In the NO Podcast Episode 80: Robin Lopez and Ryan Anderson

In this episode, we talk about the Robin Lopez and Hakim Warrick acquisition, what that means for starting line-ups and Anthony Davis. Oh, and I was poetic about the wonder that is Ryan Anderson.

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57 responses to “In the NO Podcast Episode 80: Robin Lopez and Ryan Anderson”

  1. You both rate this trade as a C- because Lopez will be an average player and $15M over 3 years makes Lopez over paid as a C? How much do you think we overpaid? $1M/year? What about that we gave up so little to get Lopez? How do you factor in the surgery Lopez had in 2010 and that was affecting him in at least the 2011-12 season, when you say Lopez only had one good season out of four?

    What if Lopez comes close to his 2009-10 season form, when Phoenix was a 3 seed? And how can you tell he won’t do that?

    What makes you guys “Debbie Downers”, to use your expression, is that you are both so negatively evalating this trade without seeing Lopez in a Hornets uniform.

    We agree about Ryan Anderson, who I love, and I expect him to play more minutes at big (C and PF) than any other Hornets player this year. There are 96 minutes/game at PF and C. Anderson’s minutes will be the 30s, which leaves minutes in the 20s, or below, for everyone else at the C and PF.

    • See I agree with some of this:

      Robin Lopez gets a clean slate with me starting now. I can project what I THINK he will do- which is far less than most fans apparently- but what he did as a Sun won’t go into my evaluation of him as a Hornet. But it works both ways; people are “positively evaluating this trade (to use your expression) w/o seeing Lopez as a Hornet.

      All we have to predict the future is the past and I think the past supports Ryan and my prediction of the future. If you look at the comments below, the “pro-Lopez” people have a lot of “if’s”

      IF he gets 100% healthy
      IF Monty gets the best out of him
      IF we have a PG who can get him the ball in the P&R

      I am rooting for him as hard as any of you, but I am not going to build up my hopes for a guy whose past shows that, more likely than not, will be our 4th big getting 15 minutes and producing relatively little in the grand scheme

      • I appreciate the response, Michael. I am in the withhold judgement camp, with a general presumption based on Dell’s past results that this trade is more likely than not to end up positively for the Hornets.

        We all shall see how this trade plays out.

    • I agree! I do not think we will be able to tell if Lopez is “overpaid” or He has a “fair contract” until we see him play for our Hornets for the next 2 seasons.

      But I agree that 7-footers are usually overpaid.

    • What’s odd is I haven’t heard anyone bring up his on-court demeanor. It makes me wonder how many Hornets fans have payed attention to him over the years. The biggest difference in his productivity has been his attitude. His sophomore year he looked energized and excited. He was playing hard and never giving up on the possession despite some of his shortcomings (mainly how poor he was at catching the ball in the post). Around the Phoenix area he was heralded as the future of the team. Everyone was saying that Amare playing PF opened up a lot more options if there was a competent big in the post. Needless to say, Lopez diminished under the higher USG%. He played worse, and he saw the backlash of the fans who would rather put their frustrations on the shortcomings of a player who in all honesty probably played outside of his skill level due to a small sample size, good supporting cast, and good attitude. Once those curtains were removed he was exposed as a middling player, and as Schwann and McNamara explained, disappointed from his expectations.
      The last season he looked worse than ever. I watched him commit stupid frustration fouls. He actively lost the game for the suns against the Raptors after Bargnarni frustrated him on defense. Read that again. Bargnarni got to him.
      If you want to measure how overpaid he is let’s start by assessing his value by comparing him against the rest of the league per his “position”. Name 5 starting centers who played better than him last season. Channing Frye, PHX’s other backup big (who admittedly plays both PF and C) nearly doubled Lopez in MPG. THAT’S how good he is. That’s what he meant to this own team. After seeing him play I’d say he is a middling backup big. If he is your C off the bench you can live with what he gives you. Now how much would you pay for that? $5 million for 3 years for a team that needs flexibility to build around its young core? I wouldn’t.
      Admittedly, I’m not a GM for a reason and maybe Demps sees something I don’t but objectively as I can look at this I think a C- is generous.

      • Also I have to say that, to me, the Lopez trade is being viewed more harshly on this site than other recent moves, like matching Phoenix’s offer for Gordon or drafting tweener Austin Rivers. It seem like there are a lot more potential salary cap problems paying oft injured Gordon $13M/year for 4 years than paying Lopez $5M/year for 3 years. And Lopez has a position he can play. It is unclear (at best) how well Rivers played PG in college, let alone if he can play PG in NBA.

