Robin Lopez is, without a doubt, a Portland kind of guy. He sports a floppy, spirally hairdo and shaggy goatee. He nonchalantly drops references to his "kismet" in conversations. He's an artist at heart who has a strong love for comic books, Walt Disney characters, animation and drawing. But he also has the intellect and academic prowess to qualify for Stanford. There's a Portland-perfect blend of irony, humor, confidence and smarts to his makeup. "I think as far as NBA players go," Lopez said, smiling, "I'm a little atypical." But many unique personalities have rolled through Portland. What will separate Lopez from his predecessors, what will determine whether he's more Brian Grant than Channing Frye, is how this personality bleeds onto the court. And though he might not carry a reputation as being one of the premier centers in the NBA, he brings at least one desirable trait that should quickly endear him to the Trail Blazers faithful. "My biggest focus is being that last line of defense," Lopez said. "Blocking shots, discouraging plays at the rim, deterring drives to the basket. I'm here to play defense." The Blazers introduced their four newest acquisitions Thursday afternoon during a news conference at the practice facility, as Dorell Wright (shooting, versatility), Thomas Robinson (motivation, upside), Earl Watson (leadership, insurance) and Lopez (defense) pledged to fill a variety of needs as part of the retooled Blazers roster. But the most meaningful addition is Lopez, who instantly steps into the role of starting center. He downplayed his significance, saying he was simply excited to join a franchise known for featuring a "competitive" and "hardworking" culture. And he admitted to possessing only a casual understanding of the tortured history of Blazers centers, saying his knowledge was limited to Bill Walton and Arvydas Sabonis. But after so many wasted years of clinging to the hope of Greg Oden and enduring a series of jinxes and heartaches, the Blazers have something in Lopez they haven't had since Joel Przybilla's prime: a defensive-minded, NBA-caliber center, even if he isn't Dwight Howard or Roy Hibbert or Joakim Noah.
In Robin Lopez, Trail Blazers get a defensive-minded center with a Portland spirit
Oregonian | Jul 12