How To Build A Team Around Blake Griffin

Blake Griffin Before The 2014-15 Season

Over the past few seasons, Blake Griffin has started the process of transforming his style of play in anticipation of a decline in athleticism. During his first four NBA seasons, the Los Angeles Clippers used Blake in the low post or as a screener in the pick and roll. For instance, the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to Blake Griffin in the low post area. Once that happens, the Blake Griffin will attempt to back down the defender with one of his shoulders to get within comfortable range to shoot a jump hook. Another example of this is when the point guard will bring the ball up to the three-point line and passes it to another perimeter player. The second perimeter will either dump the ball into the post or pass it to a third perimeter player, and he will throw it into the post to start the process of attempting to get a jump hook. However, there are instances where Los Angeles Clippers used Blake Griffin as a screener in the pick and roll. For example, the point guard would bring the ball up to the three-point line and then Griffin would set a screen. Once the pick was set, he would analyze how the defender chooses to defend him. For instance, if his defender decided to come up and cover the point guard, he would roll to the basket in hopes of dunking the ball. On the other hand, if his defender chose to stay back, he would pop out to the free throw line and stand there until the possession was over.

Blake Griffin During And After The 2014-15 Season

However, there was a significant difference in Blake Griffin’s style of play during his fifth season. Blake decided that he was going to reduce the number of dunks to shoot more mid-range jumpers. According to Basketball-Reference, Blake took 37.8 percent of his shots from 16 to 22 feet which was an 11.1 percent increase from the previous year. On the other hand, only 8 percent of his shots were dunks which was a decrease of 6.2 percent from the previous year. The change was most visible when Griffin played the role of a screener in the pick and roll. For example, he would perform a slide step or pop out to get in position for the jump shot instead of rolling to the basket to attempt a dunk. Over the next few years, Blake Griffin continued to extend his range to the point where he feels comfortable shooting from behind the arc now. According to Basketball-Reference, Blake took 32.3 percent of his shots from behind the arc this past season which was a 20.7 percent increase from the previous year.

Not only has Blake Griffin become more of a jump shooter, but he has also become an adequate playmaker. For example, Blake would grab the rebound and run down the court to get the attention of the defense. If this occurs, he will look to kick the basketball out to one of the players running down the wing. On the other hand, if it doesn’t happen, he will continue driving to the basket looking to get around the defender for an open shot or draw a foul. However, there were instances where he would hold or repeatedly dribble the ball in an attempt to draw a double team. If this occurs, he will pass the ball to the open player on the perimeter to shoot a three.

How To Build A Team Around Blake Griffin

Due to the transformation of Blake Griffin, he should be in a system similar to LeBron James where he can be the primary ball handler because it allows him to analyze the defense to determine what is the right play. In this offense, Blake would walk the ball up until the three-point line and evaluate how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man, he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him, he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Furthermore, on occasion, the team may have to use some different sets within the LeBron’s playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have Griffin act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

As a result, a team would have to surround Blake Griffin with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. However, not only will a team have to acquire three-point shooters but they need to find players who are outstanding defenders. This is because he will use defensive possessions to catch his breath to have enough energy for the next offensive possession. As a result of this, a team should target players like Matthew Dellavedova, Patrick Beverley, Avery Bradley, Tony Snell and Paul George. All of these players shoot above 36 percent from behind the arc for their careers and are known as excellent defenders. For example, these players will crowd the space of the ball handler forcing them to pick up the dribble and turn sideways. Once this happens, they will go for the steal or run to a spot on the same side the ball handler is looking at to cut off the potential pathway. After this happens, the ball handler has two choices, take a contested shot or pass the ball.

In conclusion, if a team were to fill out the roster with those type of players, it would give Blake Griffin an opportunity to reach the second round or possibly the Conference Finals.

The Ducking Game: Boxer Vs Promoter

Introduction- Ali Act

Over the last couple of decades, the boxing community has routinely placed the blame on boxers for not booking big fights promptly. A perfect example of this is when members of the boxing community accused Saul “Canelo” Alverez of ducking Gennady Golovkin because he waited several years to make the fight. For instance, Liam Smith, a former opponent of Alverez told ESPN in 2016 that Canelo made the right decision in ducking the fight because he wasn’t “big enough.” However, the boxing community should spread the blame evenly among the boxer and promoter for not making big fights in a timely manner. This is because the United Government enacted a federal law called the Muhammad Ali Boxing Reform Act on May 26th, 2000. According to Boxing Insider, the Ali act was put in place “to protect the rights and welfare of professional boxers… to promote honorable competition in professional boxing”.

