By Greg Esposito | June 15th, 2009 1:54 PM
Everyone, including ESPN, seems to be talking about whether or not the Suns should and will trade Shaquille O’Neal to the Cleveland Cavaliers for what amounts to…nothing. The question the Suns and their fans should be asking themselves though, is: Are you ready for Robing Lopez to be this team’s starting center?
According to most reports the Suns won’t exactly be receiving a great starting center in return for O’Neal. The Cavs would send a broken, down possibly retiring, Ben Wallace to the desert for the Big Diesel. Other possible deals would involve the Knicks troubled and not so talented big man Eddie Curry, Erick[a] Dampier from the Mavericks or the injured and under motivated Tyson Chandler from New Orleans.
With each of these options Robin Lopez would have to play significant minutes and probably start if the Knicks or Mavs deals came to fruition. Is he ready for the spotlight?
No one is denying that trading Shaquille O’Neal will help the Suns out financially and give them flexibility in the near future. What everyone should wonder though is will it help this team be a better on the court this season and in upcoming seasons. That all hinges on the development of last years first round pick.
Lopez was expected to be a major contributor in his rookie season. He was suppose to start ten to twenty games in place of the aging O’Neal. Those plans were foiled though as Lopez didn’t show much in his first few months, as he played ten or more minutes in only five of his first twenty games.
His production never picked up all season. He only had five or more rebounds in four times in the sixty games he appeared in. In the NBA with young, physical big men like Dwight Howard, Greg Oden, Chris Bosh, Andrew Bynum and Yao Ming the Suns can’t afford to revert to the years of Danny Schayes and Joe Klein at center.
The drop off from O’Neal to Lopez at center is something this team can’t afford if it hopes to even compete. This isn’t to say that Lopez can’t develop into a solid big man but at this point in his career he isn’t ready to carry the load and we know Amare isn’t willing to play center. The Suns may feel differently though and will have to find out what the fans think.
Are you ready for the Robin Lopez era, or should that be hair-a, to begin? You better be because it could be starting sooner than you think.
This article was originally posted on Fanster.com - All Sports. All Phoenix.