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Draft Watch

Mind you, Blake Griffin is still a college underclassman and has not declared himself for the NBA draft, but he is the consensus pick for national player of the year and the potential top pick this June.

So, with the Washington Wizards holding a 20 percent chance of earning the No. 1 pick -- and possibly the rights to Griffin -- on May 19, you have to pay attention to the guy in March Madness. And yesterday against Morgan State, Griffin dominated the Bears with 28 points (on 11 of 12 shooting) and 13 rebounds in an 82-54 win in the first round of the South Regional of the NCAA Tournament.

But nobody is talking about the alley-oop dunks and bruising rebounds. Everybody is talking about this:

Oklahoma Coach Jeff Capel was a bit fired up after Morgan State's Ameer Ali flipped Griffin with 7 minutes 41 seconds to play on Thursday. Griffin popped up and refused to retaliate. Ali was ejected.

"I couldn't do it," Capel said after the game. "When I was his age, no way I was able to handle that. It shows how smart he is. He understands why people are doing these things. I don't think it was intentional, but it was something bad that happened.

"Those kinds of things upset me. I know [Morgan State] coach Todd Bozeman doesn't teach his kids to do that. I hope it was inadvertent. It upsets me. He gets hit like that all time, and it's not called. I know he is a difficult guy to officiate. You have to be physical with him because he's so physical. It's borderline ridiculous. For me it's scary and [ticks] me off, to be honest with you."

Teams have been taking cheap shots at Griffin all season, and you have to wonder if that is also helping to push him toward leaving college basketball after this season. We talked about how teams have been trying to take him out at length for a story I wrote last week. He told me that he understands that teams are just trying to get him to lose focus and do something stupid. He reiterated those comments after the game last night.

His older brother, Taylor, is a senior on Oklahoma and he told me that he almost left the bench to fight somebody last season but had to be calmed down before he did something he regretted.

"He's my brother, he's my family," Taylor Griffin said, explaining why he nearly crossed the line. "Teams are going to try to throw everything they can at [him] because nobody has been able to stop him. It's going to come down to guys getting frustrated. They are going to get tired of him scoring on him, dunking on them, their coaches yelling at them. It takes incredible mental strength to be able to realize why that's happening. He has to use it as a benefit for himself."

But what do you think about Griffin repeatedly turning the other cheek?

By Michael Lee  |  March 20, 2009; 12:49 PM ET
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If the Wiz get lucky and get the #1 pick, they ought to keep Griffin and get a coach who understands how to accept and develop young players. Otherwise, he'll be sitting next to McGee on the end of the bench.

Posted by: Izman | March 20, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

izman: "Otherwise, he'll be sitting next to McGee on the end of the bench.Posted by: Izman"

Not to interrupt this favorite train of thought, but I don't think so, Lucy.

Posted by: Samson151 | March 20, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

If we draft Him, He won't sit... Pencil in this lineup

C Haywood
PF Griffin
SF Jamison
SG Butler
PG Arenas



Buy out one piece of the deadwood and redshirt Pech, our #2 pick and the remaining piece of deadwood.

Bring in Flip to coach this lot.

Count on a top four finish in the East, then hold your breath

Posted by: khrabb | March 20, 2009 1:34 PM | Report abuse

It was very impressive how he didn't react. It shows how under control he is both physically and mentally. And perhaps how he is not even being challenged at this level. If you are really pushing yourself to compete, you are kind of at that "edge," so if someone aggravates you, you are more likely to snap back. Griffin just shrugs it off, as if thinking, "Oh, you silly boys." Shaq has historically done the same thing, just shrugged off things like this, so many Griffin is physically dominant in the way that Shaq is.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | March 20, 2009 1:40 PM | Report abuse

One thing I like with Blake is that he's not shy in physical play. If you watch the Wizards the past few years and you'll know that this team is all about finesse players (except for Etan) and lack people that loves to bang inside.

Posted by: Dave381 | March 20, 2009 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Roll the drums for next year

Veteran starters:


Veteran bench players:


Tinselheads sitting at the end of the bench:




Coach E.something

Posted by: Izman | March 20, 2009 2:10 PM | Report abuse

not that this scenario is that similar, but capel sure did remind me of esherick outburst when defending mike sweetney LOL.

Posted by: gregegeg | March 20, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse


Thats the worst defensive lineup in the history of basketball. Butler, Jamison and Arenas with a rookie and an average defensive center.

Posted by: NewManagement | March 20, 2009 2:39 PM | Report abuse

"Tinselheads sitting at the end of the bench:


I like McGee's and Crit's potential, I like Blatche's diverse skillset, I like McGuire's grit, passion, and smarts, and I like Young's scoring ability, but please, none of them combine all of those aspects into 1 player like Griffin. They aren't on the same level, at least yet.

And if I'm not mistaken, in the second half of the season, McGuire's averaged more minutes per game than any player not named Jamison or Butler.

