Around the NBA: Blake Griffin is Really Good

We all know about the Griffin’ monster dunks. We’ve watched highlight after highlight, losing countless hours of sleep searching youtube for new GIRFFINSMASH. We all know that this man is going to win rookie of the year, and it won’t even be close (which is stunning considering how well Wall has played). However, some of you might be wondering how good his rookie season has been compared to other rookie season. I’m here to tell you, it’s one of the best ever. I went and looked at the statistics of all of the rookie of the year winners for the past decade. I looked at the primary basic stats: FG%, RPG, APG, PPG. I also looked at a few advanced stats: True Shooting, Total Rebound Percentage, Usage, and PER. Here is how the players rank in each of these categories. I’ll only be ranking the top 5 players in each category to save some space here.

Field Goal Percentage

  1. Tie: Pau Gasol and Blake Griffin – 51.8%
  2. Derrick Rose- 47.5%
  3. Amare Stoudemire- 47.2%
  4. Tyreke Evans- 45.8%

Rebounds Per Game

  1. Blake Griffin– 12.7
  2. Emeka Okafor- 10.9
  3. Pau Gasol- 8.9
  4. Amare Stoudemire- 8.8
  5. LeBron James- 5.5

Assists Per Game

  1. Chris Paul- 7.8
  2. Derrick Rose- 6.3
  3. LeBron James 5.9
  4. Tyreke Evans- 5.8
  5. Brandon Roy- 4.0
  6. Blake Griffin– 3.4 (Best passer out of the group of big men here)

Points Per Game

  1. Blake Griffin– 21.8
  2. LeBron James- 20.9
  3. Kevin Durant- 20.3
  4. Tyreke Evans- 20.1
  5. Pau Gasol- 17.6

True Shooting Percentage

  1. Pau Gasol- 56.6%
  2. Blake Griffin– 55.1%
  3. Brandon Roy- 54.8%
  4. Chris Paul- 54.6%
  5. Mike Miller- 54.1%

Total Rebound Percentage

  1. Blake Griffin– 19.8%
  2. Emeka Okafor- 17.5%
  3. Amare Stoudemire- 15.9%
  4. Pau Gasol- 13.5%
  5. Chris Paul- 8.5%

Usage

  1. LeBron James- 28.2
  2. Kevin Durant- 28.1
  3. Blake Griffin– 26.9
  4. Tyreke Evans- 26.2
  5. Tie: Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose- 22.6

Player Efficiency Rating (PER)

  1. Blake Griffin– 22.7
  2. Chris Paul- 22.1
  3. Pau Gasol- 19.5
  4. LeBron James- 18.3
  5. Tyreke Evans- 18.2

What Does It All Mean?

Well, in the basic statistics Blake Griffin is a runaway success. He leads the group in points per game and rebounds per game (by quite a bit). He’s also the best among the big men in terms of assists per game. Add to that that he’s tied with Gasol for best FG%, and it’s hard to consider him some sort of chucker.

But, we are in a new age of basketball analysis so let’s use the new age statistical measures. Griffin is second to only Gasol in terms of true shooting. If Griffin was a better FT shooter (and he will be, his form is decent), he would be running away with this statistic. Like RPG, total rebound percentage isn’t even close. It’s Griffin in a landslide. Finally, PER, the stat that contains all stats, Griffin wins yet again.

Now, I threw in usage in order to give some idea of how much Griffin is involved in his teams play. It can help us discern whether or not Griffin gets his statistics by being force-fed the ball, which can lead to inefficiency, or whether or not he is passive and just happens to get some easy buckets here and there. There are only two players with a higher usage than Griffin: Durant and LeBron. Now, if those two players were better statistically than Griffin has been, then we could have a real debate as to whether or not they had better rookie seasons. However, Griffin dominates both players in almost every statistical measure. Really, the only players who are close to Griffin statistically are Chris Paul and Pau Gasol. Considering Griffin’s higher usage, though, it’s fair to say his team relies on him more and he remains an extremely efficient player despite that.

So, in my humble opinion, there is no doubt that Griffin is having the best rookie season since the turn of the century. Obviously, there is still over half the season left and this can all mean nothing by that time, who knows. But, I do know that I am excited about Griffin and it is more than just his highlights. It has to do with how damn good he is, and the statistics back me up. Understand that if this man’s free throw percentage catches up to his form sometime this year…well, it will just be scary the type of numbers he could end up with this year.

