“I worked on my game across the board and I want to be a consummate team player,” Lopez said. “I want to make sure we’re a well-oiled machine.”
Coach Jason Kidd wants Lopez to improve in one specific facet of his game this season: passing. “He’s a smart kid, he’s worked extremely hard to become one of the best centers in the game,” Kidd told the Daily News Sunday. “So passing is something that will come as he gets to see more double teams.”
Lopez, 25, is coming off a solid year in which he averaged 19.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, a career-high 2.1 blocks and finished fifth in the NBA in Player Efficiency Rating. But there was one blemish on his stat-line: he averaged a career-low 0.9 assists per game.
During his career, Lopez has averaged just 1.5 assists per game.
In his defense, the Nets last season needed Lopez to score in the post, and it’s not like he had that many options to pass to, with Gerald Wallace and Reggie Evans often on the court at the same time.
Pretty good options.
Lopez told the team website that he knows practice is going to be very “intense” with the addition of KG.
“We’ve got a bunch of bigs who were all starters, very good starters and have played against each other,” Lopez said. “It’s going to be good going out and playing against other front lines.”
Lopez underwent foot surgery in the offseason, but resumed basketball activity in early August. Baring an unforeseen setback, he’ll be ready for the start of training camp.
Lopez is currently on a philanthropic trip aboard.
“I’m going out to New Zealand, Korea, Singapore and Japan,” Lopez said. “It’s always exciting to go to Asia for the NBA trips. there are many passionate fans out East, and they love the game. it’s fun to go out there, talk the game with them, shoot with them and just enjoy my time there. That goes through the beginning of September.”