Blake Griffin has taken the NBA by storm this season. Whether it is his jaw dropping dunk highlights, his energy on the court, or his sound fundamental play, Griffin is emerging as a superstar. Thursday night, Griffin was announced as a reserve for the Western Conference All-Star team. Griffin will be the first rookie since Yao Ming to play in the game. In addition, Griffin will be taking part in the Slam Dunk Contest and the Rookie Challenge Game. It is safe to say there has not been a rookie in the league who has warranted this much hype since LeBron James in 2004.
Just like any other self-respecting basketball fan, I cannot get enough of Blake Griffin. Griffin’s ability to flourish in the league is obvious. However, what is not so obvious yet is if Griffin will be able to help turn a bottom dwelling franchise into a contender. There have been other players who have not only had instant success individually, but were also able to lead their respective franchises from the outhouse to the penthouse in a short amount of time. A few players that come to mind include: LeBron James, Tim Duncan, and Derrick Rose.
LeBron was able to take the Cavs from worst to first in a short amount of time. Tim Duncan made the Spurs instant contenders in the Western Conference when he arrived in 1997. A couple of years later, the Spurs were winning numerous championships. Derrick Rose is now an MVP front-runner, and he has also led the Bulls to one of the best records in the league this season.
Can Griffin do for the Clippers what other young star players did for their struggling franchises? Since starting the season a ghastly 1-13, the Clippers have played much better basketball, which seems to be fueled by Griffin’s spirited play. In addition, the Clippers are not a one man band. Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan are other players who are giving Clippers fans something to hope for.
However,the Clippers are different. Not only are they known for losing, but they are also known to have some of the worst ownership in professional sports. Therefore, there is no guarantee that Griffin will get the complimentary players and/or coaching staff to help turn the Clippers around. While it is too early to tell, I think Griffin has a good shot of turning the Clippers into a winning organization. Like I mentioned above, he has already fueled a turnaround for the Clippers this season. The more experience Griffin gets, the more he will be capable of making the players around him better. Who knows, with the emergence of Griffin, maybe some experienced veterans would be interested in coming to Los Angeles in hopes of playing on an up-and-coming team.
With all of that said, what if in a couple of seasons Griffin is putting up good numbers, but the Clippers are winning 35-40 games a season? Griffin would then be a classic case of a great player on a bad team. While Griffin is getting as much attention as any rookie in recent memory, he still has plenty of work to do. Now that he has proved he can play, he now has the pressure of turning a perennial loser into a contender. If Griffin needs any motivation, he just needs to look at the resumes of LeBron James, Tim Duncan and Derrick Rose.
Joshua Sexton is a lifelong basketball fanatic, who watches as many games as possible. In addition, He has played and coached the game at the high school level. He has recently started writing about the game of basketball.