Blake Griffin got off to a bit of rough start to his NBA career last season after suffering a season ending injury before the first tip off. Some wondered if the “Clipper Curse” would somehow strike down someone who appeared to be a sure fire NBA superstar. Those questions amped up after his injury last season.
But Griffin has stormed back this season and is a lock for Rookie of the Year. His monstrous dunks and automatic double doubles are a thing of beauty and he is nearly single-handedly making the Clippers relevant. The Clippers have a great core of young players surrounding their superstar and if it were any team other than the Clippers, you would have to assume that they will be a contender for years to come.
Donald Sterling, however, has made a career (a very lucrative one at that) at running a severely underperforming franchise and cashing in each and every year for himself. So, can Donald Sterling mess this thing up?
Clippers GM Neil Olshey has vowed to make sure that doesn’t happen. In a conversation with ESPN Los Angeles, he added:
“I can guarantee you he will only ever be a Clipper. If Sam Presti (Oklahoma City GM) arrived on Kevin Durant’s doorstep at midnight on July 1st with an extension, understand that Blake Griffin lives two blocks away from me in Manhattan Beach so it’s going to be a much shorter commute for me.”
“When it comes time for him to be a free agent, we won’t be losing. We’re not losing now. We’re 10 out of 14 now with our All-Star center (Chris Kaman) sitting around in a suit. The future looks pretty good. The only question will be, in two or three years with Blake, is how much more we’ll be winning.”
Well… you have to love his optimism and what else do you really expect the GM to say? I just hope that he doesn’t actually believe this because I hate to tell him, but there is no guarantee that Blake Griffin will want to stay with the Clippers even if they are winning. Just take a look at LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Both enjoyed great success with legitimate championship contenders and both opted to bolt from their team for greener grass.
I’m not saying that Blake Griffin is the same type of person that either ‘Melo or ‘Bron are or that he shares similar philosophies or priorities. But I am saying that it would be extremely naive to think that it’s a foregone conclusion that he will want to re-sign with the Clippers even if they are contending.
No matter how much buzz Griffin generates and how competitive the Clippers are, they will always be the step-child in L.A. Period. I’m not sure if a top line NBA superstar wants to be the second best attraction in his city for his entire career. I’m not sure that he doesn’t, but I doubt he does.
Plus, Donald Sterling is the wildcard. He has butchered this franchise for years and there’s no guarantee that he won’t destroy the team’s chances at truly competing to save a few bucks and pad his own bottom line. He has, after all, done it for years.
I’m personally rooting for Griffin to stay with the Clippers and build the franchise just like Kevin Durant is doing. I would generally prefer these superstars to stay with their own teams and try to build a champion instead of all joining each other on a few power teams. I find it much more interesting if 15 teams can legitimately compete for a title instead of 5.
Kevin Durant is widely considered one of the top players in the NBA and after taking the NBA Champion Lakers to the brink last year in the playoffs and carrying the USA Basketball team this summer, his legend has only grown. He is an incredible, pure athlete and he is only getting better. Durant is on the opposite end of the spectrum of LeBron James who is just a pure physical specimen, but Durant is a much purer shooter and player.
One of the knocks on Durant when he came out of the University of Texas, however, was his upper body strength, or lack thereof. He was criticized during the NBA’s combine because he couldn’t bench press 185 lbs one time. Durant is 6’9″ and when he left college was only about 185 lbs. Compare that to LeBron, who as a senior in high school was 6’8″ and about 220 lbs. Durant is now listed at 230 lbs and he’s obviously bulked up quite a bit since his rookie year.
With that said, he’s still hardly one of the more physically imposing players in the league. This week, however, Durant posted a video on his twitter account where he demonstrates his newfound strength. In the video he appears to bench press 315 lbs with ease. Take a look….
Durant was on the Jim Rome radio show today and when asked about this incredible demonstration of strength he said “I’ve gotten a lot bigger, that’s all I’m gonna say”. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying it. That doesn’t appear to be a legit video at all. It looks to me like the weights are somehow fake and it’s nowhere near 315 lbs. Just look at the way he picks up and sets down the weight and look at how he seems to struggle more going down than bringing the weight up.
I don’t know, maybe he’s just freakishly strong now, but it looks a little suspect to me!