What is Kidd concerned with? What else than Lopez’s passing game. With an expectation that he will be double-teamed more than in the past, he sees improvement in this area as critical.
“For him, he probably will see some double teams so he has to be able to pass out of those,” Kidd told Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News. “He’s still young, so he has a lot to learn about the game. At the same time he’s a smart kid, he’s worked extremely hard to become one of the best centers in the game. So passing is something that will come as he gets to see more double teams.”
Lopez ranked ninth in the NBA last season among centers with at least 40 games start with 1.1 assists per 36 minutes. That’s low, but it at least partially is due to the fact that Lopez was seen as one of the Nets primary scoring options when he was on the court last season. It wasn’t his job to pass off the ball. But Kidd has a point, the Nets are going to have plenty of offensive weapons next season and if he’s going to get doubled up more often then he certainly should be looking to dish the ball.
Of course, in any conversation about what Lopez can do to get better, rebounding was brought up as well. “I think we all agree, (Lopez) probably agrees, that he should probably rebound a little bit better than he has,” Kidd said.
This was an area the Nets desperately wanted to see Lopez improve upon last season, and he did if only a little bit. He averaged 8.2 boards per 36 minutes which was easily higher than his 2010-11 total of 6.1, but it was worse than his numbers from his rookie season and 2009-10. If he can take another step forward in that department this season, he might end up being the best player on the Nets.