A look at how Clippers performed: Spotlight on Blake Griffin

A look at how Clippers performed: Spotlight on Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin beats Houston guard James Harden to the basket during the second quarter of Game 5 of the second round playoff series between the Clippers and the Rockets. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

During the Clippers' off-season, we will take a look at how each player on the team performed last season. Here's an evaluation of All-Star power forward Blake Griffin.

Griffin averaged 21.9 points on 50.2% shooting, 7.6 rebounds and a career-high 5.3 assists a game during the 2014-15 season.


Griffin had the lowest shooting percentage of his career last season, but that's because he expanded his on-court repetoire by utilizing the outside jumper more than he ever had in the past. Some critics, however, argued that the jumper took away from his real talent -- dominating the paint with his brute strength and agile footwork.

In a column that Griffin wrote for the Players' Tribune in Februrary, he said making a jumper gives him more pleasure than a dunk. He also said the reason why he put so much sweat and tears into adding the jumper to his game was because he realized that when he relied on his athleticism alone, as he did the first few years of his career, he was gassed by February.

Over the last three years, Griffin has put up more than 250,000 shots, which comes out to roughly 300 a day. Griffin is now more of a complete player because he can shoot effectively from long range. Check out his game-winning three-pointer on Dec. 8 in overtime against the Phoenix Suns to give the Clippers a 121-120 win.

"Two years ago, Blake didn't have the courage to take that shot," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said after that game. "Tonight he actually wanted it."

Griffin also proved that he's one of the top -- if not the top -- passing big-men in the league. Griffin averaged more assists a game than any other power forward this season.

When Clippers' point guard Chris Paul was sidelined with a strained left hamstring in Game 1 of the team's second-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets, Griffin finished with 13 assists, more than twice as many as any of his teammates. Oh, and he also had game-highs in both points (26) and rebounds (14). After that game, Rivers gave the 6-foot-10, 251-pound Griffin an unusual title for someone of his stature.

Said Rivers: "Without Chris on the floor, Blake's our point guard. Everybody else is just guards."

Griffin had a slight setback during the season, missing 15 games from February through mid-March because of a staph infection in his right elbow that required surgery. In his first game back on March 15 after being sidelined for so long, Griffin said that his strength was only at 60%.

"A free throw feels like I'm at the top of the key," Griffin said March 15. "The two shots I shot tonight were both short and I felt like I heaved them up there. It's just a matter of getting that strength back, but also knowing how hard I have to shoot."

The power forward only had 15 games to get back to full strength before the playoffs began. Let's just say his recovery was quite impressive.

During the playoffs, Griffin averaged postseason career-highs in points (25.5), field goal percentage (51.1%), rebounds (12.7) and assists (6.1). Some were saying that he was arguably the best complete player in the playoffs before the Clippers got eliminated by the Rockets in Game 7.

All things considered, Griffin is more clutch and more complete of a player than he's ever been. If he continues on the course he's on, he should be a top contender for the NBA's most valuable player award in coming years.