Celtics Eyeing Robin Lopez


Robin Lopez will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1st. Since proving himself as a capable center on the competitive Portland Trailblazers, his value has skyrocketed.

The Trailblazers’ starting big men last year, LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez, combined to make one of the Western Conference’s most formidable front courts.  The synergy between the floor-spacing Aldridge and the defensive-minded Lopez, made for a well-balanced front court. Together, they were capable of battling the West’s best, night-in and night-out.

While the Celtics are undeniably more enamored by Aldridge, Lopez wouldn’t make for a terrible contingency plan if they can’t woo Aldridge. As a seven-footer with a selfless agenda, Lopez would drastically improve the Celtics’ interior defense.

Could he become the Celtics’ next Kendrick Perkins: a bruiser who’s capable of gobbling up rebounds while also protecting the paint?

Danny Ainge may think so, seeing as Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports reported today that the Celtics may be looking to make Lopez the Celtics’ starting center for the 2015-2016 season:

“Sources: If Kevin Love goes forward with visits in July, expect Boston to sell him on pursuing group of Love, Robin Lopez and…Paul Pierce.”

The wording of Wojnarowski’s tweet makes it sound like the Celtics will only pursue Lopez if luring Love seems possible.  However, Ainge may want to seriously consider Lopez regardless. Unlike the other Lopez, Brook, Robin is way more skilled defensively than offensively. While he’s no Dwight Howard, Lopez’s size and tenacity in the paint forces cutters to kick it back out to the perimeter, instead of scoring easy lay-ups.

Perhaps the most intriguing part of Lopez’s game though, is his rebounding.  This year, he ranked tenth in offensive rebounding percentage. His ability to collect offensive boards leads to easy second-chance points, in addition to slowing down opposing teams’ offenses, as their ability to quickly counter-attack is stifled when a tenacious rebounder, like Lopez, forces multiple players to fight for boards.

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At this point, the Celtics are a jump-shooting team – considering they don’t have any consistent post scorers – which makes Lopez a necessary addition.  While, Lopez’s post moves are lacking, having a consistent presence in the paint to grab rebounds adds an invaluable edge to the Celtics’ DNA.

A front court composed of Kevin Love and Robin Lopez would become a top-three front court in the Eastern Conference. Their contradicting set of skills would make them a perfect match, making them an even more impressive duo than Aldridge and Lopez.  If Wojarowski’s tweet had any validity, then Ainge is gunning for an opening-day roster of Smart-Bradley-Pierce-Love-Lopez.

While this lineup could win the Atlantic division, and thus, secure the fourth seed, there’s a good chance this team becomes second-round fodder to a superior team like the Cleveland Cavaliers. However, seeing as they’d be an improvement over this current team – which, as we all know performed far better than we had all anticipated – who am I to count them out?