The Atlantic Division, already an impossible enigma, just became even more impossibly enigmatic. Earlier this morning, Gary Tanguay of CSNNE broke this story (absolutely no pun intended): Brook Lopez is likely done for the season with a broken foot.
First and foremost, this is awful news for an extremely talented big man. Lopez has been a devastating weapon offensively for Brooklyn, and Boston experienced the full brunt of that December 10 — Sullinger, Bass and the Celtics’ other assorted bigs were powerless to stop him in the post. But he’s also an improving defensive center playing for what was considered a title contender before the season. To make matters worse, reports are starting to trickle in that Lopez’ injured foot is the same one he broke previously. Feet and big men are often a bad combination. This is just awful news, all around.
From a Celtics perspective, this complicates matters intensely. Brooklyn still has sufficient talent to make the playoffs in the Atlantic Division (especially if we adjust for a second-half uptick in production from Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett), but the Nets were stumbling before this Lopez news, and it’s hard to imagine they will improve without their best player. With Toronto trading away key pieces and New York continuing to suck itself in like a black hole, Boston might now be the favorites in the Atlantic Division. Nothing makes sense anymore.
So where do the Celtics go from here? Do they make some roster moves (Asik is almost assuredly still on the table) and try to improve, knowing that tanking just got even harder? Do they make roster moves and try to lose? It’s impossible to say, but you can bet Danny Ainge has a busy Saturday full of meetings that he wasn’t expecting.
The next few weeks will be extremely interesting for the Celtics, but for now, we wish Brook Lopez a speedy, successful recovery.
Follow Tom on Twitter: @Tom_NBA.