FanPost

The Fropez that snarled at the heart of the Suns line-up....

Howdy all…

For the subject of today’s post I chose one at will be important for us Suns fanatics over the coming season…What do we need from Robin Lopez? While the departure of Amare Stoudemire and his 23 & 9 was partly compensated by Turkoglu, Warrick, and copious quantities of hope, we will need Fropez/RoLo to step it up a tad this year....So what qualifies stepping up? Well, besides staying healthy and buying the right conditioner/detangler for his ‘fro, I think quantifying the required contributions as raw statistics gets a little dicey. Of course that won’t stop me from giving it the old college try. In my infinite Sun God-like wisdom, I have captured this with just slightly more accuracy than guessing.

 

REBOUNDING– Robin averaged 4.9 rebounds per game last year. At face value, this is pretty sucky, but when you consider that Robin averaged almost 7 boards a game (amidst back problems and limited time on the court) once he was inserted into the starting line-up, it is a little more comforting. The problem arises that our defacto PF for this year, Hedo Turkoglu averages about 4 rebounds a game less than our departing Power Forward. When coupled with the thought that Hakim Warrick, the back-up PF, rebounds just slightly better, it raises the acid level in my stomach, and causes me to take a 3 hour Hooter’s lunch on company time…

However, it’s never as bad as it looks like (Or so I tell my boss whenever he asks why I never get anything done...). The Suns wings rebound better than virtually every other team’s wings,  plus Hedo can't possibly rebound any worse than last year...he has no choice but to improve.  This translates into I am actually anticipating is that we need Robin to give us a solid 8.5 to 9.0 rebounds a game. We all know Robin spent a lot of time off the court due to match-ups, fouls, and injury last year. This year, if he can stay healthy and away from foul trouble, there is no reason he can’t play 25-30 minutes a game and bring in that number of boards.

SCORING – Robin averaged 8.2 point per game last year. At face value, this is also nothing to write home about, but when you consider that Robin averaged almost 12 ppg as a starter, it becomes a lot more palatable. Personally, I feel that this is the area we don’t need a whole lot of improvement from Robin this year. The Suns are going to score some points regardless. Looking at their personnel and their system, I would be very surprised if we don’t score at least 109 ppg as a team and lead the league in scoring…again.

I also expect Nash’s scoring average to go up as he will be freed up to take more shots with Hedo on the court. JRich becomes more of an offensive option (I fully expect a 20+ ppg season from JRich) and we have a few guys on the bench that can fill it up in Frye, Hakim, Childress, & Goran. I say we just need Robin to give us 14-15 ppg…totally within the realm of possibility as he gains greater significance in the offense without STAT. If I am wrong about this, sue me, laugh, or talk about me, your choice….

DEFENSE – This is an area that I think Robin is already fairly decent at. He plays good post defense, maintains his position, and doesn’t go for a lot a fakes. He also is a pretty good shot-blocker. One area I think he can improve is on learning not to foul his defender as his defender is making the move to the basket. Personally, I feel this is just a matter of learning how to playing the NBA and making adjustments to the game. This will come in time and I fully expect Robin to be much better in this regards this year. I also expect Robin to increase his shot-blocking to about 2.0 blocks per game with a full season of starting and getting the minutes he needs.  Of course I expect to win the lottery every year, so I just may be full of crap…you never know…

INTANGIBLES – Well, what can I say? Our boy Lopez here can be an animated individual...All this can be readily exemplified from the breaking of a glass door, assorted scowls and snarls, terse interviews, all the way to some well placed elbows on opponents. Personally, I love it!!! Every team needs one or two guys that can set the intensity level and tone. Robin embraces this role as “our enforcer”…a guy that can lay the wood on someone that drives the lane with abandon, or drop a timely elbow on an opposing player that needs some “love…” Personally, I think he just needs to keep doing what he does. His intensity level is exactly what we need. He will get smarter and understand how and when to pick his spots as this next season progress...

All in all, I think if he gets the minutes by staying on the court and being healthy, there is no way he does not give the Suns what they need next year…But hey, don’t believe me…tell us what you think he needs to give the Suns next year…!

 

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