Griffin Collects ROY Iron A Year Late

PLAYA VISTA, Calif. — This ceremony was supposed to take place a year ago this time and probably would have if Blake Griffin‘s original rookie season hadn’t been derailed by a knee injury.

Truth be told, Griffin’s coronation as the NBA’s top rookie could have come at any time since Thanksgiving, when it became clear that he was a cut above the rest of the class.

Griffin accepted the Eddie Gottlieb trophy and all the other accolades that come along with winning the 2011 T-Mobile NBA Rookie of the Year award Wednesday afternoon, becoming the first unanimous winner of the award since David Robinson in 1990.

“I’ve had this date on my calendar since the first day I walked into the gym and saw Blake  shooting baskets,” Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro said.

Griffin was a dominant force for the Clippers all season, earning an All-Star nod as well as winning the 2011 Sprite Slam Dunk contest here during All-Star Weekend (there was no Kia anywhere in sight Wednesday, which was a huge relief, his father, Tommy Griffin, joked after the formal ceremony ended). Griffin was the first rookie to appear in an All-Star Game since Yao Ming in 2003 and the first to be voted in by the coaches since Tim Duncan in 1998.

He led all rookies in scoring (22.5), finished fourth overall in the league’s rebounding race (12.1) and piled up 63 double-doubles while finishing the season as the only player in the league to average at least 20 points, 12 rebounds and three assists.

You’d think he’d need a little break right now having done all that, but Griffin’s anxious to get back at it. “Watching all these playoff games is making me itch,” he said. “I can’t wait to get back out there. This is a huge summer for us [the Clippers]. We’ve got a lot of work to do to get to where we want to be.”

That doesn’t mean the magnitude of Wednesday’s even was lost on him. “To accomplish this it means a lot considering where I was last year. I’ve worked hard to get to this point and it feels great.”

It should feel great, when you consider how much work Griffin had to do to come back from that stress fracture in his left knee that cost him the 2009-10 season. The No. 1 pick in the 2009 Draft, Griffin said he had big plans for what should have been his original rookie season. But when it was snatched away in an instant, he suffered the injury on an awkward landing after a dunk in a preseason game, he wasn’t sure what to expect.

Tommy Griffin said their initial conversation centered on what was in store for his son beyond the injury and not about sulking about whatever opportunity might have been lost.

“I told him God has a plan, so don’t look at it as a setback, just look at it as an opportunity for God to work his magic,” the elder Griffin said. “When we first started the conversation he was already pretty down, but he’s pretty level-headed for a guy that was 21 years old. He listened to what I said and I told him I strongly believe it. So I asked him what he thought and he thought about it for a while, maybe two or three seconds, and said he believed it, too. And at that point the conversation was over.”

So was the competition for the 2011 T-Mobile NBA Rookie of the Year award.

Six times Griffin was named the T-Mobile Western Conference Rookie of the Month. And he made the Clippers a must-watch for hoops fans around the globe — and perhaps more importantly, in Los Angeles.

He even captured the imagination of former players, guys like Terry Cummings, the Clippers’ last Rookie of the Year award winner back in 1982.

“So many times the players you see are interchangeable,” Cummings said. “But he’s so explosive. And he’s more than just a highlight. The closest thing I can remember to him at that position is Charles Barkley, in terms of having that quick bounce up and off the floor. And once he learns to connect all the parts of his game, he’s going t be virtually unstoppable. This should only be the beginning for him.”

51 Comments

  1. roger says:

    Yeah he didn’t deserve to win the dunk contest! It’s all about hype and bigger market!

  2. DonnaM says:

    Blake Griffin is a good man from all I’ve seen and heard….he’s Thrilling to watch….- if he keeps his head his career will Soar! I wish him all good things!!!

  3. roger says:

    If the Clippers would have won a championship when Blake was hurt does he get a ring since he didn’t play? YES he would have got one! His Jersey was selling and he knew the plays plus got a nice paycheck. Youtube his preseason games before he broke his kneecap! Doing the same things he’s doing now!

  4. roger says:

    And no i’m not a Blake Griffin hater, I think he is a beast! I would have drafted him over Wall if they came out the same year. All you guys would be upset if you was playing your heart out in your rookie season and lose to a guy drafted a year before you because he got hurt. The NBA needs to change that rule. Oh, you can learn a lot setting on the bench, you just didn’t have game!

