NBA Heat Check: Blake Quake

John Scriffiny

Blake Quake: Blake Griffin has been all over the NBA news in a bad way for the Clippers, but possibly a good way for the Denver Nuggets.

It’s been an interesting year for ol’ Blake. He threw a punch at a team official and broke his shooting hand, and will reportedly be out four-to-six weeks. He also dealt with a torn quad earlier this season, and the Clippers actually played better without him.

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The Clippers have a weird set of pieces. Their three best players can’t really even play together. I mean, sure, they made it work to the point where they beat the Spurs in one of the best first round series in NBA history.

They also had the leagues’ most efficient offense last season, despite the fact they basically had eight usable players. But, it was always sort of an awkward fit for Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and DeAndre Jordan. 

Part of the reason this is, is due to the fact that Griffin and Jordan both are probably best around the rim.

Sure, Griffin has added the midrange jumper to his game, but he flourishes around the rim. DeAndre Jordan, on the other hand, does not. He has shot just 4-14 outside of five feet from the basket for the whole season. 

With Jordan on the floor, there is basically guaranteed to be a big guy close to the basket. He’s a clogger, and Griffin can’t shoot threes, so the spacing is just naturally off for this Clippers team. And with Jordan on the floor, it becomes much more difficult for Griffin to make plays around the hoop. 

Griffin is doing less of this and more of the hang-out-by-the-elbow and shoot jumpers sort of thing. It’s a waste of one the most athletic players the league has to offer. 

Griffin is also really good at playing the point-forward position, where he can bring up the ball and make plays passing and driving. However, with Chris Paul, he almost never handles the point guard duties. Sure, Paul is really good, but it just seems like a waste of Griffin’s talent. When Paul got injured last year, Griffin went on a tear. Griffin is really good on the Clips, as he is averaging a nasty 23-8-5. But, one would wonder just how good he would be on a team like, I don’t know, the Nuggets!

As soon as I saw this Tweet, I immediately started thinking what we could give up to the Clippers for Griffin.

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And, as soon as I saw this Tweet a few minutes later, I immediately stopped thinking what we could give up to the Clippers for Griffin. Faried, Gallinari and Will Barton (plus a 1st) works really well. Barton has playing his butt off, Faried’s massive deal helps it work under the cap and Gallinari offers them a small-ball 4 that could possible contend with the Warriors’ death lineup (Steph Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, Barnes, Draymond). DeAndre Jordan can have more space in the paint with the shooting of Gallinari as well.

It also makes sense because Griffin has a broken hand, and this seems to be the year the Clippers are going all-in for the title with CP3 slowly getting older and the Warriors seemingly about to takeoff on a dynasty (especially with the looming possibility of signing Kevin Durant). If they truly are in win now mode, a broken hand might just be enough to push Doc Rivers to trade Griffin.

He would be great on the Nuggets. He is a great fast break player, which fits in perfectly with the Nuggets and their altitude wearing out opponents. Him and Emmanuel Mudiay could have some great pick-and-roll game, and he would finally be the man on a team. Sure, he could leave in two years, but that two years would be magical. Blake would be the first superstar on the Nuggets since Carmelo Anthony, and Melo has never finished top-3 in MVP voting like Blake. Although it is really unlikely for this to actually happen, this Nuggets fan is still holding out hope. Until next time.

Collegian NBA Blogger John Scriffiny can be reached online at blogs@collegian.com or on Twitter at @JScriff.