Bulls Season Rewind 17-18: Robin Lopez
Taking a look back at the big man's second season in Chicago
Robin Lopez 17-18 Season Averages:
Big man Robin Lopez, who’s been a solid contributor to every team he’s been on, found himself in an unfamiliar role this season: the veteran leader. All of a sudden, at 29 (though Robin turned 30 in April of this year), Robin was the most veteran player on the Bulls following the team’s offseason moves last summer.
Robin stepped into the role admirably – in addition to being everybody’s favorite teammate personally, Robin had a career year on the court. Bulls would often start games by feeding the ball to him in the high post, where he’d create buckets either by getting himself close to the rim and putting up his patented hook shot, passing the ball on the post or flashing his ever-improving jump shot. Robin even hit four three-pointers this season, which is four more than he’d ever hit in his career to this point. All this despite having his season significantly shortened as the Bulls gave minutes to the younger, unproven guys down the stretch to see how they’d perform.
Even though he continued his rampage around the league’s mascots and had fun (even playing the title role on "The Bullchelor") he was still one of the most consistent and productive Bulls players on the floor and was the heart of the club last season.
Let’s take a look at some of Robin’s best games of the season:
November 7, AT Toronto Raptors (Raptors 119, Bulls 114)
At the beginning of the season, the Bulls were struggling badly out of the gate. Nikola Mirotic was hurt and Bobby Portis suspended, Kris Dunn was coming off of injury, no Zach LaVine. The Bulls went into this road game against the East’s eventual #1 seed starting rookie Markkanen, forward Justin Holiday, Paul Zipser, Jerian Grant with Lopez – not a lineup we saw too much of this season. On the road against a racous Toronto crowd, Lopez was the clear leader on the floor for the Bulls, scoring 20 points by hitting 10 of 11 shots (how's that for effeciency?) and keeping the Bulls in the game until the end, when a late run (boosted by the return of Portis) fell just short.
Lopez stat line: 20 points (10-11 FG), 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal
December 8, at Charlotte Hornets (Bulls 119, Hornets 111)
As the Bulls began to pick up their play in December, Lopez remained a consistent and key cog to the team’s success, here matching up with Dwight Howard and holding his own, posting a 19-10 double-double and helping the Bulls pick up their second win in a row after starting the season 3-20.
Lopez stat line: 19 points (9-15 FG), 10 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 block
December 15, at Milwuakee Bucks (Bulls 115, Bucks 109)
Continuing their hot streak – the Bulls at this point had now won 5 in a row – the Bulls put up a great performance against their I94 rivals up north. Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic got the headlines in this one, providing the scoring and buckets necessary to take a closely contested win in Milwaukee, but it was the play of Robin that got the Bulls going to start the game and gave them a presence on the inside that helped make the difference. In just 29 minutes, Lopez scored 18 and grabbed 8 boards, as well as providing the veteran leadership and serving as the glue that held the team together.
Lopez Stat Line: 18 points (9-14 FG), 8 rebounds, 1 assist