Chris Paul: Hopes For Team Rest On Blake Griffin

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Clippersfan86
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http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/stor ... iffin-goes

I love this! What most of us have known and been saying for a while. Chris Paul is publicly admitting that Griffin is the key and catalyst to everything.

lobcityhawaii
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Great read! Yup I agree with you there.

Flushyriver
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I don't know why Chris tries so hard to avoid credit with an influence with the front office. I'm not sure if he actually does, i just don't like hearing an alibi every time someone asks him if he was ever in favor for a particular move or anything...but I liked everything else he had to say. Looks like everyone is on the same page in Clipper Land. A good sign.

"Somebody tried to say last year, 'Man, you went from Batman to Robin real quick.' But honestly, to me, it was like, 'Batman and Robin always saved the day.'" Love that.

On another note, Colin Cowherd is actually a pretty entertaining analyst. Miss him on Sportsnation.

06clippersfan
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That is a great article!

I think the Clippers won't win the championship until BG gets a reliable jumper and DJ becomes that defensive anchor and hits freethrows.

It could be that those things are what BG and DJ worked on all summer and who knows, maybe this upcoming season the Clippers can hold up that championship trophy.

CP3Heliflopter
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Not only BG but DJ too. Even if BG gets better we probably can't win it all if DJ doesn't pan out. I believe in BG and I know he will improve but O can't say the same for DJ. I hope everything works out. Those two are key because they are still developing and have the potential to push our team to the next level. We already know what CP3 will give us. He is a finished product already.

Flushyriver
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Not to mention our free throw percentage. We can't win a championship shooting 71% from the charity stripe (27th in the league last season). DJ might be the leader in field goal percentage again this season, but he can not keep shooting under 40% from the line if we want to win big.

Something else I was curious about, do you guys think Redick might take our technical foul free throws now?

CP3Heliflopter
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^Billups did last season so Redick will this season most likely though Cp3's free throw percentages did increase last season(still not as good as Redick's though).

Flushyriver
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Yeah and I think JCraw took them when both Billups and Paul were out. All three of them finished in the top 10 in FT% last season. Don't know if 3 players on the same team have been in the top 10 for FT% before, but it does look like a luxury of riches.

CP3Heliflopter
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^Don't worry that "luxury" will be balanced by DJ's 40s% Ft shooting Razz.

JahvonTheClip
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Don't forget about Jamal he is a beast with FTs

cleepers
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I still don't think Blake and CP3 can do it on their own, but we've upgraded the role players. The biggest question mark is still DJ... can he be our 3rd star?

hoopfanjd31
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I don't think he needs to be a star. If he can get to 12 and 8 with 2 blocks, plus good on-ball, post defense and get to at least 50% FT shooting, that should be good enough.

Silasie
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Yeah he had a crazy run of FT's when he didn't miss last season. Anybody know how many?

ClipperB23
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^ I think it was 58 or 59 FT's in a row, somewhere around there.

and you guys forget to mention DC! Darren Collison shot 88% from the FT line last season! Him, CP, JJ, and Jamal are all deadly from the charity stripe!

Keatonsays
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I hate that Blake see's he and CP3 as Batman & Robin. They're more like Batman and Superman, with CP3 being Batman and Blake Being Superman. Even in the Justice League, Superman has to acknowledge the Brilliance of Batman and Batman has to acknowledge the Raw Power of Superman. Together, they lead the Justice League against the forces of evil!

CP3Heliflopter
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I like that comparison. Mr. Green

Flushyriver
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Oh shoot I DID completely forget about Collison! 4 players on the same team ranking in the top 10 in free throw percentage? That's got to be unprecedented xD Get it done Clips!

@Keatonsays: I think you're missing what was meant by that but lmao that was a great comparison. I'm going to use that.

LeftHook
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This isn't the first time Chris Paul has made these statements. Last season he said the Clippers can only go as far as Blake Griffin goes.

Jerediscool
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There are enough Supermans in the NBA. We don't need another one. Let him be whoever he wants to be as long as they win.

jarca
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He better start treating griffin like a number 1 option on offense then and maybe let griffin be the decision maker at times.

