Los Angeles Clippers, starting power forward Blake Griffin, is one of the most under appreciated players in the NBA. Although Blake’s numbers are mimicking players like NBA legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar, the avid basketball fan considers Griffin to not even in the conversation for best power forward in the game.
Blake Griffin was the number one draft pick by the Los Angeles Clippers in 2010, becoming the poster-child of the Clippers, a team usually denigrated by poor seasons. In the preseason, however, he would break his kneecap and have to surrender the rest of the season. Consequently, 2011 is regarded as Blake’s rookie season, where he won a unanimous vote for rookie of the year award. Blake also participated in the rising stars challenge, the All-Star game, and the Slam Dunk Contest. Griffin would defeat Javale McGee in the final round for first place in the dunk contest. Four years later, Griffin has become the only power forward in the NBA to be an All-Star all four of their first four years in the league, passing Tim Duncan, who is largely regarded as the best power forward in the game.
Blake Griffin has transformed the Los Angeles Clippers by attracting the likes of All-Star point guard, Chris Paul. Over the last two seasons and this season, the Clippers have beaten the Lakers repeatedly, something not heard of in the last 50 years. Paul and Griffin led the Clippers to their first Pacific Division title last year, finally hanging a banner of their own in the Los Angeles Staples Center.
Recently, Paul has been sidelined with a shoulder injury that has Griffin taking the leadership role on the team. With the absence of Paul, the Los Angeles Clippers have produced Griffin’s best stint as a pro, something that has been under appreciated by NBA fans. Griffin’s teammates, like sixth-man of the year award winner Jamal Crawford, ensure Griffin’s phenomenal performances this season began before Paul was injured.
In the previous ten games, all that Paul has missed, Griffin has averaged 26 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 5.2 assists, while shooting 55 percent from the field and 72 percent from the free-throw line. Blake Griffin has also dramatically improved his outside jump shot, allowing him to create space for him to attack the rim. This is especially important since Griffin is largely only known for his dunks, which seemingly become less and less essential to his game every season.
Griffin is largely regarded by his basketball peers as being a soft player. Nearly every game it seems he is fouled hard and receives more flagrant fouls committed on him than the average player. Expert analysis by sports broadcasters usually defend Griffin on this position, saying that he receives these hard fouls because of competitive jealousy. Griffin has been on numerous commercials, late night talk shows, and famous actors websites; this may or may not make his peers envious. The Los Angeles Clippers Blake Griffin is under appreciated by the NBA fan base. When all is said and done, Griffin has more potential than most power forwards in the game today, but it will take a championship for him to get the respect he deserves.
By Zane Foley