Note: All statistics used come from basketball-reference.com. It’s a good place to check out if you aren’t sure what all of the statistics I’ve used mean.

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About fyatroll

I'm a recent college graduate who is waiting to head to law school. I figured I'd use my down time to write about something that I truly enjoy, the Cleveland Cavaliers.
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2 Responses to Around the NBA: Blake Griffin is Really Good

  1. Nathan says:

    I was going to do this, but i was too lazy and espn doesn’t understand that “2009-2010 player stats >> Rookies” refers to LAST year’s rookies not THIS year’s rookies.

  2. Nathan says:

    Top FG% rookies of all time:
    Buck Williams: 58.2%
    Shaq: 56.2%
    Chris Webber: 55.2%
    Tim Duncan: 54.9%
    David Robinson: 53.1%
    Jerry Lucas: 52.7%
    Walter Davis: 52.6%
    Terry Cummings: 52.3%
    Ralph Sampson: 52.3%
    Adrian Dantley: 52.0%
    Griffin: 52.0%

    Griffin finishes in a tie for 10th, but with a realistic shot to move into the top 5.

    Rebounds:
    Wilt: 27.0<—————lol
    Walt Bellamy: 19.0
    Wes Unseld: 18.2
    Jerry Lucas: 17.4
    Maurice Stokes: 16.3
    Elgin Baylor: 15.0
    Dave Cowens: 15.0
    Willis Reed: 14.7
    Kareem: 14.5
    Shaq: 13.9
    Bob Pettit: 13.8
    Ray Felix: 13.3
    Blake Griffin: 12.7

    Griffin comes in 13th, but he's also second only to Shaq in the last 40 years, before which the league played at breakneck pace, and there's something to be said for that. Also, only two rookies, Shaq and Jerry Lucas, have beaten Blake in these first two catergories.

    Assists (only including players who had 10+ rebounds OR 50% FG%):
    Oscar Robinson: 9.7<—–lol
    Michael Jordan: 5.9
    Maurice Stokes: 4.9
    Larry Bird: 4.5
    Sydney Wicks: 4.3
    Kareem: 4.1
    Elgin Baylor: 4.1
    Larry Johnson: 3.6
    Chris Webber: 3.6
    Walter Davis: 3.4
    Blake Griffin: 3.4

    Blake nets another tie for tenth in this abriged list of assist leaders. No rookie has beaten Griffen in all three of the above stats…which is pretty amazing.

    Points:
    Wilt: 37.6
    Walt Bellamy: 31.6
    Oscar Robertson: 30.5
    Kareem: 28.8
    Michael Jordan: 28.2
    Rick Barry: 25.7
    Terry Dischinger: 25.5
    Elgin Baylor: 24.9
    Geoff Petri: 24.8
    Sydney Wicks: 24.5
    Earl Monroe: 24.3
    David Robinson: 24.3
    Walter Davis: 24.2
    Terry Cummings: 23.7
    Allen Iverson: 23.5
    Shaq: 23.4
    Mitch Richmond: 22.0
    Blake Griffin: 22.0

    Griffin ties for 17th, but here he has competition from outside of the center/PF positions, so this is expected. Again, most of these players are from the 60's and 70's, before defense was invented.

    TS%:
    Buck Williams: 60.3%
    Adrian Dantley: 60.1%
    David Robinson: 59.7%
    Michael Jordan: 59.2%
    Shaq: 58.4%
    Terry Dischinger: 57.8%
    Jerry Lucas: 57.8%
    Walter Davis: 57.7%
    Tim Duncan: 57.7%
    Pau Gasol: 56.6%
    Chris Webber: 55.9%
    Terry Cummings: 55.7%
    Oscar Robertson: 55.5%
    Walt Bellamy: 55.4%
    Blake Griffin: 55.3%

    Blake finishes 15th, see previous comment.

    Finally, PER:
    Wilt: 28.0
    Walt Bellamy: 26.3
    David Robinson: 26.3
    Oscar Robertson: 25.9
    Michael Jordan: 25.8
    Bob Pettit: 24.5
    Elgin Baylor: 23.6
    Blake Griffin: 23.0
    Shaq: 22.9
    Terry Cummings: 22.8
    Ray Felix: 22.8
    Tim Duncan: 22.6
    Kareem: 22.5

    So Blake Griffin is EIGHTH all time in PER among rookies. I've included some names just below him to provide perspective. The kicker? Even after missing an entire season to injury, Blake Griffin is the YOUNGEST rookie to post a PER as high as he did.

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