The other Lopez
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez' second season-ending injury in three years has left Portland Trail Blazers big man Robin Lopez alone to fly the family banner, and injuries to LaMarcus Aldridge, Joel Freeland and Meyers Leonard have made Lopez imperative to the Blazers frontcourt.

He's handling both responsibilities just fine.

It has been easy to overlook Lopez because Brook, his twin brother, is a max- contract player and the starting lineup he's part of includes four top-25 fantasy options (yahoo.com leagues) in Aldridge, Damian Lillard, Nicolas Batum and Wesley Matthews.

His parents also may have set him up to be a lifelong sidekick by naming him Robin.

But Lopez is finally stepping out of the shadows.

The Sideshow Bob lookalike has recorded six double-doubles in his last eight games while averaging 34.6 minutes, 11.8 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in that stretch.

He helped the Blazers win their third straight game Tuesday with 12 points, 10 rebounds, seven blocks and one steal in 38 minutes of action.

Over the past two weeks, Lopez' totals give him an overall ranking of 15th ... in the entire NBA. On the season, he has been the 29th best player.

Going back further, he has provided fantasy owners with 11.8 points, 9.6 boards and 2.2 blocks per game over his last 18.

Lopez spent his first four seasons as a spare part and Shaquille O'Neal punching bag on the Phoenix Suns, playing under 20 minutes per game in all four seasons and less than 15 per game in three of them.

He gave up a glimpse of his potential as an impact fantasy center last season for the New Orleans Hornets, putting up 11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He started all 82 games, but played just 26 minutes per game.

For some reason the Hornets, now calling themselves the Pelicans, turned Lopez, Greivis Vasquez, the rights to Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round pick into four years and $85 million worth of Tyreke Evans and Jrue Holiday this past offseason.

The Pelicans came into the season with Jason Smith, Greg Stiemsma and Alexis Ajinca at center. Granted, they planned on playing plenty of minutes with Anthony Davis at center and Ryan Anderson at power forward, but Anderson was limited to 22 games by a fractured foot and herniated disc in his neck.

Portland picked up Lopez for the discount price of rookie center Jeff Withey, a future second-round pick and cash considerations.

Fantasy owners paid a similar price for Lopez in 2013 drafts, selecting him with an average draft position (ADP) of 115.7, 43rd among center-eligible players.

He has played like a leading man for both.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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