GRIFFIN'S SHOT CONTINUES TO DEVELOP
One of the early themes from training camp is Blake Griffin’s new jump shot.
After spending about two months working with shooting coach Bob Thate, the superstar, who has averaged 21.7 points per game through his first two seasons in the league, says he already feels more comfortable taking, and making, shots from the perimeter.
“For me the feel is much more compact, there’s less chance for error, but still I have a long way to go,” Griffin said. “A lot of times when I would shoot I would fade back a little bit unnecessarily, sometimes I would hang and keep the ball up high for a while, and I think we’ve pretty much gotten rid of all that.”
Clippers head coach Vinny Del Negro has noticed improvements already. “His release point is better, his balance is better,” Del Negro said. ”I think his confidence is better.”
Griffin’s work with Thate was interrupted by Griffin’s brief stint with Team USA in early July and then again after he had surgery to repair the medial meniscus in his left knee. However, over about an eight-week period Griffin took form shots, graduated to free throws, and eventually took his altered form to the perimeter.
The process has been somewhat trying for a perfectionist like the 23-year-old Griffin. “It’s definitely frustrating, but you’ve got to stick with it,” he said. “It’s one of those things where you completely change what you’ve been doing and it takes a while to get used to it.”
Del Negro said Griffin and teammate DeAndre Jordan will continue their tutelage under Thate, who served in the same role with the Nets from 2004-2008, each morning prior to practice. The front-court duo had well-documented struggles from the free throw line last season, each shooting under 53%, which is something they are both aiming to improve.
As for Griffin adding a more consistent mid-range game to his already potent inside presence, forward Lamar Odom sees it as another step in the two-time All-Star’s basketball evolution.
“It will help him, just the confidence from taking shots will help him on the free throw line as well; just having the threat,” Odom said. “I like it when I see him taking those shots in practice, miss or make, miss or make, because it adds another dimension to our team.”