Despite Derek Fisher and the New York Knicks disappointing as of late, Robin Lopez is one guy who can proudly hold his head up high.
By Jeremy Fialkow
For 4 years and $54 million, what would you expect to get out of an NBA center? For the New York Knicks, it’s Robin Lopez, and there’s certainly no regret in making him their marquee Summer ’15 free-agent signing.
Nearing the NBA All-Star break, RoLo’s statistics for the 23-29 Knicks are far from eye-popping: 9.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 1.4 bpg, good for a PER of 16.58. It’s also important to note he’s rising above his career averages in all major categories.
In order to fully understand his importance to the Knickerbockers, look no further than Thursday night’s near-incredible comeback against the All-Star Andre Drummond and his Detroit Pistons.
The Knicks, who ended up losing 105-111, were down by 24 points at halftime. Those same Knicks, led by a valiant effort from Langston Galloway and Mr. Lopez climbed all the way back from hell, and took their first lead with 2 minutes left in the game.
Robin Lopez gives @NYKnicks their first lead of the game on @NBAonTNT! #NBARapidReplay #NYKatDET https://t.co/uZldgjouwP
— NBA (@NBA) February 5, 2016
Although, they didn’t end up winning, it’s safe for Knicks fans and Simpsons fans, alike, to thank the more eccentric Lopez twin for the entertaining end.
On a night the Latvian leader Kristaps Porzingis was clearly off his game, and with Melo waning in the clutch, Lopez kept the Knicks competitive behind this ferocious box score: 26 points (on 8-11 shooting), 16 rebounds, 2 assists, and a steal. To compare, Melo shot 4-18 by game’s end.
Lopez is vital to the Knicks defense (when they decide it’s time to give the effort), as he anchors the paint and provides much needed rim-protection, for which he certainly doesn’t get the credit deserved. He wouldn’t even throw his own brother a bone:
Lopez makes his free shots, as all NBA players should, shooting 80% from the charity stripe.
Dare I forget to mention that smooth, retro hook shot of his that Carmelo Anthony once said “can’t be blocked?” The same hook shot that leaves you wondering endlessly how it keeps going in. He makes new-school look old-school:
As if he didn’t do enough already, Robin Lopez sets the best screen on the team, which opens himself up on the roll, and creates instant space for the ball-handler:
REPLAY: @carmeloanthony & @rolopez42 execute the pick-&-roll. #NYKvsDET pic.twitter.com/lty3Z5ZFhH
— NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) February 5, 2016
The best part, of course, is he likes to assert his physical superiority by keeping feisty point guards in check. Everyone knows the Knicks major kryptonite is an NBA point guard.
BUT, for all that’s right with RoLo, he still doesn’t have the best hair in New York City. That honor goes to this man:
When it comes down to it, Robin Lopez is making less money annually than once-valuable centers such as Joakim Noah, Tyson Chandler, and Nene Hilario. Couple that value with his grizzly presence and shocking finesse, you’ve got yourself a solid starting-center for the New York Knicks.