Blake Griffin looks like he will live up to the hype and make the Clippers respectable. Photo by Craig Bennett
By Tamara Latta
Sentinel Sports Writer
The Clippers have a real beast on their roster. Blake Griffin, the Clippers’ 6-10 power forward, has been flashier than an Aston Martin during his preseason debut. He averaged 17.3 points and 12.3 rebounds in the preseason in less than 30 minutes per game. There’s no doubt that he’s the king of all rookies right now, leading in rebounding and scoring. His stats will be enormous this season.
Blake is still considered a rookie, since he went down before the season started with a stress fracture in his left kneecap, which benched him for the entire season. His comeback has been more impressive than the three kings in South Beach.
After watching Griffin, I’m convinced he will be a superstar in this league sooner than later. The flashy and creative dunks reminded me of New York Knicks newest star Amar’e Stoudamire.
The intensity Griffin brings to the floor is remarkable. His versatile athleticism will be a big difference on that roster. During his first preseason game at Staples Center he put on a show for onlookers. He was all over the floor dunking, blocking, and getting physical on defense. There was one play where Denver Nuggets Carmelo Anthony guarded him, and his quick feet allowed him to get away and dunk on Melo. That was a moment, as he turned around and gave Anthony a look that pretty much read “are you okay”?
“I feel good mentally and physically,” said Griffin. “When pulling up to Staples Center, I couldn’t get this smile off my face. I remember last year coming to games and not being able to play”.
Griffin game intensity is so high that he’s already taking a couple of huge falls this preseason. In fact, he went down Saturday with a sprained ankle, but the injury is listed as minor.
On paper the Clippers appear to have a legit team. After all the LeBron James false alarms, they were able to move on and accept the talent they already have. Let’s not forget about shooting guard Eric Gordon, he’s still flourishing in his position and is on the rise. Also look for Baron Davis to have a stupendous season this year. I truly believe this will be his break out season with the Clippers if he stays healthy.
After a very disappointing season last year, the Clippers are looking to advance or make progress this year. They have a fresh start. Head coach Vinny Del Negro seems to be very adamant about getting this team off to the right start. Even though the team has shown growth, he still isn’t pleased overall with their performance.
One riddle that continues to haunt the Clips is fourth quarter leads. In the first half you would think they were a major threat. But in that second half and mainly the fourth quarter, they look like they’ve been hit by a truck, and I saw a repeat of that during the preseason. If they can figure out how to play basketball in the fourth quarter, they’ll be a team to watch out for in the West.