Blake Griffin: Daniel Day-Lewis or Matt Dillon?
-Intern Toby, NOT Ethan Hawke
Blake Griffin is easily one of the most exciting rookies to come out in a long time. Lebron’s rookie season is the only one to garner as much hype since Tim Duncan, and before that it was Shaq. Of course, Tim had stayed in school four years, and his game didn’t have nearly as much flair as the other players mentioned. Tim’s rookie year was Road to Perdition (solid, Tom Hanks and Paul Newman, didn’t garner a lot of attention past its release date) to Blake’s GoodFellas (loud, in your face, Martin Scorsese, all time great). Now that we are 3/4th of the way through the regular season I think its time for a comparison. Other than rim rattling dunks, a rather pedestrian dunk-contest win, and more hype than Inception, what has Griffin really accomplished?
I’ll give you that he was selected to the all star game his rookie year, something that Lebron didn’t do. However, Lebron came right out of high school and Blake played 2 years at Oklahoma, then sat out his rookie year due to injury. So age 22 to 18 makes a big difference. He certainly hasn’t won anything. The Clippers are as miserable as ever despite having some talented players and an emerging nucleus of Griffin and Eric Gordon. Shaq took the Magic to the playoffs his rookie year and Lebron improved the Cavs by 18 wins. The Clippers aren’t going to have any major improvement in wins this year.
Blake’s game is one-dimensional. He’s active, but he’s not a lock down one-on-one defender. On the offensive end, he has to be set up. Half of his highlights are half court lobs from the departed Baron Davis. He’s mediocre in the low post, and has yet to show that he has a consistent mid-range game. He’s more Morgan Freeman than Clint Eastwood. He can’t carry a team by himself, yet. That’s something Lebron, Shaq, and Tim Duncan were able to do when they came into the league.
He’s athletic, but what else? Much like Lebron, he is going to need to find a way to transform his game. Once they creep up to their late twenties to early thirties, that explosiveness is going to be fade. If he doesn’t improve, his game is going to fail faster than Colin Farrell’s career. He’s going to end up making appearances in indie flicks and riding the coat tails of more talented actors. Assuming the Clippers ever get any of those.
Only Blake can choose his career path. Is he going to be able to become one of the all time greats? Or will he fade away? Based on his rookie season, which has been great, it still doesn’t add up to the Diesel, the King or the Fundamental. He has the ability to be an all-timer, but it’s up to him to harness and nurture his game. Is he Daniel Day-Lewis or Matt Dillon? Only time will tell.
Intern Toby is NOT Ethan Hawke