WESTWEGO, La. (AP) - Robin Lopez says he's always seen himself as a defense-first big man who can grind out low-scoring games.

The 7-foot center suspects that's why the Hornets, with defensive-minded coach Monty Williams, made a trade with Phoenix to acquire him last month.

Lopez is currently rehabilitating from an operation to repair a torn meniscus on the same left knee that has bothered him since early in the 2010-11 season, when he went out for a month after then-Suns teammate Jared Dudley fell and rolled into him.

The 24-year-old Lopez says he's eager to start a season healthy and do so on a young but talented squad that is full of promise.

Lopez says he's also looking forward to defending the paint alongside top overall draft choice Anthony Davis.