As you know, Blake Griffin worked out for the Clippers today at their practice facility in Playa Vista. Afterward, both Griffin and Mike Dunleavy spoke extensively about the workout about how things might look with Griffin in a Clippers uniform. Here’s the transcript of both interviews…
It’s kind of an unusual deal for us to open up a workout for a player but in this case we thought it was appropriate and we were pleased with what we saw. I think you guys had a chance, the typical workout where you’re looking at some skill levels, effort, athleticism, and the last part was something you probably don’t see too often from a 6-10 guy. Spending time with him last night and today, the maturity, mindset, nothing more to be desired. He was just terrific. You can see a lot of things he does on film, certain things that may be able to see that not in a system that you play for.
Clearly, unless you spend a lot of time with someone, coaching them, you don’t know their personality or have a feel for their mindset. From a character standpoint, work ethic is off the charts. Things that you’d get from people who know him much better, there’s not a single blemish. Everybody just expounds on what a great kid he is and how great he fits into a program, how hard he plays all the time.
Because of the clear stature that he has in this draft, I think it was important for us. We wanted our fans and sponsors to see the potential player we might take. You can never say never…99.9% of the time, with a pick like this, you’d keep it.
I think the conditioning part of it is not gonna be an issue, the physical-ness is not gonna be an issue. He’ll have the same issues that most real good rookies have, and that’ll be understanding the league. He’s gonna be playing against bigger and quicker guys than he’s ever played against in his whole life, so calibrating that is something all players have to go through. Recognition of different systems and play-sets and terminology, so much to learn in that regard. Some guys pick it up faster than others, and I don’t think he’s gonna have a problem picking it up.
He says he can improve in all aspects of his game. The more range he has the better he’ll be, but that’s the case for most basketball players. His predominant strengths are his speed and quickness, his first step, his finishing at the rim. I like his mechanics.
Look, human nature is such that, guys see you get the first pick in the draft, they speculate on who that first pick is gonna be. No matter what position it would’ve been, the guys who play that position are gonna be doing the math in their head: ‘What does this mean to me?’ and you just have to kinda go forward and figure that out.
I think the first part is just to see him play, get him into spots that he’s comfortable with, and once you get off of that you go further.
Quite honestly, in this draft, getting the No. 1 pick is strong. It was a very positive move for us. The more and more I see the kids in the draft I like them, but clearly he’s probably a frontrunner. We have potential to get another first-round pick. Based on that, agents will believe or not believe or not believe and send their guys here accordingly.
[Griffin] was just asking me, ‘How do you see me fitting in, what potential role, and I asked him the same questions of him, I haven’t seen you play in person yet, only film, and here’s the things I see off of film, tell me what else you have. I wasn’t disappointed with anything. He basically did he did all the things I thought he potentially could do.
The next step is the draft and after that, whoever we take, take them to summer league and see how they work.
It felt alright. I wish I could’ve shot a little better, but overall I felt good. I loved the facility and everything, and I think it went well. Possibly yeah, I’m excited about it. I’m kinda going into like anybody else.
I’m not guaranteed anything, so if this is the place for me, I’d be very excited.
I wasn’t expecting it, but you gotta work with it. Hopefully we’ll have more people than this at our games, so I’ve gotta get used to it.
I can’t say that I have [worked out in front of this many people before], so this is a first for me.
I think [my skill set] comes from, when I was in fifth grade I played up on the eighth grade team. I was a point guard back then, so I wasn’t always a big guy. I wasn’t the biggest guy, so I had to learn how to do different things from different positions.
Well, from what I hear, we went to one of the best steakhouses around. I didn’t order steak though, so I don’t really know. It was great though, just talking to them and getting to know them a little and kinda getting introduced to them.
We really didn’t get into [draft specifics] a lot, it was more of kinda getting to know each other and things like that. We didn’t really discuss it, but in the upcoming weeks we’ll talk about it.
I really just look to come in and fill a gap that they don’t have. They have a great cast of veterans and a great group of young guys. If I’m here, I think we can definitely turn it around and start winning.
Not yet. It’d mean a lot. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was old enough to know what the NBA was, so for it to be so close is kind of surreal. I haven’t really thought about it a lot.
Last year, obviously they had a lot of injuries. Last year wasn’t great, but I think that if you had those guys on the court, [it’d be different.]
