A lot was expected of Brook Lopez when the Los Angeles Lakers traded for him last offseason. A consistent 20-point scorer, the franchise expected him to be an offensive focal point while providing much-needed rim protection.
While the defense was there for the most part, Lopez’s offense took a dip and there were definitely some rough stretches in his first year with the team. “It was a very unique season for me,” Lopez noted in his Lakers exit interview.
“I think this one was my most challenging. Being thrown into a new situation, there were a lot of variables, and this was a team trying to find its identity. We had a lot of new players and it took some time to gel.
“I don’t think I really reached my best basketball this season. I played well for a stretch or two but I still think my best basketball is ahead of me.”
One of the reasons for Lopez’s struggles was his tendency to float on the perimeter as opposed to relying on his post game, something he realizes he needs to better balance.
“Obviously there’s a great small-ball mentality going on around the league. A lot of stretch-fives, or smaller-size fives shooting the ball. It’s something I’ve tried to adapt to but at the same time trying not to lose that post presence and inside game,” Lopez said.
Now the question for Lopez is whether he will return next season as he is an unrestricted free agent this summer. “There’s a lot of different variables but that being said, I love what’s going on here,” Lopez added.
“Had we not had a slew of injuries we definitely would’ve been a playoff team. I think this is a great place to be going forward. Not just for myself but any free agent looking to sign somewhere.”
This summer will undoubtedly be an interesting one with a lot of possibilities, but whether or not Lopez returns, he sees bright things for the future of this franchise.
“When you have that kind of foundation and those kind of players playing together on the floor with the right kind of mentality, it’s not about themselves, it’s about the team, it’s something special and very unique,” Lopez said.
“I think there’s going to be a lot of success here in the future because of the way those guys approach the game and the mindset they have. They put team-first. Guys with that mentality and the talent they have, that’s how you build a championship team.”
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