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Clippers Get First Look At Griffin

My first thought when I saw Blake Griffin walk onto the court at the Los Angeles Clippers' state-of-the-art training facility on Saturday was that if Hollywood producers decide to make another Incredible Hulk movie, they won't have to use those cheesy, computer-generated monsters anymore. They can just put Griffin in green makeup.


You won't like me when I'm angry. (AP Photo)

The guy is ripped.

"I think Adonis is the body most people want to equate him with," Clippers Coach and General Manager Mike Dunleavy said after his hour-long workout. "He's got major hops. He's got big hands. He finishes. He's strong. And that's everything we need him to do."

With the national media in town to cover the NBA Finals, the Clippers used it as an opportunity to steal some of the spotlight and direct it on the player expected to go No. 1 in the June draft. To Griffin's surprise, the Oklahoma star worked out in front about 100 people -- reporters, season-ticket holders and sponsors. I decided to check out the workout after covering Lakers-Magic media availability because he's the obvious top choice. And, if not for an unfortunate break that gave the Wizards the tiebreaker two days after the regular season, Griffin could've wound up in Washington.

As for his workout, the 6-foot-10 power forward showed the agility, quickness and athleticism that made him the college basketball player of the year. He dunked with both hands and ran the floor well, but that was to be expected. Where Griffin faltered was on the perimeter and on the foul line, as he missed several mid-range jumpers and free throws. Griffin blamed some of his struggles on nerves.

"I didn't know it was going to be like this," Griffin said of the larger than usual audience for his workout. "But that's not an excuse. I can shoot better than that and I should have. The thing about me is that I don't have to rely on my jumper but it is something I have been working on. Later on, everybody will see that it's a little better than today."

Dunleavy didn't let the poor shooting display change his mind about Griffin. After connecting with Griffin the night before at a Beverly Hills steakhouse (Griffin ate salmon because he doesn't eat red meat), Dunleavy was more swayed by his character and implied that Griffin will be the top choice come June 25.

To finish his workout, Griffin did several dribbling tricks, including handling three basketballs at once -- "something you probably don't see too often from a 6-10 guy," Dunleavy said.

"The things that you can't see on a 1-on-0 workout are the things he does best, the way he competes. His physical competitiveness is the thing that is so special about him," said Dunleavy. "Most of the time with a pick like this, 99.9 percent of the time, you're going to keep it. You can never say never about anything. If the word, 'LeBron' was spoken, obviously the door would open."

I heard from a pretty plugged in source that if Griffin comes to Los Angeles, he won't bother asking Marcus Camby for his No. 23 because Griffin has already decided to wear No. 32. That is, unless Camby gets traded. Adding Griffin gives the Clippers too many quality bigs -- including Zach Randolph and Chris Kaman -- and not enough minutes to go around. "The math isn't great, no," Dunleavy said, adding that Griffin is capable of playing three positions. "Then obviously, we're exploring other opportunities."

Working out with Clippers assistants Kim Hughes and Fred Vinson, consistently took off just inside the paint for ferocious dunks. Griffin said his emphatic jams were inspired by watching Shaquille O'Neal as a kid. "Watching him pull down the basket was always my goal so I got my Nerf hoop and tore that down a lot in preparation for this," Griffin said with a laugh. "It hasn't happened yet."

Griffin was later asked who people compare him with the most. Wouldn't you know it? Griffin mentioned a certain oversized green monster.

"Shrek," Griffin said, chuckling.


By Michael Lee  |  June 7, 2009; 7:31 AM ET
 
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Comments

"He's got major hops. He's got big hands."

And strangely short arms. But as somebody said, rebounding is the skill that translates most directly from college to pro. If you're aggressive, can take and hold position underneath, and are adept at kicking the ball out for the break, you'll be an asset in the NBA, even if you're lacking in other areas.

Griffin's not a particularly hard-working defender, so playing next to Camby would probably help. But given Camby's advanced years, I don't know why anybody would trade Kaman. Zach Randolph -- I dunno what to say about that guy.

Thing is, the Clips were bigger underachievers than the Wiz. They had Camby and Kaman, Baron Davis, Eric Gordon, Al Thornton -- that's a talented crew. Makes me suspect Griffin will struggle a little at the beginning, the way Beasley did last season, because his teammates don't play well together.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 7, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

hoopshype.com is reporting the new york knicks are working out a sign and trade move for David Lee in a cost cutting move. Can we sayy...two expiring contracts a prospect and a top five draft pick??

ps- we'll take larry hughes's contract too.

