Orlando Magic find a perfect fit in Robin Lopez

Robin Lopez is known as a good teammate and a hustle player throughout his career. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images)
Robin Lopez is known as a good teammate and a hustle player throughout his career. (Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) /

The Orlando Magic have been quiet in free agency.

The Magic were the only team not to add anyone new in the first hours of free agency. Orlando had a fairly full roster and little resources to add to it. The team definitely needed to wait to see what shook out.

Something has shaken out as the Magic have made their first move, adding a veteran at a position of need.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports the Magic will sign veteran big man Robin Lopez to a one-year, $5-million contract, giving.

Lopez looks like a perfect fit for the Magic as a veteran presence for the locker room and an emergency third center when needed. That fills a vital role on the Magic’s depth chart with just Wendell Carter and Mohamed Bamba in the rotation — both players have had their bouts with injuries.

The Orlando Magic added a needed veteran with Robin Lopez signing a one-year deal with the team, giving them some needed center depth and veteran presence.

This is the perfect role for a veteran player like Lopez. And it is absolutely necessary for a young team to have a veteran player who can give them some physicality and guidance. By all accounts, Lopez is a good locker room presence and a fun teammate.

On the court, Lopez averaged 9.0 points per game and grabbed 3.8 rebounds per game in 19.1 minutes per game across 71 appearances for the Washington Wizards last year. Lopez has averaged 8.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game during his 13-year career.

Lopez has never been known as a scorer. He has worked better as a defender and energy presence throughout much of his career. So it is hard to judge him too much on his statistics.

He is an excellent offensive rebounding presence, although not much of one on the defensive glass, at least statistically. He also had the best mark in the entire league last year in expected field goal percentage, giving up 11.5-percentage points worse at the rim than expected according to Basketball Index.

Lopez is not a shot-blocker or much of a rim protector. But he does a good job with positioning and putting himself in the right spots to defend more often than not.

Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic /

Orlando Magic

That does not always translate into some great defense. The Washington Wizards were one of the worst defenses in the league last year and so that might depress some of his numbers. But Lopez has been reliable for most of his career if limited because of his lack of mobility.

No team should probably rely on the 33-year-old big man for starter’s minutes. But Lopez is a solid fill-in for whatever minutes the team needs him to fill.

More importantly, Lopez gives the Magic a veteran presence for the team. For the fourth-youngest roster in the league to end last season, they needed some older players who could help set habits and guide the young players in the right direction.

Lopez has a lot of experience in the league with 13 years under his belt. He also played for Orlando Magic assistants Nate Tibbetts and Dale Osbourne (although Osbourne has not been officially named yet) while he was with the Portland Trail Blazers.

Whoever the Magic were going to end up adding this year in free agency — or in any future trades — would have to bring some experience to the team. Lopez certainly checks that box.

By all accounts, Lopez is considered a great teammate too. He is known for his playful fights with mascots around the league and his love of Disney — he and his brother Brook Lopez own a home just outside of Disney property so they can spend time there in the offseason. But Lopez has had plenty of selfless moments and is a grinder and hustler in his role for several teams.

For a one-year flyer, the Magic lose very little in bringing this veteran center into the group. It does not cost the team much for its potential cap room for the summer of 2022.

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Orlando gets exactly what it is looking for though in Lopez. They get a solid defensive center who can support the team on the court and as a veteran off of it.