Photo by Associated Press
Blake Griffin just completed his fourth season in the NBA. It was his best, and the first three were darn good. That’s not to say the 6-foot-10 power forward doesn’t have room for improvement. All players do.
Griffin averaged a career-best 24.1 points. He also pulled down 9.5 rebounds per game, shot a career-high 71.5 percent from the free-throw line and shot 52.8 percent from the field even though he took more outside shots.
Griffin finished third in the Most Valuable Player voting behind Kevin Durant and LeBron Jones. Clippers coach Doc Rivers thought Griffin should have finished second behind Durant. Griffin was that good this season.
Whereas Griffin is probably known most offensively for his powerful dunks, he spent a good part of the off-season working on his outside shot, which often looked real nice from about 15 to 18 feet. He did struggle with it at times, but not so much that it deterred him using it.
One interesting statistic had Griffin leading the Clippers in fouls. He committed an average of 3.3 during the regular season and a whopping 4.15 during 13 playoff games. When Griffin is in foul trouble, the Clippers do suffer and he was in too much foul trouble during the post-season. You don’t really want Griffin to tone down the ferocious part of his game, so he might always lead his team in fouls. But averaging more than four fouls in the playoffs is not a good thing and Griffin must cut down on that when it’s the right time to cut down.
The other thing in this regard is the very idea that Griffin complains on virtually every foul for which he is whistled. Yes, a lot of NBA players beef when they are called for a foul. But Griffin – and the Clippers as a whole – do it too much. One would think Griffin is never guilty of a foul the way he carries on sometimes. Don’t think for one second officials don’t remember all of that, because they do.
The very idea that the player who finished third in the MVP voting had so many fouls called on him in the post-season says a lot. If you have a right to complain, do it. If you don’t, knock it off.
Griffin is too talented and too important to his team to be that guy who hurts his team because of excessive belly-aching.
All that said, Griffin is just a beast on the court. He took so much pounding from defenders this season, that he was able to come up with the numbers he did tells a lot about just how terrific a player he has become.
Griffin said after his team was eliminated by the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference semifinals that he was going to continue to work on his outside shot over this off-season. If he gets even better in that department and can continue to improve upon his free-throw shooting, it won’t be surprising to see him win the MVP award sometime in the next few years.
Griffin, just 25, is signed through the 2017-18 season. He is slated to make $17,632,688 in 2014-15.