Agent0
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You have to earn it. Griffin being the #1 option on offense wouldn't have been beneficial for the team because he just can't do as much as Paul. He can't create as effectively for others even though he's great for his position, and there's a big gap in isolation scoring ability between Paul and Griffin.

Actually if you look at a KG, Paul would have been a high scorer in the post-season than him on the same team. KG isn't a great scorer, but KG would impact defense at such a high level. Griffin has some KG in him in that he likes to pass and run the offense.

Blake either has to become a KG or Duncan on defense, which I don't think is realistic, or become like an Amare on offense, which is more realistic, but not easy either. I think he can fall in the middle, he's a better all-round player than Amare ever was or has been.

He can be an above average defender while Amare was bad, but not great like Duncan or KG either.

He can be a 22-23 pts/36, .570 TS% efficient scorer, not the 25-26 PPG, >.600 TS% scorer prime Amare was, but higher than a KG who was really more of a 20-21 pts/36 on .550 TS% guy for most of his regular season prime career and 19-20 pts/36 on .523 TS% in the playoffs in his prime.

Keatonsays
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^ I think I recall hearing that Blakes favorite player was Amare Stoudamire when he was younger so that's a good comparison. The difference is that Amare's stats were largely a result of the offensive system he was placed in down in Phoenix. Also, Amare is a far superior free throw shooter to Blake which definitely helps to contribute to his ability to pad those scoring numbers. Until Blake starts getting the calls he deserves, and starts hitting those free throws he has to work so hard to earn, he'll hover around the 20-22 ppg mark. If things start going his way, and he does what he's supposed to do, then he should easily hit the 25-27ppg mark, even without a particularly great offensive system.

@flushyriver I understand what he meant but my point is that his mentality has to change before he can truly achieve greatness. When people think of Robin, they don't think "Robin is a great superhero", they think "Robin was a great sidekick". Blake isn't a sidekick, and he can't have that sidekick mentality if he's going to be any bit of the superstar that we all know he can and should be. Even Robin got sick of being a sidekick and became Nightwing. It's all in the mentality.

Batman and Robin are only able to save Gotham city (LA) Batman and Superman are the ones that save the world

Flushyriver
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Lmao bro he didn't even make the comparison. He was responding to a comment that somebody else made about him. It's a testament to understanding that he doesn't feel effects of being overshadowed and is willing to play any role available to him to the fullest extent. It's falling into the idea of team before everything and really all down to a witty response to the dick that called him Robin anyways. I'm sure if he was gifted with an expansive understanding of all superheroes like you seem to be he would have responded saying he was aquaman or whatever (sorry, I know like two superheroes), but that's over-dissecting the comment a little too much.

LAbreakers
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there is only one catalyst on this team, and it's CP3. Blake is gonna be Blake, and we're gonna go as far as our team defense takes us, and that's on Chris and Blake.

Three things that could be difference makers from last season:

1) Doc is a better coach than Vinny.

2) DJ gets 36+ mins/game.

3) Reggie Bullock impacts the rotation and perhaps forces a midseason upgrade/trade.

Three things that could hold us back from doing as well as last season:

1) Durability/health of Paul and/or Griffin fails us for a significant period of time.

2) Vinny is not as bad a coach as many here made him out to be.

3) Ryan Hollins is our first big off the bench and we fail to sign an Ivan Johnson or the like.

Keatonsays
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He may not have made the comparison, but he accepted it. My point is that he can't be in the mentality that he's a second fiddle. Everything I've seen out of Blake for the past 2 season's, has shown me that Blake doesn't have that "this is my team, i'm the key to our success" mentality, so for him to accept a comparison like that further adds to my suspicions about his psyche.

In Blakes first season, we saw him do everything in his power to help the team succeed. Now, i'm sure it's become clear to everybody that, despite becoming a better overall player, with more skills now than when he first came into the league, Blake hasn't been able to translate that into becoming a more dominant player. We've seen him become hesitant at times when he would once be decisive and aggressive.

Because I'm not him, I do not know what the reason is for this change of play, so i'm forced to speculate as to what the reason may be, and my speculation has led me to believe that Blake doubts himself because playing with a bonafide superstar like CP3 forces him to think whether or not his choice is the best choice. Whether or not he is the best option for that moment, as opposed to being the clear cut option like he was in his rookie year. Of course this is all speculation as I said, and my view of the comment is only an opinion, hence the signature below.

