Brook Lopez entered the league as a smooth post operator with a reliable set shot, and it’s gotten him paid pretty well. A decade-old Jonathan Givony scouting report from Lopez’s days at Stanford now makes for quaint reading. It mopes for a paragraph, fretting about Lopez’s “formulaic” post moves from five to seven feet out, wondering if he’ll ever be effective from this range. But then there’s a flicker of hope about what Lopez can do a little further from the cup:
While Lopez looks very uncomfortable with his back to the basket outside of five feet, the same cannot be said when he faces up. Lopez is at his best facing up from the five to ten foot range, where he seems very comfortable in the triple-threat position, and likes to take jump shots with a hand in his face.
Interesting! Givony then recommends moving Lopez from the low post to ... the high post to better exploit his jumper. And that more or less sums up Lopez’s respectable offensive production through the first eight years of his career: nice post repertoire with a little bit of range. He could always shoot. What the draftniks couldn’t have anticipated back in 2008, what would’ve made mid-aughts Nets fans’ brains liquefy, is the sight of seven-foot Lopez shooting 42 percent from three while hucking 7.2 a game. But that’s exactly where he is now in his age-30 season with Milwaukee. It’s not all neat little catch-and-shoot corner threes, either. Brook Lopez is jab-stepping and shooting right over Nikola Jokic, then drawing desperate defensive attention at half-court, because he’s been confidently letting it fly from the hashmark.
In the Bucks’ 121-114 win over the Nuggets last night, he went 8 of 13 from deep, scoring 28 points. His barrage of five straight in a four-and-a-half minute stretch gave the Bucks their largest lead of the night, and just a little bit of breathing room in a close bout between two of the league’s best squads. Brook Lopez has now sunk at least six threes in three of his last four games. The big man seems to enjoy his modern new role:
Per the Associated Press:
‘’That was an interesting experience,’’ Lopez said after the Nuggets began face-guarding him at half court later in the game in a bid to slow down his perimeter shooting.
Here’s an amazing progression, first brought to my attention by Jason Concepcion of The Ringer. Reading Brook Lopez three-point attempts season by season is reading the story of a changing NBA: 2, 2, 1, 0, 1, 1, 10, 14, 387, 325. So far this year, he’s already taken 93. When you have Giannis Antetokounmpo on your roster, all you really need to do is give that man some space to carve up. Even if that means shipping your one-time post specialist out to half-court and giving him the green light to shoot at will.