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.
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.
Please email us to report offensive comments.
Posted by: Samson151 | June 7, 2009 9:53 AM
Posted by: mrhney03 | June 7, 2009 10:50 AM
Posted by: CBell29 | June 7, 2009 11:21 AM
Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 11:41 AM
Posted by: washwiz | June 7, 2009 12:35 PM
Posted by: washwiz | June 7, 2009 12:38 PM
Posted by: crs-one | June 7, 2009 1:11 PM
Posted by: mrhney03 | June 7, 2009 2:06 PM
Posted by: CBell29 | June 7, 2009 2:07 PM
Posted by: gtefferra | June 7, 2009 2:15 PM
Posted by: CBell29 | June 7, 2009 2:25 PM
Posted by: JPRS | June 7, 2009 2:36 PM
Posted by: toohoes | June 7, 2009 3:12 PM
Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 3:16 PM
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 7, 2009 3:38 PM
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 7, 2009 3:39 PM
Posted by: washwiz | June 7, 2009 3:48 PM
Posted by: flohrtv | June 7, 2009 4:09 PM
Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 4:15 PM
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 7, 2009 5:06 PM
Posted by: zxhoya | June 7, 2009 5:34 PM
Posted by: kalo_rama | June 7, 2009 6:27 PM
Posted by: patrick15 | June 7, 2009 6:55 PM
Posted by: DC_MAN88 | June 7, 2009 8:36 PM
Posted by: Samson151 | June 7, 2009 11:47 PM
Posted by: original_mark | June 8, 2009 8:31 AM
Posted by: segastyle | June 8, 2009 10:36 AM
Posted by: kalo_rama | June 8, 2009 11:08 AM
Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 8, 2009 1:06 PM
Posted by: kalo_rama | June 8, 2009 1:56 PM
Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 8, 2009 3:10 PM
Posted by: segastyle | June 8, 2009 4:01 PM
Posted by: kalo_rama | June 8, 2009 4:08 PM
Posted by: jasperhneyaolcom | June 8, 2009 4:26 PM
Posted by: kalo_rama | June 8, 2009 5:43 PM
Posted by: SportzWiz | June 8, 2009 6:04 PM
Posted by: patrick15 | June 8, 2009 6:42 PM
Posted by: oknow1 | June 10, 2009 2:14 PM
The comments to this entry are closed.