Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ruined?

As the NBA lottery concluded last night, one thought was reiterated across the NBA land:

It was nice knowing you Blake Griffin.

The consensus number one pick was sitting on a couch at the ESPN Zone in New York watching his fate played out in front of his eyes. Griffin didn't have much of a
reaction when the Los Angeles Clippers won the lottery and the right to draft him, but fans know that Griffin is going from the ESPN Zone to the NBA equivalent of the Phantom Zone.

So is Griffin's future already ruined? Ruined, of course, is a relative term for a guy in his
early 20's who is about to become a multi-millionaire because he's tall and can dunk a basketball, but if it's true that Griffin won't reach a state of NBA satiety until he holds a championship trophy, it could be a frustrating career for him.

Any other NBA team in the draft lottery top five had a tangible upside for Griffin. The Memphis Grizzlies are a bit of a disaster, but they have a backcourt in place with Mike Connely Jr. and O.J. Mayo, the Oklahoma City Thunder would have been the prime landing spot since it's Griffin's hometown and would allow him to form a top forward combo with superstar Kevin Durant, the Sacramento Kings have the crazy Maloof brothers who will do any thing to build the team back up, and the Washington Wizards are much better than their record indicated last year (injuries).


The Clippers? They have some good young players in Al Thornton and Eric Gordon, plus they have Baron Davis who can be a top flight player when he wants to be. But that's the problem: the Clippers always seem to have good young players. Because they always suck and they always draft high. As good as the Los Angeles Lakers have been over the years, that's how bad the Los Angeles Clippers have been.

-The C
lippers franchise has never won a division title whether it was in Buffalo, San Diego, or L.A. The team has made the playoffs four times in the past 30 years and three of those times were quick first round exits.

-The team has had a top three draft pick 11 times and have picked such gems as Michael Olowokandi and Danny Ferry (who refused to play for the Clippers).

-The best players in Clippers history, Bob Macadoo, Andrian Dantely, and Bill Walton aren't generally recognized as Clippers (Macadoo won with the L
akers, Dantely with the Pistons, and Walton with the Trailblazers and Celtics).

-Since moving to Los Angeles, the Clipper have had two winning seasons. TWO. And the franchise has never won more than 50 games.

You get the point. Blake Griffin may be a very talented and hard working player, but his early years in the NBA could be very rough as he deals with a franchise more synonymous with losing than any other in professional sports.

Maybe the talent will come together and the Clippers will become a dangerous young team. If not, the best Griffin can do is work hard and polish up his resume as he looks forward to his first day of freedom in free-agency. Until then, he can send us postcards from the netherworld.

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