Big Mamma Jamma wrote:LOL at those who voted for Bynum.
Why? It's actually not as clear-cut as folks are making it out to be. Drew is a legit 7 foot center who can play very well on both ends of the floor and he's probably one of if not the most skilled center in the league outside of an aging Shaq and a broken Yao as far as fundamentals and footwork are concerned. He's also fairly athletic for his size despite the fact that we don't know how much his athleticism and explosiveness has been/will be permanently affected by his knee injuries as he continues to work towards being 100% again. His ONLY real downside is his injury history as it's still questionable as to whether he's a legitimate injury risk a la Oden, whether more injuries are to come in the near future as a result of his previous ones or whether he'll be in the clear for some time.
Griffin is about as unpolished as they come but the potential is definitely there. On top of that he's beyond freakishly athletic but even if he does develop a solid offensive arsenal you'd still need to put a decent center beside him which is much more tough to come by these days than the decent power forward you'd need to put around Drew. It's also worth noting that he's had a knee injury of his own in the form of a stress fracture in his left knee which he received upon landing from one of his air shows. Everyone is all smiles right now but I have to think (ESPECIALLY with the way he plays) that it's likely only a matter of time. Drew's style of play is nowhere near as high-risk as Griffin's.
Don't get me wrong, Blake is a great player, and my initial knee-jerk reaction due to Bynum's lengthier injury history is to go with the high-fly act, but the more I think about it, how many PFs are there in the league that can give you 20/10? Ok, now how many legitimate centers in the league can be your defensive anchor and do the same? Plus Griff's high-fly antics make him just as much of a risk if you ask me, even moreso given that he's already missed a year due to a hard landing during the preseason last year. Baseball fans all saw what happened when folks were talking about how they wished they could build around a kid like Strasburg last year.
As always great post. Haven't seen you around these parts in a while. Good to debate with you.
Anyway to respond to your post, I agree that Griffin's style of play makes him more prone to injuries. I think what distinguishes Griffin from say other talented, athletic freaks (Lebron, Howard) is that he is a gym rat. He wants to improve and has the potential to be a complete player. He needs good coaching, which I don't believe he'll get from the Clips so it may take him some time to develop fully. With that being said, I can see him becoming more polished and avoiding the high-flying act that currently defines his game. If he develops a jumper he would be unstoppable.
My choice between Bynum and Griffin was based on the OP's statement if I were to choose today, knowing everything that we know about both players. I love Bynum but it would be hard for me to choose him to build a team around, especially after 3 major knee injuries (one in high school, two in the NBA) and that fact that he can't get through a season without missing games. Unfortunately, it would be difficult to rely on Bynum for a whole season. This may change (and I sure hope it does) but as of right now, I couldn't choose him to build around. The other night against the Suns, I watched Bynum and every time he stumbled or jumped and landed awkwardly I caught myself holding my breath! Crazy, huh?! I just worry about that guy.
Guys like Bynum are rare and they seem to be a dying breed since there aren't many in the league and their numbers keep decreasing each year. I think Griffin, if he develops his game, could be incredible with an average center. Bynum is a luxury and provides distinct advantages against almost any team in the league. However, there is more than one way to skin a cat and a team doesn't necessarily have to have a dominant center, just a serviceable one (e.g., Perkins with the Smeltics) to pair with a great PF. Remember Karl Malone was raw and very athletic just like Griffin but he refined his game and became a dominant force. He also didn't have a dominant center to play along side. Griffin has the work ethic and the talent and that's why I would choose him.