Blake Griffin knows how to find his way onto the highlight reel. If you’ve been watching the NBA since the arrival of Chris Paul to form the “Lob City” Los Angeles Clippers, you’ve undoubtedly seen video of Griffin rising above centers for dunks off of the dribble or catching alley-oops that normal mortals couldn’t grab, much less dunk, if they were standing next to the rim on a ladder.
However, the highlights haven’t been enough for a lot of people. People constantly point out his average-at-best defense, what some call a sub-par post game, and his lack of range offensively as reasons to pick apart Griffin as he heads into his third year with the Clippers. Some of those criticisms are fair, but they are largely overblown.
First of all, people seem to forget the fact that Griffin turned just 24 years old at the end of last season. He’s still an incredibly young player that’s still developing and has yet to enter his prime. Because he’s a former number one overall pick, people expect every part of his game to be polished immediately, but that’s not the reality of how players develop in this league. It takes time.
Secondly, the work that Griffin has put in on improving has been evident, even if the stats don’t totally back it up. Griffin came into last season talking about how his mid-range jump shot had improved, but still shot below 30 percent on jump shots last season. However, there was a noticeably improvement in Griffin’s balance and form on his jumper last season and he seemed much more confident in those shots, which are obvious building blocks moving forward.
Griffin’s defense is definitely an issue that he needs to put in work on, particularly when he’s pinned down on the block. Last season he ranked just 177th in the league in defending post-up situations, which isn’t great by any measure. However, as he continues to develop and get stronger as an NBA player, it’s not inconceivable for that aspect of his game to get better as well.
There’s no doubt that Griffin has room to improve as a player and star of this Clippers team. However, there’s also no doubt that he should be given the chance to develop on a normal learning curve, not judged by unrealistic measures. If he still has the same problems three years from now, complain and criticize away. For now, though, let him keep working and getting better.
Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul Needs a Running Mate to Win Late
Should Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin Take Hakeem Olajuwon up on His Offer?
The Los Angeles Clippers Had A Busy Offseason, But Did They Do Enough?