The Real Blake Show

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namzug
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Found this article on Real GM, thought it was a good read.

The Real Blake Show

By: Jonathan Tjarks

Jan 24, 2014 12:15 PM EST

There are two bulls standing on a hill overlooking a pasture full of cows. The younger bull, eager, but lacking experience, says to the old bull "I'm going to run down there and f*** myself a cow." The old bull, who has spent season after season in the pasture, turns to the younger bull and chuckles, "I'm going to walk down and f*** all of them."

-- An old wives' tale

The night after losing Chris Paul to a separated shoulder, the Los Angeles Clippers were run off the court at the San Antonio Spurs. In the two weeks since, they have managed to stabilize themselves, compiling a 6-3 record without their All-NBA point guard. With seven games against the East and four against the West before the All-Star Break, the Clippers may not lose any ground in the standings before Paul returns in February. Most of the credit should go to Blake Griffin.

With Paul out, Blake has been given the chance to run the team. He is getting more touches and more shots than ever before and he is responding. In the last 10 games, Blake is averaging 25 points, eight rebounds and five assists on 52 percent shooting. His season averages, in contrast, are 23 points, 10 rebounds and 3.5 assists on 52 percent shooting. Chris Paul wasn't making Blake better; he was making him worse. CP3 is a pair of training wheels Blake no longer needs.

What makes Paul great is his ability to create easy shots for his teammates, but there's no player in the NBA who has an easier time creating shots than Blake Griffin. Blake is a 6'10 250 ball of muscle who is one of the best leapers and most explosive athletes in the history of the sport. And while everyone focuses on his athleticism, it's his skill and feel for the game that makes him an elite player. If Blake couldn't pass or dribble, he would be Thomas Robinson.

After missing his rookie season with a knee injury, Blake wasted no time in the NBA. He has never missed an All-Star Game - he was an All-Star at 21, 22 and 23. As a rookie, he averaged 22.5 points, 12 rebounds and 4 assists on 51 percent shooting. He has been criticized for stagnating as a player, but he came in at such a high level, there was much less room for him to grow. The others who were All-Stars from 21-23: LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Dwight Howard.

When Blake gets the ball at 18-20 feet, there is very little the defense can do to stop him. He is way too fast, way too big and way too good of a ball-handler. He can cross people up, he can take the ball between the legs and he can get to the rim in 1-2 steps. If he gets by his man, he has the vision to beat the help defenders with the pass. For the most part, defenders are conceding everything and hoping for the miss. The strategy against Blake has always been "hope he misses."

What has changed this year is that he's not missing as often. For the jumper of a big man, his free-throw shooting percentage is the canary in the coal mine. A free-throw is isolated shooting motion in its purest form; it's just bend the knees, flick the wrists and get the point. What a power forward or center does on the line lets you know what he will do in the pick-and-pop with an NBA PG who knows what he is doing. Blake is shooting 71.5 percent from the line this season.

That is a huge step up from 61 percent, 52 percent and 66 percent in his first three seasons. He still has aways to go, but hack-a-Blake is no longer an option. Most importantly, you can see the upward trajectory. With or without Paul, the key to any Clippers game is whether Blake makes his first 2-3 jumpers. If that shot is going in, it is going to be a long night for the opponent. When Blake shoots 55 percent or higher, the Clippers have a 13-4 record, including wins over the Spurs and Thunder.

Blake's points lead to points for everyone else. Not only does he demand so much attention in the paint that he creates perimeter shots for his teammates, he can read the floor and get them open shots when he has the ball in his hands. In January, he is averaging 4.7 assists on 2.7 turnovers. That's an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.74. At 24, Boris Diaw averaged 4.8 assists on 2.1 turnovers. Blake is Diaw in a big market with a 40' vertical and a few good TV commercials.

In the court of public opinion, Blake has been a victim of timing. After his rookie season, the Clippers tried to accelerate their development when they traded Eric Gordon and Al-Farouq Aminu for Paul. On a conventional timeframe, with Blake, Eric Bledsoe and DeAndre Jordan as their three best players, the Clippers would have made their first playoff appearance last season. Instead of stagnating on a first-round loser, Blake would have been the captain of a rising team.