Boxer Vs Promoter

Due to this, if a boxer chooses to hire a manager and promoter, he or she must split the role between two people due to a conflict of interest with both roles. A boxing manager is hired to represent the interests of a boxer during contract negotiations with a promoter. For example, a manager informs the promoter when the boxer is available to fight and what amount of compensation he wants for the fight. On the other hand, the promoter wants to maximize profits for every contracted fight. For example, a promoter will often attempt to lower the boxer’s compensation during negotiations with a manager to maximize profits. As a result of this, there are several factors taken into consideration when it comes to making a fight. A boxer must determine if he is interested in taking the fight, ready to face the opponent and see the amount of compensation he is getting for the match. Once the boxer evaluates all these factors, he will give an answer to his manager who will relay it to the promoter. On the other hand, the promoter will assess the compensation his client is asking for, what kind of money the fight can generate and whether his client has an easy path to victory. If the opponent can check all the boxes for the boxer and promoter, the fight will be made. On the other hand, if the fighter and promoter disagree, the contest will be taken off the table or delayed until it checks the boxes for both parties.

Anthony Joshua Vs The Hearn Family

A perfect example of this is the battle between Anthony Joshua and Eddie Hearn on when is the right time to accept a bout with Deontay Wilder. During an interview with IFL TV on April 13th, Joshua stated that he would take the fight tomorrow if he were given a guaranteed purse of 50 million dollars. Twelve days later, Deontay released a video on all his social media platforms stating that he managed to gather the money and sent an offer to his team. Later that day, Anthony responded to the video in Deontay Wilder’s Instagram comments by saying lets roll. Unfortunately, Anthony Joshua has yet to formally accept the bout because Eddie Hearn and his father don’t think it is the right time for the match. According to the Daily Mail, Barry Hearn told Joshua that if he had about six months to live he should fight him. However, “if you’re saying to me that you’ve got a legacy plan then I’m saying let’s capitalise on it properly.”

The Minnesota Vikings Should Fall Short Of Super Bowl Expectations (2018)

Introduction

Over the past two months, NFL pundits have repeatedly stated that the Minnesota Vikings made the right decision in signing Kirk Cousins to a three-year, 84 million dollar contract. In fact, former Vikings wide receiver and the co-host of First Things First, Cris Carter stated that the team made the right decision because “Kirk Cousins is the final piece to propel the Vikings to a Super Bowl.” However, this is not the case as Cousins should be the catalyst for the Vikings to fall short of their super bowl expectations.

When an organization decides to invest a large sum of money into the quarterback position, the quarterback will immediately become the focal point of the offense. This is because the organization wants to give the quarterback as many opportunities as possible to prove that their investment in him was the right decision. Due to this, the team would call a lot of passing plays to give him a chance to demonstrate that he is a franchise quarterback and is capable of making all the necessary throws to lead the team to victory. While it is reasonable to expect an organization to give their new investment many opportunities to prove themselves at a certain point, it will affect the performance of the rest of the team. For instance, if Allen gets the chance to throw a lot, the offense will spend less time on the field because of incompletions, interceptions or sacks that result in short drives. As a result, the defense would have to go back on the field without the proper amount of rest which leads to the unit being more susceptible to giving up yards and points. Since they would be unable regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense.

Kirk Cousins in Washington

A perfect example of this is how the role of Kirk Cousins within the offense changed after the Washington Redskins applied the franchise tag in 2016. Throughout the 2015 season, the Washington Redskins decided to implement an offensive system that was centered around the running game and the play-action passing game. For instance, during the first two downs of a series, Kirk Cousins would hand the ball off to Alfred Morris or Matt Jones in an attempt to force the opposing team to stack the box and set up a manageable third down. If the strategy was successful, the Redskins called a play action pass where Kirk would fake the handoff and go in the opposite direction to throw the ball to the flat or the crossing route fifteen yards downfield. However, on occasion, Kirk would fake the handoff to freeze the defense momentarily that allowed the receivers to get some separation as they try to complete a slant, in or out route. As a result of this, the Redskins offense was able to stay on the field for a more extended period, which means that the opposing team had less time to feast on their defense. In fact, according to teamrankings.com, the Redskins offense was on the field for an average of “31:29” thus the defense was only on the field for 28:31. Due to this philosophy, the Washington Redskins won the NFC East with a 9-7 record.

