Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
Blake Griffin has been a little banged up, but we’re going there anyway: He can dunk, sure, but is he ready for the postseason spotlight?
Steve Aschburner: I don’t see the full range of skills, moves, wiles and whatever else goes into postseason success. Blake Griffin at this stage is still a regular-season highlight reel and accident — or brouhaha — waiting to happen with his collisions above the hardwood. Both he and the Clippers are building toward something, but they haven’t arrived.
Fran Blinebury: When you jump over cars and become a national spokesman for a product, you are inviting the spotlight. That said, eight games into his playoff career, Griffin is a work in progress who needs to expand his game and his skill for the Clippers to become real contenders.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Of course. It’s all relative, though. Is he is the best power forward in the game? No. Is Griffin as good as he will be next season or the season after? No. But is he good enough to beat an opponent as good as the Spurs? Yes. He can step into the moment just fine.
Shaun Powell: Sure, he’s ready, if healthy. Look, he’s an All-Star. He rebounds and defends. And yes, he dunks a lot, but those count for two points, don’t they? Where Griffin falls short is in the area of all-around offensive game. Eventually he’ll need to develop a trusty 15-footer, but he knows that. Until then, he has managed to get by quite nicely with an incomplete game. Heck, roughly 80 percent of NBA players have an incomplete game. All but a handful have a glaring weakness somewhere.
John Schuhmann: Not quite. He does have some post game, so it’s not like he’s Stromile Swift or anything like that. But if you can get back in transition and provide weak-side help on the Clippers’ pick-and-roll, you can certainly neutralize Griffin. He needs to improve his shooting (he’s 12-for-43 from outside the restricted area in the postseason) and definitely needs to become a better defender.
Sekou Smith: He’s in his second season of actually playing in the league. It’s a little early to worry about whether or not he’s ready for the playoff spotlight. And it honestly doesn’t matter how ready he is, because he’s the Clippers’ second best player and has to show up (injured or not) every night if they have a chance of making this a series against the Spurs. Griffin has to take his lumps now, like most every other young star before him who had championship aspirations. But I’ll worry about deconstructing his readiness for the spotlight at a later date — say after he’s played more than eight or nine playoff games.