As the Nets’ wayward ship careens toward the iceberg that is the worst record in NBA history (they’re still in the running with just 7 wins this season), you figured incidents like this would have happened more often. This is from New Jersey writer Al Iannazzone on the Bergen Record blog:
Lopez’s frustration has been obvious in games and in the locker room lately and it was apparent at practice today.
Lopez stormed off the court and was followed by assistant coach Roy Rogers, several players and a Nets’ security person. Lopez never returned.
I like Lopez as a player and a person, but he needs to grow up a little. He was short with reporters on the trip, got annoyed during one interview I had with him in OKC, snapped at someone in Philadelphia.
The losing and his play — Lopez has scored under 15 in four of the last six games — are affecting him. (Devin) Harris said the Nets have to focus on lifting Lopez’s play.
“Teams have been a little bit more aware,” Harris said. “He’s been more of the focal point of the offense. His catches aren’t as deep as they were earlier in the year. It’s probably both on myself and him – it’s kind of a partnership that way.
“We need to make more of a conscious effort that when he has deep position we need to give him the ball regardless of if he has an open shot or not. He’s our focal point in the paint. We need to first and foremost try to get him going and try and get the rest of the guys going.”
For starters, I don’t see the point of calling out Lopez like he’s the problem. He has been NJ’s best and most consistent player all year, and you can’t really blame a second-year pro whose team challenged for the playoffs last year when he gets frustrated playing on arguably the worst team of all-time. Just because he was short with you in one interview, get over it. I’ve had players be short and testy with me all the time; I just understand their circumstance and usually don’t hold it against them. I can only imagine how tense things are in the Nets’ locker room.
Lopez has had it rough this year — he even got frustrated during the Rookie Challenge when his team of Sophomores couldn’t even win a meaningless game they usually dominate — and you just hope it doesn’t impact him negatively moving forward. Either he uses this season to motivate him to never let it happen again, or he starts to pick up poisonous habits of a loser and becomes a 7-foot Ricky Davis.