Clippers Draft Griffin No. 1; Now What?

The hard part is going to be findng playing time for their new poster boy.

In a surprise to absolutely nobody, the Los Angeles Clippers took Blake Griffin of Oklahoma with the first pick in this year’s NBA Draft.

Really, the only surprise was that he wore a Lakers-purple colored shirt. A mistake he likely will never make again.

This was a no brainer the Clippers — in a down draft year overall Griffin is the one sure thing in this draft (as much as anyone in a draft is a sure thing). As a sign of how respected Griffin’s game is, he has already been invited to the Team USA mini-camp this July in Vegas, where the powers that be will look at guys who they may want in the next Olympics. He will spend a lot of time in Vegas as he will play for the Clippers at Summer League as well.

More importantly, Griffin gives a franchise that lives in the shadows of that other Staples tenant a fresh face to market. On a team with some guys that are hard to get behind — has Zach Randolph even looked at the defensive end of the floor? — Griffin can be a rallying point. He is the new poster boy.

The problem now is getting him enough playing time.

The Clippers frontcourt is more crowded than the 405 Freeway at rush hour. Chris Kaman is there at center, Marcus Camby plays a center/power forward position, and Randolph is a very good offensive player at the power forward position. Guys who are good enough to demand time on the floor — and with only 48 minutes in a game Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy would have a hard time keeping everyone happy.

Those also are all guys with big contracts — which means they are hard to trade, although apparently there has been interest. Nobody sane is going to take on Randolph’s remaining two years $33 million, although despite Isiah Thomas no longer being in the league the Clippers say there has been interest (take that with a grain of salt). Kaman is owed $34 million over three years and had a major injury last season, if any teams are interested they likely will want to see him play a little first.

That leaves Camby, a guy on the downside of his career but who can block shots and whose contract expires at the end of the year. Frankly, this is the guy the Clippers would like to keep, but he may be the easiest to move.

Somebody has to move. Simply put, the Clippers need Griffin; they need a healthy and motivated Baron Davis feeding him the ball.

It may be a surprise to some, but this Clipper team is capable of making the playoffs if they get a few breaks and can stay healthy. They just need all the good karma they can get, and that starts with their new star not wearing any more purple shirts.

Copyright FREEL - NBC Local Media
Contact Us