I really can't believe that as a Clipper fan (perhaps the only one here on Lunch) that I haven't written a review on Blake Griffin. He's tearing down rims on a nightly basis and getting the lowly Clippers some national attention for once. The amount of time that he spent sitting and waiting for his chance to finally play built up so much anticipation for the fans, but more importantly, for himself.
For those who don't know, Blake was the 1st pick of the 1st round of the 2009 NBA draft. He participated in Summer League and a handful of preseason games before the stress fracture in his knee ultimately caused him to miss the entire season. The incredible thing was that in the limited number of games that he played, he built up an incredible number of highlights to the point where one might be fooled into thinking that he had been in the league for 5 years. One of the most memorable was his preseason dunk on the Lakers' DJ Mbenga:
Fast forward to opening night 2010: Blake's first official points in the NBA came on an amazing alley-oop dunk that was all over the top play lists for a week:
I was in the house for that one and in LA, no one gets to games on time so the place was about half full but it felt like the place was going to collapse with all the jaws dropping. He made spectacular play after spectacular play despite the loss but one thing was for sure, by the next morning, he had everyone talking about him. People crowned him rookie of the year after his first game.
On November 20, against the Knicks, he exploded for 44 points and 15 rebounds and had some ridiculous dunks:
3 days later and people still can't stop talking about his performance. Take Jordan Crawford of the Atlanta Hawks for example:
Jordan Crawford: If you lower the rims people still can't do what Blake doin!!! Dummie bounce
So even though the Clippers have only won 1 game so far, people are tuning into Clipper games just to watch him play. He's good enough to make people forget about former Clipper draft picks like Michael Olowokandi, Chris Wilcox, and yes, even Yaroslav Korolev.
So we know he can dunk, what other strengths does Blake have as a basketball player?
Post: He has great awareness of where the defense is at and is still getting accustomed to being double teamed at times. He can either face-up or play back to the basket and here's an example of where he puts a number of his skills at work with some great footwork and a great fadeaway jumpshot:
Fast Break: He runs the floor extremely well and he's deceptively fast. Against power forwards, he's pretty much guaranteed to beat them down the court and when he plays center against smaller lineups, it's a given.
Passing: His 44 point performance also came with 7 assists. If his teammates cut or have a solid top side rotation, he'll be able to find them. It'll help his cause once Eric Gordon starts making some more 3 pointers to create some more space.
What does Blake need to improve on?
Defense: Blake does do a good job of timing shots and staying on the ground with his arms raised without fouling but he needs a lot of work. The Clippers have played a zone on a number of occasions and unfortunately, it looks ugly and it's not Blake's fault. It's a team effort.
Pacing: Blake is playing 35 minutes per game and every second he's out there, he plays as if it's going to be his last. He's getting the hang of pacing himself more and more but he still looks gassed at some points of the game where it looks like he's struggling to get up the court.
Free Throws: He's shooting 56% from the line right now and that's not going to cut it. He needs to be able to hit free throws with consistency especially with the way he attacks the rim. It's almost impossible NOT to foul him. When he was injured last year, I saw him working relentlessly on his free throw and outside shot before games. He can make them and with his work ethic, he'll be good at them.
We could talk forever about how good he is but Blake Griffin is so good that even the people constantly bash the Clippers are giving him credit and acknowledging his amazing talents. He has "Franchise Player" written all over him and if all goes well, he'll be around for years to come and will help lead the Clippers out of the basement that is currently deeper than the Earth's core.
What a treat to watch this guy live, he's the perfect blend of phenomenal athleticism combined with the strength of a red head. For a first year player, he's really not shy asking for the ball, he'll amaze you several times each game..
I love basketball, exercise, reading, business, movies and occasionally some brainless reality TV shows =P I am more than happy to help anyone out with anything here on Lunch and definitely looking forward … more
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Blake Austin Griffin (born March 16, 1989) is an American professional basketball player for the Los Angeles Clippers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Griffin had a renowned high school career at Oklahoma Christian School, winning state titles each of his four years under his father who was the head coach. He played college basketball for the University of Oklahoma Sooners and was awarded numerous accolades in his second year including the Naismith College Player of the Year, Oscar Robertson Trophy and the John Wooden Award. After two seasons at Oklahoma, Griffin left college to enter the 2009 NBA Draft where he was selected first overall by the Clippers. In his rookie season, he was selected to play in the All-Star Game and was the winner of the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
Blake Austin Griffin was a first round, first pick of the Los Angeles Clippers out of Oklahoma in 2009. After sitting out the entire 2009-2010 NBA season with an injury, he returned at full strength for the 2010-2011 season.
He has impressed NBA fans, players and coaches with his spectacular play which included a 44 point, 15 rebound performance on November 20, 2010 against the New York Knicks.
He is a unique power forward with the ability to dribble, defend, rebound and pass.