The Blake Griffin Extravaganza

OK, it's mostly wrapped up here, almost everyone has left.  Lisa Dillman has cornered MDsr, to get the real story I suppose.

I'm not sure how long I'm allowed to stay here, eating their food, using their wireless network, before it's considered bad form.  I'm not the only one left, but it's definitely cleared out a lot.

I'm not going to worry about typing up a transcript of the press conferences with Dunleavy and Griffin at this point.  If I'm lucky, someone else will do that and I can just link to it, and provide corrections and context.  But I'll listen to my recorder on the drive back to Long Beach to see what else I can glean.  The video of press conferences will be up on youtube, on the Clippers1970 account soon, if they're not there already.

If you were following the comments in the earlier open thread, you know that he didn't shoot well today, and that I made some observations about his shooting mechanics.  I can tell you this - no one was happy with his shooting performance, least of all Blake Griffin, but it certainly doesn't change anything.  There was a profile a whle ago, from a workout he was doing the day of the lottery (I'll try to find the link later).  He missed his first few shots badly before setttling in, and someone asked him later about it and he said he was nervous about the lottery.  And clearly he was impacted by the surreal nature of this workout.  He just never got comfortable shooting the ball.  Now, he didn't make any excuses today; he said during his press conference that he has to play in front of big crowds all the time.  But clearly this is a different situation, and thankfully the crowds he'll be playing in front of will be more like the ones in the NCAA tournament when he was shooting 70%. 

But he's got work to do on the shot, there's no question.  When MDsr was asked what he needed to work on, he deflected a little with a "I think Blake would say he needs to work on everything."  But then he went on to say that he needs to improve his range, without referring directly to any disappointment in the workout today.  MDsr thinks he already shoots well enough to keep defenders honest, and he's probably right.  He's shot better than this at other workouts - he clearly had a bad day shooting today, which happens.  But defenders are certainly not going to let him beat them off the dribble because they're playing him close.  He'll need to work on that if he's going to be great.  But all indications are that he's not afraid of work.

I ran into Fred Vinson at the chicken wings just a few minutes ago, and I asked him about Blake's mechanics.  Fred saw pretty much what I saw - a hitch in the shot that's coming from a tendency to shoot on the way down.  I asked him if he would work on the shot, or leave him alone.  The risk is that you can mess up a decent shot, trying to make it better.  Vinson wasn't going to go into a lot of details on a draft pick the team hasn't made yet talking to a guy he just met reaching for a chicken wing, but he gets it.  His basic take is that if he's going to be a great shooter, in particular if he is going to get anywhere close to NBA 3 point range, the mechanics are going to have to be improved.  He says you can't shoot the NBA 3 on the way down, because the shot flattens out.  Made sense to me.   That's why he's the shooting coach.

What else can I tell you for now?  The dual subjects of the front court overload and whether BG can play the three came up in the Dunleavy press conference.  He wasn't overly coy about the situation with the bigs.  He sees the glut, but he really doesn't seem in a hurry to rush into a trade.  It's just a feeling I get.  He does believe he can get BG some minutes at the three, but I think he knows that it's less than ideal. 

From BG's presser I can tell that he's an impressive 20 year old.  He stood there, with 30 microphones and cameras in his face, after a workout where he was clearly disappointed with how he shot, and he answered questions calmly and clearly.  He seems genuinely excited about the prospect of moving to the big city - the differences between Oklahoma and LA came up more than once, in a completely positive light. 

One thing that I should have realized before but hadn't really put together is that he's in the same high school class as DeAndre Jordan and Eric Gordon.  They were all three massive high school stars, and played together in various all star games and the like.  Furthermore, given that he and Jordan are from the same part of the country (Texas/Oklahoma), he's actually pretty close with DJ and has been in contact with him a lot since the lottery.  I took that as nothing but positive for the kid and for the organization. 

Much more on my day coming soon. 

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