In the first installment of 3-on-3, three ClipperBlog contributors discuss Blake Griffin’s 2010-2011 season, his potential and his greatest need for improvement.
1. What’s your favorite Blake Griffin memory from 2010-11?
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: November 20th, 2010, against the Knicks. Not only did Blake bust out a slew of impressive dunks, but he also managed to score 44 points, grab 15 rebounds and dish out 7 assists in his breakout performance of the season. My favorite part of the night was his fast break, spin-move posterization on Danilo Gallinari. Oh yeah, this was cool too.
Breene Murphy, ClipperBlog: Knicks game in November. I don’t know how many times I’ve told people about being at that game. And it’s not just the Mozgov dunk (and the Amaré nod), but the open court spin move on Gallo to the tomahawk jam. Right at that moment, everyone knew he was a star.
Mark Shore, ClipperBlog: Blake’s first triple-double, against Washington. He not only showed that he’s more than just a highlight reel by dishing out a season-high 10 assists, but he also guarded John Wall on a couple of plays in crunch time and shut him down. Griffin easily proved he was the cream of the crop for rookies on his way to a unanimous Rookie of the Year selection.
2. Blake Griffin will be the best power forward in the NBA by ____________.
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: The end of the 2012-2013 season. Last season, there were only two power forwards with legitimate claims of supremacy over Griffin – Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol. In two years both will have dropped off significantly, and Griffin will be much, much better (in all facets of his game). I don’t see LaMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love surpassing him either.
Breene Murphy, ClipperBlog: The 2013-2014 season, though I could be talked into 2012-2013 if Blake gets a (mostly) full season in this year. Dirk and Pau are still better. Z-Bo’s about even, though I’d take Blake over Amaré and Bosh right now. Even though Dirk and Pau are older, their games will transition well with age. Although it’s less about their games than how good Blake’s will be. Give a year or two with the rate Blake improves and he will be a much better defender and leader on top of being more offensively well-rounded. And if it weren’t for LeBron and Dwight, I’d say Blake could be the best overall player by that time.
Mark Shore, ClipperBlog: The start of the 2013 season. Despite being an elite player in terms of size and athleticism, he still needs to improve in some key areas including becoming more consistent defensively and developing a repertoire of post moves. If nothing else, his LA counterpart Pau Gasol has two more seasons left in him as the premiere power forward in the league.
3. If you could magically endow Griffin with one skill he doesn’t currently have, what would it be?
Jovan Buha, ClipperBlog: A reliable jump shot, particularly from 15-18 feet (in the mold of Amare Stoudemire, Gasol or David West). Although I’m inclined to say the defensive end (especially shot-blocking), the ability to stretch the defense and keep his defender honest would do wonders for the Clippers’ offense. Imagine a Griffin-Gordon pick-and-roll with the pick-and-pop threat. Unstoppable.
Breene Murphy, ClipperBlog: Shot-blocking, because I think he’ll progress by non-magical means into developing the other facets of defense and offense. I just don’t see shot-blocking ever being a significant part of his defensive repertoire, though he’ll still be effective on D. Don’t think that’s possible for a big man? Look at Chuck Hayes: great defender, not a shot-blocker.
Mark Shore, ClipperBlog: Becoming a defensive stopper. He’s one of the league’s top rebounders and has the speed and footwork to defend well on the perimeter, but his post defense is suspect at times and he averaged just 0.55 blocks per game (27th among power forwards). If Griffin can become an elite defensive player, he and DeAndre Jordan will be a black hole for opposing post players.