When the NBA regular season started for the Los Angeles Clippers, no one would dare question the impact Chris Paul would have on the team as they looked to fight their way through the Western Conference and deep into the playoffs. But the jury was still out on whether his star forward, Blake Griffin, had to grit to complement the chippy league assist leader.
Griffin established himself as highlight to be reckoned with early in his career. but as time passed the Clippers found themselves at watching the playoffs in the sullen comfort of their homes. Now they are enlightened to the fact that the trendy franchises that made it to the most important seven-game series of the season did so with what is commonly known as the a “big three.” Yet the Clippers only had CP3.
Big men don’t like sliding their feet; it’s a lot of junk to take with you for such a short trip. The Griffin of old was very accommodating to their plight, passing on open shots and bouncing off of bigger defenders.
When the season started, Griffin methodically attempted to be less one-dimensional. He wasn’t exactly a fish out of water but more like a high-flyer wearing cement shoes. A true No. 2 on a legitimate championship contender shouldn’t be trying to develop his fundamentals with five years in the league, yet that’s where Griffin and the Clippers were; that is until the rim-wrecker found success in the place he once treated like a dark alley in a questionable neighborhood — the free throw line.
Last season Griffin avoided straight white lines as much as possible. He struggled with 66 percent free-throw shooting, but now Griffin is shooting 72 percent. With this newfound weapon, the Kia pitchman has transformed himself into a decisive contact seeking play-maker. He’s no longer holding onto to the ball as though he’s contemplating running for a touchdown. He’s keeping his dribble, looking for open shooters and the number of mismatches with a pocket full of fouls that he now would love to take off their hands. Things aren’t as comfortable as they once were in the paint. There’s no more hammock and no more colorful drinks with the umbrella. There’s also no more Griffin shying away from one of the few things left in this world that is free.
ChristopherBrown is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow Him on Twitter @whatrocks chris. Like Him on Facebook Christopher-Rant Sports.