Brook Lopez Says the Firing of Avery Johnson Earlier This Season Served As a Wake-up Call

April 15, 2013 – 10:00 am by Chris Fedor

Brook Lopez has seen it all during his time with the Nets. Empty arenas. A 70-loss season. Coaching changes. And having to play in Newark. He also has dealt with some injuries, too. Adversity is nothing new to him.

There was a time when it didn’t seem likely that Lopez would get to stay long enough to see the team’s move to Brooklyn and the franchise’s resurrection. His name was always at the center of trade speculation with Dwight Howard. But here he is. Still with the Nets, playing the best ball of his career. Making the All-Star game for the first time in his career. Making a case as the game’s best center. Most importantly to him, he is a soon-to-be playoff participant for the first time in the NBA. It has been a memorable year already for Lopez and the Nets in Brooklyn and there is still more to come.

Brook Lopez joined WFAN in New York with Joe and Evan to talk about whether he thinks he is the best center in the NBA this year, whether the rumors of Dwight Howard to Brooklyn motivated him, if he thinks the Nets are ready for the playoffs, if he thinks he is going to rest for the remainder of the season, the impact P.J. Carlesimo has had on them and how rewarding it is to have this kind of success after all he has been through with the Nets.

Do you think you have been the best center in the NBA this year?

“I’m confident any night going onto the court I can go out there and prove I’m the best center on the floor.”

Whether the Dwight Howard to Brooklyn rumors motivated him at all:

“Just the whole situation, I was working out to better myself as a basketball player and to try to put myself in the best position possible however the outcome came out.”

Whether they feel like they’re ready for the playoffs to start:

“Yeah, I think we are lucky to have these games to tune up and everything and get ready. We are playing good ball right now but we can always get better.”

If he thinks he is going to rest the final games of the season:

“Honestly I don’t know. I’m going in with the mindset that I’m playing every one and trying to win every game.”

On the impact P.J. Carlesimo has had:

“I think it’s a very up-and-down season. We were definitely riding high with Coach Avery but I think the situation went the way it did but it was sort of a wake-up call for myself and my teammates. We made a concerted effort on our part to make sure that wouldn’t happen again. We take accountability for what was going on.”

How rewarding it has been for him to see this kind of success:

“It’s been great. It’s been a great primer for me. Playing with this team, winning games and playing in Brooklyn with such great fans, it’s so exciting and it makes me that much more excited to get into the playoffs and win games in the playoffs and do something special.”

Listen to Brook Lopez on WFAN in New York here

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