Coach Dunleavy was telling me, they had a total of 300- and something games missing from injuries, and if you think about it that’s 4 players a game, pretty much. So I think moving forward they can be a great team; like I said, they have a great cast of veterans and a great group of young guys that can turn it around and have potential. I’ve known DeAndre Jordan and Eric Gordon for a while, just through AAU and all that. I’ve talked with DeAndre quite a bit over the last several weeks. This morning when I was in for my physical I met Baron Davis, he’s a great guy and it seems like he’s working hard.
It’s a little different. No part of Oklahoma is like LA, but I feel like I could get used to it.
I learned that from him. Watching [Shaq] pull down the basket, that was always my goal. So I got my Nerf hoop and torn that down a lot in preparation, but it hasn’t happened yet.
Definitely a disappointment [for Oklahoma City not to get the No. 1 pick.] Playing in my hometown would’ve been fun, playing in front of family members and friends and people I know, but the chance to play in the NBA is really what the great thing about all this is. No matter where, I’m always gonna be happy, and all along I’ve said I wanted to play in a big city.
On the court, you might think, ‘Man that guy never smiles, he’s serious all the time,’ but get me off the court and away from basketball and I’ll try to make you laugh a little.
I’m doing a little more perimeter things. I’ll keep working on my shot and getting a pull-up jumper and all that into my repertoire and add more offensive weapons.
[Dunking lefthanded] is something I’ve kind of always done. It just kinda depends on which hand is on the ball first. Being able to use both hands helps me a lot in different situations.
It’s been better. Today, it wasn’t great. But one thing about me is that I feel like I don’t have to rely on [my jumper].
I thought it was a great Conference Finals. I was hoping to see a great series in [the Finals], but I think the Lakers might take it.
I think hopefully in front of an empty gym I would’ve made more jumpers. Over time, I’ll get a lot more comfortable with it. As players we play in front of crowds all the time but I didn’t know it was gonna be like this. That’s not an excuse, though, I can shoot better
than that and I should have.
I asked [Dunleavy] how he wanted to use me and he said as we go along, he’d be able to tell what I can do and what I can’t do, and he said hopefully we can make you a 3, 4, and 5, depending on the situation and who’s in the game. He said later on down the road, rather than today, we’ll figure out where you’re comfortable at.
All that is in the past. I’m not gonna worry about what happened ten years ago, five years ago, as long as we’re moving forward that’s all I care about, and I think we will.
Who do you hear comparisons to?
Griffin: Um, Shrek [jokingly.] I’ve heard a lot of different things, somebody recently said Karl Malone, because you know he was a big guy but other than that it’s just random people throwing out random players.
I think, for the most part, to the team and to the people that really watched it, it’s kind of obvious that they had a lot of players out with injuries.
Nothing like that [behind the scenes was wrong with the team, according to DeAndre Jordan.] He’s been nothing but positive about the organization and everything they’ve done. It was my first time meeting [Baron Davis], so we just kinda talked about a little bit, and he said he watched last season and he was a fan, and I said so am I. And we said let’s get this thing rolling.
I’m definitely open to getting used to [Los Angeles] and the weather. No [real estate trips], not yet. I’ll wait until I sign that contract.
I’ve been [working out] in San Francisco since mid-April, and I’ll be out here until the draft.
I didn’t even go to [a lot of the Pre-Draft stuff in Chicago.] I went to one of the workouts and we were standing off to the side so I didn’t really get to see. Actually I did see a little on ESPNU, and Jrue Holiday, who was also my roommate, I thought he looked really good and he did a great job of showing what he could do.
Hopefully not too much [butterflies]. I’ll be working out and I’ll try to stay busy. This past month-and-a-half, two months, has gone by really fast, just because of all the stuff I had to go and going different places, so hopefully these next 20 [days] will go even faster.
Definitely [I could get used to this]. I’m not used to guys bringing me towels in between every drill, but it was nice.
[The dribbling] is something we do every day. Actually, we do a lot more than that but they just wanted to see some two-ball and three-ball. I’ve gotten up to four balls at one time, which is unusual, but it helps a little bit. I don’t think [Coach Dunleavy] believed me at first, but hopefully he does now.
Um, talking to DeAndre a little bit and Eric Gordon a little bit, I hear you have to make a lot of donut runs so I’m trying to find out where the closest one is and see if they can cut me a deal, but other than that, not a lot.I’ll experience a lot of things as I go along and try to learn on the fly.