Human beings have rooted for the underdog at least since Biblical times. After all, we have never read any tales of any of the battles that Goliath won; we only hear about the one he lost to the scrawny guy with the sling-shot. So it not should come as a surprise if Los Angeles Clippers All-Star forward Blake Griffin receives less sympathy from NBA observers about being fouled than Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose has gotten from the same audience. Rose is 6’3″ and weighs in at about 190 pounds, while Griffin is 6’10” and tips the scales at about 250.
Despite the disparity in size, Griffin has followed Rose’s lead in complaining of the treatment he is getting from his opponents in the Association. The “OC Register” has reported that the Clippers big man told members of the media on Monday, after the club’s shootaround that he has had more than his fill of getting whacked.
Griffin told reporters “I’m definitely sick of taking hard hits. …There’s a point, I can’t remember what game it was, in my mind where I thought this is kind of ridiculous. I’m sick of it, but it’s going to keep on happening. It’s affected me this year a lot, especially with the referees. I’m just getting frustrated and getting my self in trouble with officials.”
Last season’s NBA Rookie Of The Year has allowed his temper to get the best of him a lot in this campaign as game officials have given him 11 technicals this season; one of which was later revoked. Three more technicals would earn him a one game suspension, something both he and his team want to avoid.
The big man realizes that one of the things that makes him such an appealing target for opponents is his lack of success at the charity stripe as he is averaging just 51% for the season. Griffin said “I’m sure if I was shooting better from the free-throw line, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. It probably could eliminate some of them, so I guess it’s kind of my own fault in a sense.”
Why would an opponent allow Griffin to go hard to the basket for a sure two points; when he can foul him and possibly get the ball back without a point being scored on the possession? If that were to happen, any coach in the Association would nail that player to the bench for the rest of the contest.
Recently retired NBA All-Star center Shaquille O’Neal had to endure the same treatment for most of his career in the Association, because he was such a poor shooter at the line. How many times over the years did we hear announcers talk about team’s using the “Hack-A-Shaq” defense during his career?
There have been plenty of players over the years who have improved their numbers at the line throughout their careers; all it takes is practice and hard work. Griffin is far too good of an athlete for him not to improve as his career progresses. Until that happens the big guy is going take a beating in every game he plays.