At the end of the 2017-18 NBA season, Brook Lopez expressed his desire to take a huge discount to return to Los Angeles if the Lakers would become a legitimate title contender. Unfortunately, after acquiring LeBron James, the Lakers decided to part ways with Lopez despite their need of a starting center. In free agency, the 30-year-old center ended up signing a discounted one-year, $3.3 million contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.
In an interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Brook Lopez revealed what made him decide to return to the Eastern Conference and team up with the Bucks’ promising core of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Eric Bledsoe in Milwaukee.
“I just tried to evaluate all of the different options that I had. When I was looking at Milwaukee, they were just such a young, hungry team that’s right on the cusp. They have continued to improve every year and I think the sky is the limit for this team. I think we’re going to grow a lot together this year and become a very formidable team.”
The acquisition of Brook Lopez is expected to improve the Bucks’ shooting, which ranked 27th in the league’s three-point made per game last season. In the past two years, Lopez has succeeded to make himself fit in the modern NBA by adding three-point shooting in his sets of skills. In 74 games he played with the Lakers last season, Lopez averaged 13 points, four rebounds, and 1.3 blocks on 46.5 percent shooting from the field and 34.5 percent from beyond the arc. His presence on the court will undeniably be more beneficial for Bucks’ players like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Eric Bledsoe who love penetrating the basket.
I talked to Brook Lopez about his decision to join the @Bucks, how excited he is to play with @Giannis_An34, what he's working on this offseason, how he developed his three-point shot in recent years and why he feels Milwaukee could win the wide-open East: https://t.co/kPdUvLxlR2
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) August 8, 2018
Now that LeBron James is playing for the Lakers, Brook Lopez believes that the Eastern Conference is “wide open” and the competition is expected to be fun again. The departure of James in Cleveland takes away the Cavaliers’ status as a legitimate title contender, and as of now, the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, and the Philadelphia 76ers emerge as the top favorite teams to become the new ruler of the East next season.
However, the veteran center said that people shouldn’t count the Bucks out in the battle for Eastern Conference supremacy. Lopez is very confident that the Bucks have the capability to win the East. This offseason, Lopez revealed that he’s focusing on becoming a better defender and wants to be more of a facilitator offensively. His No. 1 priority is to be the type of player who will perfectly fit with Bucks Head Coach Mike Budenholzer’s system.