This afternoon, I was listening to a sportswriter's debate as to whom the leader of the Brooklyn Nets is. The default position was superstar point guard Deron Williams, but Joe Johnson and his buzzer-beating antics were also considered, and the names Gerald Wallace, Kris Humphries and P. J. Carlesimo were all batted around.
He's Been There the Longest
When LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat, many writers pointed out that the Heat would remain Dwyane Wade's team for the next year or two. This was due to the fact that, even though D-Wade had less cache than LeBron, he had been there longer.
A similar situation exists on the L.A. Lakers. Regardless of how talented Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol or any other player on the team is, the Lakers will remain Kobe Bryant's team for his duration with the club regardless of his aptitude or lack thereof.
Likewise, Lopez has been with the Nets for five campaigns, long before the Nets dealt for D-Wil, Wallace or Jay-Jay. Lopez holds the edge over all three on longevity.
He's Having the Best Season of Anybody on the Team
Lopez was the Nets' only All-Star. He's the only person on the Nets on track to make an All-NBA Team.
He's the only Net averaging 18 or more points a game or two or more blocks a game, good enough for sixth in the league. He's also fourth in the NBA in player efficiency rating, first among Nets, and is shooting also 52 percent from the field.
Lopez is averaging .184 win shares per 48, .050 more than D-Wil. He has more total win shares (5.5) than any other Net, meaning that he is responsible for more Nets wins than any other Net.
These ain't the D-Wil Nets, these ain't the Jay-Jay Nets, these ain't the Wallace Nets, these ain't the Humpdashian Nets, these are the Lopez Nets.