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Brook Lopez injury: Nets will turn to Mason Plumlee, Andray Blatche

The Nets will surely suffer without All-Star Brook Lopez. But who will get his minutes?

Al Bello

The Brooklyn Nets' best player so far this year, Brook Lopez, is done for the season with a broken foot. Lopez is second on the team in minutes per game (31.7) in the 17 games in which he's played, and now those minutes have to go elsewhere.

The obvious player to see more minutes is Andray Blatche. Kevin Garnett is playing 22 minutes a game and the Nets stated before the year they're trying to preserve him. While there may be no playoffs for KG and the Nets this year -- although you can't simply write the Nets off in the Atlantic Division -- he still has one more year on his deal, and everyone else will be back in 2014-2015.

Garnett could shift to center and the Nets could use Mirza Teletovic, who started the last two games, as a stretch power forward, moving Paul Pierce back to the starting lineup. Or they could keep Teletovic at the 3 and bring Blatche in as a starting center. No matter what, Blatche should see his minutes creep up to about 30 per game.

Blatche and Teletovic were already playing decent minutes, but another player who will see much more of the court will be Mason Plumlee. Plumlee got plenty of run during Lopez's other injury stints, and has had a few games when he hasn't played at all when Lopez is healthy. Plumlee averages 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per 36 minutes, which is just average. He gives the Nets some energy, but he needs to learn how to play NBA defense.

There's no denying the Nets will struggle even more without Lopez. He's the team's leading scorer and has developed into an elite rim protector. The Nets have the bodies to replace him -- this isn't a Los Angeles Lakers point guard situation -- but not even close to the talent. The Atlantic Division remains a barren wasteland, however, so it's hard to believe a lineup of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Pierce, Teletovic and Garnett can't still contend for the playoffs.

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