I can understand if he was trying to be witty or funny, but this isn't a joke, and Blake shouldn't be accepting any role other than a leader on both offense and defense. He has to become a bit more selfish if we're going to win, and that's what Chris Paul meant in his statement.

We have 2 guys waiting for each other to take the reigns when we need them both to dominate their respected areas of expertise.

tense2
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Well said Keaton, well said. That's the intangible the great ones have.

Flushyriver
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@Keaton:

The thing is though, even if he can be a little more aggressive, and I'm sure he'll get his own in terms of set interior plays, he is, for all extensive purposes, "the second fiddle" on this team (if you think he isn't then that's another argument). I myself think it's refreshing to not have an overly dominant Type A personality that wants everything to be about him on the roster. It's a lot easier to construct a complete team when you're not dealing with clashing star egos. And it's not like he shies away from the pressure or the limelight, if anything, he's embraced it! Just because you're not the first option on a team doesn't mean you aren't a leader.

Batman&Robin are used as metaphors for first and second options on a team. They're both superheros and leaders of their team, but Chris is still superior. I still think you're looking into that comment too critically. But I guess some people are never satisfied. I'm sure it'd be similar criticism if he had said "No I'm still Batman. Chris is my Robin." Or even "He's Batman and I'm Superman." The idea is that he's not as high on the hierarchy on his team with Chris here and he knows it. It'd be worse if he was resistant to relinquishing the #1 option role. Doesn't mean he can't be great. Doesn't mean he won't be an all-star. And god knows he works hard and improves with every offseason. He can still be more aggressive when he needs to be without overreaching his role as the second best player on the team. If you seriously think something is wrong with his psyche by the way he responded to someone noting his lesser role on the team through a well-known superhero metaphor then so be it. I don't think you'd be pleased with a player with a stronger ego either.

And I also think you don't fully understand Chris's statements about Blake. Him saying the team will go as far as Blake takes them is his assessment of the team as a whole. Chris understands Blake's value as the backbone to the interior and knows that he himself can't win it alone. What he actually said was "His voice carries a lot of weight and I think our team will definitely go as Blake goes." That sounds like Chris knows Blake is a leader on the team. I don't think that was ever really in question.

And as for the idea that they're both waiting for the other to take the reigns, don't know my superheros all that well, but wasn't Batman & Robin's whole representation supposed to be about effective unity in finding success? Kindof the team mantra. We don't need more superstars. We need a better team.

jarca
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I agree than he has to earn it. Bg is still busy doing commercial instead of working with Hakeem. But last year and the year before that CP3 fazed BG out in the fourth quarter. He gave more preferential treatment to Jcross and other wing player. I would love for him to consistently feed the ball down low to Blake because it forces the defense to adjust and choose whether they'll play him straight up or double him.

BG at worst is the 2nd best player on the team but for some reason he can't get the ball in the 4th. I blame the point guard for that.

Clippersfan86
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Oddly enough as a huge Griffin fan I agree with Keaton. I want to see more of a savage in Blake. I want to see him come out and say THIS IS MY TEAM. I mean recently younger, less experienced guys like Derrick Favors and Paul George have so why won't Griffin?

ClipperDB
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I agree with Keaton's comment above. I also see that Blake isn't as assertive as he was before we got CP3. It appears Blake's personality is to defer instead of taking charge. It seems when he is goofing around with DJ, that DJ is the leader. We shall see...

Flushyriver
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Because neither Derrick Favors nor Paul George are playing with the league's best point guard! That'd be a terrible look for Blake to say he's the best player on the team because he's unanimously not the best player on his team. Derrick Favors needs to take hold of his team now because of the lack of veteran leadership and lack of other true superstars on the roster. It makes much less sense for Blake to do the same.

ClipperDB
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For those keeping score at home, I am a big fan of Blake. I have been wanting Blake to get into MMA, or at least bring the attitude.

Keatonsays
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No, because Batman doesn't need Robin to be successful, but Blake and CP need each other if they're going to win.

On the other hand, Superman needs Batman in the Justice League (Batman is the only person in the world smart enough to manage the Egos of all the Superheroes and stop superman if he ever goes ballistic) and Batman needs Superman (batman doesn't have any superpowers so he needs Superman's raw strength to fight super powered villains) Together they lead the Justice League to victory. That's where the REAL representation of effective unity comes in.