1 gil
2 larry
3 caron
4 lee
5 haywood

6th - jamison
7th- crittenton
8th- mcguire
9th- mcghee

Posted by: mrhney03 | June 7, 2009 10:50 AM | Report abuse

hoopshype.com is reporting the new york knicks are working out a sign and trade move for David Lee in a cost cutting move. Can we sayy...two expiring contracts a prospect and a top five draft pick??

ps- we'll take larry hughes's contract too.

1 gil
2 larry
3 caron
4 lee
5 haywood

6th - jamison
7th- crittenton
8th- mcguire
9th- mcghee

Posted by: mrhney03 | June 7, 2009 10:50 AM


I think a snowball has a better chance in hell than David Lee starting over Jamison. 1. Jamison is a 2 time all-star. 2. He's a double-double machine with better numbers than David Lee. And 3...IT'S DAVID FREAKIN LEE!!!!

Posted by: CBell29 | June 7, 2009 11:21 AM | Report abuse

I think Lee and Jamison would start together with Butler at the 2 guard.

Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Comcast sports news this morning said that Chris Miller got a text from Gilbert saying that he's faster than ever now and is the same weight that he was when he first came here to DC (207 lbs) and that he has his full ability back. He was also coming into town (Gil) to practice/train with Sam Cassell. So based on that Gilbert is back 100%!

Posted by: washwiz | June 7, 2009 12:35 PM | Report abuse

the text said "he's doing great"...

Posted by: washwiz | June 7, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

I really like david lee and would love to have him starting.

What are the possible complications with having lee at the 4, jamison at the 3, and butler at the 2?

from what i can gather
-butler had trouble at the two this season. is that due to his ability and preparation, or to coaching schemes?
-jamison lacks the lateral quickness for guarding the 3. is that a bigger problem than his size causing problems for guarding 4s? and if so, is Lee capable of guarding the three?

Like i said. i really like david lee.

Posted by: crs-one | June 7, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

lets not forget david lee is in just his second year. and he is also a double double machine

and defensively i think hes better and having jamison come off the bench will cause match up issues for other benches in the league..

Posted by: mrhney03 | June 7, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

Question for Mike Lee:
Is there any chance that Blake Griffin pulls a John Elway/Eli Manning/Steve Francis move and comes out and say that he does't want to play for the Clippers? And if so, does he have a preference to where he wants to go. I read somewhere that he (or his brother) felt that if he went to Washington, he would be enough to put us over the top.

Posted by: CBell29 | June 7, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Butler can not play at 2 as effective as he play at 3.He is not as fast as most 2 gards for defense, just think mano, Ray allen,Kobe and others.It is not fair to insert another SG for defense and keep an all star player like Butler in the bench.The other problem is ,he is not a good three point shooter, we also need his rebounding service.If he play at 3 he will pull 6.5 rebounds per game, if he has to run after small SGs, we can not see him around the rim.The other issue is if Larry is involved in the trade, we have DS and LH ,two better defenders. Both of them can start at 2 and help each other on the offense, thetre is no need to move butler to 2.
Aj will be more sharper from 3 , his defense will go down against the top 3 players like james, paul,artest,jeferson and others,all over jamison can play both positions.David lee is not a post player, he is not shooting inside out very well, he is a good rebounder and gets most of his points around the rim, he even can play some center position when they wants to be small and run and gun like 76ers.Oviously he has to come from bench and can get 20-25 minutes a game, but is it coast effective to pay 8-10 million a year to keep him in the bench?

Posted by: gtefferra | June 7, 2009 2:15 PM | Report abuse

lets not forget david lee is in just his second year. and he is also a double double machine

and defensively i think hes better and having jamison come off the bench will cause match up issues for other benches in the league..

Posted by: mrhney03 | June 7, 2009 2:06 PM

Actually, he's going into his 4th season. And his career numbers are 10 points and 9 rebounds. He had one "breakout" season this past year in a system that is designed to inflate numbers. Hell, Wilson Chandler went undrafted and put up 14 points a game! As much as I bash Jamison for his defense, the man produces year in year out. He doesn't just average a double double, he puts up 20 and 10's. David Lee is not better than Antawn Jamison. End of story.

