Latest News, NBA / May 20, 2010 / 4:52 pm

Don’t hand John Wall 2011 Rookie of the Year just yet

Blake Griffin (photo. Nicky Woo)

Anybody who says one-and-done players ultimately hurt college programs more than they help should take a look at Kentucky. Thanks to John Calipari‘s lineage of point guards — Derrick Rose, Tyreke Evans and John Wall — that spent one year under Calipari before moving on to NBA riches, now the nation’s top high school PG’s fight each other for the right to accept a Kentucky scholarship. The revolving door system may not translate into a national championship, but Cal remains the most talked-about coach in the country, his reputation as a recruiter and developer of NBA talent preceding him.

After D-Rose and Tyreke won back-to-back NBA Rookie of the Year trophies to further bolster Coach Cal’s status, the early favorite for next year’s R.O.Y. is Wall, projected to go No. 1 in next month’s draft. But before you chalk up three straight R.O.Y. winners for Calipari, don’t forget about Blake Griffin.

After missing what would have been his rookie year with a knee injury, Griffin will, like Greg Oden in ’08-09, be officially considered a rookie next season. Earlier today it was reported that Griffin has been cleared for all basketball activity, so he’s got the whole summer to work on his game and take his place as the L.A. Clippers franchise centerpiece.

“Right now Blake is working out with no restrictions, at full speed, 100 percent to the point where (strength coach) Rich Williams asked me to talk to Blake about dialing it back a little bit,” Clippers GM Neil Olshey told ESPN. “The only guy I feel bad for is the first one of his teammates that shows up and wants to play one-on-one with him.”

Griffin showed in his summer league and NBA preseason appearances last year that he’s going to be able to produce big numbers right away at the pro level, and if his knee is no problem moving forward, nothing is stopping Griffin from dropping about 15 points and 8-9 rebounds per game right off the bat. If you take his first preseason game (jitters) and his last (when he got injured) out of the equation, Griffin averaged 16.0 points and 9.2 boards on 61 percent shooting from the field.

If Griffin were re-listed into the 2010 Draft, even with the injury, he would eclipse Wall as the No. 1 prospect — a fully developed 6-10, 250-pound beast of a power forward with a guard’s athletic ability. It’d be like the D-Rose versus Mike Beasley argument all over again, except Griffin doesn’t have any of the character issue/work ethic questions surrounding him that Beasley had.

Assuming the Washington Wizards take Wall with the No. 1 pick, he is going to have shots taken away from him by D.C. gunners Gilbert Arenas, Andray Blatche, Nick Young and Al Thornton. Meanwhile, Griffin will be flanked in L.A. by a playmaking point guard in Baron Davis, an unselfish two-guard in Eric Gordon, and an All-Star center in Chris Kaman who will draw double teams, allowing Griffin more freedom to operate.

We know this much: Griffin is without question the most talented big man in the rookie class, and probably the most talented player overall. Griffin, Wall, and Evan Turner are the only three rookies who could be immediately crowned their team’s No. 1 guy, but Griffin has the best supporting cast around him. He’s my early pick for Rookie of the Year.

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  • Bizz

    Greg Oden came back, and smashed his knee early in the year and was a non-factor the rest of the year for the vote. If Blake’s in the same position that Oden is in, according to this article, then Wall will easily win due to a re-occuring injury.

  • http://facebook.com/togstadlives Jeremiah Togstad

    Can’t argue with that logic, Austin – Blake will likely be the ROY (if he can stay injury-free). Hopefully he won’t be another Greg Oden.

    By the way, what has Greg Oden been up to lately? Last I heard, he was sexting pics of his foot-long and still trying to convince the world that he wasn’t born in the 1950’s. Dude could be the biggest bust of a first-overall pick since Kwame or the Kandi man.

  • johnny

    I hope Blake Can stay healthy this year. He has a history of knee problems. If he can stay healthy, I have not doubt he’ll be up there for the ROY race and most likely win it.

    Because if the Wiz picks John Wall, he’ll have to share the ball with Agent Zero and I’m not sure if he can get better #s than Blake like that.

  • ab_40

    greg oden will win MIP next year. and this guy will win ROY. LeBron will be MVP wherever he go’s or OKC should win 64 games which they won’t.

  • Blake Superior

    Agreed, but bigs often get shafted in the voting for a more flashy guard.

    I would prefer Blake “quietly” get his 16/9/2 blks and the Clippers make the playoffs.

    Blake Griffin = Baby Barkley + Amare 2.0 + Weight Room Ben Wallace

  • http://diaryofatiredblackman.wordpress.com/ Cal

    Great article. It really is a good point because personally I don’t see wall winning ROY because he’s on a team in which he won’t be the most dynamic person on the floor daily. Its still Gils team. The Wiz are in a unique position becuz the number one pick is going to a team with an already established superstar. Good for us.


  • SayItAinSo

    Yeah but let us not forget that your already established super star is also fresh off of some injury prone seasons and gun-toting decision making. I have a hunch Wall can usurp Gil considering his most recent showings have been in a halfway house and predominately in rehab the years before that…

  • Dirtball Rotten

    i agree 100% !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Scott

    He could be huge if he stays healthy, his athleticism reminds me of a young Barkley. If he can expand his range over the summer so that he can take bigs to at least just inside the arc he could really do a ton of damage. He’s the athletic type that could really benefit from playing alongside a quality post guy like Kaman. I imagine we’ll see a ton of kaman passes to a cutting Griffin. It could be a fm season in clipper land if they get the right coach.

  • realist

    this made me lol in the second to last paragraph: “D.C. gunners Gilbert Arenas…” etc etc — gunners, both on the court and off the court haha

  • http://deleted dagwaller

    LOLOLOL@ Austin’s analysis of the Clips vs DC this year. The best part was “baron davis as unselfish” hahahaahahahahahaah seriously this was a great way to wrap up my night! Thanks for the humor, Austin, who needs Dave Chapelle when I have you to write jokes for me!?

  • KYBaller

    Ok First off, Calipari doesn’t DEVELOP anybody…none of those guys would have even went to college if not for that dumb-ass rule of you have to go one year…Coach Cal is a glorified AAU coach…get the best and let them do what they do…his vaunted “dribble-drive” offense is the most basic offense in the world especially when you have great athletes all over the court…he is a great recruiter I admit but coach and talent development…hell naw…5 NBA first rounders and he can’t coach them past the Elite 8…jmo…and a damn good one!

  • jay

    wall will win ROY..not confident in blake..maybe it is just me…not a hater but hey if one is that young and has that many knee injuries..that just doesnt sound good. wall for RoY..book it baby!

  • thenatural

    @Jeremiah Togstad

    Even though Oden has only played a handful of games in his career, he’s already shown he has more talent than Kwame or Kandi.

    PER when he was playing last year was 8th best between Dirk and Chris Paul.

    His talent is there, it’s just his ability to stay injury free that’s lacking.

  • Eleqtrique

    “Meanwhile, Griffin will be flanked in L.A. by a playmaking point guard in Baron Davis, an unselfish two-guard in Eric Gordon, and an All-Star center in Chris Kaman”

    You’ve got to be joking me, you’re biased as fuck.

    Baron Davis is a chucker, Chris Kaman takes a ton of shots for a center, Gordon is mainly a scorer.

    Kaman is a retard, had a couple of 3 for 20 games. That’s unacceptable for a center, especially when he’s not a top three big.