I’ve been in San Francisco this weekend on vacation, and I love it. So while I give my contacts a bath and my phone a rest, here’s why I think he may be in trouble.
There is one big, big thing playing to Blake’s favor, intimidation. I think intimidation gets him on Team USA this summer. Nobody in that tournament wants to get Weiss’d. Nothing will absolutely crush your pride than getting dunked on. Giving up a walk off homer, getting 5-holed in hockey, even getting obliterated over the middle don’t compare, not close. I still remember vivid details of the first time I was dunked on. Chester, PA, c. 2000, guarding inbounds, back to basket, large shadow looms over me, ball hits ground, confidence shattered. But this is not a place for me to relive the glory days to be a mediocre-at-best chucker in high school, I’m here to tell you my opinion, right or wrong.
I have on more than one occassion sent out the “gotta see blake’s dunk” text to friends, but lately its getting old. Blake is the Instagram of basketball. He does one thing well, dunking, and over time he needs to add some more dimensions. Facebook will integrate Instagram’s strength, photos, into its own current platform and Instagram’s employees will develop and adapt to its newfound user base. Similarly, Blake needs to adapt his game to something sustainable over the remainder of his career. It could be that LA needs to change up its offense to aid in this transition, but I don’t think Blake Griffin is ready yet. It also could be that the inevitable departure of Vinny del Negro could help.
What is really shocking to me though is one stat in particular (stats according to ESPN.com):
Rebounds? No, although 10.9 RPG this season is OK, its still down from 12.1 from last year.
FG%? No, .545 is OK, though would expect to see a little higher as he is throwing it down mostly.
Blocks? YES. 0.5 Blocks a game last year, 0.7 this year. How? Blake can absolutely jump out of the gym and he’s averaging LESS THAN A BLOCK per game? Matthew Berry’s Twitter gets more blocks than that a day. I know defense isn’t cool, but it makes you wonder how hard he’s trying on D.
One more thats troubling, FT%: .642% last year, .519% this year! WHOA. B-E-E-F Blake. Balance, Eyes, Elbow, Follow Through. I have BEEF with that percentage. Whoa.
I completely get Blake’s rise to popularity in a culture that fills its down (and not down) time with tweets, blogs, pogs (not anymore, sadly), podcasts, whatever’s next… I just simply think the allure of the Raiden fatality-esque, soul-crushing dunks will go away when everyone starts to consider the other aspects of basketball. I love the concept of Lob City and the Chris Paul addition, I just don’t think they are going anywhere until a) they get a new coach and b) Blake improves his foul shooting and contributes on D.
Don’t get me wrong, keep the dunks coming but send a few down Bill Simmons Way (the stands) on D. Blake is currently one of the most exciting players to watch, but that could change.
Also, can we get Blake and some other big names in the dunk contest? Not loving Air Budinger, et al.