Posted by: CBell29 | June 7, 2009 2:25 PM | Report abuse

'Roids rage!

The NBA does test, right?

Posted by: JPRS | June 7, 2009 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Wilson Chandler went undrafted and put up 14 points a game!
Posted by: CBell29


He was a first round draft pick, but your point is well taken.

Posted by: toohoes | June 7, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

If that info on Gilbert is accurate, this is great news!

Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 3:16 PM | Report abuse

"Comcast sports news this morning said that Chris Miller got a text from Gilbert saying that he's faster than ever now and is the same weight that he was when he first came here to DC (207 lbs) and that he has his full ability back. He was also coming into town (Gil) to practice/train with Sam Cassell. So based on that Gilbert is back 100%!

Posted by: washwiz | June 7, 2009 12:35 PM "

Who cares? What happened the last time Gilby claimed "I'm back!"?

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 7, 2009 3:38 PM | Report abuse

Two comments about this video:

1. The cameraman sucks.
2. Still can't figure out just by watching this video why ballers get tens to hundred million dollar contracts...just bouncing a ball up the court and skipping like a little girl.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 7, 2009 3:39 PM | Report abuse

'If that info on Gilbert is accurate, this is great news!"
Seemed accurate - it was right after the story on Tiger Woods. They were like "next information on Gilbert Arenas" and i was like no, not an injury.
But very positive!

Posted by: washwiz | June 7, 2009 3:48 PM | Report abuse

I'd agree that NY seems to be looking at moving Lee in a sign and trade instead of committing to a multi-year deal.

I'm just not sure Washington can put together the deal that makes the most sense to the Knicks. A deal with Memphis for the second pick in the draft seems to make more sense.

Memphis is about 3m under the cap, that means that if Lee signs for about 8m a year, Memphis only needs to come up with about 5m in trash contracts to send back to the Knicks. That's not very hard, and Memphis has got enough to move.

Then the trade comes down to 2nd pick(Rubio) for Lee and the Knicks first rounder.

Memphis seems to be the one place Rubio's people don't want to see him. NY would be heaven in their eyes, they've got to generate advertising dollars to pay off his Euro deal.

Memphis would get a starting 4 in Lee, and the chance to pick again in the top of the draft. Pretty good recovery for a draft pick where the likely 2nd pick in the draft doesn't want anything to do with you, and he has leverage that other rookies don't.

The Knicks get Rubio to run D'Antoni's offense for a year while he waits for LeBron and Bosh to join him. And they keep maxium dollars uncommited to use to lure LeBron and Bosh.

I'm afraid that looks like it makes a whole lot more sense then anything the Wiz could offer.

The Knicks could then pursue a deal like the Larry Hughes/Jeffries package they were talking to the Wiz about at the deadline. Moving Hughes/Jeffries for the expiring contracts that the Wiz hold in James/Thomas would make sense to the Knicks, since Jeffries has one more year on his deal then the rest of the players involved. More room for LeBron and Bosh...
GM

Posted by: flohrtv | June 7, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Thanks washwiz, definitly a positive update.

The mere mention of Gilbert Arenas's name is like the Bat Signal for dc-man, only difference is Batman comes and saves the day. DC-man comes to ruin......

Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

"The mere mention of Gilbert Arenas's name is like the Bat Signal for dc-man, only difference is Batman comes and saves the day. DC-man comes to ruin......

Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 4:15 PM "

Not surprised you would base your arguments on cartoon superheroes.

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 7, 2009 5:06 PM | Report abuse

GILBERT ARENAS.......wait for it...... wait for it...........

Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

"Is there any chance that Blake Griffin pulls a John Elway/Eli Manning/Steve Francis move and comes out and say that he does't want to play for the Clippers? And if so, does he have a preference to where he wants to go. I read somewhere that he (or his brother) felt that if he went to Washington, he would be enough to put us over the top."

I heard from a friend of a guy whose mom gets her hair done at the same saloon as Griffin's girlfriend's sister's roommate that he's going to hold his breath until he passes out unless the Clippers trade him to the Wizards.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 7, 2009 6:27 PM | Report abuse

GILBERT ARENAS.......wait for it...... wait for it...........

Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 5:34 PM


Giggle

Posted by: patrick15 | June 7, 2009 6:55 PM | Report abuse

"GILBERT ARENAS.......wait for it...... wait for it...........

Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 5:34 PM "

I'm sure in your reality, you're waiting by the window for the Batman signal while lathering the KY Jelly Heat.

Maybe you can time it better than David Carradine did.

Robin: "Whoa! You came down that pole like a pro, zxhoya."

http://forum.ebaumsworld.com/showthread.php?t=60073

Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 7, 2009 8:36 PM | Report abuse

"wait for it... wait for it..."

You didn't have to wait long, didja? Something to be said for predictability.

But I think it would be a mistake to base too much optimism on Gilbert's return to form. The guy looked good in a couple games near season's end, and the team seemed to play much better when he was in there. Take that for what it's worth, and no more.

Posted by: Samson151 | June 7, 2009 11:47 PM | Report abuse

This blog just kills me. Nice bait, zxhoya.

ROFLOL

Posted by: original_mark | June 8, 2009 8:31 AM | Report abuse

"Actually, he's going into his 4th season." - CBell

To prove your point even more, he's actually going into his 5th season. I totally agree, though. He's a great rebounder, and runs the floor well. Unfortunately he really has no post game and isn't exactly known as a good defender. While he's a very good young-ish player, he's not an improvement over Jamison.

I'll stress again that Jamison is our second best player. Everyone is enamored with Butler for some reason, but he's no better a defender, no better on offense, less consistent, and despite his nickname, has missed over 15 games in each of the last 3 seasons.

An upgrade on Jamison is someone like Bosh, not David Lee. If you're going to trade Jamison or Butler, you need to get something real in return.

I doubt Atlanta would go for this right now, but if they're worried about losing Johnson after next season, maybe we could entice them with Butler, an expiring contract, and the 5th pick for Johnson and their 19th. They could pick up Harden or Curry at at the 5, to add to a young and up and coming team, and Butler could fill the hole they have at the 3. We'd have Johnson at the 2, a great shooter, excellent ball-handler, and very good defender. You play McGuire at the 3, and you then have two very good wing defenders on the floor, gain on offense, and actually get a couple years younger.

Posted by: segastyle | June 8, 2009 10:36 AM | Report abuse

Unless Johnson walks into the GMs office and tells him flat out that he'll never re-sign with the Hawks, there's zero chance they'd trade Johnson in some kind of pre-preemptive move. He's the closest thing they've got to a franchise player.

And I agree on Lee. He's a dirty work guy whose numbers look a lot better than their real impact because of D'Antoni's system. He'd be a solid complementary piece at the right price, but he's not a primary guy on a playoff caliber team. All those people clamoring to send Jamison to the bench need to swallow hard and accept the fact that unless Grunfeld pulls off a something for nothing deal that nets an All-Star caliber big man, Antawn's the Wizard's starting PF for the foreseeable future. They have no one currently on the roster and no one in the draft 9who'll be available at # 5) who would make Saunders even consider benching him.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 8, 2009 11:08 AM | Report abuse

And I agree on Lee. He's a dirty work guy whose numbers look a lot better than their real impact because of D'Antoni's system. He'd be a solid complementary piece at the right price, but he's not a primary guy on a playoff caliber team


Posted by: kalo_rama | June 8, 2009 11:08 AM

neither is jamison..who is jamison going to start over on a playoff team besides anderson varaejo..he aint starting over:

amare stoudamire,
kevein garnett
pau gasol
carmello anthony
chris bosh
tim duncan

so what are you saying? we need defense and Lee provides more muscle in the front court.
jamison can come off the bench and create mismatches for benches across the league

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 8, 2009 1:06 PM | Report abuse

LOL!

I love it. I shot down your nonsense in the other thread and now you're trying to get some back over here? Of course, your attempts to make a coherent point are just as doomed to failure here as in the other thread.

"so what are you saying?"

