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NBA Draft: Blake Griffin's career still in infancy

by Jenni Carlson Modified: June 16, 2009 at 8:47 am •  Published: June 16, 2009
Blake Griffin is in the early stages of his NBA odyssey.

There was the combine in Chicago and a workout in Los Angeles and a trip to New York, but he won’t be drafted until next week. Won’t report to training camp until September. Won’t play his first game until October.

Griffin’s career is in its infancy.

Still, everyone wants to know what he will be when he grows up.

Will he be a bruiser like Carlos Boozer or a scorer like Amare Stoudamire? Will he be a combination of the two?

Or will he be something else entirely?

Even as the Oklahoma City native and former Oklahoma Sooner cements his status as the top pick in the NBA Draft, there are questions about what kind of player he will become. At worst, he will be a complementary big man. At best, he will be a Hall of Famer.

Truth is, no one knows for sure what he will become. Not the Clippers or Grizzlies or Thunder. Not the draft gurus or the pro pundits. Not even Griffin.

"Hopefully with time,” he said via telephone, "I’ll be more of a complete player.”

Translation — he needs better outside shooting.

That is the only glaring weakness in his game. He made that evident during his workout with the Clippers a couple weekends ago. He clanged 3-pointers and clunked jumpers.

Griffin was candid afterward, admitting that he struggled and that his shot was off.

He doesn’t shy from the criticism.

"A lot of people right now are saying that they don’t see me making shots outside of a couple feet ... which is fine,” he said. "I don’t have a problem with that. But I know I have a lot more to offer than that.

"I know that I can shoot.”

Griffin hasn’t needed to shoot much beyond a few feet during his career. With the big fellow’s combination of size and physicality, speed and quickness, stepping out and shooting would’ve been silly. He’s the kind of player that coaches and fans want driving the lane and prowling the paint.

That’s what he wanted, too.

"It was tough to force myself to shoot outside,” Griffin said, "when scoring inside is a little bit easier and a little bit more effective.

by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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