Name: Blake Griffin
Key Stats: 21.9 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 5.3 APG regular season, 25.5 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 6.1 APG playoffs
Years in NBA: 5, all with Clippers
2014-2015 Salary: $17,674,612
Contract Status: Three more seasons at the league maximum.
Blake Griffin is amazing. He's unquestionably one of the best all-around players in the NBA, and he was the first in the Griffin-Paul-Rivers-Ballmer quartet that have given new life to a floundering franchise. His statistical averages may be down in the regular season, but that's almost certainly due to added caution in an attempt to keep himself healthy and energized for the playoffs.
Beyond dunking, Griffin has become a much better all-around player, which is quite the feat for a 6'10" forward who already showed off remarkable handling skills and court vision. His jump shot has improved significantly, and this season he made over 40% of his two point attempts that came from beyond 16ft. On a very small sample size, he even shot 40% from deep (10-25). His assists, which had never before reached 4 a game, jumped to 5.3 per contest.
Blake Griffin's rebound per 36 average, by season: 11.4, 10.8, 9.2, 9.5, 7.8. The first four are all good, 7.8 rebounds per 36 is not great for an All-NBA power forward. However, the drastic increase to 11.5 rebounds per 36 in the playoffs confirmed the theory that Blake was reserving himself for the playoffs when his numbers were down during the season. Furthermore, Blake's defense has always been a weak point, but it seemed to be less of an issue than in past years, and at crucial times he seemed to step up defensively in the postseason.
However, one thing that's hard to ignore is Blake's performance in fourth quarters. In first quarters this season, Blake made 246 shots at a 52% clip. In the second quarter, it was 152 makes at 49%, and in the third quarter it was 220 shots again at a 52% rate. Ultimately, in fourth quarters of games, Blake only made 92 shots at a 46% rate. He was significantly less likely to attempt shots, and he made a significantly lower percentage of them when he did. These statistics can be chalked up to fatigue at the end of games or a lack of touches, but ultimately in order to be one of the best players on a championship caliber team, the Clippers will need big crunch time performances from Griffin. The good news is that he's improved at everything else that he's needed to over the course of his career, and he'll improve at this too.
Future with the Clippers:
Blake Griffin has three more seasons with the Clippers, and after that he'll sign another long-term extension, and after that another, until he retires with multiple rings, gets his jersey hung in the rafters, and his name in the Hall of Fame.
Without a doubt, when Griffin took over in Game 1 of the second round against Houston, where he took the reins of an offense that was sputtering with Chris Paul injured the other guards turning the ball over, and posted a triple double with 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists in a remarkable Game 1 road victory.