Robin Lopez: Statistics & replication on a changing team


Heading into the 2013-14 season, Robin Lopez’s first season with the Trail Blazers, everyone knew he would be an upgrade over any other center Portland had on the roster. Although, I don’t think anyone actually expected he would have the impact he did last season.

Looking at Lopez’s stats prior to joining the Trail Blazers, people had a reason to be skeptical about him. On paper, he doesn’t look all that impressive. I mean, he only averaged 5.6 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game in 2012-13 with the New Orleans Hornets, his career high.


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In Shane Young’s rankings of all 30 centers for, Lopez was ranked 18th in the league for the 2013-14 season. Honestly, the ranking feels a little low based on his performance, so I decided to dig deeper.

Often, Lopez gets left out when talking about the Trail Blazers. He doesn’t have the star appeal of Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge, and while he’s approaching on-par with Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews, he rarely gets the same publicity as either of them. I’m guilty of this as much as anyone else.

When I did my deep dive into Lopez’s stats and impact from last season, I was surprised in a good way. Lopez was awesome!


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May 12, 2014; Portland, OR, USA; Portland Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez (42) reacts after making a basket against the San Antonio Spurs during the first quarter in game four of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at the Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Craig Mitchelldyer-USA TODAY Sports

Clearly, he was not an All-Star caliber center, but he was the perfect fit with this Blazers team for his price and his skill set. Could the Blazers use Dwight Howard? Of course they could; every team in the league could use Howard except for the Lakers, and that’s not even for basketball reasons.

Lopez averaged 11.1 PPG, slightly lower than his last season in New Orleans, but basically all of his other numbers increased across the board with an uptick in minutes. Lopez averaged nearly three more rebounds per game with the Blazers. That’s a steady jump.

On top of the personal improvements, remarkably, Lopez led the entire league in offensive rating. I will repeat: Lopez led the entire league in offensive rating. The entire league! If you are unfamiliar with the advanced metrics, offensive rating is basically “points produced per 100 possessions,” according to

Last season, Lopez’s offensive rating was 128.1, which was also 3.5 points better than runner-up Chris Paul. That’s truly extraordinary efficiency from the Blazers’ big man. Shooting 82 percent from the free throw line and 55 percent from the field obviously helps that offensive rating considerably (Lopez also finished third in the NBA in offensive rebounds last season behind Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan).

Look, he has his limitations, specifically in the low post. The Trail Blazers might have a ceiling on their success with Lopez as their starting center, but one thing is certain: he is the perfect fit for the Trail Blazers’ offensive scheme.

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Lopez’s contract is up at the end of the season, and he’ll likely have to split some time with Chris Kaman at center this year. His numbers may not be as great as they were this season, but there’s something special about RoLo and the way he plays with the Trail Blazers that makes me feel like it is possible for Lopez to repeat his success from last season.

Portland made a few changes this offseason. Steve Blake and Kaman will take minutes from other bench players, and that could eat into Lopez’s minutes. Terry Stotts is still going to coach the same style of basketball with Lillard and Aldridge taking charge. Lopez should be able to replicate his offensive efficiency from last season because basically all of it was from the run of play; the Blazers didn’t usually run plays to get Lopez involved. His production was a result of the offense, and that’s a really good sign for another big year from Lopez.

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