“Brook Lopez,” gushed Peter Vecsey in this morning’s New York Post, “has everything going for him – 7 feet tall, spacious shoulders, a soft inside-out touch, practiced moves, sure hands, balanced feet and a menacing demeanor.” For his trouble, the Hoop Du Jour author received the following reply on the Post website : “VESCEY YOU PUKE YOU STARTED OFF SEMI COHERENT THEN YOU WENT OFF ON YOUR USUAL TANGENT WHERE I COULD NOT UNDERSTAND A THING YOU WERE WRITING ABOUT MY GOD YOU ARE THE WORST NBA WRITER ALIVE. HOW YOUR ALLOWED TO HAVE A COLOUM AMAZES ME.” Apparently, Mitch Lawrence is using the pseudonym “jvec” these days.
There is nothing not like about him, leading me to meekly predict the rookie’s first start (25 points, nine rebounds, four blocks) in Friday’s arresting Nets’ victory over the combative Hawks will be unswervingly followed by 10 to 12 seasons of opening taps. A lot of exceptional talent – Derrick Rose, Michael Beasley, O.J. Mayo, Kevin Love – was gobbled up before New Jersey’s turn at No. 10, but four teams (Knicks, Clippers, Bucks and Bobcats) may never forgive themselves for passing on Lopez.
Rod Thorn and Kiki Vandeweghe overtly admit the Nets lucked into Lopez, who widely was projected as a top-five choice. Nevertheless, chance had little or nothing to do with management’s remarkable restocking of its stagnant pond and payroll shakeup in fewer than six months.
It’s astonishing that the Nets currently have $23 million of salary cap room on tap the same summer of 2010 when LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh have the right to declare free agency.
More significantly, they will flaunt a coveted core of rising and diminishing superstars (Devin Harris, Vince Carter, Lopez, Yi Jianlian), regal role players (Boone, Ryan Anderson and Chris Douglas-Roberts) and veteran stunt doubles (Eduardo Najera, Keyon Dooling) in hopes one of those quasars (or another luminous lunar genius) might find irresistible to join if the ultimate sketch is to compete for a championship.
How’s this for hitting the wall? The Knicks blew a 7 point lead with 2 minutes remaining tonight, missing their final 13 shots from the field in Dallas’ 124-114 OT win, ending a 5 game losing streak for the visitors. His Dirkness scored 39 and collected 15 rebounds, while proud patriot Josh Howard had 31 and 14. Kelly Tripucka referred to “the basket closing up” for New York down the stretch, which is a heck of a way to describe crummy shot selection. Straight faced after the game, Mike D’Antoni described Jamal Crawford (5 for 19 from the field) as “one of the best clutch shooters in the game”, adding “Zach (Randolph) has no conscience”. Yes, but what’s he like on the basketball court?