The Mysterious Case of Blake Griffin

Blake Austin Griffin. Full time poster creator, Part time NBA player. No seriously, this guy will destroy you under the rim (just ask Kendrick Perkins). For most of his basketball career Blake Griffin has wowed many with his insane jumping ability including, posterizing Pau Gasol twice in one game and JUMPING OVER A FREAKING CAR! (shoutout to Baron Davis). From high school to the pros he’s been collecting the souls of many players who’s even ATTEMPTED to stop him from brutalizing the rim. But no player is safe from criticism and Blake has experienced it tenfold.

Coming out of college Blake was pretty much a lock for the #1 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft. And after averaging 22.7 PPG, 14.4 RPG, and 2.3 APG his Sophomore year and leading Oklahoma to the Elite 8, few could deny that. Scouts said that Blake Griffin was a “freak of nature” and had “insane work ethic. They also said that for him to be successful in the NBA he would need to expand his repertoire as a scorer and raise his free throw percentage.

Of course Blake would ultimately go on to be the #1 pick, drafted by the LA Clippers. It was obvious that he had the talent to be the franchise’s cornerstone, but his NBA career would start off a bit rocky. Blake would suffer a broken left kneecap in the Clippers very last preseason game. Of course, this was a huge blow to both Griffin and the Clippers who both knew that he had so much to bring to the table. Blake would miss all of his “would be” rookie season and would not suit up until the following season.

Blake’s 2010–2011 rookie season was one for the books, he played all 82 games averaging 22.5 PTS and 12 boards a game, was named an All Star, won the dunk contest (Kia was no match) and was eventually named Rookie of the Year. He shot 50% from the field, but if you watched him his first couple years you would know most of his shots came around the basket. It isn’t a bad thing, but in the NBA you need to have a reliable jump shot or players may consider you easy to defend.

Blake was an All Star his first five seasons in the league averaging 20 or more in four of those five. But questions about his outside game were always prevalent. A lot of people looked at Griffin as just “a dunker” and as long as he couldn’t knockdown jumpers consistently, or show that he was capable of expanding his game the Clippers wouldn’t go far in the playoffs. Once again, Blake was already known for having an insane work ethic, so it should be of little surprise to anyone that he would work hard to improve his game to become an even deadlier version of himself.

So it’s crazy to think that Blake Griffin who once had so much attention surrounding his name, now it feels as if he’s underrated. Yes, I said UNDERRATED, for a player to be considered just “a dunker” by many but worked hard enough to expand his game to become a more all around beast deserves to be recognized.

Yes, constant knee injuries have held Blake back, but to say he hasn’t improved his game would be a boldfaced lie. From his last couple seasons in LA to now Detroit he’s an improved ball-handler, a more consistent knockdown shooter, a better free throw shooter, and he’s added more to his post game. For context, in his rookie season Blake shot only 29% from deep, in his first full season in Detroit (75 games played) he shot 36% from deep. That’s a huge improvement in today’s game where bigs with the capability to shoot are a hot commodity.

Now i’m not saying that Blake needs the love and adoration he received when he first hit the league, but we need to give props when it’s due and he’s definitely earned it. In the 2019 Playoffs on a bad knee Blake put up 24.5 PPG, 6.0 RPG, and 6.0 APG on 46% shooting from the field and 46% shooting from distance. That’s insane. This is obviously a better Blake we’re seeing and at only 31 he’s more than capable of playing valuable minutes on a playoff team.

He’s the NBA’s forgotten star and it’s only a matter of time before the Pistons make him available for trade (Sorry Piston fans, but rebuilding is inevitable). Where he fits is a different topic, but we can not act like he’s some washed up has been. (Did the same with CP3 in OKC) At the end of the day it doesn’t matter if the artist changes up his style, a poster is still a poster and Blake has more than enough canvas left.

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Mars Robinson

Freelance NBA writer and host of NBA podcast “No Bias” Twitter: @marsjoint @nobiaspod