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Kevin Pelton on Blake Griffin

Kevin Pelton of Basketball Prospectus watched presumed top overall pick Blake Griffin like a hawk during his Final Four performance.

He saw plenty to like in the Oklahoma star, especially explosiveness around the basket. But he also raises some concerns. Pelton writes:

The disappointing aspect of Griffin's offensive game was his screen-setting. I tracked him participating in five high pick-and-rolls and nine side pick-and-rolls, but I'm not certain he made contact on his screens on any of them. ...

Where questions really start to emerge is watching Griffin's help defense -- as in, "where is it?" I tracked Griffin as forcing just one miss in 38 minutes as a help defender, while allowing 3.5 scores in these situations (the half coming on a play where he and his brother were both defending). The assertiveness that is a staple of Griffin's game on offense is lacking at the defensive end. I'd describe him as playing "halfway defense" -- halfway between stepping up and taking on a driving player and sticking with his own man. The result, for a Tar Heels squad that is effective shooting off the dribble, was relatively easy pull-up looks.
Griffin averaged 1.2 blocks per game this season, but given his size and athleticism he should have been doing much more. Again, the foul trouble issue is a counterpoint, but only to an extent. Griffin could surely do a better job of contesting shots without putting himself in danger of fouling. His instincts seem to be lacking. Griffin also appears to be especially concerned with maintaining rebounding position, which works to the benefit of his boardwork but to the detriment of his help defense.