Brook Lopez morphing into Stephen Curry is the delightful surprise of the NBA season
The Milwaukee Bucks have emerged as legit NBA title Eastern Conference title contenders thanks in large part to MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo. But in addition to the Greek Freak, the Geek Freak has emerged as the league's most unlikely lethal long-range shooter.
We're talking about Brook Lopez, the Stanford product who has picked up that nickname following a recent three-point barrage that's nothing short of stunning. After a solid decade-long career in the NBA, Lopez has basically morphed into a 7-foot-tall version of Stephen Curry. Don't believe it? Check out these highlights from Sunday night's win against Denver that improved the Bucks to an impressive 10-3 on the young season:
Look at where he's shooting from! I can't wait to hear Kevin Harlan screaming "BROOK LOPEZ IS A FLAMETHROWER!"
Lopez missed his final two attempts in the game, but still, 8-13 for a 7-footer?! Absurd. And this wasn't a fluke.
Lopez shot a total of 0-7 from downtown in his first six seasons in the NBA, followed by 1-10 and 2-14 in years No. 7 and 8, respectively. Then in 2016-17, Lopez's final season with the Brooklyn Nets, the team that took him No. 10 in the 2008 NBA Draft, he made a huge leap to making 134 of 387 three-point attempts (.346 percent). Last season with the Lakers, it was more of the same — 112 of 325 for a .345 clip — but Lopez has taken it to another level so far this season.
In 13 games, he's already made 39 threes on 93 attempts which is good for about 42 percent. Lopez's three 3s per game makes him the NBA's fifth-most prolific three-point shooter right now (Curry leads the league with an otherworldly 5.2 makes per game), and of that top five only Curry (.492) and teammate Khris Middleton (.464) have a better percentage. In other words, you could make a case that the Geek Freak is currently the league's third-best three-point shooter. And he could top Dirk Nowitzki's record for most threes made in a season by a 7-footer (151) by the All-Star break.
The NBA has changed a lot in recent years and big men are no longer just expected to stand under the basket. Injured Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis and Chicago's Lauri Markkanen jump out as other 7-footers who routinely stroke threes. But unlike Brook Lopez, those guys came into the league firing from long range.
Lopez, on the other hand, is like an old golfer who loses some pop off the tee and suddenly becomes a deadly putter. Despite the NBA becoming such a three-point-happy league, a starting center being the 10th-best rebounder on his own team is quite unconventional. But unconventional seems to be working just fine right now in Milwaukee.