        I don’t understand where this new found, Lopez focussed, negativity is coming from.

      • I was kind of shocked at the estimation of Lopez’s value. I understand Ryan and Mike’s arguments, especially from the point of view of long-term risk, but I don’t know what other moves the Hornets could make here. Literally. I don’t know. I’d like to see a comparison. Mike said from the perspective of this coming season, the move is kind of an A-. So, if things work out well, and depending on how next offseason shakes out, we may have a different view of the trade.

        I do take their `pessimism’ as the jury being out but that Robin has failed to impress lately.

        That’s fair in my book.

      • Zombian you are right on with your comments. I’m a Suns fan and you’ve basically described why the Suns gave up on Lopez.
        He cant catch the ball on the post, he cant play the PnR and he doesnt rebound that well.

      • Comparing the minutes of Lopez with those of Frye is not fair. Frye lives around the 3-point line. Frye was taking less than 0.5 three pointers a game before coming to Phoenix. He took 4.1 to 5.7 three pointers per game after joining the Suns! Half of his shots were 3 pointers.

        Besides, The Suns has 3 legitimate players who could play at the Center position for the past 2 seasons. Gortat, Frye and Lopez. Gortat is better than Lopez for sure and Lopez cannot hit that 3 pointers that Frye can. Which clearly explains to me that He became the 3rd Center off the bench and averaged 14 minutes per season.

        Even Gortat and Frye barely played 30 minutes per game.

        I still say that we should wait and see to see how Lopez will contribute for our Hornets.

    • says that none of the money in the 2nd/3rd years is guaranteed. If this is true, it completely changes the way the acquisition should be viewed, because Lopez’s contract no longer restricts our flexibility moving forward

      • Interesting.

        Considering that he was facing a QO from the Suns, maybe that allowed the deal to get done that way. A larger one year deal with us this year with a shot at two more years if you show enough.

        Good find.

      • If years 2 and 3 are not guaranteed, this goes to an A for me. That was my biggest problem- years 2 and 3 of his contract, but if we can get out from under them if he does continue to regress, then I love the fact that we picked up a top level #4 big for nothing.

      • Michael,

        Can someone at 24/7, and therefore with press credentials, find out from the Hornets if the last two years are guaranteed or not? That seems pretty critical to understanding this trade.

      • It seems to get out, but I don’t think there is any compulsion. I could be wrong about that. The conflicting reports are the issue here.

  2. Like you guys, I think the “Ryan Anderson won’t be good without Howard” talk is a bunch of crap. I do think that Anderson is at his best with another teammate commanding attention, though that seems obvious. Whether it’s Howard in the post or Gordon on the pick and roll, what’s the difference? He’s an elite complementary player, and I don’t mean that as an insult, because I think he fits beautifully in our offense.

    As for Lopez, I think he falls somewhere in the middle. Pro Lopez guys think he could be a championship 2nd big, anti-Lopez guys think he’s crap. For the record, Lopez did not execute most of his pick and rolls with Nash last year. I don’t know where to find the stats to support that claim (though I did watch the synergy to back this claim), but only has 3 of Lopez’s top 20 units even having Nash in them. So not only were Lopez’s points typically not coming from Nash, but Nash wasn’t even on the floor for a lot of them.

    The stats say Lopez has an average touch at the basket, finishing around the league average for centers at the rim. To be honest, watching his post play, you’d think it’d be better. He can pull off a hook shot, but isn’t going to pull off countermoves in the post. No, he does not draw a lot of free throws. Like most bigs, he is way more effective when he gets deep post position. Lopez is fully capable of posting up a smaller guy that gets switched onto him, and completely incapable of scoring on someone that can keep him from backing down. His midrange shot is pretty damn bad too.

    On the plus side, Lopez can really hold his ground, and if Anthony Davis is out there to trap post players with him, I think his PER against will be much better. Lopez will get exposed in P&R situations against quicker bigs.

    I don’t know how many minutes Lopez will be getting, but we did see a marked improvement in Aminu once he got a little more time. Not saying it’s going to happen, but if Lopez can get 20-22 minutes a night, maybe we’ll see some improvement. I think he will serve his purpose for us, and he’s only on for 3 years.

  3. McNamara, which desert did you move to?

    Desert living isn’t much fun. I’m speaking from 13 years of experience with the environment.

  4. It definitely makes sense that a player who is 24 can get better, i don’t understand why you think thats not plausible. Our coaching staff is much better than Phoenix’s. Monty is going to coach him up and get the most outta him.

