SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Brook Lopez scored his 10th point on a dunk against the Kings Wednesday night with 4:17 remaining until halfttime and became the second Net to reach 10,000 career points with the organization.
The Nets center joined Buck Williams, the Nets all-time scoring leader with 10,440 points.
Williams reached that plateau in his 600th game, but Lopez played just his 541st game for the Nets. The 7-foot center wasn’t aware he was approaching 10,000 points until informed by reporters at shootaround Wednesday morning.
“It’s obviously a huge honor,” Lopez said. “I’m proud I’ve been in the league for this long and can keep doing the thing I love year in and year out. I think I have a lot longer to go. So, it’s definitely a great benchmark.”
Williams’ No. 52 has been retired by the Nets, so, if Lopez breaks his franchise scoring record, it’s possible his No. 11 could wind up in the rafters at Barclays Center one day. The notion of achieving such a lofty status in his ninth season with the Nets was a bit surreal for Lopez.
“It’s pretty bizarre for myself,” he said. “It’s definitely what you dream of when you’re a little kid. For me, it’s crazy that I’ve been in the league at this point for nine seasons.
“I was talking to Vince [Carter] two games before [the All-Star Game] and he asked me what year I was in. I told him I’m in my ninth season, and it blew his mind because it feels like just yesterday I was a rookie and he was my vet out there [in the 2008-09 season]. We were playing in Izod [Center] in New Jersey. I’ve come such a long way. I’m just proud to be here, and it’s an honor to be in this position and this situation.”
Lopez entered Wednesday night’s game averaging a team-high 20.8 points per game. Asked by coach Kenny Atkinson to expand his shooting to perimeter range, Lopez had made 93 three-pointers going into the Kings game and also had blocked 93 shots. The only other players with at least 90 in each category so far this season are the Warriors’ Kevin Durant and the Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis.
Point guard Jeremy Lin was surprised to learn Lopez was nearing a benchmark and vowed to make sure he reached it against the Kings. “Oh, wow,” Lin said. “That’s an incredible achievement to score 10,000 points anywhere — in a rec league, anywhere, let alone the NBA. That’s amazing. I had no idea. We’ll do what we can to make sure we get him that tonight. That’s awesome.”
The Nets took a 16-game losing streak onto the floor Wednesday night but were hoping to snap the skid against a Kings team that lost its first two games coming out of the All-Star break after trading center DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans. His absence figured to create more room in the paint for Lopez and all the Nets.
As Lin said, “It definitely is different, a new arena, too. Everything feels pretty different. It will definitely change the gameplan. It’s one less thing to worry about, which is very nice because he’s almost 30 (points) and 10 (rebounds). Talk about being so talented as a big man. He can do it all. I’m definitely glad I don’t have to worry about that while I’m in Sacramento.”
Notes & quotes: After waiving Luis Scola, the Nets went into the game with an open roster position, meaning only one player had to be inactive against the Kings . . . Quincy Acy (ankle) was scheduled to return to the lineup Wednesday night.