One of the advantages of belonging to the SBNation network is that I've got an 'in' with an expert in pretty much any sporting subject you can imagine. If we wanted to get some perspective on whether Blake Griffin should consider a career in mixed martial arts, I could just ask the guys at Bloody Elbow. (I just realized, I really should ask Andrew from Male Pattern Fitness for his perspective on Griffin's insane training regimen with Frank Matrisciano.) For now, I've asked the terrific SB Nation Oklahoma Sooners blog Crimson and Cream Machine to share some insights from Blake's college career.
Clips Nation: Blake Griffin averaged 24.7 points, 14.4 rebounds and 65.4% shooting last season at Oklahoma. Wow. I mean, just wow. I'm trying to imagine what a detractor might say about those numbers. He didn't play against great competition? Well, the Big 12 ain't the Patriot League. He doesn't have a jump shot? Well, given that he shot 65% against constant double teams, seems like he didn't need one. So I guess I'm asking, are those numbers as amazing as I think they are? If you had to put on your 'constructive criticism' hat, what could you say about Blake's sophomore season?
Crimson and Cream Machine: Blake took great strides in developing his jump shot from his freshman to sophomore years. While it still isn't perfected he's come a long way and reached the point where defenders had to play him out of the paint. His high shooting percentage just verifies that he was unstoppable under the basket and if he continues to develop a jump shot then look out!
My "constructive criticism" would be his performance from the charity stripe. Griffin shot a dismal 59% from the free throw line. His style of play gets him to the line often and his 133 misses were wasted opportunity.
CN: Griffin has been criticized for not being more of a defensive force in college. He acknowledges that he needs to get better on that end, while at the same time deflecting the criticism by saying that Coach Capel didn't want him to get in foul trouble, implying that he was at times lackadaisical by design. What is your impression of Griffin's defense? Is he capable of playing solid on ball defense in the NBA?
CCM: Blake was definitely more of an asset on the offensive end of the floor and I can see the logic behind what he said about Coach Capel. Blake set the offense in motion. With him in the game Oklahoma could work the ball inside and then outside. In his absence Oklahoma's outside shooters weren't open anymore and there was no one there to grab the boards.
That said, he did average 10.5 defensive boards per game which would have led the Clippers last season and 1.2 blocks which would have ranked 3rd on the team.
CN: In making him the number one overall pick, the Clippers have emphasized several non-basketball attributes like maturity and character and work ethic. He seems like a no risk pick for those reasons. What are your impressions of Blake Griffin the person?
CCM: The greatest characteristic that Blake Griffin posses is his poise. He took cheap shot after cheap shot and yet held his composure. He's a team first guy who was a leader on and off the court and by all accounts a model citizen.
CN: We all saw the Syracuse dunk in the NCAA tournament where he hit his head on the backboard as he elevated. Do you have any other 'did that really just happen?' stories for my readers?
CCM: Blake Griffin gave us a "Holy Cow!" moment in just about every game he played in. Keeping up with the NCAA Tournament Theme he had a nasty throw down against Michigan as well.
Thanks for taking the time to give us your perspective! I think the point about Giffin keeping his composure through constant quadruple teams and cheap shots is particularly interesting and does indeed say a lot about his character. Now get back to football blogging.