Posted by: psps23 | March 20, 2009 2:45 PM | Report abuse

The curse will keep us from Griffin. He's goin to LA Clipperville

Posted by: BurgwithaU | March 20, 2009 2:52 PM | Report abuse

For what it's worth - and this may have been reported before- Doc Walker from ESPN 980 reported that he spoke with Gilbert this week and Gil told him he has every intention of playing at least a few games this season - and that his knee is 100%.

Posted by: Lisa_R | March 20, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

I find this to be comical. So let me get this straight, Hasheem Thabeet is violently thrown to the ground by that thug, DaJuan Blair. That move that Blair used would have been illegal in an actual wrestling match. If he did that to someone on the street, he would have got arrested. That monster Blair should have been thrown out, and suspended. Hasheem, being the class act that he is, brushed it off, and continued to play through the injury to his shoulder.

Yet I didn’t see Ivan Carter and Michael Lee write an article about that? But Blake Griffin gets tossed to the ground by some no-name bum from Baltimore, and all of a suuden it’s blog-worthy? Talk about a double-standard. But when Thabeet was violently thrown to the ground, a bunch of “know-it-all” bloggers said it was because he was weak and frail. But it happens to the all-mighty Blake Griffin, and it is unacceptable. Unbelievable.

Posted by: cj658 | March 20, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

Assuming Wizard have worse record at the end of the season and therefore the most ping pong balls or whatever, the odds of getting the 1st pick are 25% not 20% (according to Wikipedia) We Wiz fans need all the hope we can get and every percentage point counts.

Posted by: robert48 | March 20, 2009 3:17 PM | Report abuse

Not to pour cold water, but the odds the Wiz will NOT get Griffin are 75%-80%. So don't get your hopes up.

At the same time, we'll have Gil, AJ, CB, BTH, some talented youngsters and some good veteran role-players -- just add a piece & a veteran solid coach and next year will be much better. Playoffs for sure.

But, hey, maybe we would get Griffin, though I'm not sure what adjustments will be necessary to get him to fit under the salary cap. Do you think Gil and AJ might rework their contracts?

Posted by: 7snider7 | March 20, 2009 3:33 PM | Report abuse

cj, I have some rosette and provolone if you're interested...

Posted by: RedDMV | March 20, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

'The curse will keep us from Griffin. He's goin to LA Clipperville'

I was thinking the same thing. Have we not learn anything from our history? And even if we do land Griffin, he probably will get a broken leg or something before the season. I am not trying to rain on the parade here, am just saying....

Posted by: demonj21 | March 20, 2009 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Why does Hasheem's mom keep posting on here?

Posted by: amalg | March 20, 2009 4:53 PM | Report abuse

cj658 isnt hasheems mom...its his h.s. gf that he taps on the side

Posted by: jasonma1 | March 20, 2009 5:11 PM | Report abuse

"And that one fateful day of events has brought all the speculation about Gilberts character and whether he is a true leader and winner.


Posted by: LarryInClintonMD | March 20, 2009 12:07 PM "

There's no speculation. Gilby has proved it time and time again.

Wake up.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | March 20, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse


Your being a little bit over the top with your statement...I mean come on. If you don't like the one little flip Hasheem received in college then you'll hate the kind of punishment he'll get in the pro's. All big men take that kind of punishment and the better you are the worst it gets and sometimes, the less likely you'll receive fouls.

Second, Michael Lee and Ivan Carter's job is to capture readers, frankly nobody is interested in reading about Hasheem. he isn't going to win player of the year and his best chance to capture the kind of attention your looking for is the win the National Championship

Posted by: rcnasa | March 20, 2009 5:28 PM | Report abuse


Valid point.

Posted by: glawrence007 | March 20, 2009 6:09 PM | Report abuse

is it me or has pecherov been pretty good, grant it his reaction to the super athletes around him is terrible. i think he has been one of the more consistent yung guys. hell he dodsnt even play but when he does he plays pretty good

Posted by: kevdogg25 | March 21, 2009 2:36 AM | Report abuse

Pech usually looks pretty good. His problem is that niether coach he has played for appreciates his playing style. Eventually he will either go back to Europe and be a solid player or become a valuable reserve for another NBA team. The Wizards have never given him a valid chance for playing time because he is a 7 footer who likes to shoot outside. What makes it stranger is I think we extended his contract last summer?

Posted by: MeviousMan | March 21, 2009 5:29 AM | Report abuse

CJ -- way to skip over the one obvious difference in those two situations: Blair had the ball in his hands after snatching a rebound, and in the process of pulling down and gathering the rebound, he flipped Thabeet. The dude that flipped Griffin just grabbed Griffin's arm. One was a rebound, the other was a foul that got the dude tossed.

Otherwise, exactly the same.

Posted by: disgruntledfan | March 21, 2009 8:25 AM | Report abuse

Thabeet has no O in college - he's going to absolutely suck in the NBA on O. May as well bring Manute Bol back.

Posted by: BulletsFan1 | March 22, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

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