Bucks Lead

Brook’s Big Impact

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When the Bucks inked Brook Lopez to a one-year, $3.8 million contract this past summer, most people thought it was a steal. The Bucks have exploded out of the gates this season– and a big part of that is courtesy of Lopez himself.

Defensive Impact

This is the one area where Lopez hasn’t made a huge difference is defensively. He is a solid one-on-one defender against other big centers and has good block numbers with 1.8 BPG (2.6 BPG per-36 minutes). He still struggles against quicker matchups when he is switched on them, but the Bucks have done a good job of making sure that doesn’t happen too often so far. The Bucks’ defensive rating doesn’t change much whether he is on the court or not– sporting a 96.4 on-court rating and a 98.9 off-court rating.

Rebounding Impact

Lopez often takes a lot of heat for being a seven-foot center that puts up pedestrian rebounding numbers. So far this year, he is averaging 3.0 RPG (4.3 RPG per-36). While those don’t look good on paper, his impact on rebounding reaches a lot deeper than that.

When Lopez is off the court, the Bucks have a rebounding percentage of 51.7, which ranks 7th in the league. When he is on the court their rebounding percentage jumps to 54, ranking second best right behind the Denver Nuggets at 54.5. Lopez excels at using his huge frame to box out his man which is usually the other teams best rebounder. This usually leaves the physical rebound up to guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo (13.3 RPG) and Khris Middleton (5.4 RPG), who are both having career years in rebounding thus far.

Offensive Impact

The place where Lopez is making the biggest impact is on the offensive end. His raw numbers are not flashy by any means, averaging 11.9 PPG (17.0 PPG per-36). But like a lot of his other stats, you see just how valuable this guy is when digging deeper.

With Brook on the court, the Bucks have an offensive rating of 119.3, ranking second in the league (Golden State Warriors— 120.0). With Brook off the court, the Bucks have their worst rating for any player on their roster, even Giannis. They fall to a staggering 102.7, which would rank 27th in the league.

The way that Lopez is able to pull his man out of the paint and hit threes is super valuable to this team– because it opens up the inside for guys like Giannis and Eric Bledsoe. And when teams try to crash in on these players, they are able to just kick it out to guys like Lopez for a wide open three. This was very evident against the Philadelphia 76ers, where he finished with 21 points. You often see Joel Embiid go to crash in on Giannis, who then just kicks it to Lopez.

Similar situation in last night’s game– Giannis drives in and kicks it out to Lopez, who drains the triple.

This all culminates a whopping net rating of 18.6 when he is on the court which, again, is better than when Giannis is on the court. Most people knew that Lopez was going to be a solid center for the Bucks this year, but I don’t think too many people predicted that Lopez would have this much impact on the success of the Bucks, where his advanced stats paint him as the best or second best player on the team.

All stats via NBA Stats.

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