Aug 19, 2014, 12:24 PM EST
And the Nets plan to use him.
Last year’s Nets didn’t find their identity until Lopez was out and then coach Jason Kidd was forced to go small with more Kevin Garnett at the five and some Paul Pierce at the four. This season Pierce will be in Washington and with Lopez back they plan to play him. A lot.
“Right now, there is no plan to put any restrictions on him, but I think as we do with all players through the preseason — whether you’re looking at KG or Deron, who’s coming off of ankle injuries — you build them up. You get them ready for the opening day of the season, but you’re really getting them ready for January, February, March and April. So I look at it like climbing a ladder throughout the season when you have veteran players. But I know Lionel is gonna push all these guys and challenge them physically. And whatever doctors allow Brook and Deron to do, Lionel is going to push them to that point.”
That Deron mentioned is Deron Williams, the Nets point guard.
If the Nets are going to make an impact beyond winning 44 games and squeaking out of the first round (as they did last year) they are going to need big years from Williams and Lopez. They are going to need new coach Lionel Hollins to instill a better defensive mindset and have those stars lead an improved offense.
The rest of the East has gotten better, for the Nets to do the same it is all about Lopez and Williams. And them staying healthy.
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