  5. boomshakalaka says:

    he did not deserve to win the dunk contest Javalle Mc gee should have won and serge Ibaka’s dunks was underrated

  6. roger says:

    Did Blake play with his team during the preseason of his rookie season? YES he did! Did he play this preseason? YES he did! So he had some NBA experience when Wall was in college. For the person who said something about David Robinson do your research David got drafted but he never practiced with his team until he was finished with his Navy obligations! Of course Wall would say Blake deserves it, he don’t want to be labeled a hater! And no this is not the NFL but if a QB gets drafted by a team and doesn’t play that year and the next year plays is that his ROOKIE year? NO! Co-rookie of the year should have been made.

  7. ROY says:

    Blake won it good. Those dunks were SICK man

  8. rizkythekid says:

    this is so funny about how some people complaining about Griffin’s rookie season…
    why don’t you guys say all this thing in the beginning of the season if you really think that Griffin is not a rookie?
    he deserves the ROY…
    even John Wall himself admit it…
    don’t waste your time…

  9. Clutch5 says:

    Griffin was something crazy this year, he deserves it.

  10. alvin says:

    This is SAKURAGI of the Japanese Anime SLAMDUNK in REAL LIFE.. A great Player hope to see him playing with Garnett, Allen, Pierce & Rondo on the same team..

  11. hagonoy boy says:

    i think blake doesnt deserve the award, he drafted 2009-2010 season how come he is the rookie of the year. this is Bullsh*t, all the media attention to doesnt seem he drafted last year. blake is mr.double double but the clippers are nothing. haist no media vote please!

  12. Antonio says:

    All this talk regarding if he was a rookie or not is useless as BG has won the award anyway. And, as a competitive player, I don’t think Wall would even want the award over Blake now. No one wants to win over a technicality, you want to win that award because your peers believe you are the best. Right now, Blakes bball peers think Blake is a better player. Wall fans may not think so, but those who voted for Blake, which is everyone who get to vote for ROY, seem to disagree.

    Hopefully, Wall will use this as an opportunity to fuel his drive to become a better player. Like Rose who asked himself (and also said openly to the media) “why can’t I be an MVP,” maybe Wall should start looking at catching bigger fish. A future NBA with Blake, Wall, Durant and Rose competiting for championships would be fantastic

  13. Jon says:

    I love how people think J. Wall is being punished for The Blake Show being eligible. Let’s remember he came back form a devastating injury and there was no guarantee he would come back and play at the level he did in college. Blake was the best rookie last year and this year hands down no comparison. I love J. Wall and think he will be great, but no way is he as good as Blake is at this point in their careers. The only “advantage” Blake had on the rookies was knowing what a whole season would be like, from a sideline POV mind you and that can be negated as he was coming back from a serious injury. Blake Show deserves his award, best rookie and probably the hardest working player in the NBA.

  14. rod says:

    nearly everyone who are questioning BG’s eligibility as a rookie are all JWall fans!! 99%!!

  15. Nick says:

    Lets put this in different terms. If you go to college and get accepted but for what ever reason you cant go, but go the next year, your still considered a freshmen , correct?… so Blake griffen made the NBA got a contract But DID NOT PLAY his ” rookie season ” meaning his “rookie season “.. hes not gonna skip his 1st season and become a sophomore if he hasnt even played one ..

  16. Jukes says:

    It just sounds like you are all being a pack of women. Blake’s first game on the court was this year. And he was the best rookie of the year. And this whole he was drafted 09 who cares. Larry Bird was drafted the year before he stepped on the court and was rookie of the year over Magic. Cause his first NBA game was the same year as Magic’s – Bird played better that year – Bird won rookie of the year. Same story Blake and Wall first played this year Blake was the better rookie Blake is rookie of the year. You are a bunch of clowns if you think otherwise – he got all the votes so if you think you are smarter than the judging panel why arent the paying you to do it……………..

  17. Jake says:

    Do people honestly think that Blake Griffin gained an advantage by not being able to play basketball for a year? Sitting on the bench watching games doesn’t make you a better basketball player! Trust me, all the time I spent on the bench watching the Varsity games as a Junior didn’t help me a lick when I became a Senior and ended up starting Varsity. If anything, Griffin’s injury made it harder for him to win Rookie of the Year.