By himself, Paul can win a lot of regular season games, but he can't lead a team deep into the playoffs. With New Orleans, his teams won 56, 49, 37 and 46 games. They lost in the first round twice and lost a second round Game 7 to San Antonio. In two seasons with the Clippers, "Lob City" was swept in the second round and lost in the first. This is what happens when The Point God is your best player. If Dwight Howard was judged by Paul's standards, he would be a HOF'er already.

For Blake, the next two seasons are about cleaning up minor things. He needs to get the J even better and he needs to play better positional defense. He only has a 6'11 wingspan, so he will never be a great shot-blocker, but he only needs to be so good at protecting the rim with DeAndre Jordan behind him. Blake and DeAndre are still learning to play together. Doc Rivers had an All-Star PG (Rajon Rondo) with the Boston Celtics; he came to Los Angeles for the frontcourt.

If Paul isn't ready on Blake's timetable, he will have to be replaced. The good news is there's no shortage of good PG's in the NBA. Every year, there are 4-5 good ones in the draft. There are a lot of old guys in the league who resent Blake for dunking on them and being in a lot of commercials. Soon enough, the NBA will be full of young guys who watched Blake in those commercials and want to dunk on him. When he becomes the old bull, it's going to be a serious problem.

Tweet

Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers, NBA

@http://basketball.realgm.com/article/231644/The-Real-Blake-Show

Voyeur
CTB MVP X2
Posts: 5129
votes: 29

I actually posted this in the most recent Blake thread. There's so many different ones. LOL

But this one does deserve it's own.

I don't necessarily agree with this guy's overall point about Paul...but I do kinda agree that Paul has stalled Blake's growth. I've said as much. Though I do not believe it's intentional on Paul's part. What I love is Doc seems determined to make sure that doesn't happen on his watch...even before Paul got injured.

We do need Paul back...however, I must admit, I'm loving the advertisements now promoting the team as "Blake Griffin's Clippers take on the Chicago Bulls!" Very Happy

austin009009
Clipper Starter
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Great article

austin009009
Clipper Starter
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it finally gives Blake credit for having passing and dribbling skills

ClipperDB
Clipper Starter
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I think BG NEEDS to cp3. As good as BG is playing in all facets, he still can't "close" a game. That last shot he took against Bobcats looked as though he is still not comfortable at end of game. If that same shot presented itself in quarters 1 - 3, he would have "SLAM DUNK BY GRIFFIN", or he would have shot it fundamentally correct. This shot at end of game looked like he was aiming instead of shooting.

Voyeur
CTB MVP X2
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I think the point is it's entirely possible Blake might've been able to close games by now if the Clippers hadn't had Paul to rely upon the last couple of years. Don't get me wrong, we do need Paul but there's kind of a cause & effect dynamic at play here.

Kerley
Clipper D-League Pickup
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Blake's biggest faults this season are his fourth quarter plays. He's not cold blooded yet. Paul is. Paul can pull up a J at the elbow and sink it late in games without even thinking about it. Blake does a great job getting to the rim, but he doesn't finish far too often. He rushes that play at that moment and he seems to anticipate a foul call in a lot of those plays.

Paul makes this team better no question about it, but lets not forget the fact that Blake has had to shoulder a huge load for this team. When JJ went down we lost 20 points a night, Jamal was still getting his, Dudley was still being Dudley, Green was a complete non-factor and the burden fell to Paul and Griffin to pick up the 20 points. If the Clippers won during that time, Blake or Paul were often times close to 30 points or in some cases more. Now that Paul is back, the only one that is physically able to will himself more points is Griffin. Paul was scoring 20-30 points a night in most cases. If our role players and starters aren't helping, Blake takes it upon himself to make sure we score, and a lot of the time it's at the line and he's been flirting with 30+ fairly regularly.

This team is yet to play fully healthy so it's hard to say what this team will be, but we know what Blake really is now, and he's capable of putting this team on his back.

namzug
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1042
Location: So Cal
votes: 10

I agree @Voyeur, Blake would have had to taken more responsibility without CP.

