Blake Griffin spent hours over the summer refining his jump shot, adding a new dimension to his already incredibly skilled array of offensive arsenals.
In a piece for the Players' Tribune, Griffin acknowledged that nothing pleases him more than hitting outside shots. He also revealed just how much work goes into them.
"Do I like a jam or two?" Griffin wrote. "Sure. I do it for the children. But honestly, there’s nothing more satisfying than hitting a jumper."
Griffin got by on his athleticism his first few years in the league, but he quickly realized he needed to make a change.
"The problem with that is, you end up getting really, really tired by February," Griffin wrote. "My rookie year I tried to get out of bed on a road trip near the end of the season and I was like, Am I physically able to walk right now?"
In order to be the type of player he wanted, he needed to improve his midrange game.
Over the last three years, Griffin wrote, he had to completely re-learn how to shoot. He said that he's put up more than 250,000 shots with his shooting coach Bob Thate during that time, which comes out to roughly 300 shots a day.
His shot needed three big adjustments, according to Griffin. He had to learn how to release the ball at the top of his jump. He had to learn not to bring the ball back too far behind his head. And he had to learn how to jump straight up and down as he shot.
"The man doesn’t even look to see if the ball goes in," Griffin wrote. "He just stands there watching my form. It’s disturbing."
His hard work recently paid off.
"When I got home from the game that night after hitting the buzzer-beater, I was pacing around my house like a crazy person," Griffin wrote. "I tried to go to sleep around 1:30 in the morning and I spent 20 minutes laying there staring at the ceiling before I was like, Welp, this is not happening. My adrenaline was still jacked. I watched TV for a while and I don’t think I nodded off completely until around 5 a.m."
Griffin, however, wasn't lost in celebration.
Instead his mind was focused on a shot he missed three years ago against the Golden State Warriors, when he took a baseline jumper in the third quarter and it hit the side of the backboard. The Warriors' bench then visibly taunted him.
"The hardest part about basketball is constantly training myself to have a very short term memory and to forget about the last missed jumper," Griffin wrote.
"Even if it goes off the side of the backboard, you have to believe the next one is going in. There’s a quote I really like that describes the mentality you need to have in this league in order to keep your sanity: 'Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.'"