A Lighter Brook Lopez Is Ready For His Return

Brook Lopez appeared in just 17 games last season. He had season-ending foot surgery in January, and is eager to get back on the court. Lopez was at a youth health lifestyle clinic at Barclays Center yesterday and looked noticeably thinner.

Via Tim Bontemps of The New York Post, Lopez looked well below the 290 pounds he weighed in at last season:

“I’m at my playing weight,” Lopez said with a laugh. “I can attribute that to laying in bed for months, but I’m back to the weight that’s normal for me. Last I checked, I was just under 275 [pounds].”

The Nets center said last year’s bigger frame had nothing to do with the fractured fifth metatarsal he suffered in Philadelphia on Dec. 20.

“I may have been five pounds heavier, but that’s not what injured me,” he said.

In his brief time on the court last season, Lopez averaged 20.7 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game while shooting 56.3 percent from the field. The rebounding numbers always leave fans feeling underwhelmed, and it’s a bit disappointing Lopez has never averaged double digits in rebounds as a 7-foot NBA center.

But when he’s healthy and involved, Lopez is one of the best offensive centers in the game, and someone opposing teams have to game plan for:

Of course, when Lopez returns, he’ll be coming back to a much different team. Paul Pierce is now a Washington Wizard, and Jason Kidd is now coaching the Bucks.

This is good news for Lopez though, because Lionel Hollins comes from Memphis where he did tremendous work getting the most out of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Lopez seems excited to be teaming up with Hollins:

“I love what he did in Memphis,” Lopez said. “He had some great teams out there, and my high school teammate Quincy [Pondexter] played for him, and learned a lot under him, and grew as a player. So I hope to do the same.”

The Atlantic Division looks to be a two-team race this season between the Nets and the Toronto Raptors. If Lopez can come back healthy, it might give Brooklyn the edge they need to win the division and perhaps surprise a few pundits in the postseason.

What do you think?

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