Player Projection: Blake Griffin

by Jon Nichols

During the next few months, I will be using my Box Score Prediction System (BSPS) to project the NBA careers of many of the 2009 draft prospects (explanation here: ).  With March Madness in full swing, it seems like a good time to begin. 

Today I’ll take a look at the consensus number one pick in the draft, Blake Griffin.  Griffin had a tremendous game against a good, although undersized, Michigan team last Saturday.  He got beaten up in the first half but showed his toughness and talent on his way to 33 points and 17 rebounds.  He’s a big man with the skills to do just about anything on the floor.  Just as important, he works harder than anyone else.

How does he project to do in the NBA?  Let’s take a look at his projected average NBA box score if he got 36 minutes a game:



Although 18 and 9 seems a bit underwhelming for a guy of Griffin’s potential, let’s take a closer look at it.  First of all, these numbers are based on Griffin’s college stats.  He’s only played two years at Oklahoma, and you would assume if he stayed for four years his numbers would look even better.  Second, like most top picks, much of the hype surrounding Griffin has to do with his potential.  That implies that he will do better in the future than he is right now, which makes some sense.  Still, I think any team would be happy with a power forward that averages 18 points and 9 rebounds a game.

While I think his projected scoring and rebound numbers are underrated, some of the other numbers may be spot on.  As you can see, he’ll do a reasonable job of getting to the free throw line, but won’t convert on a large percentage of those attempts.  For a big man in the NBA, this is to be expected.  Most power forwards don’t shoot free throws like Dirk Nowitzki.

I’m most surprised about Griffin’s lack of shot blocking.  You would think a player of his size, athleticism, and aggressiveness would be swatting shots left and right, but that hasn’t been the case.  However, he may be focusing on avoiding foul trouble since he is forced to carry the Oklahoma workload on the offensive end.  We’ll see how he turns out, but BSPS thinks Griffin won’t be a shot blocker (which is fine; you don’t need to block shots to play great defense).

In conclusion, Blake Griffin’s projected numbers are quite good, but still may not be doing him justice.  If anybody’s going to exceed their BSPS numbers, it’s Griffin.  He’s got the athleticism and work ethic to shatter even these high expectations.





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