A Belief Blake’s Game Is On The Rise

 

HANGTIME SOUTHWEST – Blake Griffin put up one of his most complete statistical lines of the season in Wednesday night’s 112-90 dunking of the Dallas Mavericks.

He finished with 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting. He dunked, of course, multiple times and with both hands. He also drained a pair of long jumpers that he’s constantly working on and that his teammates are constantly encouraging him to take. And he dropped in a 5-foot jump hook.

As a bonus, he went 3-for-4 at the free-throw line. He grabbed 13 rebounds, dished out five assists, had a couple steals and a block, and was a plus-16 in 28 minutes.

Griffin notched his eighth double-double in 18 games and second in a row. The league’s most popular dunker is surely on his way to a third consecutive All-Star nod — and likely a second in a row as the fans’ choice to start — just as he continues to take on criticism for the perceived slow development of a go-to post game beyond those highlight-show power dunks.

So in just his third season, has Griffin, 23, elevated his game enough to leap into the next stratosphere as a superstar?

“I don’t think he’s quite a superstar yet. I think he’s definitely capable of being that,” Mavs center and former Griffin teammate Chris Kaman said. “I think if he makes his free throws, gets his free throw percentage up to 75, 70, I think if he can work on that jumper, which he has been…”

Kaman stopped himself to take another tact, to defend Griffin in an area his critics might not see.

“Let me tell you something, that guy works harder than anybody I’ve ever met — I’m talking about anybody I’ve ever met. He works harder than any of them,” Kaman said. “He comes back to the gym two and three times a day, he works the weights, he runs, the guy’s a freak. I don’t know how he can endure all that on his body, but he’s able to and he still comes out and he plays as hard as anybody I’ve ever seen for the 35 to 40 minutes he’s in the game.”

Griffin’s stats are down slightly this season. He’s averaging 17.6 points and 9.1 rebounds compared to career averages of 21.3 and 11.3. But his minutes are also down, nearly four a game thanks to the deepest Clippers team he’s been on, and that can only aid the mammoth, 6-foot-10, 251-pound frame he chucks around with abandon on a nightly basis.

The dip in his per-36 numbers are barely noticeable and his defensive rating is significantly improved over last season.

Meanwhile, the Clippers are 12-6, in fourth place in the hotly contested West, and 3 1/2 games in front of their more famous Staples Center co-tenant.

Kaman said he’s convinced that Blake isn’t content to live off his otherworldly athleticism, that he will continue to develop the kind of all-around game his critics have seemingly demanded from the moment he returned from a devastating knee injury that wiped out his original rookie season.

During last season’s playoffs, Griffin, playing through the discomfort of another knee injury, told the Los Angeles Times, “Is there no patience when it comes to a young guy playing in only his 156th game? Nobody is giving me time to develop.”

Another setback came in July when he suffered a medial meniscus tear in his left knee during a Team USA practice. He had surgery and missed the London Olympics.

With 38 dunks, including Wednesday’s left-handed monster job, Griffin’s athleticism certainly appears unaffected. And just maybe the development of his game is moving in a direction to match.

“He’s one of those few guys that have both sides of it: He really wants it and he works hard and he also can jump,” Kaman said. “So if he gets by the rim, it’s going to be a finish or a foul, and if you’re smart you’re going to foul him right now. But he’s going to get that free throw percentage up, I know he is, he works so hard at it.”

21 Comments

  1. Bob M says:

    Blake had to get out of college; he was being beat to death (and still leading the nation in scoring). If the Clippers are just CP3 doing the pick and roll with Blake, they have peaked already. Crawford has added, Billups will be back soon, Jordan is developing fast, and the future could be now for these guys. Those Dallas-Clips highlights were outrageous!!

  2. W/E says:

    Blake proved nothing yet, he has to be consistent and develop a good post game, jumpers are not gunna fall consistently for Griffin cause he is simply not a good shooter, he should focus on his post game,y should a guy strong as Griffin shoot jumpers instead of posting up and going for the higher percentage near the basket shoots.

