When the Los Angeles Lakers acquired center Brook Lopez last week, there was the immediate notion that the move was made in order to provide cap relief to make way for a big spending spree in the summer of 2018.
However, general manager Rob Pelinka wasted little time on Wednesday afternoon in shooting down that presumption by clarifying that the addition of Lopez was made with other intentions in mind, according to ESPN.
“We don’t see next year at all as a rebuilding year,” Pelinka said at the team’s practice facility. “We see it as a Lakers year. A lot of that is going to be centered around [Lopez] and what he stands for and what we know he’ll give this organization.”
In the trade that involved moving former second overall pick D’Angelo Russell, Los Angeles was able to add a proven big man that is coming off one of his most productive seasons where he averaged a team-high 20.5 points with 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
It was a campaign that drew much attention from the Lakers as Lopez added the threat of the 3-point shot to his offensive arsenal hitting 34.6 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc by making 134 of his 387 tries from distance.
This was a massive uptick in shot rate from 3-point range that saw him go from 0.2 attempts to 5.2 attempts last season while he had taken no more than 14 shots from downtown in any of his first eight years in the league.
Lopez credited his outside touch as something he grew up having to do in order to counter his two older brothers physical play near the rim. All of this only came to fruition this past season due to Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson‘s offensive game plan that calls for the big men to spread the floor with their outside shooting, according to the Orange County Register.
“I’m glad he had the confidence in me,” Lopez said of Atkinson. “I’ve always felt I can do it. That’s something I’m going to be doing to help the team.”
It’s an aspect of his game that Pelinka believes fits ideally into head coach Luke Walton‘s uptempo offense that aims to spread the floor while heavily utilizing the 3-point shot.
“It’s a perfect fit,” Pelinka said. “I think he’s a perfect road map to our next generation of centers here, too.”
With a roster full of young talent around him, Lopez is eager to do whatever is needed to help the Lakers make strides toward turn in around next season.
“A lot of those emotions turned into general excitement with this opportunity to come back home and chance to lead the franchise back to success,” said Lopez. “I want to be out there teaching the young guys and being a guy that Luke can rely on and do whatever he asks.”
Ultimately, Lopez has an opportunity in front of him to take on a huge role in the next stop of his NBA career.
Bob Garcia IV
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