Brook Lopez was limited to just 21 minutes in the Nets season-opening 121-117 loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. Brooklyn head coach Kenny Atkinson said this is part of his long-term plan to get the most out of Lopez this season (NY Post).
"What we're trying to do with Brook is take the long-term approach, just build him up as the season goes on and increase his minutes. We have a plan in place,'' Atkinson said. "It's learning the system, it's looking at a long-term approach to how we're going to build him up in terms of minutes as the season goes on. He's got some miles on him."
Lopez, who scored five points and was 1-for-7 from the field, has not looked comfortable in the motion offense Atkinson has installed. The Nets shot a team-record 44 three pointers Wednesday night, a sign that Lopez's inside game might not be a focal point in the offense this season.
"Obviously it was a difficult decision to come to for me because I love being out there on the court and helping my team. But I understand the reasons for doing it,'' Lopez said. "We talked about it and discussed it a lot, and felt it was for the best. I'm on board with it, and I see the benefit of doing it in the long run."
Backup center Justin Hamilton, who is considered "system player" that can shoot from the outside as a stretch four, scored 19 points and was 3-of-6 from behind the arc.
Last season Lopez averaged 20.6 points and 7.8 rebounds in 73 games played. The 28 year old is beginning his ninth season with the Nets.