Hello to another installment of Brew Hoop’s entirely subjective and emotionally-driven 2018-19 Milwaukee Bucks season player evaluations! This time, it’s the Brook Lopez Edition. First, a reminder before we dive in. This will ask three questions: what do they do that helps (Boon), what they do that hurts (Bane), and whether or not they belong (Note: Since the Bucks brought back Lopez, this will be his highlight of the year, because he obviously belongs).
Man, if you had to describe Brook Lopez in one word, I think it’d have to be fun. What a fun player and what a fun human being he is. And boy oh boy, it’s going to be even more of a ball now that Robin is in town too.
Lopez’s Boon: Let It Fly, Let It Fly!
I’ll never forget the text I got from my brother on the night of Oct. 24th, 2018. The Bucks were playing the Sixers at Fiserv Forum, and Brook Lopez was launching threes left and right. My brother texted me asking, “Has Lopez really shot five threes so far???” The season was still young enough where the visual of seeing a 7-footer pull up from well-beyond the 3-point arc forced you to rub your eyes (by the way, Lopez would end up shooting 5-of-11 from deep when the final buzzer of that game sounded). Little did we know that was just the beginning of Lopez’s magical year in Milwaukee. Time and time again, he’d shock the opposing defense and pull up without hesitation, sometimes even requiring to be picked up at halfcourt. At season’s end, he’d boast a 36.5 percentage from deep. That’d help him tally the third best offensive rating among the Bucks this season, trailing only Eric Bledsoe and Nikola Mirotic.
Lopez’s Bane: Cold Spells
For as red-hot he could get when hitting three after three, there were times in which Lopez would cool off — and for extended periods of time. His streaks would come and go and it’d be hard for him to find a groove at times. There were many games in which he didn’t even connect on a single three. His lowest point came in the second round of the playoffs vs. Boston, where he’d sink just 5-of-23 from deep during the series. Moving onto the defensive side of the ball, some rough stretches would frustrate the Stanford product as well — most noticeably when his 3-point capability was matched by the opposing team’s center. However, his defensive ability and anchor made a huge impact on the Bucks, which is one of the reasons it was so imperative for him to be back.
D̶o̶e̶s̶ ̶L̶o̶p̶e̶z̶ ̶b̶e̶l̶o̶n̶g̶?̶ ̶ Lopez’s Highlight
Considering the fact that the Bucks re-signed Lopez to a 4-year, $52M contract (thus proving that yes, he does belong), we’ll revisit his season-defining game (or at least my favorite moment from his illustrious campaign). For me, I have to go with Game 1 vs. Toronto. I mentioned his porous shooting vs. Boston in Round 2, and I’m sure you all remember it. 5-of-23 is pretty abysmal. Moving into the series vs. the Raptors, everyone knew Lopez would have to bounce back, and boy, did he answer in Game 1. He’d explode for a playoff career-high 29 points, including 13 in the fourth. It also provided us with the clapping GIF that will live on forever.
Talked to Brook Lopez about his viral clapping GIF. Told him it will live on in perpetuity.— Matt Velazquez (@Matt_Velazquez) May 16, 2019
“I’m immortal now!” he responded.
Yes, Brook. That is correct.