Today I took off work and watched all of Robin Lopez's hook shots from this season. It was fun! I'd been preparing this post for a while, and then Lopez really went hook-y the last few games and now here is this post. Let's talk about hooks!
The hook is Lopez's deadliest offensive weapon
NBA.com has him taking 88* hooks in the Knicks' 37 games, hitting 48 of them (54.5 percent), which is a nice number. Only 44 percent of those makes are assisted, which means if Lopez has position, he can generate one of those buckets with his one-on-one moves.
*(This number will not square with some later numbers because NBA.com's video coding can be a bit messy and some things get counted or labeled wrong.)
Lopez's hooking has gotten crazy good over the last few weeks
I counted 16 made hooks on 37 attempts through the end of November (18 games). I counted 30 makes on 47 attempts in the 19 games since, which is pretty nuts.
Lopez might secretly be lefty
People have been talking about Lopez's lefty hook since he was in college, and the Knicks are slowly coaxing that weapon out of him. Lopez was 5-9 on lefty hooks in 18 games through November and is 11-14 on lefty hooks in the 19 games since. Eleven of fourteen!!!
(Righty hooks: 11/28 in the first eighteen games, 19/33 since.)
Announcers always describe Lopez's hook as "little"
I heard "little hook" or "little jump hook" or "little lefty/righty hook" like a dozen times.
Lopez can do it all with one hand if he wants to
He can kinda bat a passed ball down, collect it, and trebuchet it upward all with one hand -- either of them. Zach Lowe described this aptly as the "ice scream scoop." I don't think it's Lopez's most efficient hook move, but it's hard to block and it's
Lopez can essentially pivot twice in search of hooks
If Robin catches the ball with his feet set and his back to the basket, he'll often do some pivoting to look for an outlet or a clean slot to score*, then he'll put the ball on the floor for a couple dribbles, establish his pivot foot again, and get to work hooking fools. Anecdotally, I think the pivot foot he chooses before he starts dribbling is usually the same one he establishes when he goes to score.
Also anecdotal, but I think Lopez has gotten more and more effective doing that ^ instead of simply catching, turning, and hooking. That fits with the low assisted number we saw above, and I think it fits with the general sense that he's getting more comfortable as an offensive weapon, not just a garbage man.
*Eventually teams are going to stop guarding him when he catches the ball this far from the basket, inviting him to shoot his pretty ineffective mid-range jumper. He could work on that shot, or he could just take a few dribbles, put his head down, and go to work.
The hook is useful in the pick-and-roll and off face-up drives
Sometimes Lopez goes the J.R. Smith route, suddenly turning backward to morph a drive into a post-up. Sometimes it's more of a sweeping hook-floater thing.
Lopez absolutely ate Hassan Whiteside on Wednesday
In closing, let's just watch Robin work against the mighty Heat defense. These were some of the most advanced moves we've seen from him, presented all at once in one of the Knicks' best offensive performances:
That is all. Thank you for looking at these hooks with me. Long live Robin Lopez.