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Blake Griffin is concentrating on defense and being a leader [Video]

December 13, 2011 |  3:04 pm

In his debut last season, Blake Griffin averaged a double-double with 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds a game. He won the rookie-of-the-year award, put on a highlight reel of slam dunks and re-energized a flailing franchise.

At Clippers media day Tuesday, Griffin discussed his expectations for the upcoming season, both personally and for his team. Here are some highlights from the interview.

On what Chauncey Billups brings to the Clippers: "Obviously, you know, right out of the gate, experience. He's been on championship teams and made championship runs, hitting big shots and all of that. Besides all that, I think he brings maturity and leadership."

On what he thought when he heard the Clippers could get Chris Paul: "Obviously excited. We'd love to have him. But you know, if it doesn't work out, then everybody on this team knows we're ready to roll with this team."

On how happy he was to see that the Clippers kept DeAndre Jordan: "Very happy. This is actually the first I've seen him since we started camp. It's good to see him back. He's a huge part of this team, not only defensively, but offensively, finishing. He's one of the best finishers in the game above the rim.

On his friendship with Jordan: We had a fall-out this summer. Yeah, we're close, obviously as close as we've always been and, you know, obviously I've been talking to him throughout this whole process and for me, it was more of a friendship thing. I wanted to see him get what he deserves and I think he thinks he did too."

On the first few days of training camp: "They've been really, really good. This year compared to last year, it's been a huge difference. You know, everyone was trying to get used to the new coaching staff last year and now I think most of our guys know what to expect and it makes the transition a lot easier."

On whether he has a different approach this year: Absolutely, 100%. You know, I've told a lot of people, even after the first practice, it's like night and day. A year makes a huge difference. Last year in training camp, I was trying to prove that I belonged and that I was really a part of this team. This year, for me, it's much more relaxed and I can really work on the things that I need to work on."

On what he can improve on: Everything, obviously. But something I'm really concentrating, especially during training camp, is defense."


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--Melissa Rohlin