Who Needs Blake Griffin?
Now that Blake Griffin has declared for the NBA Draft, the next 1 1/2 months leading up to the May 19 Draft Lottery will be spent speculating where the Oklahoma forward and Player of the Year could end up. As of today, the Sacramento Kings have the best chance to land the No. 1 overall pick and select Griffin, this year’s consensus top pick.
Here’s my breakdown of how Griffin would fit on the 14 current lottery teams and why I think the Washington Wizards are the best fit for Griffin, the Memphis Grizzlies are the worst and the Minnesota Timberwolves don’t need him.
14. Phoenix Suns, 42-35
Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 0.5 percent.
How Blake would fit: The Suns have a near clone in power forward Amare Stoudemire. But trade rumors have surrounded Stoudemire and center Shaquille O’Neal all season. If the Suns were to trade Stoudemire or O’Neal this summer, Griffin could become Phoenix’s cornerstone for the future. Griffin is not as talented as Stoudemire offensively, but he’s already a better rebounder and is expected to blossom into a more consistent low-post defender.
13. Charlotte Bobcats, 34-43
Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 0.6 percent.
How Blake would fit: Emeka Okafor is more comfortable at power forward but has regularly played at center and can be moved there full-time if Griffin comes aboard. Alongside Okafor, the Bobcats would have one of the best low-post tandems in the league. But the presence of point guards Raymond Felton and D.J. Augustin could help Griffin become an immediate impact on the offensive end as well.
12. Indiana Pacers, 33-44
Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 0.7 percent.
How Blake would fit: The Pacers are one of the faster paced teams in the league, averaging 104.4 points, and Griffin’s athleticism would be a natural fit filling the lane with speedy point guards T.J. Ford and Jarrett Jack. And with Danny Granger as the focal point of the Pacers’ offense, Indiana wouldn’t need to ask too much of Griffin offensively right off the bat.
11. New Jersey Nets, 32-45
Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 0.8 percent.
How Blake would fit: Griffin would easily become the most dominant big man in New Jersey since Derrick Coleman. He’d instantly become a nice complement to rookie center Brook Lopez, who is the only Nets player who is averaging more than 5.4 rebounds. New Jersey has a promising young power forward in Yi Jianlian, but he’s more perimeter-oriented and doesn’t add near the toughness Griffin possesses.
10. Milwaukee Bucks, 32-46
Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 1.1 percent.
How Blake would fit: Scott Skiles, one of the league’s most defensive-minded coaches, would love to get his hands on Griffin’s appetite for hard work and hustle. The Bucks have ample offense in wingmen Michael Redd and Richard Jefferson. And the addition of Griffin could allow Milwaukee to let restricted free agent Charlie Villanueva walk this summer, opening up a starting spot for Griffin alongside center Andrew Bogut.
9. Toronto Raptors, 30-46
Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 1.7 percent.
How Blake would fit: The Raptors are at a crossroads and could soon lose franchise forward Chris Bosh and free-agent-to-be Shawn Marion. But Griffin could ease the sting of their potential departures and become the face of the Raptors’ franchise. Toronto has some nice young talent that Griffin would be surrounded by in point guard Jose Calderon and forward Andrea Bargnani, and Griffin’s low-post skills would make the Raptors 3-point shooters even more of a threat.
8. New York Knicks, 30-47
Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 2.8 percent.
How Blake would fit: David Lee is the Knicks only low-post scorer, which puts a great deal of pressure on New York’s guard play. But if he lands in coach Mike D’Antoni’s lap, it’s not far-fetched to think Griffin could put up stats similar to the 20 points and 10 rebounds Amare Stoudemire regularly posts in Phoenix. The only cause for concern here is Griffin has yet to develop his mid-range to perimeter shooting, a must in D’Antoni’s run-and-gun system.
7. Golden State Warriors, 28-49
Odds of winning the No. 1 pick: 4.3 percent.
How Blake would fit: There is no helping the Warriors’ defensive deficiencies (league-worst 112.5 point per game), but Griffin would step right in and become Golden State’s most talented big man. Griffin’s athleticism would lead to easy scoring opportunities in transition, and his rebounding could be a nice addition alongside center Andris Biedrins, whose 11.5-rebound average does little to put a dent into the Warriors’ porous rebounding differential (minus-4.88 per game).
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