However, it was an entirely different story over the next two seasons because the team made wholesale changes to the offensive system. This is because the organization wanted to see if he could lead the team to victory while being the focal point of the offense before giving him a big contract. As a result, the Redskins went from a run-heavy offense to more of a passing offense to evaluate his decision making; and ability to make all the throws without having the running game to preoccupy the defense. For instance, the Redskins dialed back on the play action bootlegs where he would fake the handoff to the running backs and roll out in the opposite direction to hit the wide open receiver. In place of the conservative offense, they decided to call the traditional three to five step drop passing plays to gauge whether Cousins can make the right decision with the football when the defense is ready for a pass. For instance, Kirk would take a 3 to 5 step drop from under center and proceed to throw the ball to a receiver on a curl, crossing and corner routes as well as screens.

Although it is reasonable to expect a team to give their potential investment many opportunities to prove that he deserves a long-term commitment at a certain point, it will affect the performance of the rest of the team. Since the team had Kirk Cousins throw the ball a lot, the offense spent less time on the field because of incompletions, interceptions, sacks or big plays that result in short drives. As a result, the defense went back on the field without the proper amount of rest which led the defense to be more susceptible to giving up yards and points. Since they would be unable regain some energy between possessions to be able to stop the opposing offense. In fact, according to teamrankings.com, the Redskins offense was on the field for an average of “29:36” thus the defense was on the field for 31:24. Unfortunately, over these two years, the team compiled a record of 15-16 with one tie, and they failed to make the playoffs.

Minnesota Vikings

As a result of this, the Minnesota Vikings should experience a significant change to the offensive system. During the 2017 season, the team implemented an offensive system centered around the running and short passing game. For example, Case Keenum would give the football to the running backs on first and second down in an attempt to get the defense to stack the box. If the strategy were successful, Case would line up in shotgun formation to throw the ball to receivers on a crossing, corner, curl or out route. The game plan allowed Minnesota to consistently move the chains and stay on the field for long periods of time. According to teamrankings.com, the unit was on the field for 32:07 which meant the defense was able to get plenty of rest between defensive possessions. Unfortunately, the Vikings are going to feature more of the passing game in 2018 because of the substantial commitment to Kirk Cousins. The expected change in the offensive system should increase the likelihood that the defensive unit spends more time on the field. The extra wear and tear should cost the team a game or two during the regular season which should alter the race for home-field advantage.

How MIles Bridges Can Become A Successful NBA Player

How MIles Bridges Was Used At Michigan State

Throughout the 2017-18 season, the Michigan State Spartans primarily used MIles Bridges as an off the ball perimeter player. For instance, MIles would jog up one of the wings as another perimeter player brought the basketball up to the three-point line. Once this happened, Bridges would station himself behind the three-point line anywhere between the wing and corner. He would stay in that spot for most of the possession unless the perimeter player could not find an open angle or lane to pass the ball into the post successfully. If this happens, the perimeter player passed the basketball directly to MIles Bridges, or he would pass it to a second player who was in charge of giving the ball to Bridges. After MIles received the basketball, he would analyze the defender to determine the next course of action. If the defender gives him space, he would shoot the three-pointer. On the other hand, if the defender plays him tight, would either pass the ball to a teammate or drive towards the basket for an easy basket, to draw a foul or attract a double team. However, if the perimeter player found an open angle or lane to pass the ball into the post successfully, MIles Bridges would stand behind the three-point line as a bystander.

How MIles Bridges Should Be Used In The NBA

As a result of this, MIles Bridges should be selected by an NBA team that has an offensive system similar to Michigan State or a player who can suck in the defense. This is because Bridges spent the majority of his college career as an off the ball perimeter player that it is the quickest way for him to have an impact in the NBA. However, if the team wants him to be more of a playmaker, he would need a minimum of a few months to adjust the new role. For example, MIles would need a significant amount of practice to see if he could improve his court vision, ball handling and passing ability to the point where he becomes an above average playmaker on a consistent basis.