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Brooklyn Nets player to watch: Brook Lopez

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez looks on against

Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez looks on against the Chicago Bulls in the first half of an NBA game at Barclays Center on Sunday, Nov. 30, 2014. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

Brook Lopez's time truly has arrived. The Nets handed him the keys to the franchise when he signed a three-year deal worth more than $60 million during the offseason.

At 27, the 7-footer is in his prime and returned to relative health by appearing in 72 games last season. While the one-time All-Star wasn't at his best for much of the season, Lopez looked excellent during the final two months, when he averaged 20.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.96 blocks over 25 games.

Now that Deron Williams has been bought out of his contract and Joe Johnson is a year away from completing his deal, Lopez is the face of the franchise and will be asked to shoulder the load for a largely young Nets team.

If his injury troubles -- he was limited to five and 17 games in 2011-12 and 2013-14, respectively -- are behind him, the Nets will count on more 20-and-10 nights from their man in the middle to lead their postseason charge.


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