On Friday, it was announced that the Cleveland Cavaliers signed veteran big man Robin Lopez
Free agent center Robin Lopez has agreed to a one-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2022
Despite the presence of Evan Mobley, who may be a generational talent, All-Star Jarrett Allen and Kevin Love, some felt the Cavs needed a legitimate and reliable backup center.
Lopez will fit that bill.
He may not be as skilled as Love, but he will bring certain skill sets to Cleveland that it could use and will be a nice fit with the roster it already has.
How exactly can Lopez help the Cavs return to the playoffs for the first time since 2018?
This past season, the Cavs were just 18th in defensive rebounding percentage, despite possessing what looks like a solid frontline on paper.
Love posted some good rebounding numbers minute-by-minute, but at 6-foot-8, he played most of his minutes at the 4, and he is undersized when playing the 5.
At 7 feet tall and 281 pounds, Lopez is a legitimate big body who exclusively plays the center spot, and he is a widebody that hearkens back to the 1990s when the NBA was all about oversized big men and slowdown basketball.
Speaking of slowdown basketball, that’s what Cleveland plays – it ranked just 26th in pace this season, and although it needs to improve in terms of playing faster and getting more fast-break scores, it won’t suddenly become a true running team.
Per 36 minutes, Lopez has a career average of 8.1 rebounds a game, and almost half of them come on the offensive glass.
Grabbing offensive rebounds is a great way to slow down the pace and prevent an opposing team from stringing together transition opportunities, and if head coach J.B. Bickerstaff wants to continue to play slow, Lopez can help accomplish that.
Robin Lopez will be a fun addition. pic.twitter.com/KOjRv69QJr
— Mack Perry (@DevaronPerry) July 1, 2022
Overall Inside Presence
The Cavs are gaining a reputation as a team that controls the paint, and that is still the way to win games in the NBA, even in this era.
When Allen goes to the bench, Lopez can make sure opposing teams have trouble grabbing defensive rebounds, while also giving the Cavs, on occasion, some scoring inside.
Although he isn’t a significant scoring threat, he does have a reliable hook shot that Cleveland can look to from time to time.
ROBIN LOPEZ HOW?! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/aiv73EDOtj
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) December 28, 2020
When Lopez does decide to shoot the ball, he is pretty accurate, as he has made 53.6 percent of his field-goal attempts throughout his career.
He can even be a bit of an enforcer when needed.
Jarrett Culver dunked on Robin Lopez, and then Lopez chased Culver down 😳 pic.twitter.com/WpULBXY52G
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 2, 2020
The Cavs are one of the youngest teams in the NBA, but Lopez can add a bit of wisdom.
He is 34 years of age and will be entering his 15th pro season.
Lopez has appeared in the postseason six times, so if Cleveland makes it there next year, he won’t be overwhelmed by the moment.
Keeping Things Fun
Pro basketball is a dog-eat-dog world, and the pressures of being expected to perform well can wear on players as a long season drags on.
But Lopez is a whimsical fellow, and he can help keep his teammates loose and happy.
What a SELL by Robin Lopez pic.twitter.com/JDx2Qk0Kj5
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) December 14, 2019
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