Lopez twins set to go their own ways

Jonathan Baum
Yahoo! Sports

NEW YORK – Of course they walked in together.

And of course their tables were right next to each other.

After all, they played in the paint together at Stanford and declared their early entries to Thursday's NBA draft together, so what else would one expect from Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez here at the NBA draft's media session on Wednesday?

The twin 7-footers have somewhat similar demeanors and the same almost cartoonishly low voices. They have been distinguishable only by their games – Brook being more polished offensively, with Robin providing the more intense defensive presence – and, of course, their hairstyles.

But starting Thursday, for the first time in their 20 years, there almost certainly will be one more distinction.

Their uniforms.

Brook Lopez could be a top-five pick with Robin more likely to go somewhere in the middle of the first round. So barring a deal – "I'll talk to the GM, make a couple trades," Brook jokes – or Robin slipping to a team with a second pick later in the first round, the brothers' days as teammates are over.

"It'll hit me when it happens," Robin said, "when I'm living in a different city by myself."

It was no surprise Brook decided to forgo his final two years of eligibility after averaging 19.3 points and 8.2 rebounds last season in leading Stanford to a 28-8 record and berth in the Sweet 16, where the Cardinal lost to Texas. Rather, more questions surrounded Robin, who tallied 10.2 points, 5.7 boards and 2.3 blocks per game.

But Robin Lopez did declare, and his stock has risen high enough to earn a green-room invite from the NBA, placing him amid the top draft prospects during the week of Manhattan-area activities and, of course, right next to his brother just more than 24 hours before both their names will be called by David Stern.

So here they are, both taking in New York City for the first time, dining with their family at Bubba Gump's and hitting the Virgin Megastore.

And each is inextricably linked to the other.

"I've been trying to work on emulating Robin's game defensively so I can become as complete a player as I can," Brook says.

And where can Robin's game use the most improvement?

Offense. Where Brook thrives.

Aside from taking pieces of each other's games, ask the brothers which NBA player they would most like to emulate, and they both offer the same answer: Tim Duncan.

The similarities shouldn't surprise anyone. After all, the brothers grew up together, teaching themselves the game at the same time.

"It was easy to get a one-on-one game going," Robin said.

They played together in high school at San Joaquin Memorial in Fresno, Calif., before both headed to Stanford for two seasons (both plan to finish their degrees). And now here they sit, preparing for their own careers while still answering questions about each other.

The most popular? What will it be like when the brothers face each other on opposing teams for the first time?

"I don't know – it's never happened before," Robin says.

Could the brotherly love vanish in favor of a Primeau-like sibling slugfest?

"Could be," he said.

Added Brook, "I don't know. Who do you think is going to foul out first?"

From top-rated recruits to stars of a major collegiate program to top-rated prospects, the amount of focus on the brothers only has intensified. And on this day, Brook seems a little more at ease with the questioning, quicker to crack a smile. Robin relays that GMs have told him his intensity is his greatest strength – an assessment with which he agrees.

And that's evident as he handles the tape recorders and microphones surrounding him and the bright lights, literal and figurative, shining. Make no mistake, he still is accessible and conversational, but seemingly not quite as at ease as Brook.

Except, that is, when Robin speaks of his brother. That's when most of the smiles emerge, as Robin at various times glanced over to the next table when mentioning Brook. Asked about his emotions, Robin relays a story about how both he and Brook became angry when then-Stanford coach Trent Johnson was ejected during a tournament game against Marquette – a game Brook sealed with a late bucket in OT.

Yet when asked how he deals with the constant comparisons to his brother, Robin – who admits that he and fellow prospects have been given tips on how to deal with the media – hesitates. Pressed for an answer, he smiles – though his initial reaction already has belied the answer he is about to give.

"I imagine all twins (are compared)," he says, "but it happens, so I just roll with it."

So maybe Robin minds, maybe he doesn't. As for Brook?

"No, the guy's cool," Brook said. "I enjoy talking about him; I hope he enjoys talking about me."

Nearly three months ago, when Brook and Robin Lopez declared for the draft on the same day through their mother, Deborah Ledford, two separate statements were issued.

"When they go into the NBA, they're going to go to separate teams," Ledford said. "Robin, his whole life he's been underappreciated and undervalued."

So Robin will get the chance to be fully valued on his own, to not have to answer so many of these questions. And Brook says he has "come to terms with the fact we'll end up in different places."

But that's for another day. Thursday, specifically.

In the meantime, as the media session ends, Brook stands up after answering the final question (which was about his brother) and waits a couple of minutes for Robin to finish a phone interview.

Eventually Robin rises and the two 7-footers stand side-by-side as they are chatted up by an acquaintance.

Then they leave together.

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