Blake Griffin is not perfect, you know. He has the makings of just about every other great, but young player. After he does something, anything on offense (because he can often be seen lazily swiping at the ball from behind or watching the action on defense), Griffin trots down the court with a look on his face somewhere between a smirk and stoic, but more subtle.
Other times he glares at opponents (evident by the above picture of him staring down Yi Jianlian after the Wizard tried to take a charge against one of Griffin’s teammates, followed by Blake verbally encouraging Yi to, “Get the f*ck up”).
Griffin often hangs his mouthpiece from his lips and chews on it as he runs the floor or during a stoppage in play, the gnawing and teeth aiding the menacing conveyance Griffin seems to go for in order to counter his over-grown schoolboy looks. In a sense, Blake Griffin is kind of a dick.
But this is nothing out of the normal, superstars being dickish. Kobe will tell you. Jordan will tell you. Kareem will tell you. The persona on the court comes with the territory, and there should be no qualms with calling a spade a spade, nor calling Griffin a star in this just his second season in the NBA, first actually playing.
Griffin is a physical player. When he doles out punishment, it’s part of his game and others should simply steer clear of this thick legs and barrel chest, or so he acts. But when defenders violate him with similar level of physicality, and sometimes more, Griffin creates a look on his face like the bully who just got caught.
And with that physicality comes arrogance. Griffin knows he’s more powerful than most others on the court. But wait, the KIA-rigged NBA slam dunk contest winner has recently taken time to complain about rough play from defenders (i.e., “Hey referees…. MESSAGE!).
Doesn’t mean he’s not getting favorable calls now, it just further engulfs him in that star mold. Sense of entitlement for calls? Check. Raising issue because the rest of the league goes at you hard? Check.
Superstar big men, most notably Shaquille O’Neal and Dwight Howard, have taken to complaining (whining) during their careers at the high nature of aggressiveness in which fouls are committed against them. But when you think about it, they’re poetically in contrast to the punishment such mammoths dish out (intentionally or not). Also worth noting that if NBA bigs don’t want to get fouled hard, or are unwilling to dole out extra punishment in anticipation of getting fouled, then make your free-throws.
Griffin falls under the same condition (he shoots 64-percent from line). He’s more than willing to throw his body around, but a bit sensitive when opponents do the same. NBA referees have a history of admiring the sensitive tendencies of NBA superstars. But Griffin is a rookie? Doesn’t matter. Marketing dollars speak louder these days.
When Griffin was in town to face the Wizards on March 12, he made some tough post moves, sank some crazy shots, absorbed a couple hard fouls, got some favorable calls, and doled out punishment to fit with his on-court swagger. He even commended the Wizards for their defense … go figure (some thanks goes to Trevor Booker and Kevin Seraphin for that).
Blake Griffin isn’t perfect, but he’s damn good.
The below video breaks down the Blake Griffin experience in his first contest versus the young Washington Wizards, a game that saw the Clippers dominate 122-101. Griffin scored all of his 26 points on the night in just 19 minutes first half minutes. (He played 30 total minutes and didn’t see action in the fourth quarter, didn’t need to in a blowout.) He shot 10-11 from the free-throw line and earned nine of those attempts in the first quarter alone.
JaVale McGee dunks on Blake Griffin…
Blake Griffin fouls John Wall
(but the ref chose not to blow his whistle)…