Hornets.com 1-on-1: L.A. Clippers' Blake Griffin

Hornets.com 1-on-1: L.A. Clippers’ Blake Griffin
By: Clyde Verdin, Hornets.com
November 9, 2010

Hornets.com caught up with Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin before the Nov. 9 tip at the New Orleans Arena. Griffin spent all of last year rehabbing after undergoing microfracture surgery when he sustained the injury in a preseason game against the Hornets.

Griffin spent two years playing at the University of Oklahoma, where in his sophomore year he earned every major individual postseason award including Big 12 Player of the Year and the Wooden Award. He was the first player in Big 12 history to registered 20 points and 20 rebounds three times in a season, and had 20-point, 15-rebound games 15 times, which is the most since 1996.

Hornets.com: What has surprised you most about the NBA?
Griffin: I can’t say I was actually surprised by this, and I was already expecting it after last year, but the travel is intense. It’s different, and you have to make sure you get your rest so you’ll be able to get everything done that needs to be done.

Hornets.com: With sitting out all of last year, what were some of the things you worked on getting better at?
Griffin: I felt like I had the opportunity to learn the game a little bit better. I was able to work on things like my spacing when I’m on the court, timing and learning when to pick my spots when it comes to playing offensively and defensively.

Hornets.com: With two weeks of the season complete, what do you think you need to work on?
Griffin: I want to cut down on the little mental mistakes, and that every time I go in to watch film, I study and learn from every situation so that I can make better decisions when I’m playing.

Hornets.com: What is it like to play with Willie Warren, first your teammate at Oklahoma, and now with the Clippers?
Griffin: It’s great. He’s a familiar face, and we had a lot of fun at Oklahoma together. Having him around is great for me, and we had a lot of success there, something I hope we can have here in the league.

Hornets.com: You’re playing against an eight-year veteran in David West tonight, what do you think of his play, and do you try to incorporate other players’ styles in your game?
Griffin: I try to take away something from everybody we play. I’m always learning, and playing against a guy like David is a challenge because he’s been good a long time.

Hornets.com: Is it important for you to win Rookie of the Year?
Griffin: It’s not. One of the things I’ve always said is that I’d rather make a playoff run than win the award. If there was an opportunity for this team to make the playoffs and win, I would give up that trophy in a heartbeat.

Hornets.com: The first win for the team came against the Thunder, from your hometown of Oklahoma City. How special was it for you to get your first win against them?
Griffin: Just being able to play period is a gift. But it was definitely a great moment for my family to see me play, and to be able to get a victory as well.

Hornets.com: Do the veterans still see you as a rookie?
Griffin: Fortunately, I have not had to go through any rookie hazing this season. I think they’ve forgotten about me, which is good. But it’s a long season so we’ll see.

Hornets.com: Lastly, you’ll definitely be in Los Angeles for the All-Star Game, so which side will you be on for the Rookies vs. Sophomores game?
Griffin: [laughs] Man, that’s a really good question. I’m really not sure, but either way I hope it will be a really fun experience.

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