Buck Williams’ Nets scoring record stood tall for 28 years, and while Brook Lopez didn’t set out with the goal of toppling it, he chipped away at it over nine seasons and 562 games. On Monday night it became official, as Lopez dropped his 10,444th point (passing Williams’ 10,440) to become the Nets franchise points leader.
“It’s an honor,” Lopez said. “But when people think of me, rather than all the points, I’d like them to think that I was one of those guys that started something big here and made the Brooklyn Nets the franchise that they are, however many years down the road.”
Lopez said he isn’t concerned about individual stats, but he can’t stop the attention for what is a worthy accomplishment. While he’s always been known as a good teammate and a loyal Net, his offense is his calling card, as scoring baskets has come naturally to the 29-year-old.
While talent plays a big role in Lopez’s achievement, Williams said longevity and consistency – a word he puts emphasis on when he speaks – are what separates the guys who leave lasting marks on a franchise. He would know.
“You don’t reach these kind of milestones unless you’re really consistent with what you’re doing and Brook has kept his head down and he’s a really solid dude,” Williams said. “You can pencil in 17/18 points and expect him to play every night and play hard. You know what you’re going to get every night.”
Lopez has averaged 20-plus points in four of his nine seasons – though he was limited to 17 games in one of those campaigns – and he hasn’t averaged fewer than 17.2 points since his rookie season. For the most part, you know what you’re getting as far as points.
But what impresses Williams about Lopez is how he’s developed his game year-over-year. Lopez has always been a smooth mid-range shooter with a soft touch, with a FG% over .500 from 2012-16. This year his shooting percentage has dropped slightly, but that’s because nine years into his career, Lopez decided to add a 3-point shot to his game, shooting .351 from beyond the arc. Still, the added value from his three-point shooting has made 2016-17 one of his most productive seasons to date, averaging 20.5 points-per-game.
He’s also one of three players this season to record 100 threes and 100 blocks, showing that he abilities around the rim and can stretch the floor. Being able to consistently do both (and one of 12 NBA players all-time to accomplish the feat) that’s growth.
“He works really hard and is constantly developing, he’s always looking for ways to get better and that’s what I did,” Williams said. “I was always committed to the game. You have to be really committed to get to this stage and he seems to be very committed and he’s grown every year that he’s played.”
Williams enunciates the word commitment and Lopez has certainly personified that as a key member of the Nets. Even as the franchise’s leading scorer, it’s still team-first.
“I’d love to see a legacy started here in a winning tradition and franchise built here and I’d love to be part of that foundation,” Lopez said.