The NBA Comparison Series: Brook Lopez
NBADraft.net is a great Web site. They do a ton of really detailed scouting, compile all the best NBA news and prospect reports and are generally the best resource for the NBA Draft. But there is a catch. Those NBA Comparisons given for each prospect. Some of them are completely ridiculous. I've spent a lot of time reviewing them, not to learn more about potential draftees, but to laugh hysterically for hours and hours. By my count, the greatest comparison ever is Josh McRoberts, whose NBA Comparison is...
Chris Webber (less athletic)... yes, less athletic than Chris Webber. Last time I checked Josh was not in a wheelchair.
Anyway, I loathe comparing players to each other when it comes to style of play. I'd like to think basketball, in all its glory, is a free-moving game where in the infinite combinations of movement, athletic ability and skill sets that the sport allows to be expressed, no two players can be all that similar. Like snowflakes... or some crap. There are too many factors in this game and too much freedom to define a player by anything but his own unique ability. Ken Pomeroy wrote a great piece on this over at Basketball Prospectus, mocking the way most people only compare white players to other white players, or lefties to other lefties or how any factor unrelated to style of play seems to creep into most people's assessment of a player. So allow me to introduce a new series here at SSS where I handpick some of the more ridiculous comparisons over there and offer some thrilling analysis. Enjoy!
Previously: Roy Hibbert (Joel Pryzbilla)
Next Up: Brook Lopez
Strengths: NBA-ready frame with great athleticism, shot blocking, good touch from 15 feet in, XBox.
Weakness: Post moves, staying out of foul trouble, attending things.
NBA Comparison: Rasho Nesterovic
We could get into Lopez's academic troubles this year and how it affects his draft status, but that doesn't really pertain to our comparison besides the fact that both the Slovenian Nesterovic and Lopez have seen very little of the inside of an American university classroom (incidentally, Lopez was just granted eligibility and will begin playing immediately). With Lopez being slotted at No. 16 and Nesterovic being the whipping boy of even the most inane columnist, Screamin' Stephen A. Smith, the same dynamic as we saw with Hibbert and Przybilla could be in place. Is NBADraft.net predicting Lopez will be overrated just as Nesterovic, the 17th pick of the 1998 draft, was when he was drafted?
But we already tackled those issues of time travel in the first NBA Comparison, let's look closer at the actual players. First, Lopez, and I don't need to be an anthropologist to figure this out, is not Slovenian. Because we do not discriminate at SSS, this of no matter. However, there does tend to be a certain style that European centers, specifically woefully mediocre ones, exhibit. Allow me to bring on expert of all things Nesterovic, and nothing else, Stephen A. Smith himself.
(Enter Stephen A. Smith)
RASHO NESTEROVIC HATES CONTACT AS MUCH AS HOWIE MANDEL. RA-SHO NEST-ER-O-VIC AVERAGES 0.6 BLOCKS PER GAME. THOSE NUMBERS ARE PALTRY BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION. INSERT MISUSED CLICHE OR 25-CENT WORD HERE.
(Exit Stephen A. Smith)
Interesting Stephen. Brook Lopez is an outstanding shot blocker, averaging 1.7 per game last year, including a 12 block game against USC. He rarely ventures outside of the paint and keeps his offensive arsenal to deft jump hooks, relentless offensive board work and the occasional mid-range jumper. Nesterovic is basically a spot-up 18-foot shooter on offense and merely a lane clogger on D. Good point, Stephen.
(Enter Stephen A. Smith)
THANK YOU. IT IS A GOOD POINT BECAUSE I SAID IT. TO COMPARE THE TWO IS DESPICABLE AND EGREGIOUS. THAT'S LIKE SAYING LOPEZ IS NO BETTER THAN SLA-VA MED-VE-DENKO, ITS JUST THAT SIMPLE. YOU GOTTA COME WITH SOMETHING BETTER THAN THAT NBADRAFT.NET FOUNDER ARAN SMITH.
(Exit Stephen A. Smith, for much better impersonation, click those links, or go here)
Yes, clearly Stephen, now could you please get out of my face. Here's a cupcake for your time... and an altoid. Um, yeah, so as you can see, even the biggest expert on Rasho Nesterovic (and, again, nothing else) finds this to be a humorous, if not enraging, comparison. At least Lopez can look at Rasho's nearly $8 million a year salary as consolation.
More Appropriate Comparison, If Such Things Were Productive: Andris Biedrins
Less Appropriate Comparison, Because Such Things Are Humorous: Robin Lopez
Labels: NBA Comparison Series