Will Blake Griffin Be an All-Star?

Thursday, May 26th 2011, 12:09 pm
By: News On 6

Originally Published: Jan 13, 2011 5:17 PM CDT

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Grant Belcher
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES – During the 2011 All-Star weekend in L.A., all eyes will be on a hometown hero, one of the most exciting players in the NBA.

Surprisingly, that player is not Kobe Bryant.

Former OU forward Blake Griffin has put the Los Angeles Clippers on the map and will represent them in the 2011 Slam Dunk Contest in February.

He will also receive an invitation to play in the annual rookie-sophomore game.

The real question for Griffin now is whether he will receive an invite to the “big game” – the actual NBA All-Star Game that Sunday.

Fans vote on the starting lineups, and Griffin will likely not be a starter (He is in a distant fourth vying for one of two forward spots behind the Thunder’s Kevin Durant, Denver’s Carmelo Anthony and the Lakers’ Pau Gasol).

The reserve spots on each team’s roster are selected by the coaches, and the coaches have historically not been kind to players who are rookies or who play on bad teams.

Griffin is doing his best to take the Clippers out of the “bad” category for the first time in a long time. The Clips have won eight of their past 11, including a 111-105 victory against the streaking Heat on Wednesday.

The one thing Griffin does not have control of is being a rookie.

Since 1990, only six rookies have played in the All-Star game – David Robinson, Dikembe Mutombo, Shaquille O’Neal, Grant Hill, Tim Duncan and Yao Ming.

Only two of them (Mutombo in 1992 and Hill in 1995) played for teams with losing records. Griffin’s Clippers currently sit at 13-24 even after a recent winning surge.

Even LeBron James and Kevin Durant didn’t make the All-Star game in their rookie years after averaging 20-plus points per game.

That means that about once per decade, a rookie from a losing team makes the All-Star game.

Blake Griffin would have to be considered a once-in-a-decade type of rookie to pull it off, but his numbers just might put him in that category. He is averaging 22 points and nearly 13 rebounds per game.

His stats outperform even several of the players on pace to start in the All-Star game, let alone the reserves.

The bottom line is that Griffin is still technically a rookie, and life isn’t always fair for rookies.

But regardless of whether he is an All-Star this season, it likely won’t be long before Griffin’s name is one of the ones topping the voting ballot, and that is probably good enough for him.