Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A little diffculty in telling the truth about Blake Griffin

You may not have heard of Randy Hill.  I haven't either.

But apparently he has been covering the NBA for 25 years "as a beat writer and columnist."  Judging by his latest work, I'd imagine he has done so without quite as much concern for the details as we might hope for from our national columnists/beat writers.

I wouldn't normally find my way towards his work (or to that of his contemporaries at the Fox Sports site, for that matter), but a friend suggested I take a peak at this guy's take on the Clippers season.  Considering I watch every game, read nearly everything written and even occasionally write about them myself, I was interested to see what this guy had to say.  As it turns out, said interest was not warranted.

OK, we'll pretend this team won't be sabotaged by management to a degree that affects what happens on the court . . . for now. Let's just deal with on-court potential.
Typical Clipper-bashing bullshit.  All it takes is a quick glance to see that management has actually been pretty sound of late.  If he meant "ownership," then that's another story, but as a columnist and beat writer of 25 years, I'd expect him to know the difference between the two.
Unfortunately, I'm not sold on Vinny Del Negro as promised-land-taking material from the catbird coaching seat.
Don't know what this means.  If he's saying Vinny might not be a great coach, I'd agree (more on that at ClipperBlog in the next week or so).
But the continued rise of Blake Griffin and his young-ish cronies could be enough to sniff playoff contention.
Young-ish? What's "ish" about Al-Farouq Aminu (20), Eric Bledsoe (21), DeAndre Jordan (22) and Eric Gordon (22), the guys he's presumably talking about?
Now we'll have to see if Griffin continues growing into a brooding, posturing celebrity. He seems to be well on his way to ego-explosion status. When his Q-rating began to soar, several outside observers noticed a negative change in Griffin's body language and general court demeanor.
What outside observers are you talking about, Randy?  And who gives a shit what "outside observers" think about his body language?  I can literally not think of anything of less concern than Blake Griffin's body language.  Actually, that's not true.  The one thing I'm less concerned about than Blake Griffin's body language is what "outside observers" think of it.
If he continues to improve his skills and plays really hard, the Clippers and their fans won't care. 
Truth.  Although he doesn't even have to "improve his skills" for this to be true.  In fact, he could actually regress some and "the Clippers and their fans" probably still won't care.

Now here's what makes him either bad at his job or prone to submitting work that is not fit to be read...
In the Clips games I've watched, Griffin has made a few trips to the free-throw line, but not nearly as many as his basket attacks should dictate. It might help if he quits attempting to stare down the referees . . . especially the real charmers like Steve Javie.
Blake Griffin is currently 2nd in the NBA, with 8.7 free throws attempted per game.  Go ahead, sort it.  He trails only MVP-worthy Dwight Howard on that list.  He is 2nd in the league in dunks (or "basket attacks," as you might call them), behind Howard.  Seems like he is right about where he should be in that regard, no?

In fact, if you want to look at this on a rate basis, you can see that Griffin Free Throw Rate (ratio of free throws to field goals attempted) puts him in a select group that includes nine guys who never leave the paint, four guards, and the 6'10" superstar who combines all their best assets, smashes them into a ball, takes that ball ferociously to the hoop, dunks it, glares at Steve Javie, and heads to the free throw line.

And one.


John Hendrie said...

10 out of 10. A+ blog. The Widdoes Bros came to play today!

"What outside observers are you talking about, Randy? And who gives a shit what "outside observers" think about his body language? I can literally not think of anything of less concern than Blake Griffin's body language. Actually, that's not true. The one thing I'm less concerned about than Blake Griffin's body language is what "outside observers" think of it."

I cannot properly express how great I think this paragraph is.

stephenpkjohnston said...

I am really interested in the analysis of VDN as a coach. Two .500 seasons with the Bulls to barely make playoffs - and I am not sure any perceived success during hard fought (but nevertheless losing) playoff series against the Celtics or Cavs can be attributed to his coaching. I just don't think he has the ability to mold young talent at this point. On the other hand, he played under Jimmy V so he has to know a thing or two about what it takes to be a good coach.

Charlie Widdoes said...

Thanks, Stephen. To be honest, I already wrote the piece once, only to have him suspend Bledsoe and have the team fall apart in Houston, so we decided it'd be best to revise and collect our thoughts after the season.

I think you are right on about Chicago, too. He had young players develop into really good/great players under him and the team made the playoffs/played hard two seasons in a row, but how much do we attribute to him? That's the difficult question. I'm inclined to think Rose/Griffin types are going to be great no matter what. Same with Noah/Gordon.

ed said...

As always, Chuck Widdoes does an excellent job of dissecting and ripping apart written pieces by morons like Randy Hill. the fact that hill said that griffin dooesnt get to the line that much is absurd. This being being proven by Bing's research, and even more impressive is that Griffin only ranks behind Howard. Now for all for you Blake haters, I will include myself because I question his mindset as abasketball player, Griffin is unstoppable. If you have ever watched a Magic game you would notice that for all of Howards physical attributes, his post moves are beyond atrocious but he has found a way to make defenders foul him down low. Howard could learn a thing or two from Chuck widdoes and his Dunleavy-esque inside out game. Now compare this to Griffin who has nearly the same physical attributes but with much better moves in the post...and hes a ROOKIE. I have heard Randy Hill speak and I have read the things he has written and never really thought much of what he said so I must thank Chuck for opening my eyes for such moronic comments. I will now apologize for my terrible grammar and mispelling words, and anybody that wants to discuss Griffin's basketball mindset please hit me up... I will be working on my excellent jumper form and going 0 for 10 at Ken's court.

Dave Hendrie said...

not sure about VDN Jr. His halfway decent job in Chicago has be overshadowed by how the Bulls have suddenly become a 1 seed. I know that Boozer has helped and Rose has continued to progress, but you have to give some love to Tommy T. The only thing saving VDN Jr. in my mind is his take-no-prisoners father, VDN Sr.

John Hendrie said...

VDN jr. is a playground legend from Spingfield. All I need to know. The Slumlord should lock him up.

Gil Haylon said...

VDN Senior is my boy. He works at the basketball hall of fame in Springfield. Talked to him for like an hour when I visited.

Sumner Widdoes said...

Dave, I understand your reluctance to give any credit to VDN -- Im not sold on him as anything more than an intermediate step to develop talent. But you can't just brush aside the on-court changes the Bulls made before this season. DERRICK ROSE GOT A JUMP SHOT LAST SUMMER! That alone is probably worth 4 years, 12 mil on the open market. Yes, they picked up Booz, which has been nice, but they also filled out the roster with awesome role players such as Kyle Korver, Ronnie Brewer and Omer Asik. Thibs has done a great job his season, but Paxson put together a terrific, deep squad too.