More Observations from Griffapalooza - Blake Griffin at the Clippers

 

Blake Griffin Clippers Pre-Draft Workout Interview 2 (via clippers1970)

 

So what else do you want to know about Blake Griffin's workout for the Clippers today?

Who was there? 

Well, lots of people.  David Aldridge and Ric Bucher were both there.  Lang Whitaker (he of the funny moths joke) was there from SLAM magazine.  Kelly Dwyer from Yahoo! Ball Don't Lie was apparently there based on the fact that he's already posted on it (more on that later) but I did not see him, which is too bad because I would have liked to have talked to him.  Solange Reyner was covering for the AP.  Dave McMenamin of NBA.com was there, though he hasn't posted on it yet as I write this.  Ken Berger was also there, and has already posted about it on his CBSSports.com blog.  For local media, Michael Eaves was there from FSN.  Lisa Dillman was there from the LA Times.  Ramona Shelburne was not there, which was a bit disappointing, but she was working on a story on Lamar Odom.  I actually spent quite a bit of time talking to the USC journalism student who is interning at the Daily News who was covering it for them (in fact, he's now the latest citizen of Clips Nation).  And Ralph was there accompanied by Sweet Jo.  Obviously there were lots of other media people there, but you get the idea.

And then there were the VIP season ticket holders and sponsors.  A few came with their kids; only Matthew Lillard was famous.  But that aspect of the workout had not been public knowledge (at least I didn't know about it) and I was a little surprised by it.  More on that later.

How did Griffin look? 

You can read my comments in the thread that was active while I was there for the details but it's pretty easy to sum up.  His physique and athleticism are mind boggling.  There are precious few humans who can get that much body that high in the air.  His jump shot, on the other hand, was incredibly ineffective today.  In a one-on-zero drill, there are plenty of 40 something schlubs playing pick up ball at the local gym who would make more shots.  And it's not just that the ball wasn't going into the hoop.  He's got a hitch in his free throw stroke, he shoots his jumper on the way down, and he tends to jump backwards.  All of this can be fixed - but the fact is that it's a little broken right now.

But I want to point out that this guy averaged almost 23 points per game at Oklahoma last season, shooting 65% from the field.  He shoots how he shoots currently and he's shot a lot better than he did today in plenty of workouts.  Regardless, he was a dominant force on offense in college.  So let's be clear - he's going to be a great pro even if he doesn't get a jump shot.  If he DOES get a jump shot, he's going to be unstoppable.  And he seems pretty determined to work hard and improve.

Both Dwyer and Berger hinted that he looked more like 6'9" to them.  I'm not sure what that's about.  I mean, he was just measured last week, and assuming he hasn't shrunk since then and that the official draft combine has the technology to accurately measure people, he's 6'10" wearing shoes (which he was).  He was however only the second tallest person in the gym, but Kim Hughes is listed as 6'11", so that's cool.

Any interesting stories from being there?  Any brushes with greatness? 

Matthew Lillard asked me how tall Blake Griffin was.  I said I'd tell him for a Scooby snack (just kidding, I told him).

Ric Bucher asked me how to spell chauffeur, apparently sensing that I speak French.

When I introduced myself to McMenamin, he asked if I was worried that Blake shot so poorly.  So, yeah, it was noticeable.  If you haven't watched the videos from the workout, you can see for yourself.  The portion of the interview I've embedded above has him talking about his shooting.  Oh, and that's yours truly asking him if Fred Vinson talked to him about his mechanics. 

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I got to speak with shooting coach Vinson, who was one of the primary participants in the actual workout.  Fred said pretty much what I expected about his mechanics - he's shooting on his way down, which is causing the shot to be flat, which is making it inconsistent.

I did not get a chance to introduce myself to Ralph Lawler, which is too bad.  Ralph made a quick exit just before Griffin was finished answering questions, so I missed him.

After things had calmed down a little, I introduced myself to Andy Roeser.  You may recall that Roeser and I are neighbors in east Long Beach - I mentioned that to him, and lo and behold we discovered that about 18 years ago we lived on the exact same street, less than a block away from each other!  Here's the other surpise: when I told him who I was, he immediately started talking to me about the post I wrote on Clipper trades last week - Andy Roeser reads Clips Nation!  (Come on Andy, stop lurking - register and start commenting!)  He actually was pretty convinced that I had the Lamond Murray trade wrong, that the Clippers got more than just Derek Anderson.  But when he pulled out his files, he didn't come up with any evidence to prove me wrong (the idea of Roeser trying to find the 'gotcha' on ClipperSteve is quite pleasing to me).  So then I asked him citizen swamigusto's question about the Bison Dele trade - was Dele for Elmore Spencer truly a separate deal as it seems in the trade database, or was it tied to the McDyess draft day trade?  He didn't remember those transactions being linked... so probably not.  Sorry swamigusto. 

As I was talking to Roeser, Griffin walked by.  Andy introduced me to him and we shook hands (his engulfed mine).  I asked him a little about his acquaintance with EJ and DJ - he talked about playing in the McDonald's All American game and the Jordan Classic with them.  Seems like he's pretty tight with DeAndre, who is helping him look for a place to live.

Oh yeah, and Roeser told me to tell you guys not to worry - they're not trading the pick.

What are people writing? 

I linked most of these above I think, but here's the list of links so far.

On the thread earlier today, citizen Hooch20 asked a great question: "do you think the Clips did the right thing by letting everyone attend or is this turning into a media circus."  The truth of the matter is that most of the stories are very positive - and we likely wouldn't have gotten some of those at all had this workout not been held in this manner, during the Finals.  Beck went so far as to call it "a great public-relations move." 

But Dwyer is quite the sharp tack.  His post captures the 'off-ness' of the whole thing - and he's right, it was a little off.  It would have been weird having the guy working one-on-zero in front of just media - but trotting him out in front of season ticket holders and sponsors, before he's even on the team, seemed a little much.  Having said that, it's hard to blame the organization for wanting to make hay on their ping pong ball windfall.  It doesn't matter a ton whether Kelly Dwyer is put off (KD is already plenty put off by Donald Sterling).  The risk of course is that Blake Griffin wanted to be neither the dog nor the pony in this show.  Then again, he could be flattered by the literally unprecedented amount of attention he was given prior to the draft.  So I have to say that I think the inclusion of fans and sponsors was a mistake, but on the whole it was a good day for the organization. 

If nothing else, the national media got to see the new training facility.  And let's face it, as much as anything, that facility is what says "These are not the same old Clippers."

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