Blake Griffin isn’t just a shoo-in for Rookie of the Year, he’s established himself statistically as one of the most dominant rookies of the last quarter century. That list includes Shaquille O’Neal, Tim Duncan, LeBron James and David Robinson.
Blake’s latest exploits happened earlier this week when he went off on Indiana for a career-high 47 points (his second 40-point effort) and 14 rebounds. Griffin joined some elite company in Michael Jordan and Rick Barry as the only players 21 or under to go for at least 47 and 14. The red-headed Clipper also is only the second rook of the last 25 years to record at least 45 and 10 — Shaq being the other.
So where does Blake rank among the best rookies of the last 25 years? Some have suggested he’s the best first-year big man since Shaq. Duncan might have something to say about that. Elias Sports Bureau was kind enough to research the rookies to average at least 20 points and 10 rebounds since 1985 and how much their teams improved in the win column:
|Season||Player||Points||Rebounds||Record||Previous season||(+ wins)|
|1999-00||Elton Brand (Bulls)||20.1||10.0||17-65||13-37||+4|
|1997-98||Tim Duncan (Spurs)||21.1||11.9||56-26||20-62||+36|
|1992-93||Alonzo Mourning (Hornets)||21.0||10.3||44-38||31-51||+13|
|1992-93||Shaquille O’Neal (Magic)||23.4||13.9||41-41||21-61||+20|
|1989-90||David Robinson (Spurs)||24.3||12.0||56-26||21-61||+35|
Griffin is averaging 22.5 points and 12.8 rebounds going into tonight’s visit from Minnesota (League Pass, 10:30 p.m. ET). His Clippers are on a 30-win pace, but they’re 14-12 since a horrendous 1-13 start . If they can keep up that pace from now to the end of the season, Los Angeles’ other team would finish 38-44. Probably not playoff worthy, but a solid nine-game improvement over last year’s 29-53.