The Los Angeles Lakers made a bit of a surprising trade earlier this summer, dealing D’Angelo Russell and Timofey Mozgov to the Brooklyn Nets for Brook Lopez and the 27th pick, which they ended up using on Kyle Kuzma.
The deal ended up working out though as giving up on a promising young talent like Russell was what it took to unload Mozgov’s contract, and the Lakers received a promising young player in Kuzma and a former All-Star in Lopez.
Lopez will be the team’s starting center this season and could lead them in scoring as he expanded his game to the three-point line last season and had a lot of success.
ESPN recently released their annual #NBArank, of the top players in the league right now, and Lopez came in at No. 51, which is the highest rated Laker:
Out of nowhere, Lopez morphed into the NBA’s best stretch-5 last season as he led all starting centers in made 3-pointers while launching more than six per game. Yet another notch in his belt as one of the league’s best offensive centers, that development also overshadowed his work on the defensive end where he doesn’t get near the credit he deserves. Though he doesn’t have the quickest feet and switching will never be a calling card, Lopez quietly held opponents to 47 percent shooting at the rim, which was better than noted defensive stalwarts Marc Gasol and Hassan Whiteside.
In what was really his first season shooting threes Lopez shot 34.6 percent from deep on 5.2 attempts per game last season with the Nets. Lopez also averaged 20.5 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.
A player as skilled as Lopez should help take pressure off the Lakers young players this season on both ends of the floor, so he could play an instrumental part on what should be a much improved Lakers team this year.