COMMENTARY | It must be difficult growing up, having aspirations of playing in the NBA someday, when you aren't even the best basketball player in your own home. This is the fate that New Orleans Hornets C Robin Lopez faced for many years when fans, scouts, and the media compared his game to his twin brother Brook's.
Still, both Robin and Brook Lopez were McDonald's All-Americans and they had fine careers in their two years at Stanford University. Robin Lopez averaged 7.5 and 10.2 points along with 5.5 and 5.7 rebounds while Brook averaged 12.6 and 19.3 points and 6.0 and 8.2 rebounds in their two collegiate seasons, respectively.
Although both went as first round picks in the 2008 NBA Draft, Brook has unquestionably had a superior NBA career compared to Robin. Brook is an All-Star, earning $13.7 million this season for the Brooklyn Nets. Meanwhile, Robin only started 94 games in his four-year NBA career prior to joining the Hornets.
However, Robin Lopez has made the most of his opportunity with the Hornets. In fact, he has started more games for New Orleans than he had total NBA starts before this season. Lopez's key averages in 2012-13 for the Hornets of 11.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per games are all career bests.
Following the 2012 NBA Draft, most Hornets fans presumed that Anthony Davis would have to play center because New Orleans was so thin at the position. However, Lopez has been so solid at center that Davis has been able to play and develop at power forward.
Robin Lopez's weakness is that he is not as strong defensively as many NBA centers. In fact, Robin often does not play late in games as Monty Williams tries to keep Davis and long-range shooter Ryan Anderson on the floor together in clutch situations. But Lopez's offensive skills are better than advertised and he has shown surprising athleticism and footwork under the basket.
As Brook Lopez puts together another outstanding NBA season with 18.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game, his twin brother is finally making a name for himself in New Orleans. With five years of NBA experience each, Brook is clearly a much better NBA player. However, Robin Lopez is proving that he is also a solid NBA center. And that is all the Hornets needed him to be this season.
Patrick Michael was born in New Orleans and currently resides in the Big Easy. Patrick has followed the Hornets since they moved to New Orleans and has covered the team since 2010. He was in attendance the night the Hornets were one win away from the Western Conference Finals. Follow Patrick Michael on Twitter at patmichael84.
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