2009 NBA Draft Prospect Profile: Blake Griffin

Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
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How Dominating Can Blake Griffin Become?

The word "domination" doesn't do justice to the level of damage Blake Griffin inflicted upon opposing teams this past season. The National Player of the Year averaged 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds per game, and while he shot a ridiculous 65 percent from the field, most of those baskets coming on dunks, lay-ups, or putbacks since few defenders matched his combination of athleticism and strength underneath the basket.

Griffin is to double-doubles what Jay-Z is to rhyming. He recorded at least 10 points and 10 boards in 30 of his 35 games played, (and you can discount the game against Texas when Griffin suffered a concussion and only played 11 minutes). His double doubles had authority too: Griffin grabbed 15 or more rebounds 18 times and surpassed the 20 mark five times. He was a double-digit scorer in every contest, minus the aforementioned Texas game, and posted twenty or more points 21 times.

His unique physical attributes propelled his success at the collegiate level. Griffin measured in at 6-10, 248 pounds at the NBA Draft Combine. He's built like a truck with shoulders wider than the gap between Paris Hilton's ears, but he also possesses the athletic ability and explosiveness of the league's top wing players. Those attributes are why he often draws comparisons to Phoenix Suns forward Amare Stoudemire with a hint of Carlos Boozer mixed in.

I caught up to Griffin at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago and when I asked Griffin who he models his game on, Amare was actually the first name to come up. "I really like how Amare Stoudemire came into the league and I feel like we were in the same position. He really liked to use his athleticism and dunk all the time and slowly he developed his jump shot. So hopefully, I can be in that category," the future No. 1 overall pick said. Later, he would mention that Shaq was one of his favorites to watch, but also said he doesn't see himself emulating Shaquille's game.

Interesting that he mentioned his jump shot as his weakness because if there is any flaw to Griffin's game, it's shooting. Due to his dominance in the paint at Oklahoma, Griffin rarely had to step out and show off his limited jumper. Building consistency with his mid-range game will be an area the former Sooner must improve upon to become an All-Star caliber player at the next level. "A lot of people think all I do is dunk, all I do is make lay-ups, so hopefully I can show them that I'm more versatile than that, that I can score a little from outside that I can dribble a little bit and that I'm not a one-dimensional player," the future Clipper said.

Like Magic center Dwight Howard, Griffin also struggles at the free throw line which is a concern since he is so physical and draws a lot of fouls. He shot just 59 percent from the charity stripe during his two years in Norman and will have to put extra time in so that he can capitalize on the numerous free throw line trips he'll inevitably make during his career.

After the interview sessions I saw both Griffin and Los Angeles Clippers General Manager/Head Coach Mike Dunleavy hanging out in the bar/restaurant downstairs. So what does Griffin think about Dunleavy saying he's definitely going to draft Griffin first overall? "As possibly one of my next coaches, I believe him, but anything can happen, and that's how I'm looking at it," Griffin said.

Written by Paul Banks of NBC Chicago and the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: [email protected]

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