The maturation of Griffin's game has caught the eye of coaches and players.
"He's improving his game," Minnesota Coach Rick Adelman said. "He's expanding his game. He's passing the ball pretty good. He's trying to develop an outside shot. That's what good players do. They have to find other ways to be effective. And I think he's been pretty consistent this year."
Some of Griffin's most physical games, particularly under the basket, have been against Memphis power forward Zach Randolph.
"Blake works hard on his game," the 32-year-old Randolph said. "We might battle, but I've got a lot of respect for him. He plays hard. His shot got better. He's playing smarter. He stays in the gym and works on his game. With young guys like that, you can't complain."
Several Eastern Conference scouts also have noticed Griffin's improved play on defense. But he can still improve, they said, because Griffin is more athletic and quicker than other power forwards. But Griffin remains foul-prone, averaging 3.4 personal fouls a game, fourth-highest in the league.
"He lets players get into his body instead of bumping them first," one scout said. "He's strong enough to hold his own down low and he can be a better weak-side defender because of his leaping ability."
And then there is the lingering complaint that Griffin is a "soft" player.
When opponents take cheap shots at him, or when he gets elbowed in the head or grabbed by the neck, Griffin said he often prefers to let the officials handle the situation.
"Obviously there are two options: Not to retaliate or retaliate," Griffin said. "I weigh the pros and cons and if I do retaliate and I do hit somebody, I'm going to get suspended. . . .
"If I do that, am I benefiting myself and am I benefiting the team? First and foremost, am I helping the team? I don't think I am. Am I benefiting myself by standing up for myself? Maybe. But in the long run, [if] I get suspended and I miss games. I don't think that helps."
When Doc Rivers took over as the Clippers' coach, he noticed Griffin's quickness, plus his ball-handling and passing skills, all unusual for a 6-10 power forward.
So Rivers suggested that Griffin face up against defenders more often when he has the ball, instead of just trying to overpower them.
"He has a tremendous first step," Rivers said. "If you play with your back to them, you can't use your gift. When he turns and faces the guy guarding him, you've got problems."
"Blake Griffin has an all-around game now," Shaw said. "He faces the basket, can post up and he's able to hit the jump shot from 15 to 17 feet."
Last month, Griffin was selected by USA Basketball to be on its initial roster for the next Olympic team. He also made the Western Conference All-Star team for the fourth time, and for the third consecutive year will be a starter.
For all of the criticism Griffin has heard, he said it's nothing compared with what LeBron James faced for "The Decision" to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join the Miami Heat. And that criticism intensified when James and the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals.
"That's the most criticism I've seen anybody take in my life," Griffin said. "You've seen the way he's handled it and now he's won two championships.
"You know, any criticism is motivation. . . . Some of these things players are saying I can't do, I'm doing it or I've done. Sometimes I wonder if people really watch me play. This is my fourth year and all I want to do is to have a chance of winning a championship."