The Los Angeles Lakers solidified the center position in their starting lineup when they acquired Brook Lopez from the Brooklyn Nets, in the trade involving D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov. The turnaround from Mozgov to Lopez will be immediately noticed by fans, bringing forth an offensive arsenal that fits into head coach Luke Walton’s system.
Lopez, who now is located close to his hometown of North Hollywood, enters the 2017-18 campaign ready to contribute by any means necessary.
He joins the Lakers during the upward trend of their rebuild, with budding stars Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram ready to burst onto the scene. At the same time, Lopez will man the offensive production for this Lakers team, as the consistent low-post scoring option that will also benefit from ball movement and a plethora of open three-pointers.
He and his teammates continue to build chemistry going into training camp, although the key motive right now should be staying healthy rather than overworking. Those around the Lakers fear that Lopez may miss some time due to a back injury, but Lopez addressed that scenario with confidence during an interview with Bill Oram of the O.C. Register:
Last week, Lopez quickly dismissed any concerns about his health, saying, “I’ll be going at training camp for sure.”
Walton has already had to tell his players to take it easy during these offseason workouts and scrimmages, fearing that they need to rest their bodies for the upcoming season. The rigors of an 82-game season do take their toll on the players, including the constant grind of improving involved with all the travel.
With a sense of optimism around the franchise, the Lakers need to enter the season healthy, eager to thrive, and with a sense of unity if they’re going to succeed. Lopez remains an integral part of that process with his scoring abilities, while also serving as somewhat of a mentor to these young players.
The Lakers elected to provide a crutch should Lopez succumb to an injury that would take a patient healing process, signing veteran center Andrew Bogut to a one-year deal. The organization obviously hopes it won’t come to that, as his 2016-17 averages of 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks show that he is still capable of playing at an elite level.