Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Robin Lopez is a developing big man with some interesting isolated skills, but what he really brings to the Hornets—by way of a sign-and-trade from the Phoenix Suns—is rotational flexibility. Between Lopez, Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson and Jason Smith, Hornets head coach Monty Williams has all kinds of options with which to construct the frontcourt of his lineups—both this season and beyond.
Smith is the oldest of the bunch at 26, and while there are still plenty of details to sort out in terms of how this group plays together, the balance of skill, size and range gets New Orleans off to a great start.
In more specific regard to Lopez, the Hornets have hopefully acquired an ideal defensive complement to Davis—a big who has the size and instincts to handle stronger post threats—thereby releasing Davis to roam, hedge and block shots. Lopez doesn't have the offensive potential or rebounding prowess to make this an ideal pairing, but New Orleans is likely betting that further development and Davis' incredible potential could make for a formidable back line.
The same concepts apply on the offensive end to Lopez's fit, alongside Anderson in particular, and to a lesser extent Davis and Smith. Lopez is the kind of rangeless big man who desperately needs a floor-spacing counterpart. That is an area in which Anderson is particularly adept. That floor-stretching capability affords Lopez the opportunity to stalk the baseline, set off-ball screens and work the offensive glass without clogging up valuable offensive space.
It's unlikely Lopez ever fully fleshes out his offensive game, but if he can find more ways to fully benefit from being tethered to the rim, he could wind up providing the Hornets with a truly useful rotation big.