The assembled media unquestionably agreed the interview Robin Lopez gave on Thursday was the longest, happiest and most memorable in his time with the Phoenix Suns. Lopez, along with teammates Steve Nash and Zabian Dowdell, were back at the Suns facilities for the first time since the end of the NBA Lockout.
Needless to say, the fourth-year center isn't known for being "media friendly" and in the past has been downright gruff. A very different Robin Lopez talked about how he used the extended time off to refresh both mentally and physically.
Robin reports an increase in his lift and being quicker and "bouncier" than he was at the end of last season when he was hampered by lingering effects of his March 2010 back injury.
At the same time, Robin acknowledged his poor play last season and didn't put it all on his health.
"For the first time in a while, I'm hoping that I can contribute to a pretty good front line out here," Lopez said. "Obviously, we've got Marcin (Gortat) and I'm hoping I can contribute what I failed to contribute last year."
Robin, along with his brother Brook Lopez of the New Jersey Nets, went to Houston to work on post moves with Hakeem Olajuwon. The Suns paid to send centers Marcin Gortat and Garret Siler to work with Hakeem in June but Robin and Brook paid their own fare to learn from the master.
Lopez said he focused on a few moves but mostly wants to try and get back in the mentality of being more aggressive defensively and on the glass.
We saw over a few months in 2010 how good Robin Lopez can be when healthy and properly engaged and motivated. He possesses a rare combination of size and athleticism and has decent offensive skills facing the basket.
It will be very interesting to see if a new mentality and more time to recover his agility and lift will translate to improved rebounding and better all around play.