  18. Heat FAN! says:

    JOHN WALL!!! 🙂 Most deserving!

  19. OilMan says:

    He doesn’t seem that excited! LOL. The T-Mobile doesn’t have a ring to it. LOL. And with a team like the Clippers, he is only being held down. He needs to get out, and go to another team to truly prosper.

  20. Skipper00718 says:

    If you cant accept Blake Griffin as the rookie then you better snatch David Robinson’s ROY trophy on 1990 cause he was drafted 1987… and you better get Luis Scola’s 2009 rookie 1st team cause his drafted way back in 2002?… and it also mean if Ricky Rubio will finally play in the NBA he cant be considered as rookie cause his drafted the same year of Blake?… now now don’t be so dumb… too many dumb people around here… Get your facts and know the rules… Obviously Blake is with the LA clippers Pre season roster but when he got injured he was erased in LA clippers final season roster.. So what do you argue on that?…. NBA pre season is not the final part of the NBA…

  21. Frank says:

    How are some people so dumb? Griffin did NOT play a single game last season. Therefor he was a rookie this season. It is really that simple..

  22. roger says:

    Is this Blakes first year or second year? is this Wall’s first year or second year? Look in the dictionary for the term rookie. in the NFL people get hurt in the preseason and they count that as your rookie season without playing the season at all. Blake did outplay John but it should have been co-rookie. Just like Jason Kidd and Grant Hill and Elton Brand and Steve Francis.

    • Blake fan says:

      First and foremost Blake was one of the best players in all of the NBA not just among rookies. Roger, perhaps if you would look at John Wall’s own coments on the subject he even said that Blake deserved the award. So, time to zip it up!

    • Jukes says:

      NFL???? I thought this was the NBA???? My bad……

  23. Matt says:

    TO ALL THE PEOPLE WHO THINK HE’S NOT A ROOKIE:

    He basically got redshirted, when players in college football get redshirted they are on the bench soaking up the teams schemes but aren’t playing and when they play the next year that is considered their freshman year. Get over it, that’s just how it is. plus there have been 3 or 4 ROY’s who didn’t play their drafted year but still got ROY when they did play, one had to wait 3 years and won ROY when he finally got to play. It’s the rules, no BS happening here, plus all it is is ROY it’s not like it’s the MVP race so who really cares. Oh and I forget to mention that EVERY SINGLE person who voted believes he should be considered a rookie.

  24. Metal Matty says:

    People are so flavor of the month when it comes to their own personal thinking. All you tend to hear is how much Blake benefited from being around the NBA for a year. Let’s wake up. If he turned in a mediocre or disappointing year, the talk would be how he missed a big stretch of basketball at a key stage of his developement so it stands to reason, his first year he would struggle a bit.

    Bottome line. The whole conversation of whether he should be eligible is moot. The qualification is the same as it is in every other major sport and that is the qualification because it is common sense.

  25. Nicholas says:

    I think that blake griffin outbeated john wall this year. Im not going to lie they were both dominate this season but look who had more wins which was the Los angles clippers and there in the western confernce which means more competion and Blake posted much more numbers then wall this year also Blake won in the slam dunk competion and wall didnt win in the skill’s competion. But either way they had both great seasons they both will be great NBA STARS

  26. roger says:

    No i would say the same if Wall got hurt and won next year. If you are receiving a NBA paycheck then that was your rookie year. Wall was not there for he is declared a rookie and Blake was not a rookie. The argument was that Wall had to run a team as the leader with all the troubles the Wizards was going threw, Blake just had to stay healthy! He knew the plays, players and hung out with his team to gain some chemistry. You guys are ridiculous at least consider co-rookie of the year.

  27. I'll ALWAYS be a Nuggets fan! says:

    He deserves it

    • emcue says:

      I love how people act like the only reason he won was because he had that red shirt season. I don’t recall seeing him practicing his spin-move or team defense while sitting behind the bench all last year.
      He was head and shoulders above every John Wall and everybody else the entire season. Even when Blake was slumping, he was better than the rest.

