Many pronounced Blake Griffin as the Los Angeles Clippers‘ 6-foot-10 athletically gifted question mark this past offseason. Griffin was charged as an undersized ball stopping post player with no signature moves that didn’t involve levitation, a rim and a victim wearing the opposing jersey. Today he has evolved into much more while in just five short months he’s elevated the Clipper franchise and established himself as the most feared frontcourt player the NBA has seen since the internet.
From the start of the Clippers’ 2013-14 regular season, Griffin sported a mask of determination to silence critics and carry his team through a prosperous postseason. Yet in the season’s infant stages, it seemed as though the broad shoulders of the Clippers’ small point guard, Chris Paul, would be doing all of the heavy lifting.
Griffin, ill-content to go along for the ride, kept grinding, putting up solid numbers that floated between respectable and impressive. Yet Paul was credited for the Clippers’ hot start and rightfully so. It takes seasons for a player like Griffin who relies so much on athleticism to gain the confidence to step outside the paint and knock down shots. But Griffin is not just another player as it took the absence of Paul to remind prognosticators of just that.
The shoulder injury that sidelined Paul for five weeks ignited the explosion of Griffin who lead his Clippers to a 16-6 record, including a February coming out party in which the Western Conference All-Star posted 33-point, 11-rebound and 5-assist average per contest. No longer a mere opportunist at the end of a fast break, this video game version of Griffin has groomed into a play-maker, showing ball skills and court awareness that leaves defenders on their heels and coaches frantically scribbling on their clipboards.
The evolution of Griffin has shifted the basketball landscape to earthquake like proportions. The Clippers have to be taken seriously as legitimate title contenders while the league’s MVP race has a new challenger-wearing blue trunks with red trim and the No. 32 on his back.
ChristopherBrown is an NBA writer for RantSports.com. Follow Him on Twitter @whatrockschris. Like Him on Facebook.