Everyone knew about the Lopez brothers as a pair when they played together at Stanford, you thought of the two as a pair and never individually. But ever since they got to the NBA Brook has taken off and Robin has become the forgotten brother. Brook was always considered the one with more potential to succeed, but he also has been the brother playing on a bad team and in turn getting opportunity while Robin has been relegated to a backup role on a very good team. That is until now.
With Amare Stoudemire bolting for the Big Apple, Robin Lopez looks to be locked in as the new man in the middle in Phoenix, and he doesn’t have a lot of competition. So what can he make of this new opportunity? Before we even start let’s just get any ideas of grandeur out of the way, Brook is the better Lopez brother, and even with starter’s minutes Robin won’t put up the same numbers as his brother. But what exactly should we expect from the other Lopez brother in his new role?
First let’s take a look at what he did last season as a backup:
19.3 Minutes Per Game
8.4 Points Per Game
4.8 Rebounds Per Game
1 Block Per Game
.588 FG Percentage
.704 FT Percentage
These are pretty solid stats for just under 20 minutes a game, and this year he is stepping out of the shadow of Amare. One thing that will benefit Lopez is that he is the only true big man in Phoenix now. The closest thing to a real center they have outside Lopez is Channing Frye, and his game is made on his perimeter skills. That should do a couple things for Lopez. For one it will open a lot more rebounding opportunities and it should also nearly guarantee him at least 30 minutes a game if he can do what it takes to sustain those kind of minutes.
In the time he has had on the court he has shown the ability to be a top of the line rebounder and it should only get better knowing he won’t share the court with Amare at all. One of the most appealing things about Lopez as a sleeper is his ability to grab offensive rebounds. In just 19 minutes a game last year he was able to grab 2 offensive rebounds per game. That’s pretty impressive considering only 8 guys in the NBA got 3 per game, a number Lopez could reach if he gets 30 – 35 minutes.
Those kind of offensive rebounds can turn into points in a hurry. While Lopez doesn’t have the most versatile or polished scoring game, he is good at getting into position to make baskets, and getting offensive rebounds is one of the best ways to get a good look at the hoop. He won’t be a scoring machine, but he’ll get some chances and he should also be able to get to the line where he is decent, especially for a center, a spot that you just hope doesn’t sink your free throw percentage.
Add to what should be an advancing offensive game the fact that he could easily approach two blocks a game and you have a solid sleeper center who is currently being drafted right around 110th on average according to mock draft central. He might always live in the shadow of his brother, but I think he’s going to come into his own a bit more this year.
Here are the projections I have for Lopez to finish the year with.
Projected Stat Line: 13.6 ppg, 9.2 rbg, 1.8 bpg, .520 FG%, .712 FT%
What are your thoughts on Robin Lopez for this season? Do you see him as a sleeper or do you think there’s a good reason people tend to forget about “the other brother.” Let us hear your opinion on the topic.