Bulls Season Rewind 18-19: Robin Lopez
The stats have never told the whole story for Bulls big man Robin Lopez. Known and respected leaguewide as a consummate professional and great teammate, the 11-year veteran was a steadying force for the Bulls on and off the court in 2018-19. Though his minutes and averages were a tick down for the past couple of seasons, Lopez finished second on the team in total games played and gave one of the league's youngest team a vital veteran perspective.
After a tough first month of the season in which Lopez struggled out of the gate, he steadied the ship and wound up being perhaps the team's most reliable game-to-game player down the stretch of the season. He was reliable in the post, continued to set some of the league's best screens and even introduced the world to the ‘Earl Trey' three point celebrations (Lopez hit a career-high 7 triples this year). Teenage rookie center Wendell Carter Jr. also found him to be invaluable in learning the intricacies of the NBA, particularly on the defensive end. Overall, Bulls fans knew Robin was always ready to go and he was there providing a steady presence throughout the year, garnering the respect of his teammates and coaching staff.
Let's look at a few standout performances from Robin this season:
February 13, vs Memphis (Bulls 122, Grizzlies 110)
Lopez Stat Line: 25 points (10-15 FG), 5-6 FT, 5 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist
In the last game before the All-Star break, the Bulls' newest acquisition Otto Porter Jr. was the story of the game (setting a career-high in scoring with 37 points), but the unsung hero was the big man in the middle. Lopez got the team started with a flurry of scoring in the first quarter (dropping 12 in the first alone) and giving the Bulls a force in the middle throughout the game, dominating the Grizzlies on the glass. The Bulls were playing inspired and with a passion, and though the headlines focused on others, the game goes differently without the presence of RoLo.
March 18, at Phoenix (Bulls 116, Suns 101)
Lopez Stat Line: 24 points (11-14 FG), 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block
In this mid-March road victory against the young Suns, Lopez was a destructive force against the Suns young frontline. Matched up against 2018 number one overall pick Deandre Ayton, Robin made his presence felt in just 26 minutes, dropping 24 points on a litany of moves around the basket, impressing Ayton so much that after the game, Ayton asked Lopez to teach him how to perfect it. High praise for Lopez's money move, and a showcase of how respected Robin's game is around the league.
April 1, at New York (Knicks 113, Bulls 105)
Lopez Stat Line: 29 points (12-18 FG), 5-8 FT, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block
In this late-season game against the Knicks, both teams found themselves down bodies. With the Bulls out of contention and Lopez the only regular starter healthy enough to play (alongside RoLo, the Bulls started Wayne Selden, Walt Lemon, Shaquille Harrison and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot), he showcased in his 30 minutes that he was still giving it all, despite the circumstances. He finished just a point shy of his career-high in scoring, shouldering the bulk of the offensive load as his inexperienced teammates ran the ball through him in the post. A late comeback by the Bulls would fall short, but Lopez on this night showed his offensive skills and ability to put the ball in the hoop.