NBA Rumors: How Robin Lopez Would Allow Anthony Davis to Thrive in the Paint

Tyler ConwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 25, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - MARCH 27:  Robin Lopez #15 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the NBA game against the San Antonio Spurs at US Airways Center on March 27, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Spurs defeated the Suns 107-100. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The New Orleans Hornets' active offseason continues, as the team is on the verge of acquiring Phoenix Suns restricted free agent Robin Lopez in a three-team trade, according to Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski


Hornets, Suns, Wolves are nearing agreement on a 3-way deal that would send Robin Lopez to the Hornets in a sign-and-trade, sources tell Y!

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) July 24, 2012


The deal also would involve the Minnesota Timberwolves, who would send Wesley Johnson and a first-round pick to Phoenix in exchange for the cap space necessary to make a run at free agent Andrei Kirilenko (all per Wojnarowski).

For the Hornets, this will give the team its third another big man acquisition of the summer after signing power forward Ryan Anderson to a four-year, $36 million deal (facilitated by a sign-and-trade with the Orlando Magic) and drafting Kentucky's Anthony Davis No. 1 in June's draft.

Lopez's affect on Davis is likely the No. 1 reason for Hornets general manager Dell Demps trying to trade for the 24-year-old center.

With Anderson ostensibly in place to start at power forward, all signs point to Davis at least initially making the shift over to center for his rookie season.

Lopez's four years of NBA experience could provide Davis with some solid mentoring that should help that transition as well. Don't get me wrong, it's not like the Hornets hired Hakeem Olajuwon to fix Davis' post-game. But bringing in Lopez would make a difference.

Most importantly, Lopez's acquisition should give the Hornets comfort with allowing Davis the freedom to dominate the painted area.

If an unchained Davis gets himself in foul trouble, having Lopez as a replacement means never having to go without a strong post defender. That means Hornets coach Monte Williams can allow his No. 1 pick to shine defensively and make up for the rest of New Orleans' mediocre (at best) defensive lineup.

And even in the event Davis cannot transition to NBA center, the two should be able to work well together. The Brow's unlimited athleticism makes him the perfect complement to Lopez's plodding style. Davis' high school point guard experience will also help the Hornets avoid using the notoriously bad passer Lopez in any post set plays. 

It's also not like moving Anderson to a sixth-man role would make him a sunk cost. This past season was his first as a starter, and the whole having $36 million guaranteed should make him happy with any significant role.

On paper, the Hornets acquiring Lopez simply gives them a mediocre bench presence and fun teammate. But in reality, they've unlocked yet another door to Anthony Davis' potential superstardom.

And with that, the future is certainly bright in New Orleans.