4. Brook Lopez
Normally, a center who is months away from turning 31, in the last year of his contract and in his 11th season, wouldn’t hold much trade value.
Centers age quickly, especially ones that measure in at seven-feet tall and 270 pounds. Brook Lopez, though, is not like other NBA centers.
Yes, Lopez is massive, but he shoots like a guard who is a foot shorter. This season, in Budenholzer’s offense, Lopez has jacked up over six three-pointers a game, hitting 39 percent of them.
Lopez’s full transformation into long-range sharpshooter has been one of the biggest stories of the season for the Bucks. With Lopez constantly bombing away from deep, he’s drawn centers out of the paint, allowing Giannis, Middleton, Bledsoe and Brogdon to attack the paint with ease.
But it’s not just Lopez’s shooting that’s made him so valuable. On defense, Lopez is the focal point of Budenholzer’s scheme, as guards aim to funnel ball-handlers toward the rim where Lopez is waiting to contest and swat any shot near him.
Lopez’s 2.7 blocks per 36 minutes is the best mark of his career, and it still doesn’t tell the whole story of how he affects the opposing offense. The Bucks give up the fewest shots at the rim in the league and instead allow opponents to take contested mid-range shots instead.
Without Lopez, the Bucks’ transformation on offense and defense into one of the best teams in the league would not have been possible, or at least nearly as effective.
Lopez is the rare 3-and-D center, chucking it from deep on offense and swatting shots on defense. There aren’t many players like Lopez in the NBA, and almost every team wants one.
That’s why despite Lopez being an unrestricted free agent this offseason and getting up there in age is still an extremely valuable asset for the Bucks.
He may not be as good as Bledsoe, but his skill-set is more unique and in high demand in today’s NBA.