College basketball’s 2009 National Player of the Year Blake Griffin is the consensus projected No. 1 overall selection in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
During his brilliant sophomore season with the Oklahoma Sooners, the 6-foot-11, 248-pound power forward averaged 22.7 points and 14.4 rebounds a game in leading his team to a Final Four appearance and a 30-6 record.
The strong and agile Blake Griffin is the best all-around player in the 2009 NBA Draft and accordingly the most prepared prospect for the next level. NBAdraft.net compares Griffin to Karl Malone, arguably the greatest NBA power forward of all time. Because of his strength, Griffin can back defenders down deep into the paint. Because of his quickness, he can face the rim and explode around them.
In just two years at the collegiate level, he developed a nice mid-range shot which will make it difficult for NBA big men to guard him away from the basket. Griffin is an excellent offensive rebounder and should give his future NBA team plenty of second-chance opportunities. He seems very coachable and appears to be a great teammate, both rare qualities in potential stars.
First and foremost, Blake Griffin needs to become a better free-throw shooter because of the frequency of touches he will get in the NBA on a nightly basis. Last year, he shot a dismal .590 percent from the line, which will not cut it. Griffin, 20, is projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, so he must evolve into a better and more vocal team leader.
Griffin will mostly likely be playing for a bad team, so expectations of him will be high. He cannot afford to disappear in NBA games like he did at times during his college career. Blake Griffin also must work hard to improve on the defensive end of the court.
The Los Angeles Clippers (19-63) are expected to draft Blake Griffin with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 NBA Draft. The Clippers need to add youth, energy and talent with aging frontcourt veterans Marcus Camby, Chris Kaman, Zach Randolph and Brian Skinner still on their roster. Griffin would be a perfect fit.
If for some bizarre reason the Clippers pass on Griffin, the Memphis Grizzlies (24-58), who own the No. 2 selection, would be quick to grab him.