Blake Griffin is off to a great first couple of years. I wanted to see how he compares to other great power forwards from the past and present. The players I will be comparing him to are Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan, Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, Dennis Rodman, Kevin Garnett, Kevin McHale, Lamarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, and Pau Gasol. I will compare scoring, defense, rebounding, passing, shooting efficiency, MPG/GPS, and leadership. After each comparison I will rank him 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc. Please feel free to comment and follow me on twitter @CJ_H_12.
Scoring: Blake Griffin has been looking very good in this category. He actually has the highest points per game average of his rookie year of any of the power forwards I am comparing him to. He averaged 22.5 points per game in his first year while the next closest was Tim Duncan with 21.1 points per game. Surprisingly, he dropped 2 points per game in his second year. Still, only Tim Duncan and Karl Malone are ahead of him in his second year points per game average (Blake: 20.7 Duncan: 21.7 Malone: 21.7) He's currently in his third year and again his points per game average has dropped to 18.4. His points per game average for his career is now 20.9. Only Karl Malone, Charles Barkley, and Dirk Nowitzki have a higher average. For now, Griffin is the upper-class of scoring.
Ranking: 4th among everyone 2nd among elite current power forwards
Defense: This is where Blake Griffin struggles. His defensive win share is the worst out of all the players being compared, his blocks per game is the second worst among the players being compared, and he has no defensive first or second teams. Let's rule out some players that obviously beat him in this category: Tim Duncan, Kevin McHale, Kevin Garnett, and Dennis Rodman. We can also rule out Karl Malone (3 defensive all team selections) and Pau Gasol (1.7 BPG, 104 defensive rating, and 36.7 defensive win share). This leaves Dirk Nowitzki (poor defender), Kevin Love (poor defender), Charles Barkley (Didn't really try on defense), and Lamarcus Aldridge (good one on one defender). I am giving Aldridge the advantage here because he has long arms and is better one on one defensively. I will give Griffin the edge over Barkley, Dirk, and Kevin. Griffin is a great chase down blocker who is quick which really helps him on defense. Let's not forget how many times he has dove on the floor for loose basketballs.
Ranking: 8th among everyone 5th among elite current power forwards
Rebounding: This is where a lot of power forwards do well in. In his first year he averaged 12.1 rebounds per game, his second year he averaged 10.9 rebounds per game, and so far this year he averages 8.6 rebounds per game. Among everyone being compared, he has the highest rebounds per game average for his rookie year. He averages the 4th highest rebounds per game average for his second year among everyone being compared. This current year he averages 8.6 rebounds per game and that is the 9th best among everyone being compared. Only 4 of the other players being compared have a higher rebounding per game average. Why are his rebounds per game averages going down? I have no idea. Blake Griffin is currently averaging 10 rebounds per game for his career. That is the 5th best rebounds per game average among everyone here. For now, he is in the middle-class of this group when it comes to rebounding.
Ranking: 5th among everyone 3rd among elite current power forwards
Passing: Among everyone, he has the 3rd highest assists per game average. He also has the 2nd best assist percentage among the players being compared. I have to put Tim Duncan ahead of Blake. Jerry West explains why: "He sees the court as well or better than a lot of guards. When I look at him I see nothing but greatness." Pau Gasol also has to be ahead of him. Kevin Garnett goes above Griffin for having the highest APG among everyone and managing to average at least 5 assists per game 6 times (In 2003 he averaged 6 assists).
Ranking: 4th among everyone 4th among elite current power forwards
Shooting Efficiency: Blake Griffin, thanks to his dunking, has the third highest field goal percentage. Only Charles Barkley and Kevin McHale have higher field goal percentages. Blake usually doesn't like to shoot threes and that is seen by his dismal 21.4% three point percentage (9th among everyone). He also has a poor free throw percentage (60.5%) which is 10th among everyone. Only Dennis Rodman has a worse free throw percentage. The most important percentage is the effective field goal percentage. This takes into fact that 3 point field goals are worth more than 2 point field goals. His EFG% is 52.9%. That is 3rd among everyone here.
Ranking: 3rd among everyone 1st among elite current power forwards
MPG/GPS: Blake Griffin averages about 36 minutes a game. Over the past 2.5 years, he has missed 2 games! He played all the games in his first two years and this year he had a small mishap and missed 2 games. That means he averages about 81 games per season. To find how many minutes he would give to us in a season, you multiply MPG by GPS. When you do this, you find Griffin averages 2928 minutes per season. Among everyone here, that is 2nd among everyone (Karl Malone is slightly ahead of Griffin).
Ranking 2nd among everyone 1st among elite current power forwards
Leadership: I don't believe Griffin is the leader of the Clippers. Chris Paul is the leader of the Clippers. I do believe he could fill a leadership role. In 2011 he led a player-only meeting to start playing better. Here is how I see the players being compared as leaders:
Dirk Nowitzki: Leader of Mavs
Tim Duncan: Leader of Spurs
Kevin Garnett: Leader of Celtics and former leader of Wolves
Lamarcus Aldridge: Leader of Blazers (http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2011/12/trail_blazers_lamarcus_aldridge_is_ready_to_be_the.html)
Kevin Love: Shares role with Rubio
Pau Gasol: Kobe owns role
Karl Malone: Shared with Stockton
Charles Barkley: Leader of Suns
Rodman: Never was leader
Kevin McHale: Shared role with Larry and Parish
Overall, I believe he should be ranked 8th among all of the players being compared. Rodman, McHale, and Gasol were never the leaders Griffin is.
Ranking: 8th among everyone 6th among elite current power forwards
Finish: After looking at all the rankings, I have decided that Griffin will be a great power forward for the rest of his career. I will not compare him (Decide if he's better) to the past players until he retires, because that is just unfair. I do believe he is the 3rd best power forward in the game today. I believe Aldridge and Love are better. In the next 1-2 years he could pass both to become the best power forward in the league.