Lopez Brothers Shining On and Off the Court in Milwaukee
Back in July 2018, the Bucks signed veteran center Brook Lopez to a one-year, $3.3 million deal. After a lost season with the Lakers, bringing on Lopez was a cheap, low-risk signing Milwaukee general manager Jon Horst was willing to take. Months later, that deal would end up being the steal of the offseason.
Lopez had a career resurgence in the 2018-19 season, finding his three-point shot and providing stout defense for a 60-win team. This past offseason, the Bucks re-signed him; this time to a four-year contract worth $52 million. Having similar success to last season, Splash Mountain continues to be worth the money.
It was evident right away last season that Brook was going to be a perfect fit for this Mike Budenholzer team. Splash Mountain was the big man the Bucks had been missing in previous years, and his abilities on either end of the floor were huge for his team. Brook played and started in 81 games, only sitting in the regular season finale.
While on the court he averaged 12.5 points per game, and his ability to not only play in the post but also stretch the floor with his three-point shooting was a huge reason for the team’s success. Brook shot a career-high 6.3 threes per game after barely attempting any threes the first half of his career. He shot the deep ball at an efficient 36.5 percent clip, too. The good shooting didn’t stop there either, as he shot 61 percent on two-point field goals, and 84 percent at the foul line.
In addition to his offense, Brook brought a huge presence on the other side of the floor. Outside of Giannis, previous Bucks teams had struggled mightily to rebound the ball. That all changed with Brook, who helped the team finish number one in the league in total rebounding last year. In addition, he was a factor around the rim. Lopez averaged a career-high 2.2 blocks per game and totaled 179 for the season, 25 more than his previous career-high.
In July, the Lopez story in Milwaukee became even more endearing. The Bucks decided to bring in Brook’s brother Robin on a two-year contract. While he doesn’t play as much as Brook, Robin has proved quite valuable to the Cream and Green.
If you asked fans, coaches, teammates, and anyone else around the organization, this team would not be the same without the Lopez twins on the roster. The entertainment these two provide is special, both on and off the court.
Brook has kept the good times rolling this season, helping the Bucks to a historic year. Although his shooting numbers are down, he still is capable of scoring inside and out and helps space the floor for Giannis. His play on the other end has not waned a bit, as he is averaging 2.5 blocks per game this season, and averages eight rebounds per 100 possessions. Needless to say the Bucks would not have the record they have had the last two seasons without Brook.
When Robin was signed, many questioned his fit on the court with this Bucks team, but you can never have enough big men. It was also an exciting signing considering the Lopez brothers would finally be reunited. On the court Robin has been a very solid backup center. Although his overall numbers have been down while averaging just 15 minutes per game, RoLo is still averaging 17.5 points and eight rebounds per 100 possessions.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Robin’s game this season has been the development of his three-point shot in Coach Bud’s “let it fly” system. Coming into this season, Robin had attempted 51 threes in his entire career. This year, he has almost doubled that with 96. He is shooting the deep ball at a decent clip too, making 33 of the 96, good for a 34 percent.
Like his brother, Lopez maintains a solid presence on the defensive end as well, averaging over two blocks per 100 possessions.
The on court presence of the Lopez brothers has been great, but what Bucks fans may enjoy most about the two seven-footers is their antics off the court. The two have a fun rivalry with each other and that started right away over the summer, with Brook claiming he is the “superior twin” over Robin.
Brook brings fun energy to the team, but some of the antics Robin brings are true gold. Everyone knows about his feuds with mascots across the league, but he has befriended the Bucks mascot, Bango, replacing his old mascot friend Benny the Bull.
More notably this season, Robin has been the driving force behind the Bucks new pregame wrestling routine. It’s gained publicity around the league, and it seems as if Robin and Giannis are always the main fighters involved.
Having guys like that who can loosen up the team and bring fun outside of basketball is necessary for every championship squad, and Robin and Brook Lopez may be the two best guys in the league for that right now. Not only are the off the court antics fun for the team and fans, but these twins continue to produce on the court as they have their entire careers. Between Brook starting and continuing his success in a Bucks uniform, and Robin coming off the bench and fitting well into the Bucks system, the Cream and Green has absolutely hit on both signings, and without these seven-footers they would not be having the historic season they are.
Statistics Courtesy of Basketball Reference