Found Objects – 7.28.11 (Click read more for full article)
• In today’s installment of his power forward rankings, Chris Palmer put Blake, not Dirk, as the top 4 man in the league (Dirk, Amar’e, Kevin Love and Pau Gasol round out the top-5 for you local folks). Here’s Palmer’s claim:
Think it’s too soon to anoint Griffin? His talent, skill and numbers say otherwise. Even in the raw, early stages of his development, Griffin possesses the most positive attributes of any power forward and he’s far and away the best athlete at the position. He was the first rookie in 41 years to average 22 points, 12 rebounds and three assists. (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the previous player to do it.) How many other active power forwards have rung up a triple-double of 33 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists? Hint: zero. Griffin is built for contact and thrives as the game becomes more physical. Griffin averaged 8.5 free throw attempts per game; only Dwight Howard got to the line more. Griffin’s 3.8 assists per game lead all power forwards and his 12 boards were good for third. He seems to get better every time out and is bent on adding new phases to his game. By the middle of the season he was bringing the ball up court and surprising his coaches with his ability to not just go coast-to-coast for the dunk but by making positive decisions passing the basketball.
By the end of the season, he was an ace passing out of double-teams, assisting on more 3-point shots than any power forward. He’s also developed one of the most effective spin moves in the game. His most pressing need is a consistent jump shot from 18-20 feet, which happens to be yet another skill he’s rapidly developing. But let’s not forget those dunks. With his soaring slams, Griffin not only succeeded in intimidating seasoned veterans — opponents stopped jumping with him by January — but did the impossible by making the Clippers must-see TV.
• Today’s 5-on-5 covered the league’s power forwards (in accordance to the rest of the week’s theme). Blake didn’t get any votes for best PF (they all went to Dirk, with one Zach Randolph) or most underrated, but he did receive a lot of love when talking about the league’s most promising power forward:
4. Who’s the most promising power forward in the NBA?
Henry Abbott, TrueHoop: Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge are leading a pack that includes all kinds of potential in the likes of Derrick Favors, Thaddeus Young, Michael Beasley, Derrick Williams and Bismack Biyombo.
Justin DeFeo, Nets Are Scorching: In his rookie season, Blake Griffin proved he is a lot more than just a human highlight film. He showed his blend of athleticism and power were simply too much for opposing forwards to deal with. He averaged a double-double this past season and still has yet to add different dimensions to his game.
Rahat Huq, Red94: All that stands in the way of young Blake Griffin and ultimate greatness is the Krispy Kreme curse to which his 1990s Seattle-based forebearer fell victim.
Bret LaGree, Hoopinion: There’s essentially no level of accomplishment Blake Griffin could achieve that would surprise me. Already, he can score, rebound and pass at an elite level. Should his defense and free throw shooting improve to anywhere north of average, he’ll have an argument to be the best player in the NBA.
• Ben Golliver of CBS Sports’ Eye On Basketball Blog ranked the Clippers’ roster the fifth best in the NBA:
5. Los Angeles Clippers
Assets: Blake Griffin, Eric Gordon, Al-Farouq Aminu, Eric Bledsoe, Chris Kaman and Randy Foye’s expiring contracts, salary cap flexibility
Anchors: Mo Williams
Questions: Youth, depth, future of DeAndre Jordan
Analysis: Surprised? Cut though the history of incompetence associated with the Clippers franchise and you’ll see a dynamic inside/outside combination in Griffin and Gordon that complements each other perfectly. Both players have All-Star potential and are currently on rookie deals, meaning they are maximized assets in the here and now. The only somewhat questionable contract on the books is Mo Williams, but he fills a positional need and is certainly tradeable. Otherwise, there’s young talent in Aminu and Bledsoe and flexibility in the form of cap space and expiring contracts. The Clippers offer two extremely exciting core pieces and a clear path to constructing a very bright future around them.
• Neil Paine of Basketball Reference compiled his rankings of “Who Ruled the Top Defenses in 2011?”. EJ (#14) and Blake (#20) made appearances as top players vs. below average defenses, while Bledsoe (#262) and Aminu (#263) made appearances as the second-to-last and third-to-last (worst) players against above average defenses. Aminu also ranked 238th vs. below average defenses, whereas Bledsoe (#221) had one of the worst disparities when comparing his performance against above average defenses to below average defenses (hat tip to Nick Flynt).