Brook and Robin Lopez have played a lot of basketball in their lives.
What the identical twins haven't done much of is play basketball on different teams.
"Just some camps and stuff in high school," Brook says of their experience playing separately.
But unless a team makes an unlikely move to keep them together, Brook and Robin Lopez will become Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez after Thursday's NBA Draft.
The 20-year olds downplay the significance of their impending separation.
"It was going to happen eventually," says Brook, who adds that he looks forward to playing against his brother in the NBA.
"Our chemistry on the court is the same that any two players develop if they play together for a while," says Robin.
The two are identical genetically, but their playing styles are noticeably different. They are both 7 feet and around 260 pounds (Robin weighs five to 10 pounds less), but Brook is a prototypical center with polished footwork, big-time scoring prowess and shot-blocking ability.
Robin makes his biggest impact with his defensive intensity and rebounding.
During their two years at Stanford, the duo worked in tandem to dominate the paint. Brook - who is one minute older - shouldered most of the scoring load with his more developed offensive game.
Despite testing poorly in agility tests recently, Brook is expected to be taken among the first 10 picks of the draft, while Robin will likely be selected within the first 20.
The discrepancy is not a source of contention between the two and Robin is quick to point out that he is better than Brook at other things.
"Besides, who's to say he's a better basketball player?" Robin says.
Their mother, Debbie Ledford, who admits to not being the most objective analyst, says, "If anyone tries to tell me one is better, well what's better, an apple or an orange?"
Ledford, who recently retired from teaching after 33 years to help ease Brook and Robin's transition to the NBA, has always been closely involved in her sons' lives, and the pre-draft process has been no exception.
Following Stanford's loss to Texas in the Sweet 16, Brook and Robin sat down with their family to discuss their futures, ultimately deciding the time to make the leap was now.
"The twins' situation was such that with their basketball talents it was simply the right time to enter the draft," Ledford says. "Players' draft stock tends to fall after they stay, for whatever reason.
"There's only a limited amount of time to play basketball; they can get their degrees any time."
But for all the talk about being different people and different players, the Lopez twins did little to establish their individuality when asked separately how they felt about fulfilling their lifelong NBA dream.
"It's surreal," they both said.
Other centers of note
7-0., 241, Nevada
Nicknamed "The Big Secret," McGee averaged 14.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season. More important, his rare speed for a big man and a freakish 7-foot-6 1/2-inch wingspan grabbed the attention of NBA scouts. He has improved his ballhandling skills and extended his shooting range to NBA 3-point territory. Defensively, he believes his long arms and agility will allow him to be an immediate shot-blocking presence in the NBA.
7-2, 275, Georgetown
A known commodity - and that might be his biggest problem. After four productive years in college, he has a relatively low upside. He's fundamentally sound in the paint and is a good, physical defender, but he is not very agile. He will never put up huge scoring numbers. He disappointed during his senior year by not taking another leap forward and dominating the Big East.
7-0, 255, Texas A&M
A freak athlete like Dwight Howard, but he is not as strong or skilled as Howard and thus relies almost exclusively on his athleticism on both ends of the floor. He also has a reputation for not being a hard worker and seemed to wear down as the season progressed. As a result, his stock has fallen significantly. Despite those concerns, he has the size and his upside is enormous.
6-10, 245, Florida
Got a chance to show what he could do this season after Joakim Noah and Al Horford vacated the frontcourt positions for the Gators. He is a big, strong and tough post player who still manages to be light on his feet. He will not get pushed around and will be able to rebound and defend against athletic power forwards and smaller centers. Some scouts question his work ethic and commitment to conditioning.
7-0, 265, Ohio State
Big, fluid and skilled offensively. In the post, he has well-developed footwork and moves that allow him to get easy baskets against inferior defenders. He does not have much experience and is not especially athletic or explosive. There are also concerns that he is soft, as he tends to lose confidence easily when he is pushed around by more physical players.
7-2, 237, Croatia
Impressively skilled for his size. Like most European big men, he can shoot, dribble and pass with proficiency and can get up and down the floor. His biggest problem has been and continues to be his lack of strength, which prevents him from making an impact down low. He will likely stay in Europe at least another year to bulk up.
7-1, 225, France
Athletic and smooth for his size. He is still inexperienced, but his unheard-of 7-foot, 8-inch wingspan has scouts drooling about his defensive potential. He has a good spot-up jumper and hook shot; he will need to add bulk and gain experience before he can be a contributor on an NBA team.
6-11, 250, Rider
His biggest asset is his big, strong body and mobility. He averaged 20.4 points and 12.1 rebounds during his senior year at Rider, but he played against inferior competition and often got frustrated when facing better players. Scouts have not been overly impressed by his game at either end of the court.
6-11, 250, California
There's no doubt he has an NBA body, but his offensive game of power dunks is less than overwhelming. His post moves are inconsistent, and any impact he will make in the NBA will be from using his strength and quickness on defense. He's an average rebounder at best.
6-11, 243, Serbia
Played very well in the Euroleague, the highest level of pro competition besides the NBA. He is a powerful player who uses his aggressiveness and strength to get easy baskets around the hoop. Scouts question his fundamentals, and general managers are not sure he will ever leave Europe for the NBA.
6-11, 230, Turkey
Has impressed in his limited workout time so far, displaying a strong body, good athleticism and competitiveness. His offensive game is limited by his inexperience, but given time, he has the tools to be a good player.
Who needs centers
- The Chicago Bulls have the top pick and have a glaring need at center, but there isn't one worthy of the top pick. They're expected to take either Memphis point guard Derrick Rose or Kansas State forward Michael Beasley.
- Miami, picking second, could use a center; veteran Mark Blount is 32 and averaged just 8.4 points and 3.8 rebounds last year. But the Heat will likely take whoever the Bulls don't choose between Rose and Beasley.
- The Minnesota Timberwolves, picking third, would love to move Al Jefferson to power forward. But, again, no center is worthy of being picked this high.
- Other teams looking to improve at center: The Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Seattle SuperSonics.