COLUMN: Several NBA teams looking for their shot at Blake Griffin
It’s a safe bet to say that sophomore forward Blake Griffin will be named college basketball’s player of the year. It’s also safe to say that Griffin will be taking the next step and entering the NBA draft after this season, where he will most certainly be the first pick. The questions now are who will get Griffin? And which team is the best fit for the 6-foot-10-inch, 250 pounder?
If you’re unsure how the draft works, the 14 teams that miss the playoffs are entered in a lottery, and the team with the most losses has the most ping pong balls in the drawing, giving them a greater chance to secure the top pick.
With that in mind, here are a few teams with a good chance of getting Griffin.
Sacramento Kings: The Kings are the frontrunner for now, as they have the NBA’s worst record at 13-48. They just traded their former All-Star Brad Miller to the Bulls for nobody significant in return, and lack someone that can lead that team. If Griffin were to go there, he would be Chicago’s franchise player and the Bulls would build the team around him. As good as Griffin is, Sacramento would be a rough way to start an NBA career because the Kings are going to be bad for a while.
Oklahoma City Thunder/Los Angeles Clippers/Memphis Grizzlies: All of these teams currently have 15 wins on the year and have solid chances to get Griffin. All are young but talented, and Griffin could help them immediately. In OKC, Griffin would be teamed with Kevin Durant, Jeff Green and Russell Westbrook. That is a big four who with a few years of seasoning and some playoff experience could be a dynasty-type team.
In Los Angeles, Griffin would be playing with Baron Davis, who when healthy, is arguably the best scoring point guard in the league. Griffin and Davis together could be a two-man game similar to the Phoenix Suns’ Steve Nash and Amar’e Stoudemire.
In Memphis, Griffin would be with former college standout O.J. Mayo and up-and-coming guard Rudy Gay. Just like with OKC, give that team a few years to gel and progress, and it is a championship-quality team.
New York Knicks: A long shot to get Griffin, but just picture this: the Knicks draft Griffin this season, and the next season they sign free agent LeBron James. With King James and “Prince Blake” running New York, I don’t think the question is if they win a championship, but how many.
Washington Wizards: Personally, I feel this is the best fit for Griffin and they have a solid shot at getting him. The Wizards are 14-46; however, this has been due to many injuries to their main players. All-Stars Gilbert Arenas, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison have missed significant time this season due to injury. However, if this team is healthy by next season and it gets Griffin, it immediately becomes an elite team in the Eastern Conference. With Griffin and Jamison in the front court, and Arenas and Butler in the back court, Washington would have one of the best starting lineups in the league.
These are the teams I feel have a solid chance at getting Griffin when the NBA draft comes along. It might be one of these teams, might not. Who will win the lottery and hit the jackpot by getting Griffin? Only time will tell.
-James Roth is a journalism senior.