Monday, June 29, 2009

The Clippers Introduce Blake Griffin

The Los Angeles Clippers held an introductory press conference for No. 1 draft pick Blake Griffin at the team's Training Center in Playa Vista, CA on Monday, June 29th.



Dunleavy
CLIPPERS HEAD COACH MIKE DUNLEAVY:
"Thank you all so much for coming. This is a very exciting day for us. We finally have the opportunity to introduce Blake [Griffin] to the city of Los Angeles. The greater news is that we were in the gym Saturday and this morning, and things went very well. This is the first off-season that we have had this training facility open for our young guys like Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan, Mike Taylor and Al Thornton. I cannot say how happy I was to be in Barcelona scouting and to hear the news of the Clippers getting the first pick in the draft. Hearing that allowed me to sleep easily and to head back home. We are very excited to add Blake [Griffin] to our team and happy to have his parents here in support of him as well."



Griffin
CLIPPERS ROOKIE FORWARD BLAKE GRIFFIN:
On his strengths and how he can contribute to team...
My strength is my inside game. Being able to rebound and being a physical presence inside, but also my versatility. Im really working on being more than just a one dimensional player. Hopefully I can come in and fill the gap and do the things they need.

On making an immediate impact...
I definitely want to have that impact on the team, but at the same time there are so many guys here already that can help me out. I dont have to be something Im not. We have guys that can score, we have guys that can win, and we have Eric Gordon, DeAndre Jordan, Baron Davis and guys like that who have proven themselves. I just want to contribute to the team, and help where Im needed.

On his goals for this season...
As a team, the goal is definitely to be in the playoffs. To get to the postseason you really have to have great chemistry. Personally my goal is to contribute, and to win Rookie of the Year.

On being the face of the franchise...
Im excited about it. Its a great opportunity for me and its something that Im not going to shy away from at all.

On being finished with the draft process...
I was really excited finally to have everything set in stone, and to know where Im going and where Ill be working out. Its nice being able to come in and get shots up at 5:00 a.m. and lift with the other guys and everything like that. Now that its set in stone Id like to get into a routine, and really get to work.

On who he modeled his game after...
I wanted to be a lot like Michael Jordan but unfortunately that didnt work out to well. There are lots of different guys, I admire all the great players. There are guys playing right now that work hard, guys like Kobe [Bryant] and LeBron [James] that are good, and theyre good every year, and they get better. Those are the guys I really model my game after. Not so much on particular skills, but just how they work and how they compete.

On his influences and motivation...
"My parents have definitely been a huge influence on my life. They are two of the hardest working people I have ever been around. Playing for my dad growing up was one of the best things ever for me because he pushed me so hard where another coach might have been scared to do that. To have my dad around and to have my mom be the strong woman that she is really set an example for me and my brother growing up. My parents have been huge leaders in my life. In regards to the team and the culture of it; I just want to work hard everyday. I feel like with hard work comes great opportunities and that is the type of mindset that I want to bring to the team"

On his playing style...
"I want to model my game after guys who work hard. I am a different player than Dwight Howard and LeBron James. I do not bring some of the same things that they do to the table, so I want to be my own player. I do admire their work ethic, how they play and how they compete."

On his focus on the upcoming season...
"I think the goal for us is to not be complacent with where we are. We need to keep moving forward as a team. I want to contribute as much as I can without over stepping my boundaries as a player. There are guys out here who can do things that I can't, so I need to rely on them and hopefully they rely on me for something as well."

On his transition (mentally) from college to pros...
Being in the NBA is a change both mentally and physically. When I finished my workout earlier this morning Mike Taylor told me to get him a towel. So mentally I need to be ready and focused on anything that comes. Coming to the gym and being focused everyday is my job now. In college I had class and others things to focus on but now it is all about business and that is how I look at it. Obviously I love what I do because for me this is a dream come true but I am going to focus and continue to improve mentally all year."

On any changes to his game or focus on workouts...
I have been working on my shot and extending my range. Being more comfortable with things like pick-and-pop and many other things offensively. Defensively, those things will come and I am going to work hard on being a good defender in this league. I want to be a guy who can guard multiple positions."