The Brooklyn Nets lone All-Star, Brook Lopez, has struggled since the mid-season showcase and his coach is one that has noticed it. P.J. Carlesimo is taking a lot of flak about the “benching” of his All-Star center in the fourth quarter of the last few games.
Lopez seems to have an “all-star hangover”, as per Carlesimo, and needs to snap out of it quickly to help the Nets stay in the top four of the Eastern Conference standings. The quiet giant has always been a total team player although this recent scenario is not something he has dealt with as a pro.
“I created the situation and it’s not a good situation,” Carlesimo said Monday. “So yes, I worry about it that I need to address it and I worry about it that I need to watch what I do going forward.”
“I don’t worry … that Brook will let it bother him or Brook will hold a grudge,” said Carlesimo, who has been benching Lopez in favor of Andray Blatche. “Fortunately for me, Brook is very, very good that way. He cares about the team, he’s supportive of Dray when Dray’s in the game. Watch our bench: He’s usually one of the more active guys on the bench when he’s not in the game.
“He and Dray have been a really good combo for us all year. Almost a game doesn’t go by where I don’t look at the two of them and add up the points and rebounds and say, ‘The production we’re getting out of the 5 spot all year has been way above average.’ [But] I’ve gone too far with this, I’ve abused it, where I shouldn’t have done as much as I have with Brook, particularly three times in four games.”
Lopez, who left without talking to reporters after Sunday’s loss, addressed the media Monday.
“I don’t think anyone was really happy that we lost,” said Lopez, who went just 3-for-10 from the field. “I think we had that game. We were right there and we kind of let it slip away.
“Dray’s been playing well, so I’m happy to see him in the game playing well.”
Lopez has not spoken to Carlesimo about the recent benchings.
“No, I don’t think there’s any reason to speak to P.J.,” Lopez said. “I’m in a good place right now.”
John Paolantonio, ContributorI know I am in the minority on this one but I feel this is much ado about nothing.
Coaches get paid to coach and to win games regardless of who is playing and how many minutes specific players get. I give credit to Carlesimo for sticking to his guns and playing the hot hand that past few games. That is the basis of coaching.
If a coach has a good rhythm going or likes the matchups he is getting with a certain unit, then he should stay with it, regardless of players feelings or time in game. This is a team game and an entire team wins games; not one specific player.
Lopez has been anything other than an All-Star since the break and his numbers spell that out with his horrid field goal percentage. Lopez field goals the last four games: MIL (6-17), MIL (3-13), HOU (13-21), MEM (3-10)
The Nets are not a well put together team right now and have glaring holes at both forward positions so if Nets fans and the Twitterverse want to go crazy about Lopez not playing the fourth quarter of a few games, so be it.
It is, however, unfair to ask a coach to play a player who has been ineffective.