After the great seasons Tyreke Evans, Steph Curry, James Harden, Brandon Jennings, Taj Gibson, Darren Collison, Ty Lawson, and so many more NBA rookies had last season, it’s easy to forget that the consensus #1 player in the 2009 draft didn’t even play a minute of NBA basketball next season.
After winning the AP National Player of the Year Award at Oklahoma, Blake Griffin had an extremely promising summer league for the Clippers before injuring his knee in the final exhibition game of the season and subsequently being forced to miss all 82 games of the regular season.
This is great news for the Clipper organization for two reasons. The first is obvious; no matter how long it takes, it’s always reassuring to see a player back on the floor and operating at full capacity, rather than just assuming he’ll be healed up in the future.
The second reason this news is so good for the Clippers is that free agency begins in earnest in just over a week. The Clippers have the cap space to sign a major free agent this off-season, and the opportunity to play with a fully healed Griffin could be a major draw for potential free agents. It wasn’t long ago that Griffin was considered a talent near or at the level of John Wall, and Griffin is a big man who doesn’t need the ball in his hands to be effective.
Griffin is obviously unproven, but some who saw him in college and Summer League project him as an Amar’e-like weapon on the pick-and-roll with less of the baggage on defense and the boards. Whether that promise will be enough to convince a major free agent to sign with the Clippers remains to be seen.