With the # 15 pick in the 2008 NBA draft, the Phoenix Suns select Robin Lopez from Stanford. Lopez is a 7' big man who can play both center or power forward. He is only 20, and played two years in college. He is still growing and at 255 lbs, he will need to get bigger. He is known more to be a defensive player, just what the Suns need. It is clear that Suns management is moving away from the "run and gun" on every play style that we have loved over the past few seasons. But that is OK. The Suns will still be able to run, just not like we did pre-Shaq. Robin is both athletic and he can run and that is a plus for this quick team. Robin led the PAC 10 in blocked shots and is known more for his defense. Who better to learn from than the "Big Cactus". On this team, he will not have to be a prolific scorer. We have more than enough players who can score. Here is what the draft experts had to say about Robin:
Really hits the glass hard and hustles for loose balls ... An excellent shot blocker ... With his quickness and explosive leaping ability he has a real chance to be a factor as a shot blocker on the next level ... Foot speed is good allowing him to get to rebounds and run the floor very well ... Tough, hard nosed player willing to do the dirty work to help his team win ... He is extremely long and naturally strong and aggressive ... Scores mostly on garbage baskets and cheapies around the hoop ... Must improve from the free throw line where he shot just 55%...Experience and time should allow him to become a better offensive player, although it's unlikely he will ever be the scorer.
Players always say, "I want to be here," but Lopez, , means it. He turned down opportunities to work out for several teams picking ahead of the Suns because he didn't want to impress them. When Lopez met with the Suns during workouts, he blew them away with his knowledge of the team, its offensive and defensive scheme and how he could fit in. He understood the roster, spoke about ways he could help defend the pick and roll. He understood who the scorers were on this team and emphasized that his ego isn't fueled by how many times he touches the ball. This is significant. The Suns have been hindered by players who were preoccupied with what their teammates make or do. It's the biggest reason Shawn Marion wears a Miami Heat jersey these days. At 7 feet and 255 pounds, with a solid work ethic and a keen awareness of his role with the team, Lopez could make the Suns the real winners. By the way, the last time the Suns picked 15th? It was 1996 and they picked some kid out of Santa Clara named Steve Nash. Yea, he worked out OK. Welcome to Phoenix, Robin!
P.S. Thank you Paola