^ That's what we need! We need 2 players who are the absolute best at what they do! CP3 is the Best point guard in the league and we need Blake to be the best Power Forward in the league. Even if Blake is our 2nd best player, he has to be our 1st scoring option if we're going to find true success.

But even that's not enough, he has to be a reliable, consistent and most importantly, DOMINANT scoring option, because despite CP's unquestioned ability to score, that's not what he wants to do. He wants to pass, and he'd prefer to pass to Blake more than anybody else, but he has to have confidence that Blake is going to do what he needs to do and not hesitate to put points up on the board.

Blake HAS TO BE Superman. He can't be Robin. If he's Robin then we're screwed until we find a real Superman. It's scary how perfect that analogy is for our situation.

ClipperDB
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Well said...

Agent0
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You're right, but there's actually a few differences in their offensive game, and it's not just about a system or getting calls for Blake to get to that level:

1) Amare is a better face-up player, he knows how to attack off the jab step and get to the line or score. Blake is actually not that good in that set, which he should be, but he tends to over-dribble and can be indecisive. Also the lack of a jumpshot probably doesn't help.

2) Amare is a vastly superior shooter. I monitored the Suns in his early years. He was developing his mid-range jumpshot in 03-04, and he continued to improve it. This is the neglected part of his game, he hit jumpshots are a similar level to guys like David West (better some years), and he was assisted a bit less on them. Blake is nowhere close to that, about 10% accuracy away from that.

3) He's a better FT shooter like you mentioned, floating around the high 70% to 80% mark.

Blake's advantages:

1) Blake is better with his back to the basket, that's a skill Amare was never specifically good at.

2) Blake is a far superior passer and handles double teams much better, and therefore is a more optimal player to run an offense through. Amare can be your leading scorer and a very good one, but you can't run an offense through him because his passing and awareness is not very good.

So yes, the Phoenix system helped, for sure, but Blake wouldn't have been as good a scorer in that system because all those mid-range jumpshots and FT's Amare is making, Blake isn't, and that's the 4-5 PPG difference right there.

Unless you're a super dominant interior big (Shaq type), you're going to need to hit jumpshots to pass over the low 20 threshold, especially with how defenses are ran nowadays. Karl Malone was a big jumpshooter, Hakeem himself hit a lot of jumpshots, Robinson, etc.

Agent0
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I think Blake is a hard worker, I don't think doing commercials and working on your game are mutually exclusive, these things can be done together. Filming a commercial doesn't take that long.

It is true, but I'm going to assume part of the reason in 11-12 was his FT shooting as he struggled more there. Also the reality is that most teams actually go to guards or wings more down the stretch. Guys like Dirk, West, Aldridge, bigs shot can shoot and are more sure with their handling are the exceptions. A guy like Blake get's played one way, and teams are generally going to be more inclined to clog the lane and play you for the shot.

So in terms of Blake getting iso's to end the game, I think in the right matchups and based on how Blake is playing that night and how the opposition is playing, it's something to look for, but I wouldn't consistently run my team like that, it's just not as effective.

Part of the issue seemed to be that Vinny didn't think of using him to draw the defense. It was sort of like if the ball is going to someone, their primary goal is to score, so sending it to Blake for that primary purpose was an inferior option. Sending it to Blake to maybe draw some defenders and create plays, maybe that was too intuitive, or he didn't trust it.

I think we'll still see the ball in the guards hands to end games, but what I had problems with is that the playcalling down the stretch was not geared to involve Blake much. That might be what you are talking about.

If you look at Paul's new Orleans teams though, Scott would use West a lot in the end of game sets. But again, like I mentioned, shooting was a big factor. West was a terrifying option off the pick and pop, and West could iso from 18 feet and stick a step back jumper in the defenders face.

jarca
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Agent,

I wasn't really arguing for Blake to get the last shot or for him to be clutch. I just want him to be involved in offense as a scoring threat, decoy, or facilitator. Many times, BG doesn't even touch the ball on offense. When he does, he's 20 feet away.

