Yesterday’s web trending results confirmed that a ferocious dunk on a respected defender will monopolize coverage on every sports media outlet.
But, even when a posterizing play sets the sports media world ablaze, history will prove that one electrifying dunk does not guarantee a player’s long-term NBA success.
Just ask Kenny Walker, Gerald Green, Harold Miner, Isaiah Rider, Fred Jones, Desmond Mason, Nate Robinson, Cedric Ceballos and Jason Richardson—all former NBA Slam Dunk champions. Surely, these guys could fly as well as punctuate their dunks with style and aplomb. They all enjoyed respectable careers, yet none of these high-flyers will be enshrined in the NBA Hall of Fame.
Yes, as the aforementioned can attest, soaring, gravity-defying slams do not guarantee long-term success in an ultra-competitive league where athletically gifted basketball players jockey for physical superiority and strive for that gaudy, diamond-encrusted NBA championship ring.
The LA Clippers' Blake Griffin needs to understand that his dunking prowess will bring fans to their feet and feed media outlets with ample fodder from his fantastic finishes. However, Blake’s sensational slams should always take a backseat to refining his already good game. Griffin must continue to get better if his eyes are focused on multiple rings and a future bronzed bust in Springfield, MA.
Though the freakishly talented Griffin has emerged as one of the NBA’s most tantalizing talents, basketball fans should not race to crown him the next superstar worthy of adoration until the former Oklahoma Sooner wins his first playoff series and demonstrates a more rounded and polished game.
Griffin plays for a historically bad franchise known for early exits from the NBA postseason. The Clips have upgraded dramatically this season with the addition of NBA superstar Chris Paul and stalwart guard Chauncey Billups, but this “other NBA team in Los Angeles” will require much more from Blake Griffin than alley-oop flushes and rim-rocking slams.
The Clips need a leader with a complete game that he brings every night.
Griffin’s 21.3 ppg scoring and 11.1 rpg rebounding in the NBA have impressed so far this year, but his overall game, necessary for him to soar as an NBA elite player, not dunker, must improve.
Griffin must learn to take better care of the ball, which he turns over at least three times per game. He’s not a three-point shot threat having attempted two so far this season. His Dwight Howard-like 50.8 percent free-throw average makes him a liability at the end of games. And, despite ridiculous natural hops, Griffin barely blocks one shot per game.
A fantastic finisher? Absolutely! An electrifying dunker? Probably none better in the game. An elite NBA player? Not yet.
However, every basketball player on the planet is pulling for this high-flying, Kia-selling, immensely likeable, awesomely talented young man from Oklahoma.
May a future posterizing print of Blake Griffin don the walls of basketball-loving kids’ rooms everywhere one day. But, not of Blake dunking in traffic; rather, of Griffin holding the Larry O’Brien trophy!
Straight talk. No static.
MIKE - aka Mike Raffone – thee ultimate talking head on sports!