After being drafted in the first round (15th overall) by the Phoenix Suns in 2008, center Robin Lopez averaged just 5.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in just over 14 minutes per game over his first four NBA seasons. A change of scenery was clearly needed, which is just what Lopez got when he was dealt to the New Orleans Hornets in July of 2012 and he set career-highs across the board last season (11.3 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game) while starting all 82 games.
Lopez was traded again prior to this season, this time to the Portland Trailblazers, and he is averaging 10.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game while starting all 37 games to this point. After a 15-point, 13-rebound effort against the Boston Celtics on Saturday night, he has scored in double figures in eight of the last 10 games while averaging 12.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocked shots per game over that span. Front court mates LaMarcus Aldridge and Nicolas Batum get more attention, but is Lopez also a good option for fantasy basketball owners?
Joel Freeland and Meyers Leonard are the other two centers on the depth chart for Portland, but neither guy is a serious threat to take big minutes or start any games as long as Lopez is healthy. So that eliminates a lot of potential downside for fantasy owners, and Lopez has 11 double-doubles over the last 26 games with at least seven points and/or five rebounds in 25 of those contests.
Lopez is widely owned in Yahoo! leagues (72 percent), and an argument could be made that he is a good sell-high candidate with the possibility his value only goes down from here. But Lopez has been a consistent and solid three-category producer (points, rebounds and blocks) at a position where injuries have taken out some top options at different points this season (Brook Lopez, Al Horford, Marc Gasol), so he belongs in fantasy lineups until further notice.
Brad Berreman is a Senior Writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24