Markojaric
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I remember the Uber impossible no look bank shot buzzer beater that Griffin nailed against Dallas. Sure, it was counted as a foul. But Robin does not make, even by sheer luck, that kind of shots. Batman does.

Amnesty_David_Stern
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Garbage that Blake needs a reliable jumper for us to win anything. Blake needs a post game and needs to go back to rebounding as much as humanly possible. Once Blake develops a post game on both sides of the ball, and gets back to rebounding we will see deeper playoff runs. Jumpers come in time for players not known to have one. Karl Malone took thousands of shots before he had his little fade away jumper on the baseline. Blake just needs to really focus on his strengths, and that's being athletic, rebounding well, being an above average passer for a....

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CP3Heliflopter
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^Chauncey only made the load heavier. Razz

Agent0
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Garbage that Blake needs a reliable jumper for us to win anything. Blake needs a post game and needs to go back to rebounding as much as humanly possible. Once Blake develops a post game on both sides of the ball, and gets back to rebounding we will see deeper playoff runs. In the 5-5 article today on ESPN about power forwards in the NBA someone gave Griffin a ceiling of Karl Malone, and a low ceiling of Shawn Kemp. If Blake can continue on his current pace and keep up similar numbers, a career line of 18 points a game, 10.5....

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Agent0
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I agree, but that really looks like a coaching decision issue. With post ups especially if you aren't running a set to set up a post up, then they aren't going to happen.

LAbreakers
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for those here wishing for Blake to take the team on his shoulders.... think it's too much to ask of him. he's a great player, and prolly better than Elton Brand, and.... he was never gonna get us to the promised land without Sam Cassell....

we will go as far as Chris Paul takes us. he is the difference maker, and yes.... the better Blake plays, the better for us as Clipper fans, and still.... the biggest hurdle is team defense, of which neither Chris nor Blake are stalwarts at.... hopefully Doc and DJ can be of more help than last year.

Keatonsays
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Another key, if not the most important Key for us to succeed as far as defense goes, is Rebounding. We Need both Blake and DJ to be around 11-12rpg/36. Blake falling to below 10rpg was absolutely unacceptable, and his inability to rebound in the playoffs is perhaps the biggest factor in our inability to advance in the Playoffs. That's where the real question of toughness comes in. 6.4rpg in the Playoffs??? No way we win when our best Rebounder is that Pathetic. Don't even get me started on DJ.

If Doc Rivers can get those 2 to rebound, then we should make it to the WCF no problem. Even if Blake doesn't became the great scorer we expect him to be, he has to become the great rebounder, especially come playoff time. Dominate, Blake!!!

ClipperDB
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I think a big part of Blake not rebounding is because he was always trying to leak out on a fast break. I think Doc will tell him to worry about rebounds instead of getting a fast-break dunk. And don't get me started on DJ, either.

JahvonTheClip
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Doc will change this team into a more fundamental team. You can't get a fastbreak dunk without a rebound. Doc will definitely help the 2 big men!

Amnesty_David_Stern
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The team does need to play better defense, but in part that is DeAndre's "specialty" and it's more on HIM than Blake to play better defense. Granted, both players need to play better defense but DeAndre isn't looked at to score a ton of points, set up the offense at the top of the key like Memphis does with Gasol. DJ is out there to rebound, block shots and be a presence in the paint, very similar to Larry Sanders or Tyson Chandler. DJ is lackluster at best in terms of rebounding, it seems he has lost his desire to try to rebound better and waits for fast breaks or hopes someone else grabs the board. He needs to work on playing better man D and patrolling the paint better. He's got the size and strength to be a force, he just needs to use it more and focus less on highlight plays and more on playing the game.

Blake, will get better defensively in time. Blake is an offensive / rebounding power forward, who most projected him to be an average or slightly above average defender at best. I'll take physical play down low to up his man D. I don't need him to get 2 blocks a night or 2 steals. If he can contain his man then I think it's a win, and I think most people would agree that's what they'd like for anyone on their team, is to be able to contain your assignment and give them fits.

