Happy 2015, Brooklyn! It’s a new year, a time to reinvent ourselves. Some among us may start drinking kale, planking, doing hot yoga. Others could start showing up for visitation, making things right with the old hen, and stop waking up on their buddy’s doveseat with the tube still on and a bottle of Old Grandad between their claws.
In the Nets’ case, 2015 should be the year of the Twin Towers. The Pair of Peaks. The Big Belugas. The Rival Redwoods. You got it, loyal readers, I’m talking about playing our friends Brook “Big Lug” Lopez and Mason “Plumdog Millionaire” Plumlee together, at the same time.
You see, part of being a successful NBA franchise is about developing a team identity, a brand that fans associate with the team and rally around. When the Nets first arrived in Brooklyn, they had a Big Three – Deron Williams, Brook and Joe Johnson – that was easily forgotten in an era marked by a bigger Big Three down in Miami. Then last year, they made a splash by supplementing that core with two big-name imports from Boston, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, who were almost as old as the team’s player-turned-coach, Jason Kidd. But after none of that really stuck either, and with Pierce and Kidd gone this year, it appears Brooklyn’s early attempts at cultivating an identity have fallen flatter than the discarded matzoh I’m looking forward to in April.
We are now watching the leftovers from a failed scheme. And as with all leftovers, I say let’s heat it up and dig in. A lot of people, maybe rightfully, want the Nets to ship Lopez out of town. It’s time to start over from the ground up, they say, and Lopez is too injury-prone to justify his contract.
I can’t argue with that sentiment — I said last week that, even when healthy, the Big Lug’s game reminds me of the turtles in Prospect Park — but it may be tough for the Nets to find a willing buyer for a guy who sucks up as many offensive opportunities as Lopez does. If that’s the case, I must say that the most fun I’ve had watching the Nets this season is when Lopez and Plumlee are on the floor together. They are like two gargantuan ballerinas, locked in a tightly woven dance that involves grunting and rubbing their backsides into their opponents.
That’s not to say that the data necessarily backs up the idea of putting these two mammoths side by side. Sure, Coach Lionel Hollins put them together to start the game against Dallas on Monday, and Brooklyn held a five-point lead when Plumdog was subbed out after eight minutes of play. But with only Lopez on the floor to finish out the quarter, Brooklyn grew the lead to 14 in the final four minutes. Later, at the beginning of the second half, the pairing played about five minutes together, only to see the Nets’ lead shrink from six points to two.
But still, it looks pretty damn cool. It’s been a while since I’ve had a reason not to fly out for a smoke during a game at Barclays because I didn’t want to miss a certain lineup the Nets had on the floor. At his previous gig in Memphis, Coach Hollins had a lot of success with two talented big guys, Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, playing together. And with the days of San Antonio’s old Twin Tower duo of David Robinson and Tim Duncan as lost to history as the reason I married my first wife, it’s time for a new big-man tandem to be known throughout the league by some cheesy catchphrase.
So, count me in for the ballad of Big Lug and Plumdug. They could even do commercials together — I’m thinking Bud Light Lime-a-Rita.
Speaking of which, spare a buck for a beer?