Milwaukee Bucks: Robin Lopez’s groundbreaking 3-point shooting

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - FEBRUARY 28: (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images) /

Becoming an effective three-point shooter overnight, Robin  Lopez has become even more valuable than the Milwaukee Bucks could have hoped.

When Robin Lopez was signed by the Milwaukee Bucks last summer, there was a hope that the veteran center could expand his shooting range. That’s really all it was, though.

Lopez was a respectable mid-range jump shooter, but had never really taken the kind of bold leap into launching threes that his brother Brook Lopez had done so successfully the season prior in Milwaukee.

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Still, given the Bucks’ core fundamentals, by hook or by crook, Robin was going to be tasked with firing away from deep. It wasn’t even so much about necessarily making the shots as having the conviction to take them, keeping the defense honest, and maintaining spacing for teammates.

Fast-forward to April, though, and it’s safe to say that Robin has surpassed all expectations as a shooter.

Having attempted just 51 triples in 11 years before the current campaign, RoLo has thrown up 96 attempts from distance in just 862 minutes this season.

Even better, though, RoLo has made a percentage of them that’s completely respectable, and even better than the league average for players at this position.

Having made 34.4 percent of his three-point tries, Robin has had no shortage of opportunities to break out his trademark tea drinking celebration this season.

More generally, though, the belief and proof that he’s actually able to make those shots has only further emboldened Mike Budenholzer and the rest of the Bucks’ trust in him. Lopez is as savvy and reliable a defensive center as you could find, while also boasting a creditable post game driven by his ever deadly hook shot. Add a three-point shot to the mix, and he begins to look more versatile than ever.

It’s perhaps no surprise given his existing comfort in the mid-range, but Lopez has proven particularly efficient shooting from the corners.

Robin has knocked down a stellar 38 percent of his looks from the corners as a Buck, and the fact that more that 50 of his 96 attempts have come from those areas of the floor may still be even more encouraging than the fact that so many of them are actually going in.

One of the biggest challenges for any big looking to rework their game as a shooter and a floor spacer is getting a handle on the positioning. For a player such as RoLo who entered the NBA in 2008 as a center very much did his best work on the interior on both ends, trailing out to the corners represents a break of a habit of a lifetime.

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It should be counterintuitive given what so many coaches have asked Robin to do over the years, but he’s demonstrated impressive adaptability in his first year in Milwaukee, and it may yet serve both him and the Bucks well for years to come.