NBA's Thunder and Blake Griffin: A perfect match

Here's a thought: With the first pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, the Oklahoma City Thunder select...Blake Griffin, University of Oklahoma.It'd be a fitting destination for the Big 12 star and would make the Thunder a heck of an entertaining group to watch. Consider these factors:1. If the NBA season ended today, Oklahoma City, a league-worst 7-33, would have a solid chance of landing the top pick in the Draft lottery. Griffin is the projected No. 1 pick, according to and right now.2. I'd think drafting Griffin would immediately raise the level of interest amongst the townies who are unsure as to whether they want to embrace this franchise, which is in its first year of existence in Oklahoma City after being in Seattle for the past 41 years. After all, Griffin grew up playing high school basketball in the Thunder's backyard at Oklahoma Christian School. Now he's playing college ball 25 minutes south of Oklahoma City in Norman, Okla. 3. I'm no NBA fanatic, but I'd dip into some of my paycheck to witness Blake Griffin and Kevin Durant play on the same team. Durant, the former Longhorn great, and Griffin, the current Sooner great, would put people in the stands. In fact, the Thunder would have a rather impressive nucleus with Durant (23.7 points per game, 7.2 boards per game), Griffin, Jeff Green (16.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg) of Georgetown and Russell Westbrook (14.4 ppg) of UCLA.Plus, it'd be interesting to see the Big 12 talent this team would put on the court: Griffin, Durant, Nick Collison (I think you all know where he went to school), and Desmond Mason (Oklahoma State).I had the chance to interview Griffin in 2006 when he played AAU summer ball in the K.C. Prep Invitational in Shawnee. You could tell he was a serious prospect. Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel was on hand doing some scouting, and the then-17 year old Griffin looked dominant, even with a hurt shoulder at the time.When I asked Griffin, who had already committed to OU, what he expected to bring to the Sooners, he said, "I'd love to help them go and win a national championship."At the time it seemed unrealistic, but now Oklahoma's atop the Big 12, ranked No. 6 in the nation and 16-1 on the season. And Griffin's one of the best, if not the best, players in the nation. His statement from 2006 now looks pretty brilliant three years later.In a few months, especially if OU makes a deep NCAA Tournament run, the NBA team that wins the lottery for the No. 1 pick shouldn't have to take more than two seconds to make the selection. It'd just be really exciting if the team that wins the lottery is Oklahoma City.


zissou 7 years ago

I thought I posted this earlier, but I guess not: Griffin/Durant/Green/Westbrook would be a fun group, but they would have a combined 5 years NBA experience between them (Griffin=0; Durant=2; Green=2; Westbrook=1). The average NBA starting five (thrown in whoever you want as OKC's 5th) of the past half decade of NBA champions has had roughly quadruple that type of experience. I realize you're not saying they would contend for a title, but casual NBA fans (especially those around here) are too caught up in flashy names that they recognize from the college game. That just doesn't cut it in The League.

Eric Sorrentino 7 years ago

Hey zissou, thanks for posting. You did indeed post twice, but the first time you posted, it was to the blog on and not here on Same blog entry, different site, so no worries. I like your point with respect to the experience factor. Five years obviously isn't many. And yes, obviously I'm not saying they're going to contend for a title. But I also don't think any big-name free agents are going to have OKC at the top of their list. Therefore, you have to build a team with young players and give them a few years. And at this point, if I had to take my pick of one player who will enter the '09 Draft to build a team around, it'd be Griffin.

rgreene 7 years ago

How irrelevant are the OKC Thunder? Even their franchise player can't remember the name of his team :)

zissou 7 years ago

I agree that bringing free agents to Oklahoma City is going to be a tall order. If the "Oklahoma City...Thunder, I think" can put together the Griffin/Durant/Westbrook/Green nucleus and keep them there for a couple of years, it could become something special.Griffin is without question the must-have player of this class. He projects well as an NBA big man, and for a franchise that's trying to establish roots for the fanbase, who better to bring in than a "local" guy? Of course, that's all dependent on them winning the lottery, which hasn't been good odds since its creation.

Eric Sorrentino 7 years ago

Greene, hilarious find. Zissou, I agree. I doubt the Bulls had much confidence last year about landing that No. 1 pick.

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