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NBA Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers: Will Robin Lopez Solidify Starting Center Position?

Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers decided to go after a guy this offseason whose former team was about to dump him anyway. Robin Lopez was very close to being bought out by the New Orleans Pelicans, in fact within a day according to the report at that time, when the Blazers involved themselves in a trade to bring Lopez to Portland.

The 25-year old center out of Stanford is entering his sixth season in the NBA, and is looking to improve even further upon his best season yet with New Orleans. Lopez played his first four seasons with the Phoenix Suns after heading to the Hornets — now Pelicans. In 2012, Lopez posted career highs in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.

The Blazers are counting on Lopez to be the guy for them in the middle next to LaMarcus Aldridge in the upcoming year. Last season, Lopez had one of the better and more underrated point guards to work with in Greivis Vasquez. This year, he has the privilege of playing with a rising star and reigning rookie of the year, Damian Lillard.

Lopez shot 53 percent from the floor last year with help from Vasquez running the offense, and with an even more exciting and athletic guard like Lillard he could be in for an even more efficient season with Portland. If he can harness his 7’0”, 255 pound frame in the right way, Lopez could be a very good center in this league.

Lillard will surely help him get there and I think Portland will like how Lopez fits in. Can he continue to improve upon a career year as he heads into 2013? I believe so. He and Aldridge should provide Portland with a solid front court for Lillard and rookie C.J. McCollum to work with. The Blazers made a valuable move bringing in Lopez, and hopefully he proves he was worth that chance.

Ryan Heckman is a Senior Writer for RantSports.comFollow him on Twitter  @ryanmheckman, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.