5. Robin Lopez
The 2009-10 season was another fantastic one for the Suns, who once again came up just short of winning it all. Stopped in six games by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals, they had again gone 54-28 en route to finishing as the the third seed. Center Robin Lopez was 21-years-old at the time, and he was pretty raw.
Time has shown us that his twin brother Brook would go on to be the better player, although Robin is still in the league and has had himself a nice little career. The Suns just happened to bring the young big man who they had drafted the previous season on that little bit too quickly, and it showed.
As a rookie, Lopez has averaged 3.2 points and a pair of rebounds in just over 10 minutes of action. He appeared in 60 games that season, starting seven. In year two, the Suns gave Lopez 31 starts, although he only played 51 regular season games that year because of injury. There were times when it looked like Lopez could have an impact of sorts on both ends of the court.
But in reality he was years away from being a meaningful contributor, and it wasn’t until he got to the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012-13 that he began to find his groove. Lopez was living proof of the theory that it takes young big men longer to develop in the league and to get comfortable doing what they do.
It is just a shame that, right when the Suns were close to winning it all, they had a young big man that they relied upon that bit too much. Once the postseason started, Lopez started and appeared in only six games, thanks to a back issue. Had he been fully healthy though, it doesn’t seem likely that he would have been much help anyway. Unfortunate that he lands here, but it is what it is.