Blake Griffin knows he must carry the LA Clippers on his shoulders, and says he’s ready for the challenge.
Column from sitdown with Blake Griffin in LA: Unfinished business, embracing new Clippers challenge. https://t.co/nOAkrGKHeF
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) October 27, 2017
The Clips lost Chris Paul, JJ Redick and Jamal Crawford over the summer, and Griffin has so far managed to keep the team humming with a 4-0 record while playing the best basketball of his career.
The 28-year-old NBA All-Star re-upped on a five-year, $173 million extension, and vows to reverse his squad’s past disappointments.
“Jerry [West] had a major voice to me, and he’s had an influence in coming and working on the culture here,” Griffin told The Vertical. “This franchise had unfinished business, and I had unfinished business here. We had unfinished business together and I valued that. We laid it out there that no matter what was going on around us, both sides hadn’t accomplished what we set out for.
“I couldn’t abandon this now.”
This season has placed Griffin in position to drive this Clippers offense and cement a full season as a lead shot-maker and creator. Paul ran the Clippers’ play calls and commanded the ball for most of the shot clock. But Griffin had thrived as a do-it-all component, something of a point forward at times when Paul sat out with injuries in previous seasons.
“I embrace the challenge,” Griffin told The Vertical. “With Chris gone, it changed our dynamic. For me, of course, I can look at it: I have the responsibility on my shoulder – all season. I have to do it. When Chris sat out, I was able to show it. I want to prove that I can sustain that style of play. Chris was one person, but we also lost J.J. [Redick], who I knew going into the free-agency process wouldn’t be back, Jamal [Crawford], who I thought we’d keep this summer but we had to move him around.
“So part of our core guys separated and that affected us. It changed the philosophy and we had to be accepting of the challenge.”