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Brook Lopez is a player who has always been put in boxes by the general NBA watching public. For years and years in Brooklyn, Lopez was a low post scorer who didn’t space the floor or play defense. Now that he’s chucking deep 3-pointers on the Milwaukee Bucks, it’s easy to look at Lopez and think that’s all he does. Easy, but incorrect.
The truth is there isn’t much that Brook Lopez doesn’t do for the Bucks. His spacing is certainly important, as Lopez is taking 6.5 3-pointers per game and making a solid 36.1 percent of those 3s.
Adding a 3-point shot to his arsenal hasn’t diminished Lopez’s interior scoring ability, even if he isn’t posting up as much as he used to. Lopez will still back down smaller players on mismatches and is an ideal candidate to take a shot with the shot clock running low, as it doesn’t take him long to get into position and get a respectable attempt up. He’s also developed a penchant for driving and dunking all over fools.
The defensive end is really where Lopez has exceeded expectations. The Bucks have the NBA’s best defense as per defensive rating, and Lopez is a massive part of that. Milwaukee isn’t defending well in spite of their starting center, the Bucks rely on Lopez to anchor their defense.
The Bucks defensive scheme relies on a few tenets, including forcing a lot of mid-range shots and trying to prevent good 3-point shooters from getting open looks. The reason Milwaukee’s defense has been so stingy is how few points in the paint it allows, though, and that is in large part because of Brook Lopez.
With Lopez on the floor, Milwaukee allows just 102.6 points per 100 possessions. Lopez has held opponents to 50.8 percent shooting within six feet of the basket this season, 11.7 percentage points worse than those players typically shoot that close to the rim. Both of those metrics rate him as one of the best three rim-protectors in the NBA this season.
To top it all off, Lopez has not missed a single game this season. The Milwaukee Bucks have plenty of really good players — that’s just how great teams are — but Brook Lopez has doubtlessly been one of the most important for these Bucks.
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