, he’d get back to normal.

During Lopez’s struggles he became the subject of many trade rumors, per Sports Illustrated. It wasn’t the first time that the former All-Star had been the subject of those unfortunate reports. It probably won’t be the last. By now he is used to it.

Lopez responded to the rumors by playing better as good as anyone else in the league after the trade deadline. He averaged 19.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per for the final 30 games of the season. One NBA scout said Lopez was the, “Best center in the league in March and April,” per New York Post. Lopez’s excellent play carried over to the playoffs.

Grabbing the eight seed in the playoffs is not that impressive, but it is impressive when one player practically carries you there. Lopez put on a show against the one seeded Atlanta Hawks who dominated the Eastern Conference all season long. The series was widely expected to be a sweep, and due to Lopez’s play Brooklyn was able to extend the Hawks to six games.

There was no doubt that he would return in free agency this summer. It’s highly unlikely that any other teams wasted their time inquiring about him. If Brook Lopez has his way he will retire a Net. He will go down as the greatest Net of all time. He will bring a championship to Brooklyn. The franchise that drafted him seven years ago. You can’t find that kind of loyalty anymore.

The New Jersey Nets hit the jackpot back in 2008.

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I'm ESNY's Executive Editor for I cover the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. Email: Chip Murphy covers the NBA for Elite Sports NY. You can find him on Twitter @ChipperMurphy.