So, since the Wizards will most likely be in the hunt for a lottery draft pick; I've set my DVR to record all the Oklahoma (Blake Griffin), Georgetown (Greg Monroe) and Arizona (Jordan Hill) games.
Oklahoma played Baylor the day before yesterday and Oklahoma State yesterday; so I had the opportunity to look at Blake Griffin. Here are my observations:
In the Baylor game, Griffin ended up with 20 points, 17 rebounds and 4 assists. In the Oklahoma State game, he had 26 points, 19 rebounds and 3 assists.
He was clearly the best player on the court in both games - BY FAR.
From reading material about Griffin, I had thought he was mostly a strong rebounder and an inside offensive presence. What I didn't know is that he has a real nice jump shot. He has solid mechanics, good high release, and on a couple of occasions he used the glass. (Reminded me of Elvin Hayes on one turn around jumper, off glass)
He has a surprisingly good handle for a big man, and on a couple of occasions he faced up his man and used the dribble-drive to get to the hoop, with a quick first step and, of course, a strong finish.
Sometimes his ability to dribble got him in trouble, when he tried going coast-to-coast. Once against Baylor, he grabbed the rebound, dribbled up court, made a quick spin in the lane and threw up a wild shot. On another occasion, he again went coast-to-coast, but a little out of control, and turned the ball over.
Another surprise was when he was running the floor. Quick and Fast; and boy can he finish. This kid is NOT a 6'10" plodder - he can really motor.
He finished through heavy contact several times, drawing lots of "and 1's" - Has good court awareness, especially passing out of the double team; hitting the open man for a wide open shot every time he was doubled - He plays with a tremendous amount of intensity and energy; seeming like the most active player on court in both games. (except for a short stretch in the Baylor game when he looked tired).
He's just an absolute monster on the boards. Almost nothing gets past him on the Defensive side; grabbing EVERYTHING off the rim. But it's not just his athleticism that gets him all those rebounds. When a shot goes up, he seems to know exactly where to go. I didn't see even ONE play where he didn't block out. It seems to be ingrained into his DNA to put a body on someone when a shot goes up. He gets low, spreading his arms wide, taking up an immense amount of space; and then explodes off the ground and grabs the ball with two hands.
On the Offensive side, he does use his athleticism and jumping ability to go over other players for tip-ins. That may get him in trouble at the next level.
He's got GREAT hands; catching very hard passes with ease, and sometimes with just one hand. Reminded me of Jamison's hands, the way the ball just seems to stick.
You can tell he's a Coach's son. He and his older brother Taylor are both fundamentally sound, playing defense with the proper stance; boxing out on rebounds; good footwork; etc...
On the Defensive side, he seemed to hold position well in the post. He contested shots. He seemed to play better defense in the first halves of games. Don't know what that's about; but it was noticeable.
He did well on pick-and-roll defense; hedging on the guard, then recovering quickly to his man. I didn't see a single instance where the opponents got an advantage by running the PnR.
He did not seem as comfortable outside the paint; especially guarding on the perimeter.
Even though he's extremely athletic, I don't think he has the natural timing needed to be a big shot blocker - at least he didn't show anything in these two games.
Sometimes, he got a little out of control; and he had a lot of turn overs (7) in the State game; mostly trying to do too much (dribbling up court, or forcing a pass, etc..)
All in all, Griffin is the real deal; worthy of the #1 pick in this year's draft. Not sure how high his ceiling is, but he's pretty good right now; and should be able to step right in and start for the team that drafts him. (yes, he's that good).