After missing his entire “rookie” season with a knee injury, Blake Griffin more than lived up to the hype in his first year in the league. He was named Rookie of the Year, he captured the nation’s attention with highlight dunk after highlight dunk, and he brought some excitement back to the Clippers organization. Blake Griffin quickly became must-see TV and the star the Clippers thought they were getting when they took him first overall in 2009.
As the NBA lockout continues, a number of players, including Griffin, will have to make a decision on their future. Based on everything said by the players, they just want to play basketball somewhere and that could mean playing overseas. Some players have already reportedly agreed to play in Europe and depending how long the lockout lasts, and right now it looks like it is going to be a lengthy process, the number of players going overseas could continue to increase.
Blake Griffin joined The Sports Animal in Oklahoma City with Jim and Al to talk about what he has been able to accomplish during his career up until this point, what areas of his game he still needs to work on, how he feels about the lockout, if going overseas is an option for him, what he thinks of the proposal by the owners of a 48 million dollar hard cap, and how far away the Clippers are from being a playoff team.
Whether or not he thinks about all the things he has been able to accomplish so far throughout his young basketball career:
“To be honest I don’t sit back and think about that. My whole thing is continuously trying to get better. It doesn’t stop just after my college career or rookie season. I have a lot of work to do to become the player I want to be. It’s a continuous process and that’s the way it should be.”
What areas of his game he needs to work on:
“From an offensive standpoint just becoming more and more comfortable shooting the basketball and being more of a scoring threat. At the same time working on a lot of all around things. Working on my defense, watching a lot of film, and becoming a better leader trying to help our team win. That’s tough to do in this league but I think we have the right guys and there’s no reason we can’t.”
How he feels about the lockout:
“Obviously I would rather be playing, but I understand that we have to do what we have to do to make sure we have the things we’ve had in the past. I think the owners kinda came out of left field and threw a proposal out there that was a little unreasonable. I went to the meetings in New York and heard some guys speak and some guys were there that had been there through the last lockout. I think it was good to hear their perspective on things.”
How important it is to be a part of the talks:
“Definitely. It’s not just about me or the guys that are in the league right now. It’s about the future players and even the past players. I think it’s very important for guys to be involved. Be a part of something that’s bigger than yourself and try and pave the way for the guys that are coming behind you.”
On the rumors of him going overseas to possibly play in an exhibition game:
“I haven’t heard anything along those lines. I don’t know. We’ll see what happens. I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of opportunities like those that pop up. I’m not opposed to stuff like that so we’ll see what happens.”
On the proposal of a 48 million dollar hard cap:
“They kinda threw out a proposal that was so far out there in left field that I think their feelings are if we throw this out there and give a few things back it will seem like we’re compromising, but we can’t do that. I think the best way I heard it described was ‘it’s like somebody coming in and taking all the stuff you own in your house and asking you if you want to buy it back.’ It’s one of those things where as long as it takes to get a right deal, get something that’s fair, and take care of the players that are about to retire and the players that are coming in, I think that’s what we’ll do.”
How far away the Clippers are from being a playoff team:
“It’s kind of a tough question because you see teams like the Thunder right there, what was it three years ago? I don’t remember what their record was but it wasn’t close to being in the playoffs and then they made it. It depends on a lot of different things. It depends on guys re-signing this summer and how much time our guys put in this summer but I know guys have been working. We are close, but at the same time it’s not easy and we have a lot of work to do. It depends but that’s definitely the goal from here on out.”