Los Angeles Clippers: 3 Ways Blake Griffin Can Improve from Last Season
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He’s lived up to the hype of his 22.7 points and 14.4 RPG during his last year in college…almost.
Griffin is averaging 21.7 points and 11.5 RPG in the NBA, but it’s no secret that there are areas in the All-Star’s game that could use some improvement.
Here are three things Clipper fans had better hope Griffin worked on in the offseason.
Blake Griffin prepares to shoot from the line in a March 7 game against the Nets.
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Simply put, Blake Griffin gets fouled a lot. In his two years in the NBA, Griffin has been among the players with the most free-throw attempts in the league. In his rookie year, he was second only to Dwight Howard in FTAs with 695 (about eight a game). Back then, Griffin was a 64 percent free-throw shooter.
Last season, his free-throw shooting abilities diminished as he shot just 52 percent from the line.
If Griffin wants to be a more effective big man in the NBA, he’s got to get his free-throw shooting back up.
In the regular season last year, the Clippers lost eight games by four points or fewer. Griffin shot less than 60 percent from the line in seven of those games.
The worse his free-throw shooting gets, the more teams will send him to the charity stripe instead of allowing him an easy basket in the paint.
Mid-Range and Post-Game
Blake Griffin in Game 6 of the 2012 playoffs against Memphis
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Griffin has become notorious in the league for his preference for the dunk, and Kia Motors appreciates that.
The Clippers and their fans, on the other hand, would probably prefer that Griffin develop other aspects of his game.
In the regular season last year, he shot just 25 percent from 10-15 feet and just under 40 percent from beyond 16 feet. During the playoffs, his mid-range jumper was even worse, as he only shot 25 percent from 16 feet out or more.
When he has the ball in the post, Griffin’s go-to move is to spin around against his defender, get to the basket and score.
But Griffin struggles against stronger defenders who won’t be so easy to get around. That, along with his poor ball-handling ability, makes it difficult for him to create his own shot. He’ll give up the ball to a teammate outside or attempt a 10-footer that, as we know, he doesn’t make very often.
That doesn’t make Griffin the most effective player in the post and causes him to turn the ball over a lot (he's averaging 2.5 turnovers a game).
If Griffin improves on his outside shooting, he’ll be much harder to defend. He’ll have the option of putting the ball on the floor and going inside, or shooting that mid-range jumper (and making it). That’s an option that he didn’t have his first two years in the NBA, and one that will make him a more versatile scorer.
Blake Griffin defends Grizzlies' Zach Randolph in Game 5 of the 2012 NBA playoffs.
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Along with his shooting, Griffin has been criticized for his defense…or lack thereof.
He’s one of the best rebounders in the league, averaging 11.5 career RPG. But last season he was ranked 44th in the NBA among forwards in blocks per game (.73).
In post-up defense, Griffin seems to shy away from the ball-handler. He doesn’t use his body to challenge the offense, which makes him one of the less-effective big men on the defensive end.
Sure, he’s pretty good at defending on the perimeter because of his quickness. But at 6'10" 250 pounds, a powerful player like Griffin should be much better in the post on both ends of the court.
When he starts to develop his defense down low, he can add to DeAndre Jordan’s two blocks per game and make the Clippers a much stronger defensive team.