Robin Lopez has played for five different teams in 10 NBA seasons, but not for lack of being a good teammate.
The 29-year-old veteran has been a positive presence in the locker room year in and year out, and especially during a trying 2017-18 in which playing time was scarce.
Lopez, making way for minutes from Cristiano Felicio, appeared in just 64 games, and played 113 minutes in seven games after the All-Star break. But he continued his role as a conssumate teammate and maintained a positive attitude, something that wasn't lost on his teammates.
Now entering a contract year, Lopez is expected to have a role for the Bulls but again will be mentoring another young big, Bulls' first round pick Wendell Carter Jr.
"I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’ve heard plenty of stories about Robin, seen them first hand. It’s going to be exciting just to get to meet him, get to learn from, being in the league for 10 years," Carter said at his introductory press conference on Monday. "It’s someone that will have part of the blueprint for me."
Veterans have long been an important part of a rookie's acclimation to the league. Lopez was has been teammates with a pair of impressive rookies in Anthony (with the New Orleans Hornets) and Kristaps Porzingis (with the New York Knicks).
Those players were certainly destined for greatness. But having a veteran presence in Lopez had to have helped in the early stages of their careers.
Fred Hoiberg mentioned as much on Friday in how he's seen Lopez from a teammate perspective.
"I think Robin is the perfect guy for Wendell to learn from. You look at what has happened our last few years with young players – with Bobby Portis, with Cristiano Felicio – and Robin is so instrumental," Hoiberg said. When you have a guy on the floor who can teach these guys the ropes, it’s so beneficial.
"I look back on my career, I had Reggie Miller and Chris Mullin, Hall of Fame type players. I learned so much more from them than I did from the coaches that I played for. Robin is going to be terrific for those players. He’s going to beat the hell out of them on days, and he’s going to be there to support them as well.”
The Cubs were swept in four games at the hands of the Reds. The news on the All-Star ballot hasn’t been kind as well.
Starting positions for Cubs players at the 2018 MLB All-Star game is looking a little bleak. But catcher Willson Contreras is still in striking distance.
MLB updated its third round of All-Star ballots for the National League. Dating back a week ago, Contreras was behind Giants catcher Buster Posey by 90,000 votes. As of now, that number is quite similar with Posey up 92,000 votes.
For other Cubs players, the margins have continued to grow in the wrong direction as the week has gone along.
The race for first base is a clear cut path for Braves first basemen Freddie Freeman. With nearly 2,200,000 votes to Freeman’s name, he’s ahead of Anthony Rizzo by nearly 1.3 million votes. At this point last week, Rizzo was down 870,000 votes.
The race for second base is a bit closer. Javier Baez has complied 1,186,243 votes, but he still trails Braves’ Ozzie Albies by 222,000 votes.
But Baez shouldn’t be too comfortable. Reds second basemen Scooter Gennett is just 19,000 votes behind him. Gennett could leap frog Baez, with still 10 days left to vote.
If Baez can get his name ahead of Albies, he’d become the second Cub to start at second base in three years, when Ben Zobrist started in 2016.
Kris Bryant, who has struggled this year offensively, is still struggling in the Midsummer Classic standings. Rockies third basemen Nolan Arenado leads Bryant by 646,400 votes, compared to 447,000 votes last week.
Rounding out the infield with Addison Russell at shortstop, he still sits in third place, trailing Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and Giants Brandon Crawford.
In the outfield, it is more of the same for Jason Heyward, Kyle Schwarber, and Ben Zobrist. Heyward sits in seventh place with 750,688 votes. Schwarber in eighth has 706,374 votes, and Zobrist has 694,377 votes in ninth.
Even though the Cubs probably won’t see multiple starters on the field this time around, it doesn’t mean they won’t have a chance to be selected as reserves.
Cub faithful still has time to get their players to the All-Star game. Voting ends July 5 at 11 p.m. CT.