Nightmare on Madison Street II

21 05 2008

Since 2000, the Chicago Bulls have selected the following big men in the first round:

Joakim Noah
LaMarcus Aldridge
Eddy Curry
Marcus Fizer

I can see David Stern coming out from underneath that NBA Draft logo. He’s smiling as he shows the New York audience a ballot with the Chicago Bulls logo. Stern approached the podium with delight.

After months of anticipation and hype, with the first pick in the 2008 NBA draft, the Chicago Bulls select…

Brook Lopez! A center from Stanford!

The Lopez Twins Make the Jump

1 04 2008

Brook and Robin Lopez have announced that they will hire agents and forgo the rest of their college eligibility. How will they fare on the next level?

Brook established himself as a force in the college game. The elder Lopez twin averaged 19.3 points, 8.2 boards and 2.1 blocks. He compiled a healthy 9 double-doubles until Stanford was eliminated by the Texas Longhorns in the NCAA tournament.

Like a good number of other people, I think Brook is a bit overrated. If he establishes deep position, you can pretty much give him the two points. His footwork is quite good for a young big. Brook likes to drop-step while keeping the ball high and he will then try to hit a hook shot over his left shoulder. He will have trouble when facing people his size that are dramatically more athletic and crafty.

If these kids weren’t 7-foot twins, there is no chance Robin Lopez leaves Stanford early. 10.2 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks doesn’t exactly make pro scouts drool. Robin didn’t exactly dominate while his brother was academically ineligible during the first nine games of the season. Robin was only marginally better as the focal point during those early games. 11.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks — still not quite Bill Walton numbers.


Now don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not saying these kids are useless. I’m just convinced that their hype is a product of the lack of big men in college basketball. Are they really NBA-caliber players? There is obviously a case for that; they are making the jump after only two seasons at Stanford.

But what else can you say about them? They seem to have physically-matured. I don’t see them gaining another few inches or bulking up considerably. No one has ever accused them of being extraordinarily athletic so any further improvement will have to be mentally through their floor games.

The Lopez twins don’t strike me as particularly savvy, at least offensively. Robin has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.35 while Brook is slightly better with a 0.65 ratio. For comparisons sake, let me throw a few more numbers out. Kevin Love and Roy Hibbert — both savvy bigs in similarly-constructed defense-heavy teams — own 0.97 and 1.11 assist-to-turnover ratios respectively.

If the Lopez twins aren’t a step or a move removed from their preferred shots, they punt the ball away. Brook and Robin will have to dramatically improve in this area because they will be facing physically-menacing, defensively-aware 7-footers whom are much more athletic than the likes they have ever faced.

The future shouldn’t be all bad. The Lopez brothers should prove to be a bit better than another set of low-post twins from Stanford, the Collins twins. Jason and Jarron Collins were another set of twin towers for the Cardinal. Like Brook, Jason Collins was considered to be better than his brother. While Jarron was written off as the “defensive-minded” brother — or in other words, the brother with size but without a clear competitive advantage.

Brook and Robin will be better than the Collins twins but definitely not as good as the Grant twins. Horace Grant was a cog in a Chicago Bulls three-peat. His brother, Harvey, enjoyed a peak of 18 and 6 for about three seasons in the early 1990’s.

Brook should be a solid role-player at the very least. Robin won’t see anywhere near the same success. And although he’s being billed as a Joakim Noah to his brother’s Al Horford, Robin really doesn’t have game. He doesn’t have the defensive mentality of Joakim Noah and he certainly doesn’t hustle like Noah. However, they both have big hair and both talk as much shit as Bill O’Reilly. I could block 2 shots a game in the helter-skelter Pac-10┬áif I were a foot taller.

The Lopez twins will be living the Suite Life of Zack and Cody in NBA uniforms next season but don’t expect them to make much noise while there.