Overview- Former All-Star, Brook Lopez
The 7’0” 270 pound, Brook Lopez was signed by the Bucks this off-season for 1 year worth $3,382,000. Milwaukee’s first game will mark Brook’s 11th in the league, he was an All-Star in 2012-13, and will be turning 31 during the upcoming season. The Bucks signed him to fill a void at the center position, provide rebounding, interior defense, and 3-point shooting. Milwaukee was a team last year who desperately needed consistent play at center so they went after one of the biggest names in the free agent market this past summer.
Last Season- Good Center For Bad Team
Lopez played for the highly scrutinized Los Angeles Lakers team. He played in 74 games and started 72 of them. Lopez averaged 23.4 minutes per game which was way less than his career average of 31.2. However, the reduced minutes was not because of his production. He averaged 13.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 blocks per game, shot 47% (35% from 3) and took about 4 3’s per game. I watch a ton of NBA basketball. LIKE A TON. Brook Lopez should have played more minutes for a young Lakers team. His per 36 minutes stats from last year back up my beliefs, the numbers broke down to 19.9 points per game, 6.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 2.0 blocks. Looking at these numbers, this is definitely a player I want in a Bucks uniform.
Areas For Improvement- Feet, Hands, Body
Lopez is a very large athlete. It would make sense that his mobility is the biggest thing he has to work on this year. In a small ball league, big centers like Lopez are outdated. He will have to improve foot speed and show he can keep up with players like Giannis and Bledsoe to stay on the court. Another area I would like to see Lopez improve is his outside shooting. He is already a very good shooting center but he could get even better by knocking a higher percentage of 3’s. This is not out of question considering since he started taking them in 2016, his percentage has gone up each year. What’s to say this season has to be different? Finally, I would like to see a higher rebound average than his last year total. Last season, he only averaged 4.0 rebounds per game, it would give the Bucks a great rebounder if he averages something closer to the 6-7 range. I’m predicting he will get more minutes with the Bucks than he did with the Lakers, and his career average in 6.8 rebounds per game. There is no reason he shouldn’t get to that number with Milwaukee.
Projected Role- Starting Center
There are not many people who will argue with me when I say Brook Lopez is better than John Henson. Therefore, Lopez will be starting over last year’s starting center. Lopez adds an element to the court that Henson simply cannot match. A former All-Star, Brook Lopez will be able to hop right alongside other starters like Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton.
Projected Key Stat- Rebounds Per Game
I am not going out on a limb when I say the Bucks were horrendous rebounding the ball last season. Near the bottom of the league statistically, the front office had to do something to become a better rebounding team. Brook Lopez is a center who can score the ball but that is not the main reason he is a Milwaukee Buck. Instead, the Bucks were interested in his rebounding ability. A career 6.8 rebounds per game guy, if Lopez can at least get to that number, putting him next to guys like Ilyasova, Antetokounmpo, and Henson should make the Bucks a much better rebounding team.
X-Factor- Letting It Fly
Brook Lopez has one of the most obvious “X-Factors” out of all the Milwaukee Buck players. The “X-Factor,” is his outside shooting. If those shots are falling consistently, there is no reason not to believe Lopez can go off for 25+ points on any given night.
Stats according to basketball-reference.com