Blake Griffin: A Key Part of Los Angeles Clippers' Success

Selina FosterContributor IApril 20, 2012

DENVER, CO - APRIL 18:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers takes a free throw against the Denver Nuggets at Pepsi Center on April 18, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. The Clippers defeated the Nuggets 104-98. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Lately there has been a lot of Blake Griffin bashing going on. Among other things, he has been compared to Michael Vick and painted as a made-up star. 

In all of this, little mention is made of the fact that he is an integral part of the Clippers' lineup. Without Blake, the team would be scraping by to make the playoffs—or perhaps not be in the playoffs at all. 

Let's start by looking at last year, when Blake was a rookie. It was not a great year for the Clippers—especially their 1-13 start—but by the end of the season, they were not the worst team in the NBA and Blake had added a few achievements to his resume.

Those accomplishments were nothing to scoff at. He was the Western Conference Rookie of the Month November through April. He was selected to go the the All-Star game, and he won the Slam Dunk Contest that same weekend. He even set a few new records for the Clippers franchise, like longest double-double streak and most points scored by a rookie.

This season—with its brutal schedule—has had fewer highlights for Blake, but he is still putting up solid numbers, averaging 10.9 rebounds per game and 20.9 points per game. He has made some great dunks, and he still can surprise opponents occasionally with his balance and ball-handling. 

Most of all, whenever he is on the court, he puts in his best effort—every game.

For a team to be able to compete successfully in the NBA, every member must contribute something. A team cannot succeed if it relies on one spectacular player while most of the team is mediocre—as in the case of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Kevin Love. 

The Clippers are succeeding this season because there is good balance among the players. At the end of a win, at least four or five players are in double digits, all sharing the load to get the job done. 

Blake Griffin is an essential contributing member of this hot Clippers team, and they are lucky to have him.

Oh, and the last time I checked, Blake is the proud owner of a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy, not the former owner of a dog-fighting operation.