It took three years, but Blake Griffin may very well be one of the league’s least popular players. Aside from fans in Los Angeles, Griffin may be looked upon by many NBA fans with skepticism and eyeballs rolled up.
It wouldn’t be his statistical presence, Griffin’s averaged a double-double in two of his last three seasons. He’s also averaged better than 18 points per game each season and shot above the 52 percent mark for his career so far. So, if it’s not the stats, what is it?
One word: overrated. Griffin’s been overrated. An abundance of coverage and commercials and the man hasn’t done much to improve his glaring weaknesses. For as much as he plays, 35 minutes per game, Griffin’s defense is average at best. He doesn’t block shots as a power forward nor does he dominate the paint as he can. On offense, his repertoire, thus far, has been reliant on Chris Paul, open dunks, or the occasional step-back 15-footer. In other words, it’s limited.
But, Griffin’s recent play is opening some eyes. Looking at his games from Dec. 16 to Jan. 3 (Chris Paul’s injury game), he’s been dominant. Eight double-doubles out of ten, averages of 26 points and nearly 11 rebounds per game (including one 40-point game and three 30-point games), have people double-checking the box score. Is this the Griffin that’s been dormant all this time? Could he just expand his season to look more like the past three weeks?
With Chris Paul out 3-5 weeks, Griffin’s recent inspired play is more than necessary — it’s integral for the Clippers’ continued success. It’s also necessary for Griffin’s play to continue because of ongoing trade rumors.
The criticisms for Griffin’s game may seem meager, but that is the NBA today. It is a microscope on big-time players to play exactly like the hype demands. Griffin’s been getting a free pass and it’s high-time he starts to live up to the billing.
Photo Credit: Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports
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