Nets all-time leading scorer Brook Lopez returned to Barclays Center on Monday night with the NBA-best Bucks to face his old team, and he did it in triumphant fashion as holder of the record for most made three-pointers by a 7-footer in one season. Lopez came in with 184 makes from deep, 12 more than Channing Frye had with the Suns in 2009-10.
It was Nets coach Kenny Atkinson who convinced Lopez to start shooting threes two seasons ago. “First of all, I wish I never would have done it when I think about the game tonight and how we’ve got to cover him out there,” Atkinson kidded before the game. “He embraced it to the 10th degree and worked on it and worked on it.
“I think he’s intelligent enough to know where the game was going. It really has given him an added dimension and the Bucks in general a huge advantage.”
Atkinson previously was an assistant under Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer in Atlanta, where he encouraged big men Al Horford and Paul Millsap to develop as three-point shooters. Atkinson said Budenholzer embraced the spread offense then and has taken it to a new level now.
“Now Bud, his guys not only are out, they’re like out of the arena, they’re so far out,’’ Atkinson said. “Brook is spotting up at 30 feet.”
Budenholzer knew what he was getting when the Bucks signed Lopez as a free agent, but he said, “Where he’s exceeded my expectations is just the range he can shoot from and make them. I didn’t know he could shoot them from five, seven, eight feet behind the three-point line.”
Dudley nominee for award
Jared Dudley is one of 12 nominees — six from each conference — for the Twyman-Stokes Award as teammate of the year. “Like I’ve said all along, he’s helped me tremendously,” Atkinson said. “I think he’s pushed me to become a better coach. Just awesome to see him rewarded.”