Can Brooklyn Nets' Brook Lopez Be a Perennial All Star?

Kenny DeJohnAnalyst IIIFebruary 9, 2013

HOUSTON, TX - JANUARY 26:  Brook Lopez #11 of the Brooklyn Nets waits on the court prior to the start of the game against the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center on January 26, 2013 in Houston, Texas.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Brook Lopez is making his first career All-Star appearance at next week's NBA All-Star weekend, but can he become a perennial All-Star for the foreseeable future?

Assessing such an issue is not as simple as just looking at the stat sheet, although that is a pretty good place to start.

Lopez is currently in the midst of a career year on the offensive end of the floor. While averaging just the third-highest points total of his career (18.9 points per game), he is shooting a fantastic 52.4 percent from the floor.

He's putting up these great numbers in just 29.7 minutes per game, which is a testament to the quality of play he's providing when he's on the court.

Defensively, Lopez has shown some good and some bad.

He's been an absolute animal in terms of blocking shots. With 2.2 blocks per game, Lopez ranks seventh in the entire NBA.

It's no secret as to where he needs to improve, though. Generally speaking, a seven-footer should be grabbing more than 7.5 rebounds per game (his career average).

In 2012-13, that number has decreased ever so slightly to 7.3 per contest.

Now, those numbers are far from disappointing. When you consider how many shots he blocks, Lopez has actually been pretty decent defensively.

His player efficiency rating (PER) this season is 25.33, fourth-best in the NBA behind LeBron James (30.62), Kevin Durant (29.07) and Chris Paul (26.13).

With those kind of numbers, Lopez is deserving of being an All-Star for years to come.

But, not so fast. When considering him for the All-Star team, fans can't overlook the fact that he faces stiff competition from the other big men in the Eastern Conference.

Tyson Chandler, Joakim Noah, Kevin Garnett, Andre Drummond, Larry Sanders and David West all have the potential to make the Eastern Conference All-Star team in the future (whether it be in the near future or distant future is irrelevant) and will pose a big threat to Lopez's bid for a yearly spot on the team.

Unless you're a superstar name/face in the NBA like James, Durant, Paul or Kobe Bryant, it's very difficult to make the All-Star team year in and year out.

There are always surprise picks and breakout players that get the nod over veteran guys every year. Take this season, for instance. Guys like Paul George and Jrue Holliday, far from perennial All Stars, are on the team.

Are they deserving? Well, yes. But they aren't names that will be voted in if they don't meet this season's production in the future.

So, to summarize, saying that Lopez can be a perennial All-Star is a bit misleading.

From a pure statistical standpoint, it can be argued that he should play in the game every year if he can continue to produce at this level.

However, assessing his chances wouldn't be complete until you considered the other players in the East.

Lopez is continuing to blossom into one of the better centers in the league with each passing season. That may not necessarily be reflected by his All-Star selections, however, and Brooklyn Nets fans should not be discouraged if he doesn't make the team in the future.

They know how much value he actually has to the team. That value can't be reflected in being voted into the All-Star game.