The Los Angeles Lakers worked methodically when it came to the 2017 offseason, attempting to acquire high-caliber players that can make an immediate impact to the roster. They did just that, drafting Lonzo Ball, signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and trading for All-Star center Brook Lopez.
Perhaps the most dominant of the acquisitions is Lopez, a back to the basket big-man that has actually adjusted to the evolving NBA by developing an outside shot. In fact, Lopez knocked down 134 three pointers during the 2016-17 season, after making only three his first eight seasons in the NBA.
Lopez shot 34.6 percent from three-point range last season, which certainly fits into head coach Luke Walton’s up-tempo and spaced out system. During an interview on The Lowe Post podcast with ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Walton marveled at Lopez’s three-point ability and how it’ll adapt to his system:
He was in the gym the other day, I was blown away. I mean I knew he could shoot threes and he hit a bunch last year, 130-something. But when you sit there and watch him shoot threes, they’re beautiful. They come off his hand, they’re soft. He’s going seven or eight out of 10 at every spot, it’s impressive. I just need to make sure I don’t fall in love with that because I still need his…he’s a big boy and he’s got game on that block.
While Lopez certainly has the ability to post up on any given possession, the key benefit will be how he can step out to three-point range during drives from his other teammates. That can directly help the likes of Julius Randle and Ball, providing space on pick-and-roll scenarios and drives to the basket.
Lopez was front and center, alongside Walton and assistant coach Brian Shaw, watching the Lakers secure another victory in the playoffs during the 2017 Las Vegas Summer League. The California native spoke to how excited he was to have joined the Lakers, a team he grew up idolizing.
Now in the final season of his contract, Lopez can expect to have a huge role for the 2017-18 Lakers, as well as helping the young centers on the roster mature. The former All-Star averaged 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks last season, while shooting 47.4 percent from the field and collecting a career-high 2.3 assists.