This injury to CP3 might be a blessing in disguise. If Blake starts having to close out games it will definitely help us during the playoffs. I would like to see a little less Jamal taking over in the 4th and a little more Blake. I like that Jamal is clutch, but would prefer Blake building up that clutch confidence.

what_up_clipnation83
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I think what the article is insinuating is that as long as Paul is "THE" guy leading a team(according to his track record in New Orleans and first two years LA) then the team might have maxed out their potential as far as how far they can go in the playoffs.

But if CP3 take a backseat role and Clippers take a chance and allow the offense to run through Blake, then CP can support Blake close games out if need be, then maybe that can transition in the Clippers and CP getting the furthest he ever has in the postseason.

Laak
Clipper Starter
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As much as I'd like to see BG close out games, it usually extremely rare for a team to have a forward or center to be your go to guy during clutch situations. Perimeter players have a much better opportunity to create space and get the shot they want. BG may not need CP3 for 3.5 quarters, but Chris is very much needed when it matters the most.

namzug
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1042
Location: So Cal
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I agree with both of you to an extent, but what I think is important regardless of the article is that if we have two options at the end of the game it will be that much harder for any team to stop us. At the end of games last year everyone knew it was CP3 time, if now you have to worry about both then it opens up the floor quite a bit. It also removes the limits of what we are able to achieve as a team.

Silasie
Clipper All-Star
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An article about which PF you'd want to build a franchise around. It puts LA at a disadvantage due to age.

http://hangtime.blogs.nba.com/2014/02/0 ... f:nbahpt6d

ClipperPostman
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1248
votes: 17

Sorry but this article was stupid, jaded, and terribly one sided.

First off to say Paul can't win in the Playoffs is retarded.

  1. He never really had a team that can win in the playoffs.

Truthfully we might have went further last year, but Blake

has a serious Sprain last playoffs that rendered him useless, in the

last 2 games.

No one talks about that.

He was also hurt in the playoffs before that. We have never seen a full healthy

Clippers team in the playoffs yet.

  1. Chris is a Pass first PG, so why would he need to take a Backseat? If I pull

up most of the threads from the beginning of the season people were complaining

about Paul not being aggressive enough with his shooting, because he was trying

to get everyone else involved.

Since Paul has gone out people are acting like he is a score first point gaurd

that has been hogging the ball, which is the furthest thing from the truth.

To think A PF is going to will his team to a championship without

Major help from another start is retarded. It took Shaq and Kobe. Gasol and Kobe.

Lebron, Wade, And Bosh.

Tony Parker And Duncan

Pierce, Allen, and Garnett.

This writer obviously doesn't have a clue about basketball

and what it takes to win a championship today.

Jerediscool
Clipper All-Star
Posts: 1682
votes: 15

hahaha I have had this same discussion with a lot of my friends. same for almost every position. All 3 are easy to make an argument for.. I'm clearly choosing blake, but living in in portland, LA doesn't seem too bad.

tense2
CTB MVP X2
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Think they should have thrown Anthony Davis is that mix. Got a feeling in a few more years they'll be sorry they didn't.

sapple89
Clipper D-League Pickup
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Good read! its nice to see blake griffin getting some credit for the dribble/passing game

Jerediscool
Clipper All-Star
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Agreed man, give him 2 more years, let him bulk up a little and I think he will be a beast. He's already better than I expected him to be.

CapsNClips
CTB MVP X1
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Can someone please tell me how Blake "The Human Endorser" Griffin doesn't have a signature shoe with Jordan yet?

This boggles my mind.

letmeuseaname
Clipper D-League Pickup
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so blake griffin is now 3rd in the mvp ladder only behind durant and lebron.

JQuick32
CTB MVP X1
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Bigs just don't sell shoes as much as guards and wings do for some reason.

Voyeur
CTB MVP X2
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votes: 29

George Karl just declared Blake 3rd best player in the NBA right now!

http://fullyclips.com/2014/02/13/george ... layer-nba/

CP3Best
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I think Blake is even better than CP3 right now, he's just beasting, but man it was a feast when I was looking at Blake and Chris alternate taking shots each time down the floor in the clutch yesterday. Blake has matured into what will push the Clippers to the next level!

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