Sports Now

Sports news from Los Angeles and beyond

« Previous Post | Sports Now Home | Next Post »

Question of the Day: Will Blake Griffin be a true NBA superstar or just another really good player? [Updated]

January 18, 2011 |  8:50 am

Griffin_300 Writers from around Tribune Co. weigh in on the topic. Check back throughout the day for more responses and feel free to leave a comment of your own.

Ira Winderman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

It all comes down to the definition of "superstar." If Shawn Kemp was a superstar, then, yes, Griffin certainly appears to be on that career track.

Of course, playing for a winning team also would help, although the Clippers do appear to be moving in that direction.

But there is another factor at play, a significant factor:

Griffin is a Clipper, and when was the last time we used "Clipper" and "superstar" in the same sentence? Isn't it only a matter of time until Donald T. starts wondering why the kid isn't shooting more jumpers or playing point guard or, well, you get the point?

And then there is another question: Can a player become a superstar with Vinny Del Negro as his coach? Derrick Rose only now has made that jump in the post-Vinny era in Chicago.

[Updated at 11:31 p.m.:

K.C. Johnson, Chicago Tribune

Um, is this a serious question? An NBA season-high 47 points. Twenty-seven straight double-doubles. More time on "SportsCenter" than an ESPN anchor.

Look, few can guard Blake Griffin now. Just wait until he better masters the NBA game. The NBA is about talent and match-ups, and Griffin overwhelms in both categories. He's too strong, too quick and too athletic not to be a dominant player for a long time.

Everybody talks about the dunk with which he almost catapulted over poor Knicks center Timofey Mozgov on Nov. 20. How about -- in the same game -- the dunk on Danilo Gallinari? Griffin stole the ball, dribbled downcourt, performed a 360-degree spin while keeping his dribble alive and THEN dunked. With authority.

That's not hype. And it's more than a highlight. It's a basketball play -- and one that few can perform.

Zach McCann, Orlando Sentinel

The high-flying acrobatics and powerful dunks dominate the highlight packages, and that's why the Clippers' Blake Griffin is already one of the more popular young players in the NBA.

But those traits aren't why Griffin will soon blossom into one of the NBA’s biggest superstars. Rather, he'll be a star because of his ability to contribute in every way you'd expect a premier power forward to contribute.

Griffin, at just 21 years old, is already a fantastic rebounder, a slight notch below rebounding aficionados Dwight Howard and Kevin Love. His commitment and ability to control the defensive boards are attributes most rookies don't possess.

He has a veteran’s feel for the pick-and-roll game, with the ability to roll all the way to the rim or pop-out for a jumper.

And he plays efficiently on offense, not taking a lot of bad shots or turning the ball over particularly  much.

Griffin is going to be more than eye candy with his impressive dunks -– he’s going to be a star.]

[Updated at 12:07 p.m.:

Lisa Dillman, Los Angeles Times

There is no question that it is time to look ahead and, say, yes, the Clippers' Blake Griffin will be a legitimate superstar, elevating him above the ranks of the pretty good.

LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal spent Thanksgiving night offering up complimentary tweets about Griffin as he ripped through the Sacramento Kings. Kobe Bryant said it would be "a joke" for people not to consider Griffin an all-star. Charles Barkley chimed in on TNT and said Griffin and Kevin Love should be in the All-Star game.

Griffin is averaging 27.5 points and 13.9 rebounds in the last 10 games and has had 30 or more points six times and two 40-plus games this season. He combines the human highlight factor with old-school values of hard work.

Just get him a decent nickname and a high-profile actress girlfriend and this superstar thing might be happening a lot faster than even the longest-suffering Clipper fan ever thought.]

Photo: Blake Griffin. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez / US Presswire