The Man With Eg0: Why Blake Griffin Is a Can't-Miss NBA Prospect

Evan PettyCorrespondent IMay 18, 2009

MEMPHIS, TN - MARCH 29:  Blake Griffin #23 of the Oklahoma Sooners walks off the court after losing to the North Carolina Tar Heels during the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional Final at the FedExForum on March 29, 2009 in Memphis, Tennessee. The Tar Heels defeated the Sooners 72-60 to advance to the Final Four.  (Photo by Joe Murphy/Getty Images)

Calmly, quietly, confidently, the headband-less Blake Griffin strolls to center court, sparing the theatrics. He doesn't throw baby powder into the air and resurrect the opening scene from the Lion King, he doesn't pull himself up on the net, and he doesn't headbutt the basket like Jerome Bettis trying to score from the goal-line. 

A million things running through his head, the emotionless look on his face couldn't paint a more incorrect picture of what he is thinking—any possible way to beat down his opponent as badly as possible. 

The only difference between Blake Griffin and virtually every player in the NBA; he doesn't feel the need to broadcast it to the world. 

This, my friends, it the one and only thing Blake Griffin lacks—an ego.  Just so I don't confuse you; this is a good thing.

Quietly, the ultra-competitive Griffin ripped apart everyone he faced in college basketball this past season.  Like many college big men who put up stats as gaudy as Griffin's this year, he has received criticism. 

He's undersized, he played against smaller college defenders, he doesn't have a jump shot. 

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

You know what? I could care less.  Talent is relative, but there is one thing Blake Griffin has that is unparalleled in college basketball, and will soon be unparalleled in the NBA: his competitiveness.

And, unlike talent, competitiveness is not relevant or unpredictable.  It's as sure-fire as a yearly Brett Favre comeback attempt. 

If you want to mention talent, I'll give you one line; Blake Griffin is the most talented player in college basketball, without a doubt.  I'm not going any further than that, the man can score, rebound, leap, he has it all.

What makes Blake Griffin the best prospect since Tim Duncan is that he is, well, Tim Duncan. 

What people continuously fail to realize is that the NBA is the top .0001 percent of the basketball players in the world.  The talent level is so close between players, yet it is all anybody focuses on. 

The true challenge—that only a few teams can actually accomplish each year—is playing together and playing towards the common goal of winning. 

I'm going to go off on a tangent here for a second and use the Denver Nuggets as an example.  They had talent.  They also had someone who had no idea how to use talent—Allen Iverson.  Enter Chauncey Billups. 

Now take a look at the once lottery-bound Nuggets.  They went from a team of wasted talent, to the team with the most efficiently used talent in the NBA, and on the cusp of a finals appearance. 

Chauncey Billups shares the ball, and would you look at that; Carmelo Anthony suddenly doesn't have the urge to shoot the ball every time he gets it.  Rubs off on Carmelo, next it goes to JR Smith, and suddenly it becomes as contagious as swine flu in Mexico City. 

Is Chauncey Billups a more talented player than Allen Iverson? No.  Is Chauncey Billups a better player than Allen Iverson? Yes.  All it takes is a simple idea, and once it penetrates the collective ego of a basketball team, they will hit the ground running.

Sure, everyone says they "only play to win a championship."  I could count on one hand the amount of players that truly mean that.  Hell, Stephon Marbury said that—how credible can that statement be now?

But Blake Griffin, I know for a fact that he plays basketball for one thing; to win.  This is the attitude he will bring to a basketball team. 

It should be him—not Albert Pujols (no disrespect Albert)—that is featured in that ESPN commercial, because the man is a machine. 

For all we know, he was probably offered the position to be in that commercial, and for all we know, he probably turned it down.  This is because Blake Griffin is the most focused, committed, and determined player on the face of the planet.

He doesn't have a jump shot? Ya, we'll see about that.  You give the man a challenge and it will be completed. He was hitting the college three-point shot "consistently" in workouts, if that's any indication. 

Focused, competitive, determined, talented, no distractions; Blake Griffin is as pure as they come. 

He epitomizes success in the NBA, and if it was as contagious as it was at Oklahoma, it won't be long before he has some bling for his modest appearance—not as if he would wear it in public.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.