I'm saying that until the Wizards get a PF who is actually better than Jamison, Jamison is going to be the starter. I'm saying that David Lee is not better than Jamison in a way that would actually make the Wiz better if he replaced Jamison as starter. I'm saying that, last I checked,

amare stoudamire,
kevein (sic) garnett
pau gasol
carmello (sic) anthony
chris bosh
tim duncan

don't, and won't any time soon, play for the Wizards so bringing them up is utterly irrelevant (apparently a specialty of yours). I'm saying that, as usual, nothing you say makes any sense, has any relevant meaning, or bears any relationship to logical fact.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 8, 2009 1:56 PM | Report abuse

lololol!!!

kalorama are u stupid? can you not read? those are power fowards on playoff teams buddy...
remember what you said?
"And I agree on Lee. He's a dirty work guy whose numbers look a lot better than their real impact because of D'Antoni's system. He'd be a solid complementary piece at the right price, but he's not a primary guy on a playoff caliber team"


Posted by: kalo_rama | June 8, 2009 11:08 AM

would jamison start at power foward on any other playoff team in the nba besides cleveland? david lee is a better defender and defense was more of an issue for my wizards than offense was.I think Lee would do a better job at defending than jamison would. again this is my opinion which i am entitled to.
so ummmm Kalo_rama get a clue wont u?

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 8, 2009 3:10 PM | Report abuse

"would jamison start at power foward on any other playoff team in the nba besides cleveland?" - jasper

he'd be the starting PF for both houston, miami, and detroit easily. he'd more than likely be starting for chicago too. it'd be a tossup between him and brand for philly, but considering their offensive issues, he'd help. portland has a good young pf, but he's still not as consistent or good as jamison. heck even orlando doesn't have a pf as good as jamison. lewis is good, but not better than jamison.

you basically named the top 4 pf in the game, threw in gasol who's a c/f combo and then carmello, who is a sf. so scratch him off the list. denver's pf is kenyon martin. a better defender than jamison, but no where near the scorer or rebounder.

amare stoudamire,
kevein garnett
chris bosh
tim duncan
and pau gasol now that he's a forward and not a center.

so that 5 starting pfs better than jamison (though only 2 have actually won it all). there's 30 teams. i'll help you out though, Nowitzki is better. Boozer and West are good, but probably on par.

Posted by: segastyle | June 8, 2009 4:01 PM | Report abuse

"those are power fowards on playoff teams buddy..."

But none of them are PFs on the Wizards, and the only issue under discussion is whether Lee should replace Jamison as the starting PF for the Wiz. Whether either of them would start on another team is irrelevant (rigght in your wheelhouse, as it turns out)

"would jamison start at power foward on any other playoff team in the nba besides cleveland?"

Who cares if he'd start for other teams? The issue is whether he should start for the Wizards. And he's the Wizards starter because he's the best option they have at PF. Until they acquire another player who's better at the position, he'll continue as the starter. David Lee is not that player. Everything else is irrelevant nonsense (clearly your stock in trade).

"again this is my opinion which i am entitled to"

And, again, just because it's your opinion and you're entitled to it doesn't make it any less foolish, empty, pointless, or stupid.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 8, 2009 4:08 PM | Report abuse

ok ok ok ok u got it big man!!

Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 8, 2009 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"neither is jamison."

Oh, look. You're wrong. What a shock.

Jamison was the starter on a Wizards team that went to the playoffs 4 years in a row. Lee's never gotten anywhere near the playoffs.

Posted by: kalo_rama | June 8, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

I thought I would throw an idea out there that we don't discuss much. Although, like most Wiz fans, I hope for a trade that can provide the team with some immediate help.

What happens if the team holds onto the pick and goes with the guy that many draftniks (like Chris Ford at ESPN) have said would be the perfect fit for them....James Harden?

Now that his athletic ability graded out so well at the combine, he is gaining more fans. If the Wiz draft him and just wait to see what they can trade the expiring contracts for down the line, how would we the fans view that?

Posted by: SportzWiz | June 8, 2009 6:04 PM | Report abuse

kalo/jasper, while your argument is borderline entertaining, I take excpetion to the premise. Look at the worst teams in the league...would Kevin Martin, Baron Davis, and Kevin Durant not start for most teams? I think they would play and play well for plenty of teams. I've been guilty of it myself, but I think it's faulty to say so and so would start for a championship team, or so and so is a bench player on an average team. I think it's more about getting guys that play well together.

SportsWiz if they kept their picks (don't discount that low second rounder, those are often considered more desirable than high first rounders) I would complain about the Wizards having too many young players. I like Harden though, he'd be a fine pick if they kept the core.

Posted by: patrick15 | June 8, 2009 6:42 PM | Report abuse

When did Dunleavy become GM too? My goodness, the Clippers owner has to be one of the dumbest people in the NBA. Dunleavy should be fired as the coach. it's scary to think he is the GM on top of his weak coaching skills.

Posted by: oknow1 | June 10, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

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