    • Go back in the podcasts and listen to Schwann talk about J Smittys jump at 24, or defending that Anderson will get better because he’s only 24. I love Schwann and the podcast but just sayin.

  5. Lopez was never the right fit for a phoenix run and gun. He will thrive in our slower paced defense first system. Lopez allows Davis to avoid taking on a heavy amount of punishment from the opposing fives. This move was a B- at absolute worst. Lopez is not a star but he is at least average and just look at what our staff has done developing players like Jason Smith. The contracts are not going to kill us. The team option for Warrick is great. Another 4 mill to add to what we will get back from Rashard Lewis. We gave up nothing to bolster our front court rotation.

      • I was just saying overall.

        Lots of players improve with a change of scenery. Hope thats the case again.

        Monty and Dell seem to develop average talent to become good players. Hope this continues.

  6. I think y’all are understating the back injury as the reason that Lopez was so, so awful in 2010-2011. He was an athletic guy before the back injury who was a pretty good finisher at the rim and played with a ton of energy. After the injury, he was debilitated, their FO threw him under the bus, and there wasn’t much trust on either side. More than Monty making the guy better (by the way, I think a lot of the Monty develops players thing comes from him getting credited for working with Batum and getting Outlaw to play above his head), I think him getting out of that situation and getting a fresh start will help. Situations like that affect players, even though we like to pretend they don’t. I don’t see him making a jump from average to star, but it’s not an unreasonable best case scenario to think that a big man who won’t turn 25 until April may improve from average to good player, and in that case, 5m would be a great contract. It’s also not an unrealistic worse case scenario that he continues to have back problems and puts together 3 seasons of injury-plagued, ineffective ball and his contract becomes a minor albatross. I’m kind of in the B- to C range because I liked the possibility of cap space, but also think Lopez is roughly appropriately paid (average player, average contract, more likely to improve than decline due to age, premium position) and I feel better about our rotation with Lopez.

    • I’m interested to know what you project his stats are at the end of the season in MPG, PTS, and REB?

  7. In order to contend in the WC, you got to have depth regardless of who starts or finishes games. The additions of Lopez and Warrick gives us that. I believe Lopez will improve, but of course it will take time. Every player has flaws. That is why teams have training camps and practices. To say Monty hasn’t developed anybody is just crazy. Ask yourself, who were Jason Smith, Marco Belinelli and Greivis Vasquez before they were acquired by the Hornets? Last time I check, Smitty and Belinelli were buried on their team’s bench. They couldn’t even smell a minute of the wood on the court. Vasquez wasn’t even put in games to improve behind an overrated Conley. All is to say is that coaching and playing time develops players. I honestly believe that Monty will make Lopez better.

    • Those are great examples of players Monty improved but I didn’t realize we were already contending in the West this season.

  8. Great podcast. In the era of the NBA today, you have to overpay for a seven footer. But just because he got 5 mil doesnt mean he’s getting 5 million dollar minutes. The best will play. In the olympics, like 80% of AD’s shots are from the paint. IF he can draw attention like that, Ryan Anderson is gonna get A LOT of open jumpers. I love it. Can’ wait to see eric gordon, austin, and grevis. I do think Eric Gordon’s gonna be the mvp of this team though

  9. anthony davis @ sf is VERY cool. i like lopez @ our starting center. it will be good for smith to back him up @ the 5. it makes the bench stronger. willie green would be a good pick up. and PLEASE hornet fans let give warrick a chance…he’s a solid player. anderson has to be our starting power foward for the next 4 yrs period. so we have to decide is davis going to be our starting sf or starting c.

  10. i also can see anderson @ the sf. he can sit back n shoot 3’s out there like peja or robert horry. COOL!! and smith is better than lopez, but smith isnt a true center. center height (n i dont think he’s 7ft) but a pf all day. im voting for LOPEZ as our starting center. maybe his twin can teach him a lil something this summer in the driveway @ moms house. lol!

  11. Can someone explain to me why we dont offer Jodie Meeks at least the veteran minimum? I think he is a great thing to have as Gordon’s backup? We could also get Willie for leadership.

    • How is this getting downvotes? Warrick has a negative impact and is trending to be a worse player while Fredette hasn’t reached his potential. If you want to argue plausibility then yeah, there’s no way the Kings would do that.

