Brook Lopez: Rookie Retrospective


I already took a look at Brook’s rookie season, but the guys over at DraftExpress seriously one-upped me.  They take an in-depth look into Brook’s rookie season.  You can read the whole thing here, but here is a brief excerpt:

According to Synergy Sports Technology, Lopez gets 34% of his offense with his back to the basket in the post, but only converts on 42% of those attempts. On all other shots, he’s converting 57%. As many often point out, the biggest change in the level of competition when comparing the NCAA and NBA often has to do with the big men, who are far bigger, stronger and more athletic. As we often saw already last season, Lopez struggles to score at times because of a lack of variety and fluidity in his post repertoire. He loves to go to his right handed hook, but struggles with his consistency and is rather predictable due to the lack of polish on his left hand. The slow and mechanical coordination he shows in the post hurt his effectiveness as well, and he has a tendency to predetermine what move he’s going to use before he even touches the ball. 

Never considered much of a passer in college, Lopez has continued along that same path in theNBA thus far, even regressing statistically in that aspect. He’s been fairly turnover prone, struggling to deal with double teams and not always quite knowing his limitations, which is not exactly a shock considering his rookie status. Right now he ranks in the top 10 amongst the worst passers per-possession in the NBA.

Many of the problems Lopez has on the offensive end stem from a lack of explosiveness caused by his high center of gravity. Despite the fact that he gets low to maintain position on the block, when he goes into his move he stands too upright, which makes him easy to defend. This is perhaps most evident when looking at how few free throws he attempts a game. Lopez’s paltry 2.2 free throws a game ranks him towards the bottom amongst starting centers in the league. For a big man who shoots over 80% from the stripe, he would benefit greatly from getting to the line more often. If he can learn to stay low throughout his pivots and establish a wider base, he’ll have an easier time powering towards the basket, which ultimately will lead to more trips to the line. 

Lopez also shows some glimpses of potential facing up from the mid-post and beating his man off the dribble—something he surely has the skill-level to do. If he can improve his ball-handling skills enough to utilize this part of his game more, maybe after using a shot-fake, he will surely find himself at the free throw line more as well. 

The biggest thing that I took from this excerpt is the fact that he needs to work on his back to the basket offense.  These kind of moves come with time and experience, so we shouldn’t be too worried about it right now.