Robin Lopez Earns Respect On The Offensive Glass

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Anyone who has paid attention to the Trail Blazers this season knows how important Robin Lopez has been to Portland’s success. And anyone who watched the Trail Blazers without Lopez last season really knows the difference the 7-foot center out of Stanford has made in regards to defense, rebounding and general toughness.

One particular area that Lopez has excelled at this season has been offensive rebounding. Last season, the Trail Blazers ranked 24th in total rebounds per game (40.8) and 23rd in offensive rebounds per game (10.7). But this season, the Trail Blazers are tops in the league in total rebounds per game (46.6) and are tied for second in offensive rebounds per game The play Lopez is a big reason why Portland has made strides on the glass this season, and he’s starting to get recongition for it.

Here’s ESPN.com Insider David Thorpe pointing out Lopez’s offensive rebounding as an “under-the-radar” stat this season

Notable stat: Fourth in offensive rebounds

Labels that were used to describe Lopez in the past were “strange,” “lazy,” “not very skilled,” “doesn’t love basketball.” However, check out the league leaders in offensive rebounds this season. Sitting behind “man-child” Andre Drummond, “elite athlete” DeAndre Jordan and the “world’s strongest post player” Nikola Pekovic, is the “strange” and “lazy” Robin Lopez.

It’s true that Lopez is playing in a perfect system to snatch missed shots; Portland has lots of shooters who spread the floor and plays at a fast pace. He might be a role player on that team, but it takes size and heart, plus agility, to make the kind of impact Lopez has made. That is a huge key for good teams — role players who aren’t just “glue” guys but rather impact players.

Lopez is not just grabbing rebounds in the air, he is outcompeting guys to get those balls. His quick feet and omnipresence inside allows him to make plays on most missed shots, and he has improved his ability to go up and finish those missed shots in traffic. Simply put, he is a problem for opponents who must now account for him in their scouting reports. They are failing to do so thus far.

Let’s hope that continues, though Lopez already having more double-doubles this season than he did in his first five season combined would lead one to believe that opposing teams are going to start paying much closer attention to RoLo in the second half of the season.

Lopez also gets some love in Zach Lowe’s weekly column on Grantland for his performance on the offensive glass this season …

Lopez hasn’t turned the Blazers into anything like an average defensive team, but he’s been sneaky good on offense — as he was last season in New Orleans. He’s looking for his shot with confidence, and he’s destroying the offensive glass. Lopez has rebounded 14 percent of Portland’s misses, the third-best rate in the league, behind only Andre Drummond and Jordan Hill.

But it’s the manner in which Lopez snares these boards as much as the sheer number of them. He doesn’t indiscriminately crash the glass. He understands when a good offensive rebounding chance presents itself, especially when he screens in the pick-and-roll, forcing his defender to slide off him into help position — and opening a lane to the glass.

All that and he’s still finding time to headline ComicCon and promote his cat’s Instagram account.

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VIDEO: Lillard Cuts Through Crowded Street Market In New Adidas Ad

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
5 days ago

It’s summer time in Portland (or at least, it’s supposed to be), which means there’s no lack of street fairs, farmers markets, beerfests and art walks to attend. Anyone who frequents such events knows how hard it can be to get from Point A to Point B when there’s thousands of people in between.

But Damian Lillard has you covered. In a new adidas short entitled “Creating Clutch,” the 6-3 point guard out of Weber State traverses a busy street market in China (wearing the “PDX Carpet” colorway of the D Lillard 2, if I’m not mistaken) using an array of moves that you can incorporate into your own crowd-surfing…

Here’s what the folks at adidas have to say about the spot…

In “Creating Clutch,” Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard shows us there is no such thing as downtime if you want to be one of the best clutch players in the NBA. A crowded street market in China during his recent Summer tour became his court, the ultimate opportunity to test his creativity and put his skills to the test.

The spot is one of three released by adidas as a part of the “Here To Create” series, which includes football players chasing rabbits through the Everglades and some kind of soccer/motocross amalgam.

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Podcast: Rip City Report, Post Free Agency Edition

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
5 days ago

With Portland’s foray into free agency now complete, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studio to record another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…

In this almost all Twitter-submitted questions edition, we discuss the signings of Evan Turner, Festus Ezeli and Meyers Leonard, the decision to match the offer the Brooklyn Nets extended to Allen Crabbe, how the additions and returns could change lineups going forward and the notion that the Trail Blazers need to make a trade. There’s also some hot Pokemon Go and “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” talk to start the show, so you might want prepare yourself to fast-forward through the first few minutes.

You can find the Rip City Report on SoundcloudiTunes and Stitcher. And a reminder that the offseason is a great time to leave a review on iTunes!

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Trail Blazers Match Four-Year Offer For Allen Crabbe

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
1 week ago

UPDATE: The team has officially announced that they have matched the Nets’ offer sheet to Allen Crabbe, though a “formal announcement” and Crabbe actually signing the contract will not occur until later in the week.

ORIGINAL POST

After finishing up their pursuit of new free agents, the Trail Blazers have wasted little time in turning their attention to the free agents on their own roster. After reportedly signing restricted free agent power forward Meyers Leonard to a four-year deal, the Trail Blazers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, have matched the four-year, $75 million offer sheet the Brooklyn Nets tendered to third-year guard/forward Allen Crabbe, ensuring that the former Cal Bear will be back in Portland next season…


As is often the case when it comes to restricted free agents, the Nets offer to Crabbe, who has averaged 7.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 assists per game through three season, was considerably larger than many assumed the 6-6 wing would receive in an effort to discourage the Trail Blazers from matching. And after the Trail Blazers signed free agent guard/forward Evan Turner to a four-year deal, some assumed that combined with the size of the Nets offer might result in Trail Blazers letting Crabbe walk.

But that would not be the case. Crabbe has been a favorite of the front office and coaching staff since the team acquired former Pac-12 Player of the Year via trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2012 Draft. And though he played sparingly in his first two seasons, he saw his minutes increase dramatically in 2015-16, as he appeared in 81 games and responded with averages of 10.8 points on 44 percent shooting and 39 percent shooting from three, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists while serving as one of the team’s best perimeter defenders.

There were rumors that outside of the money and years, Crabbe, who has typically come off the bench for the Trail Blazers, was intrigued by the opportunity to start and play a larger role with the Nets. But for his part, Crabbe seemed more than satisfied that he would be returning to Portland…

With Crabbe now signed, forward Maurice Harkless is the last Blazer still available on the free agent market. Like Crabbe, Harkless is a restricted free agent, which gives the Trail Blazers the right to match any offer he receives from another team. It is also possible for the Trail Blazers to sign Harkless even if he doesn’t receive an offer sheet from another team, as they have reportedly did Sunday with restricted free agent power forward Meyers Leonard.

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