  12. I do agree with everything said about Lopez. If Lopez gets paid around 3.5 million it’s an A or A- for me. 5 million is too much for a guy who’s desire for the game of basketball has been questioned. Nothing impresses me, besides the fact he’s 7’0. So is Alexis Ajinca though so…

    I love Ryan Anderson, but the only thing that scares me is his weak playoff performance last year against the Pacers when Dwight Howard went down. I still think he’s awesome, and I think he’s better than 9 million a year, so to me he’s a steal.

    • And that is why I kept saying in the podcast that Anderson will be our regular season MVP. When teams are playing night in and night out, it is hard to adjust to Anderson’s game, but if he is the #1 option in the playoffs when guys know everything about each other’s tendencies, he is easier to shut down.

      But as a #3 or 4 option when Davis and Rivers develop, Anderson will be unbelievable in both the regular season and post season. I wish Hornets fans were more excited about him and talked about him half as much as they did Lopez because he is 10x the player.

  13. I honestly think Robin Lopez was overpaid by about $1-1.5 million. I just don’t get all the love/hate. He’s going to be a player that just rebounds and fouls people. We may ask him to play against bigger players so that Davis won’t have to this year (I say that because Monty and Dell have said they don’t want him playing center). We still have a lot of flexibility for next year. In order to get a younger max free agent (Harden, Ibaka), we would only have to clear a little space, if any. If Chris Paul or Dwight Howard shows genuine interest in the Hornets, we can always work out a sign-and-trade.

    We got a few needs out of this trade:
    -a veteran prescence
    -a center
    -a guy that can hack the whole game
    -tradeable contracts

  14. Can someone explain why in basketball we care so much more about height than standing reach? If you have two players, one is 7-0, the other is 6-10, but they both have the same standing reach, what’s the difference. They both have the same length when blocking shots and grabbing boards. Is there something I’m missing that makes height a bigger factor?

    • It’s all about leverage. If you are taller, your headbutt traverses a longer arc, therefore gathering more force and causing greater pain directly to the brain-casing. If you are shorter, you can only snap ankles and crack kneecaps. And what basketball player needs those?

      • Although Ryan is factually correct, the matter comes down to numbers. Suppose Player A attempts to box out Player B for a rebound. If Player A succeeds in height by a difference in >= 5″ then Player B takes an automatic wound with no save throw. Otherwise they do battle for the rebound (the taller receiving the rebound on a throw of 6+ on a D10) and you risk wounds to your own player. So although 7′ is an arbitrary number to some degree as it doesn’t matter how tall the player is but rather how MUCH taller a player is.

  15. its not great but still ur both being to hard on this trade. i AM a homer. its all for the good on the NOH. i dislike startin him as our C too BUT its what we got. we NEED a true C. Lopez wouldnt be my 1st choice as a back up C..not at all..let alone be my starter. he does’nt rebound anywhere near the ballpark of enough & he does’nt score, block, play stand out team D, or even assist as much as id like. (if ur gonna lack in all those areas the least u could do is be a better then avg passer for your position.) again, my issues w/ him r reboundin, defense, blockin & scorein(esp REBOUNDIN & SCORIN). HOWEVER AT THIS POINT HE IS THE BEST BIG MAN LEFT ON THE MARKET & WE GOT HIM.

    we could sit here & say we shoulda kept Kaymen at least 1 more yr or y didnt we try for McGee or Camby, etc but THEY R ALL GONE & LOPEZ IS THE BEST BIG LEFT. that fact alone gets his aquisition a C+ maybe even a B-. does any1 believe we both could have & should have paid a max contract & gotten Brook Lopez? what about Roy Hibbert? or Javale McGee? no? not realistic? huh? whatcha say? tho i would be interested in makin em turn u down b4 givin up. what about that very old Marcus Camby? no? Chris Kaymen? alright then..aint dat many left b4 u get to Robin Lopez’s name. u gotta factor that in

  16. When and what kind of contests should we expect? I would love to have another trade certification proposal one. Thanks.

  17. Find me 5 better backup Centres who are on substantially better or even better contracts (who aren’t still on their rookie deals or Amnesty guys) and then I’ll take your C- rating.

    I’ve got J-Smith and maybe Mahimni. That’s all I can think of off the top of my head.

    Lopez will be our 4th big man, we didn’t have any other choices. There aren’t gonna be a lot of other guys in the league who we could’ve gotten cheaper than that who would have had any less question marks.
    He’s being signed to play 15-20 Mpg and is a young 7 footer with 2 years unguaranteed and a 1 year 5 mil deal.
    When you put it in that context it definitely looks like better than a C- rating to me..

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