Milwaukee Bucks: Grades for Brook Lopez’s one-year, $3.4 million deal

NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 22: (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - MARCH 22: (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) /
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LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 8: (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 8: (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images) /


Lopez’s fit is by no means seamless, but it gives the Bucks a kind of option and player their roster had been lacking, and shouldn’t be overly difficult to make work either.

First and foremost, age and injury history aside, Lopez was never the kind of ultra mobile big man who was perfectly suited to switch defensively and chase wings and guards around the perimeter. Even on the interior, Lopez’s defense has long been a source of scrutiny and certainly isn’t likely to be a catalyst for positive change in Milwaukee’s play on that end.

On the offensive end, though, Lopez should make for an excellent complement for the Bucks’ best players, and a player who fits a lot of the criteria for what Mike Budenholzer looks for from his centers too.

Like almost every center in the league, Lopez is far from a deadeye from three-point range, but just being capable from that distance automatically puts him in the upper echelon of floor spacing big men.

In spite of always being a capable mid-range jump shooter, Lopez attempted just 31 three-pointers throughout the first eight years of his career. Over the last two years, he has transformed his game by attempting 712 shots from deep and making a respectable 34.5 percent of them.

Lopez’s efficiency could certainly do with improving, but it’s his willingness to let fly from deep that will automatically open up the floor for teammates.

That will play to the strengths of Giannis Antetokounmpo, and it should also create higher quality looks for Lopez too. Since adding the long ball to his game, Lopez has been stuck on lesser teams where he commanded significant attention. That certainly won’t be the case with the Bucks as Antetokounmpo’s drive-first mentality and Middleton’s gravity should lead to high percentage looks for Lopez.

That should lead to higher percentage three-point looks for Lopez and create the potential for improved efficiency from distance, but it doesn’t mean his interior play should be overlooked either.

Lopez is a skilled and polished post-scorer of a caliber this Bucks team hasn’t had the luxury of playing with. His career average of 20.7 points per 36 minutes over the course of nine seasons has largely been built upon Lopez’s touch and ability with his back to the basket, and as a bail-out option or a feature of lineups when Antetokounmpo goes to the bench, it will open up a range of possibilities for Milwaukee.

On the offensive end, the addition of Lopez frankly leaves the Bucks as something of an open book in terms of what they can achieve. Lopez can play on the outside when he shares the floor with players like Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe, while in lineups with Middleton and Brogdon he could anchor a spaced-out offense from the paint.

Lopez has been an inconsistent rebounder rather than a flat-out bad rebounder over the course of his career, yet him and Antetokounmpo will make for an interesting pairing in that department and more generally in a defensive sense.

The Bucks’ Greek star has the agility, the athleticism, the quickness and, increasingly, the strength to cover up some of Lopez’s deficiencies on the defensive end. What Lopez can do defensively is block shots, though, and paired with Antetokounmpo, they should make for a large and imposing duo at the rim.