The New Family Guy: Blake Griffin

After spending years of watching the entertaining but laughable Peter Griffin (Family Guy character) try to run his Clippers organization with the help of his overweight son Chris Griffin (played by Baron Davis), his awkward teenage daughter Meg Griffin (played by Chris Kaman) and his diabolical infant son Stewie Griffin (played by Clippers season ticket holder and ESPN writer Bill Simmons), the show decided it was time to add some new blood; and they did so by bringing in a stud named Blake Griffin. His role? Make the Clippers relevant. And after watching Griffin perform last night at Oracle arena, I think he might just be able to pull it off.

At 6’11 and 250 lbs., Griffin is perhaps the most exciting rookie big man that NBA fans have wanted to see in the past 10 years, since Greg Oden and Kenyon Martin entered the league. And although we only have a sample of two games on the Clippers power forward, it seems fairly obvious that he is a keeper given his vast amount of talent and potential. Have a quick look at his averages after two games:

Blake Griffin

Now quickly glance at the list of players who averaged a double double last year (listed alphabetically):
  • Andrew Bogut
  • Carlos Boozer
  • Chris Bosh
  • Tim Duncan
  • Pau Gasol
  • Dwight Howard
  • David Lee
  • Kevin Love
  • Troy Murphy
  • Joakim Noah
  • Zach Randolph
  • Gerald Wallace

Let me once again remind you that Blake Griffin has only played two games so far this season; however if his current level of production holds up for the remainder of the season, it would be quite difficult not to award him the Rookie of the Year trophy. The list above clearly illustrates that averaging a double double is fairly difficult, so accomplishing such a feat as rookie would undoubtedly sway voters. But before we talk about the end of the season (which is kind of far), let’s shift our focus to the here and now. Does Griffin have the tools to consistently put up numbers?

The worst kept secret in the NBA right now is Blake Griffin’s level of athleticism. Just in case you haven’t had the chance to view his outrageous leaping ability, check out the video here. On second thought, even if you have seen Griffin play, it’s still worth checking out the video. The former #1 overall pick is reckless in his forays to the basket. Indeed, the names of the players waiting for him at the rim are of little concern to him. He’s quicker than your prototypical power forward and therefore can usually beat his man to a spot where he is able to take off and finish surprisingly well with either hand. One of the most impressive parts of his offensive game though is his footwork. Rarely does he get caught in awkward positions when facing double teams or single coverage because he never places his feet in a position where they could betray his balance. Indeed, Griffin is ahead of schedule (at least in my book) in terms of his use of his pivot and face up moves. Further complicating the matter for defenders, the Clippers forward always remains in triple threat position and is a willing passer for the most part, thus making it hard to anticipate his intentions. Combine his quickness with his strength and explosiveness and we have ourselves a terrifying offensive player.

But wait, there’s more. Blake Griffin has an outstanding handle on the ball for a power forward; I would not put him on equal footing with Lamar Odom, but he isn’t that far off. I have seen him dribble the ball on the break a few times at full speed and look completely comfortable doing it. The Clippers obviously do not want him bringing up the ball, but it is a great pressure release against tough defenses and such a skill will help him beat defenders when he faces them up.

His overall rebounding is fairly good but his offensive rebounding prowess is impressive. Griffin always finds his man and tries to keep contact with him in order to box him out and gain possession of the ball for a possible basket. His size, strength and athleticism make it tough for opponents to adequately keep him off the boards; consequently he should be able to get his points even on bad shooting nights.

My one concern with Blake Griffin might not have anything to do with him but rather with his team. Allow me this analogy: remember in The Jungle Book (the 1967 Disney film) how Mowgli was essentially raised by wolves and thus saw himself as an animal? That’s Blake Griffin in a nutshell. He clearly has the required tools to be a good or possibly great defender; and yet he does not seem to be all that interested in it. I put the blame here on his team because it does not seem as though they have made it a huge point of emphasis. Far too often I saw the former Oklahoma player jog back on defense or sleep walk while guarding his man. Also, he is not as dominant as a defensive rebounder because he does not put in the same type of effort there as he does on offense. He resembles Mowgli in that sense because the team seems to have allowed him to believe that such is the norm and therefore he might not be aware that bad habits are slowly kicking in given the fact that L.A.’s other team has a losing culture attached to them.

The Clippers need to bring in a veteran or two to hold players accountable much like Sam Cassell did when he came to Los Angeles in 2005. Otherwise, the young cornerstone might develop Zach Randolph syndrome. Seriously, Randolph is now in his 11th NBA season and has only played in eight playoff games. Conversely, during his time in Minnesota, Kevin Garnett was surrounded by veterans that held him accountable as young player, which resulted in 47 playoff games during his 12 seasons with the Timberwolves. Let’s just hope the Clippers organization is paying attention.

With that said though, Blake Griffin is a gifted athlete with a lot of upside (hell, I just compared him to Zach Randolph and Kevin Garnett who have combined for 14 NBA All-Star selections) that should provide us with a plenty of highlight type of plays this season.  Hopefully he gets surrounded with the proper teammates for him to fully tap into his potential to become an elite NBA power forward. But one thing is for sure though, he is definitely must see television, and that makes Mr. Griffin our new family guy. Make sure you tune in.

Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at You can also find me on Twitter with the handle name ShyneIV.


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