Blake Griffin: Is the LA Clipper Just a Hyped-Up Manufactured Star by ESPN?

Darrell HorwitzSenior Writer IIApril 1, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 22:  Blake Griffin #32 of the Los Angeles Clippers leans in for a dunk during the game against the Denver Nuggets at Staples Center on February 22, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  The Clippers won 103-95.    NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Turn on ESPN and you'll see Blake Griffin dunks in the highlights every time his Los Angeles Clippers play. You could call him the "Human Highlight Film, Part II," but I call him the most over-hyped player in the league.

Is there anybody who gets more publicity with less game?

A few weeks ago you could have said Jeremy Lin, but the mania has died down. At least Lin could shoot from the perimeter, drive to the basket, dunk and make a free throw. He just can't go to his left.

Griffin's game is much more limited.

If Griffin is more than five feet from the basket on offense, he's almost useless. He must not have heard of a jump shot growing up. Maybe he didn't have to with his "hops," but it would be nice if his game consisted of more than dunks and layups.

Even worse, he's worthless late in games because he can't shoot a foul shot. Just like Shaq and Dwight Howard, you don't want the ball in his hands with the game on the line, unless you want someone stroking at .543 from the stripe if he gets fouled.

His rebounds have dropped from 12.1 his rookie season to 10.8 this year. For his career, he's averaging 0.6 blocked shots per game. That's from a guy who jumped over a car in the dunk contest. Too bad that's all his jumping ability is good for.

Just like the long ball in baseball and the bomb in football, fans love the spectacular. Griffin is all of that, but what else is there?

I isolated on him recently, watching him every time he touched the rock. Normally when he got the ball, he passed within a second or two of touching it.

He didn't try to take advantage of his size and post up, and God forbid throw up a jumper. The one I did see as the shot clock was winding down made me realize why he doesn't attempt more.

For a guy with his athletic skill set, his game is weak—or should I say, he got no game.

I don't watch him every night, but I have seen him enough, and the numbers bear it out.

According to, 536 of his 760 shot attempts have come from nine feet or closer. Those include 151 dunks, 191 layups and 18 tips. From 10 to 15 feet, he's had 41 attempts and made 13 for a .317 percentage. He's averaging less than one jump shot a game from that distance.

Not having a mid-range game is inexcusable for someone as athletic as him.  

At 6'10" and 251 pounds, he should be able to dunk a basketball.

He has a great power dunk, but even his vertical is overrated. He tests out at 37". In comparison, Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls has a 40" vertical, and the original "Human Highlight Film," Dominique Wilkins, had a 42.

When you add it all up, he's great entertainment, but the hype doesn't match the reality.