Blake Griffin is ready for a return to once again put on a highlight reel night-in and night-out in NBA city basketball arenas.
So he says.
“If camp started tomorrow I’d be ready to go. I could go now if I needed to.”
–Blake Griffin in an article on ESPN LA.
The best big man dunker in the league is coming back from a July arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee he suffered at Team USA training camp. For a man who desperately needs his knees to play his style of game, this surgery could mean a new beginning for quite a few things.
Obviously, Griffin is one of the NBA’s biggest names, even though he isn’t a top 20 NBA player, yet. The reason why, he is one of the most viscous, acrobatic people to watch throw it down. In basketball, dunks sell.
I hope — just like any Clippers’ fan should — the surgery and the rehab didn’t take anything away from his air-game. Griffin is early in his career, but at this point, we haven’t seen much else from him offensively. His jumper is far from refined, he isn’t a back to the basket kind of player and he is a 59% free-throw shooter in his two year career.
This screams he has tons of problems without his hops.
We’ve seen it before with other players who made a living on attacking the basket in Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady. The only thing is, they could still shoot. However, their careers went on a steep decline after the legs started to go.
These days, surgeons are pretty good at what they do and put a lot of athletes back together. Remember, BG missed his entire rookie season because of injury. Again, I hope Griffin’s knee isn’t a completely shattered vase.
On the other hand, this could be a great sign for the Clippers.
I haven’t met one person who doesn’t have the moment of self-resurrection in one fashion or another whether it’s something life changing or not. In this case, Griffin might be able to realize he is not going to be able to rely on his physical abilities for the rest of his life. Actually, if he continues to get these injuries every couple of years, the little nicks and bruises — or scalpel cuts — are going to add up and take time off of his knees.
Noticing the truth isn’t always a bad thing.
I’m sure Griffin is a work horse and wants to improve his game as much as possible. But wouldn’t one push themselves harder if they knew something was about to change and the only way to stay at the top of the game is learn something new?
If I was Griffin, I’d be watching all kinds of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwon tapes.
At 6-foot 10-inches, Griffin has to learn how to back down other players. He has to learn how to play big man ball, not just Lob city. Alley-opp dunks and skying over the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins are awesome, but those opportunities are not always going to be there.
Also, if I were him, I wouldn’t be opposed to picking up a shooting regiment like Ray Allen –who shoots a ridiculous amount of jumpers before practices and games. Maybe not behind the arch, but Griffin needs a lot of work on his mid-range jump shot.
This post isn’t to hate on Griffin or even say he isn’t going to be ready to go come training camp. My concern is, how much longer is he going to be able to go with his style of play if injuries to his key assets continue to occur? We have to pay attention to this. Unfortunately, all good things do come to an end.
Clippers’ Nation needs him to be a strong piece to the puzzle. If he isn’t, the Clippers would become the New Orleans Hornets in the last five years of the Chris Paul era, in which Paul did everything he possibly could for his team and they only got out of the first round of the playoffs once.
The LA red and blue want to change the culture of the franchise, not fall back into the basement of the league.