Know this: Kevin Pelton is much, much smarter than me. He has an awesome eye for the game and dissects it with a surgeon’s touch. I know that he knows more than me, no doubt. But he recently wrote a piece critiquing Blake Griffin following the Elite Eight game against North Carolina and highlighted some of what he considered major faults. As someone that’s watched Blake play every game in his two-year college career and actually multiple games in high school, I feel like I should maybe comment a bit on Pelton’s criticisms of Blake.
Pelton’s major critiques come on the defensive end but he also talks about Griffin’s screen setting.
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. In fairness to Griffin, part of this may be the Sooners’ desire to keep their meal ticket away from foul trouble given the inconsistent way screens are officiated. Still, these plays were relatively ineffective, rarely freeing the guard while only occasionally giving Griffin good position on his roll to the basket.
Pelton acknowledges the foul trouble issue with an “in fairness” line. And that’s it. That’s precisely why Blake doesn’t try and set bone-crushing screens every possession. He’s trying to avoid tick-tack fouls. I mean, you understand that’s the reason why with an “in fairness” but then you go ahead and make the point anyway? That’s the reason for it, plain and simple. Also, I realize when a guy is going to be the clear-cut No. 1 pick, people are going to look for things he doesn’t do well, because well, that’s what people do, but screen setting? Knocking on a guy because he didn’t set textbook screens? If that’s one of the major criticisms of Blake Griffin’s game, then I’d say he has a pretty complete game already. Keep Reading…