  28. Chris says:

    I wish people would shut up about john wall and whatever . Yes , Technically this is his 2nd year but he was injured before regular season even started. He deserves ROY No Doubt , Put yourself in his shoes . How would you take it ?

  29. roger says:

    also is this Blakes first year or second year, and is this John’s first year or second year? There is a big difference between drafted in 09 an drafted in 10.

  30. roger says:

    John Wall should have been rookie of the year because Blake was getting a check last year from his team, Johns was still in college. Blake had a shoe deal with Nike and other endorsements John didn’t. Blake had a pro jersey with his name on the back, John didn’t. And John was put in to run a NBA franchise as a leader with the ball in his hands on every play, Blake had to be feed the ball most of the time. To me it should have been co-rookie of the year award. You shouldn’t punish John because Blake got injured last year, this is not college. Period.

    • Rick says:

      your arguement about wall being the floor general aka point guard would mean that whenever there is a rookie pg they should get more consideration because they are they pg…. doesnt make much sense and aside from that wall had a good rookie season but was plagued by injuries and some rookie struggles so obvious choice is the blakeshow…. now would you be arguing against wall if the same thing that happened to griffin last year happened to wall this year and he became the roy next season? porbably not.

    • I'll ALWAYS be a Nuggets fan! says:

      YOU ROCK!

    • Marcel says:

      Not commenting on most of this BS but the “John was put in to run a NBA franchise as a leader with the ball in his hands on every play, Blake had to be feed the ball most of the time” . (I wanted to write “HA” but it doesn’t really express my emotions so the hell with it). So the ultimate conversation who was better Shaq or Kobe is solved? xD goooood one. I don’t really need to elaborate on my sophisticated thought do I ?

  31. GiveMeAHellYeah says:

    Congrats to Blake Griffin for winning ROY. And for the people who think John Wall should win, these are just some arguments. Do you think the man wanted to get injured? no he didn’t. A preseason game is just training. In boxing, when you step into the ring the first time, you’re a rookie. And in the NBA, if you didn’t have you’re first regular season game, you’re still considered a rookie. And John Wall had his numbers, but had a LOT of turnovers. I see a Allen Iverson type of player. But for me, Blake Griffin has a brighter future….. outside of LA =))

  32. debinately says:

    Definitely a case of red shirt freshmanism. IMO, since Blake was able to even be on the floor with his teamates in the 2009/2010 season, even though he wasn’t playing, makes THAT his first rookie year. He had time to understand the offense and defense his coach was trying to implement, and had time to gel mentally with his teammates.

    Since he got injured his true first “Rookie” year, then he should have been ineligible for it in the 2009/2010 season. Dems da breaks.

    • Rick says:

      they changed coaches in the middle of the year last year so he didn’t really get to learn any of his coaches sets seeing as how vinny was hired last summer and this is his first year coaching the clips

  33. DeBee says:

    KJ what are you talking bout? John Wall has done peanuts compared to Blake Griffin and I’m not a Clippers fan. Blake Griffin actually turned the Clippers from a half stadium full crowd at the most to a must see Sellout Game every game. J Wall has the shadow’s of D-Rose and Rondo to even be mentioned as a close contender of ROY. Blake Griffin has been compared with greats already not saying he is one yet, but Wall hasn’t turned the franchise around yet. And hes in the EAST!!! The Pacers made the playoffs with a losing record and the Clippers had 10 more wins than the Wiz…

  34. kj says:

    this is completely BS. Love Blake but he should not be considered a rookie! Jwall should have got this HANDS DOWN!

  35. Sekou James says:

    U r wrong

  36. Magnum says:

    Sekou, is there an article here in HT defending Griffin’s status as rookie or justifying this? Because he did have a lot of fans because of those numerous highlight reels, but there will always be critics that will point the technicalities. Congrats to Blake though.

    • Sekou Smith says:

      I don’t know what there is to defend. His first year of playing regular season games is 2010-2011. That’s a fact. Kid’s a rookie and he earned the sward fair and square. Anybody dealing in the “technicalities” is just wasting time. It’s already done.

      • Jake says:

        Well said Sekou. The rules say that if you don’t play in any games in your rookie season then that season doesn’t count toward your eligibility. There are no “technicalities” that would disqualify must-see-BG from being the rookie of the year.

      • Magnum says:

        I appreciate your answer.