I get it, Blake Griffin is a physical specimen. He is the best ginger basketball player to surface since Brian Scalabrine. He always puts the toilet seat down. He brings your daughter home by 11 PM. You follow him on twitter, he follows you back. But what I don’t get is why the red-haired man-child continues to be viewed as an elite fantasy player when he is no more than above-average at this point of his career. The positives are obvious: high FG%, solid scoring, strong rebounding, and a nightly double-double machine. However, Griffin doesn’t contribute enough in the other facets of the game for a player being drafted so high. You can jump over a car, but you can’t you block a shot per game? Oh yeah, and we can’t ignore the giant elephant in the room: his atrocious free-throw percentage. (Bee tee dub, how was the “elephant in the room” saying created? When has there ever been an elephant ever been in a room? How would you even fit one through a door? Beats me). Griffin’s free throw struggles have been mentioned in the same breath at Dwight Howard, except Howard contributes dominant block totals and steals along with his mediocre charity stripe shooting. There is a big difference between a player helping you in five categories while hurting you in one and a player who only helps you in three categories while killing you in one.
So the question is, why is Griffin being drafted so high when his deficiencies are so glaring? The answer is simple, because of his dopalicious dunks. While his dunks are impressive, it is important to remember that they still only net you two points. People often misconstrue freakish athleticism with fantasy production when the two aren’t always connected. It’s all about the stats y’all! It’s a statistical world, and I’m a statistical girl. Now if they allowed players to dunk their free throw attempts as long as they take off from the line, then maybe Griffin’s value will increase. But until he improves his free throw shot, Griffin will continue to be overvalued on draft day. Here’s what I said about him last season, “…the scoring and rebounding numbers are awesome and all, but what else is [Griffin] really giving you? A decent FG% from a big man? A handful of assists? A FT% that only DeAndre Jordan and Andris Biedrins look up to? You know what player that sounds like? David Lee, and he won’t take a dump on your free-throw percentages either.” And that’s me quoting me copying Grey! All of that remains true going into next season. In fact, I’d rather hold off on Griffin and draft David Lee a round or two later. When it comes down to it, both of those players’ stat lines were awfully similar to each other last season, except Lee’s free throw percentage was far superior than Griffins. So why is Griffin going ahead of Lee? Are you knocking Lee down a peg because he is white, less athletic looking, and can’t jump as high? You basketball racist you!
Now I don’t want to be too negative about Griffin as he is still very young and I truly believe he will one day become a well-rounded star. But I just don’t see him making strides in his free throwing shooting, ball thievery, and shot blocking all in one season. Until he does that, I would be wary about drafting him as your first big man this season.