As far as comparing Blake to Kemp, I think what the person meant by that was an explosive power forward with incredible athletic abilities. Kemp was a pretty good defender and played with a lot of emotion ( see his technical fouls ). But, offensively if Blake stays where he is he'll be a highly effective PF for years to come. Tim Duncan is a career 69.3% FT shooter, and that percentage jumped a bit after his 80+% he shot this past season. If Blake can inch nearer to that 70% free throw shooting, why complain? How many Power Forwards and Centers in NBA history shoot 75, 80, 82, 87% from the FT line? Not very many. Getting near 70% is a bonus.

Malone was the centerpiece of a Jazz offense that strictly went to the post game, which is why his scoring numbers were inflated a bit early on, and he developed offensively much faster than most people. Not saying Malone wasn't as great as he was, easily he's one of the best if not thee best PF in NBA history, but it helps when you get force fed the ball non stop to develop a offensive post game, and a nice little jumper. But, Malone is clearly Blake's ceiling. Malone wasn't a terrific defender, not until the 90's, and even then he wasn't great. However, he did use his strength to his advantage and he played physical which is something Blake can do. And by playing more physical ball on defense, helps pad those stats a bit.

Blake came in to the NBA as an above average rebounder, with extreme athletic abilities, almost no passing game at all and average offensive abilities. He's already one of the best passers in the game for a big man and went far beyond what anyone thought he would do as far as passing. He's still an above average rebounder, but could improve. Athletic abilities are still off the charts, but he's still learning things offensively in some areas.

Defense and overall intelligence wins championships. This is why Phoenix never won anything with that amazing squad they had. Nash couldn't guard a chair, Barbosa was pure offense with amazing speed, Stat was just highly athletic and his numbers were slightly padded from that high paced offense, combined with an elite PG. Their best defenders were Marion and Bell, but running up and down the court playing small ball isn't the way to go. Sure you can score 105 points a night, but they also got demolished by teams like San Antonio who could put up 120 points and played defense.

Detroit, San Antonio and Dallas are clear examples of teams that had high IQ players, who worked as a team and played good defense to win a championship. Guys like Dj need to step up big time, while guys like Redick, Crawford, Dudley, Hollins, Bullock need to just play "smart" basketball and work as a team. It's up to our other players to help win games, Cp3 and Blake can't take the court themselves and win us 50 games to get us a 4 or 5 seed.

Agent0
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I agree, and yea, I get the comparisons actually, but I think sometimes those comparisons a geared towards just offensive production, and don't take into account overall game.

I agree that high 60's is actually fine, just saying that he looks like he's primed to do even better. A lot of PF's shoot well from the line, and most of the top ones. Dirk, KG, Bosh, Aldridge, West, Lee, Love, Amare, etc are all over 75% I believe, and the league average at PF was 71.1% last season. C's average was 67.2%, so DJ has some leeway in expectations there, if he can get high 50's to low 60's, I think everyone is happy.

Malone was force fed, he wasn't especially efficient early in the post-season, he just got to shoot a lot. Also we can't neglect that his numbers in those first 6 playoffs came in 42.2 MPG, s of course more minutes equals more production. It was 23 pts/36, so it wasn't anything insane either. Blake is at 19 pts/36 over his first two playoffs, so the gap in scoring rate isn't even HUGE like the raw numbers suggest.

....and I agree, it's about the whole team, and DJ has to be the anchor, and Blake has to help control the glass and make the right and timely rotations. That will be super important, and I think they are very capable.

Voyeur
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Thing about Kemp is, after a few seasons, he never seemed to improve as a seasoned veteran. Dude was ALWAYS in foul trouble, no matter what year he was in. Blake's already more under control than Kemp in that regard. I think Blake has a better basketball IQ than Kemp, though Kemp was a better shot blocker and shooter (until Blake potentially improves those stats...I think Blake will be about as good a shotblocker as Malone or Barkley, so not much)

lobcityhawaii
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Per this espn article, Blake agrees with CP3.

He has also been working on his jump shot the most this summer, more than his post game. If he can master the mid range jump shot, he would be unstoppable to guard, when facing up. Defenders can't sag on him and it will be easier for him to drive past defenders, being one of the quickest power forwards in the game. I'm just hoping he doesn't abandon the post game and just live on the outside. He should still work on that this summer.

Blake Griffin agrees with Chris Paul

Updated: August 15, 2013, 9:07 AM ET

By Ramona Shelburne | ESPNLosAngeles.com

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/stor ... chris-paul

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