Blake Griffin has some disturbing news for the rest of the NBA.
He didn't know much about playing in the league a year ago.
Sure, he averaged 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.6 dunks a game as a league newbie, became the first unanimous winner of Rookie of the Year in more than two decades, jumped over a car to win the Slam Dunk Contest and made all of it look ridiculously easy.
But on the afternoon Griffin met with the media during his youth basketball camp, the Oklahoma City native admitted he had to learn as he went last season.
“A year ago today, I obviously hadn't had any games under my belt and I was still rehabbing,” said Griffin, who was still working to strengthen a surgically repaired left knee that had sidelined him for an entire season. “That was the biggest thing — all last summer, I had to rehab and make sure my knee was ready. This summer, it's all been about skill work and improving in every aspect.
“Hopefully, the improvement I make is significant.”
Brace yourself, NBA.
Blake 2.0 is on the way.
Perhaps this will be the motivation that the owners and the players need to end this lockout. A longer break means more time for Big Blake to work on his skills and improve his game.
That can't be good news for anyone who has to face this guy.
After all, he took the league by storm last season as a newbie. I mean, people knew he was going to be good — he was the national college player of the year in his final season at Oklahoma and the No. 1 pick in the 2009 NBA Draft — but could anyone have foreseen he'd be this good?
What he did this past season was stunning.
He transitioned to the NBA with such ease, and yet, he played with such force. The way he got to the basket. The way he blocked shots. The way he dunked. He just destroyed opponents.
And he did it relying largely on instinct.
“I think I have a somewhat solid foundation to work off of,” Griffin said in a big-time understatement. He's the son of one of the best high school coaches in the state. He was taught the game early and taught it correctly.
“But I think a lot of rookies are just working off of instinct and the foundation that they have to that point just because you have no idea what to expect coming in.”
That may be true, but few rookies end up playing like Griffin did. Because of his solid base and his freaky athleticism, he was way ahead of the norm. Way, way, way ahead.
But now he's taking what he learned last year and working to elevate his game to another level?
The truth is, Griffin isn't the finished product. He can be a better outside shooter. He can be a better man-to-man defender. He can be a better free-throw shooter. But after the way last season went, it would've been easy for him to say, “Things went so well, why change a thing?”
Griffin knows better.
What's more, he knows now just how little he knew a year ago.
“Right now, I'm working on being more of an offensive player,” he said, “adding more and more skill to my game and also getting smarter, being a better defender and ... being a better leader. Those are all the things you have to bring together to be one of the best.”
And here everyone in the league thought Griffin already was one of the best.
Be afraid, NBA. Be very afraid.