The Brooklyn Nets are a team that is filled with players who have been passed over in the NBA Draft, signed as undrafted free agents, or who have never played in the NBA. It seems that most of the players on the team have been the overlooked or undervalued ones, as they have made their mark on the team in their roles despite their lack of exposure. Brook Lopez, who is in the midst of his 10th season with the Nets, is one of the more underappreciated players in franchise history, and it’s hard to believe that he has been in the NBA for 10 seasons now.
You’ve probably seen them in the news or on television. They’re the guys you see from time to time get into arguments on Twitter, and they’re usually the ones who have a strong opinion about something. But what you might not know is that those guys are the All-Stars and World Champion players of your favorite teams. Like the NBA is full of amazing players, the Nets are full of amazing players.
In a few days, Brook Lopez will have played 10 years for the Brooklyn Nets. At just 28 years old, he is already near the top of the list in several categories:Since Brook Lopez was traded to the Brooklyn Nets at the end of the 2016/17 season, his batting average has dropped significantly. And no one is saying that’s a bad thing, because it’s just a matter of circumstance. During his nine-year career with the Nets, he was usually the number one offensive player. But that wasn’t the case during his one season with the Los Angeles Lakers, and certainly not during three seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks.
But with Giannis Antetokounmpo losing Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Finals on Thursday night, the Bucs had to take a step forward with each of his absences. And that’s exactly what Lopez did: he played an outstanding game, making 14 of 18 shots from the field and scoring a team- and career-high 33 points in Milwaukee’s 123-112 victory over the Atlanta Hawks.
As Lopez scored one bucket after another against Atlanta, I started doing some research, looking for his career record and such. In case you’re wondering: It was a 39-point performance against the Detroit Pistons on the 6th. April 2011, at the end of his third season with the then New Jersey Nets.
But as I dug deeper, I came across even more interesting data. For example, did you know that Lopez is the top scorer of all time in the Nets’ 50-year history? Did you know that his nine seasons with the team are the longest in franchise history? I’m just surprised no one has played more than ten years for the Nets, who are one of three current NBA franchises that never have a player with seniority of more than ten years.
Lopez was picked 10th overall in the 2008 NBA Draft and has averaged 18.6 points per game in his nine-year career with the Nets, not even making the Nets’ top 10. The top spot goes to Rick Berry, who averaged 30.6 points per game in his two seasons with the franchise when it was still the New York Nets in the ABA. And number 10 is the late Drazen Petrovic, who averaged 19.6 points per game for two and a half seasons before he was tragically killed in a car accident in 1993.
However, Lopez ranks first in point total as he scored 10,444 points for the Nets, just four more than Buck Williams, who spent eight seasons for the team. What makes Lopez’s performance even more incredible is the fact that he missed almost two full seasons. A broken foot and an ankle injury meant he only played in five games in the 2011/12 season, and he only played in 17 games in the 2013/14 season with another foot injury.
But what’s even more incredible is that Lopez managed to become the Nets’ top scorer of all time, as there has never been anyone on the roster who has played more than his nine seasons.
Given that the Nets have been around since 1967, first in the ABA and then in the NBA since 1976, you would think that at least one player would have played on that team for at least a decade, especially since free agents weren’t that important back then and players often stayed with the same team for a long time.
But Lopez’s nine seasons are surprisingly the most of any player in Nets history, although he is second in games played with 562. This list is dominated by Williams, who is one of three players to have played eight seasons with the Nets, the other two being Mike Gminski and Jason Collins. Nine of them stayed with the team for seven years, including Jason Kidd, Richard Jefferson and Kerry Kittles, while three others played six seasons each.
As a result, in 54 years, only 16 players have spent more than five seasons with the franchise, making it somewhat difficult to create the true team spirit needed to win an NBA championship. Maybe that’s why they’re one of 11 teams that have never won a title, and that list could shrink to 10 if the Phoenix Suns keep doing what they’re doing. Of course, the two are not always directly related, but that certainly doesn’t help. Maybe a full season of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden can make a difference.
The Nets are one of three NBA franchises where no player has been with the team for at least 10 years
Brooke Lopez at the 2016 Nets-Knicks preseason game. Michael Reaves/Getty Images
The Nets are currently one of only three teams in the NBA without a player playing more than 10 minutes. The other two are the New Orleans Pelicans and Toronto Raptors, a situation that could change quickly depending on what happens this summer with free agent Kyle Lowry, who played nine seasons north of the border. Find data on the most seasons played for each active NBA franchise.
- Atlanta Hawks – Dominic Wilkins (12)
- Boston Celtics – John Havlicek (16)
- Brooklyn Nets – Brook Lopez (9)
- Charlotte Hornets – Muggsy Bogues, Dell Curry (10)
- Chicago Bulls – Michael Jordan (13)
- Cleveland Cavaliers – Anderson Varejao (13)
- Dallas Mavericks – Dirk Nowitzki (21)
- Denver Nuggets – Alex English (11)
- Detroit Pistons – Joe Dumars (14)
- Golden State Warriors – Chris Mullin (13)
- Houston Rockets – Hakeem Olajuwon (17)
- Indiana Pacers – Reggie Miller (18)
- Los Angeles Clippers – DeAndre Jordan (10)
- Los Angeles Lakers – Kobe Bryant (20)
- Memphis Grizzlies – Mike Conley (12)
- Miami Heat – Udonis Haslem (18)
- Milwaukee Bucks – Michael Redd (11)
- Minnesota Timberwolves – Kevin Garnett (14)
- New Orleans Pelicans – David West (8)
- New York Knicks – Patrick Ewing (15)
- Oklahoma City Thunder – Nick Collison (14)
- Orlando Magic – Nick Anderson, Jamir Nelson (10)
- Philadelphia 76ers – Hal Greer, Dolph Shayes (15)
- Phoenix Suns – Alvin Adams (13)
- Portland Trail Blazers – Clyde Drexler (12)
- Sacramento Kings – Sam Lacy (12)
- San Antonio Spurs – Tim Duncan (19)
- Toronto Raptors – DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry (9)
- Utah Jazz – John Stockton (19)
- Washington Weathers – Wes Anseld (13)
The Nets’ longest-serving player is currently Joe Harris, who just finished his fifth season in Brooklyn and is under contract through the 2023-24 season, making him eight years with the team if he lives up to his contract length.
So Lopez’s record of most seasons with a franchise will not be lost, nor will his scoring record. But if he keeps doing what he’s doing with the Bucks.
Statistics provided by Basketball Reference
COMPARED TO: What happened to former Nets star Kerry Kittles?
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