    • tret99 says:

      Because it’s too crowded inside with Jordan and 3-4 opponent players on it,not to mention blake with 2 players on him defending and backing him on rebounds.
      That’s why he has to have jumpshots on midrange,even there’s a play that Jordan will post inside with Blake on mid range area.

      Yeah,we just really think that improve FAST because of our expectations to him.
      He’ll have his jumpshots,post, and defense SOON.
      Give him a breather,let him work hard and improve.
      It’s just too much give him a pressure to improve FAST.
      He’ll improve soon.

      Big Blake “EARTHQUAKE” Griffin fan though.

  3. wootz says:

    let’s hope the spurs dont sweep them again..

  4. dattebayo says:

    Yeah, I saw the game and I am not buying it yet. Blake has improved a little, but i can remember a recent home game against NOLA where he went 1-9 and fouled out with 4 turnovers and 4 points. It’s easy to look good in a game where everyone is making jumpshots and the other team is turning the ball over and doesn’t play defense. The Mavs gave the Clippers 6 uncontested dunks in the halfcourt, the Clippers had probably 14 dunks total. Blake is athletic and can jump out of the building, but if he wants to be the kind of allstar that Billups and Paul are, he needs to be able to score against good set halfcourt defenses consistently no matter what the score is and where they play. That means making jumpshots, posting up and making freethrows and until he can do all that consistently, he is just a short highlight.

    Still, I like his up and under and the pick and roll finishes are really exciting. Maybe in a year or two the shooting exercises will come to fruition and we will truly see a great player. Can’t wait to see it :D

  5. DiX says:

    everybody has their own way style of play but its better to expand theyr game w/c they lack to make sure they stay in this league

  6. sixers fan says:

    BLAKE IS A MONSTER

  7. Neiru says:

    Blake’s jumpshot is looking really good this season. He’s become a better all around player. Defensively he is much better as well. Don’t go off stats only. He’s on a stacked team.

  8. Jo says:

    So the only thing Griffin is missing from becoming a superstar is his free throws and jump shots? By that logic, Dwight Howard and Shaq are scrubs.

    • Yomar15 says:

      Shaq dominated the Post… Howard dominates on defense… I’m not a fan of Griffin but I think he is improving every year and this year he has shown a lot more than just dunks…. And when they say he’s missing free throws and jump shots is so he can be a really complete superstar… Improve post… improve jump shoot… improve free throw… he already rebounds well… he jumps so high that the blocks will come… So Griffin is on his way to become a true superstar

  9. Dominic says:

    You know, Blake couldn’t do anything accept dunk over people last year. This year though, hes got some nice little post moves and hes expanded his range from dunking to about 18 feet out with a nice steady 40% fg shooting from that range.

  10. Loski21 says:

    Griffin doing it big and dont forget he still jumps like crazy

  11. Paulo says:

    “Nobody is giving me time to develop”

    Somebody call the wahhh-mbulance. People used to develop their game in college. *cough* Damien Lillard *cough*

    • Clippersfan4471 says:

      Paulo is a *cough* moron, *cough* has no idea, *cough* needs to wake up

    • Hm says:

      Very few players come into the league in their “primes” with advanced skillsets. I’m talking about players like Chris Paul, LeBron James, Michael Jordan, et cetera.

      The fact that you refer to Lillard, who is one of the likely candidates for ROY, is telling.

  12. 77% says:

    His free throw shot is so ugly, which is weird because his jump shot is alright for a big man. If he can just shoot the ball in a fluid motion, with less elbow, he should be able to shoot better free throws.

  13. nba says:

    blake is improving fast. Gona be superstar next year

  14. Najee says:

    Definitly! Not to mention. he improved his shootin and range from 17 to 22 feet.

  15. Chris says:

    Second time I’ve read one of these blogs with Chris kaman praising his old team or someone on it. Much respect