For the second time already this season, L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin was named the NBA’s player of the week for games played December 16-22. Griffin averaged 26 points and over 11 rebounds per game last week, and helped the Clippers to a tidy 4-0 record, as well.
Griffin’s numbers on the season are up from where they were a year ago. Through the first 29 games, Blake is averaging 20.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, up from 18.0 points and 8.2 boards per in 2012-13. His shooting percentages have also climbed. Griffin has hit on nearly 69 percent of his free throw attempts this season (up from 66 percent last year), but he’s been on fire of late, having hit 35 of his last 40 tries from the charity stripe.
He’s also beginning to knock down perimeter jumpers more consistently, which is huge for the Clippers’ pick-and-pop-heavy offensive style with Chris Paul at the helm. After hitting just under 28 percent of his shots between 10-15 feet (awful) last year, Griffin is suddenly hitting 40 percent of those same shots this season. While 40 percent is still a pretty weak clip, it does still show marked improvement. Baby steps.
Plenty of this appears to have to do with Griffin’s confidence level. Often times in his first few years, Griffin would hesitate and dribble around after receiving the ball, rather than just instinctively trying to make a play immediately. This season (perhaps under Doc Rivers’ advisement) Griffin has been far more decisive with the ball in his hands, and seems to have already made the decision to shoot, pass or drive upon the ball touching his hands. When he’s making quick decisions like this, his quickness and explosiveness make him incredibly difficult to guard, especially because the defender has less time to get situated.
The Clippers have already made pretty substantial strives as a team through the first quarter-plus of the NBA season (mostly defensively), but Griffin’s continued evolution is perhaps the most exciting of all.
About the Author
Written by Taylor Smith
Taylor Smith is a writer for the Los Angeles Clippers.