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Brook Lopez named to All-Star team

01/30/2013 7:56 PM ET
By Joe Auriemma

Brook Lopez was named to the East All-Star team to replace Boston's Rajon Rondo.(AP)
Brook Lopez is having one of his best seasons as a pro and is now being rewarded replacing the injured Rajon Rondo on the Eastern Conference All-Star squad. Lopez, who is making his first trip to the All-Star game is now the fourth big man on the roster joining Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah and Chris Bosh. Lopez truly can claim that he not just belongs in that group, but should have been on the roster from the start.

"It's a huge honor," Lopez said of the selection. "First and foremost, I couldn't have done it without my teammates. They make my job 100 times easier. Playing with Deron (Williams), Joe (Johnson), Gerald (Wallace), they gift wrap me buckets and take a lot of attention away from me on the court. It's  something I have been working towards and its been a goal of mine and it will definitely be an exciting weekend."

The Brooklyn Nets currently hold the No. 4 seed in the East at 27-18 and they originally had zero representatives on the All-Star team before the league's announcement of Lopez replacing Rondo. He has been rock solid for the Nets this season and probably the Nets' most valuable player to present. The proof of that was in the time he's missed this season and how the team has played without him. Lopez missed the first two weeks of December with a right foot sprain and over that seven-game span the Nets went just 2-5, going from 10-4 to 12-9 without their leading scorer.

In the 38 games he has played in this season, he's still averaging under 30 minutes a game at 29.3 because the Nets are trying to save his legs for the stretch run. He does, however, certainly make the most of his time on the court. His 18.6 points per game average is the most among NBA centers, while his 2.2 blocks per contest ranks seventh. Lopez is shooting .523 from the field and .736 from the free throw line and he can also boast that he is the only player in the NBA averaging 18 points, seven rebounds (7.3 RPG) and two blocks a game. What's even more impressive are his per 36 minute numbers. He's averaging 22.8 points, 8.9 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per 36 minutes a game. The 22.8 points per 36 minutes ranks him eighth in the league.

"I think it's great," Carlesimo said. "The first thing (Lopez) said to me is that so many of his points this season are results of double teams and (Deron Williams and Joe Johnson) finding him. I don't think, honestly, Brook gets selected if we're not having the kind of year we're having, so the team feels good about it."

Carlesimo also noted that as impressive as Lopez's rebounding numbers are, they can even be more robust if he didn't play in a deep front court with many different players vying for boards.

At just 24 years old, this could be a start of a trend for Lopez making an appearance at the mid-season classic. He clearly is already one of the premier centers in the league and he hasn't even entered his prime years. 

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