As told to us by Blake Griffin himself, last year's devastating toe injury wasn't something he took lightly.
“I’m not going to lie, after the toe injury last season, I cried,” Griffin recently told The Vertical. “I’ve put myself in the best possible positions, through my daily training and my recovery processes and my offseason regimen and preparation. I break down when I have these freak injuries happen, when the hard work is basically thrown out. I feel I put myself in all the right positions – and then this happens."
Last year, the Clippers were a team with high Championship aspirations. The core, the role players, the coaching mastermind, the Clips had all the intangibles to be a real threat in the West. As usual, they started the season with extremely ambitious expectations. And, as usual, those ambitious dreams slowly came crashing down as the season progressed.
For Blake Griffin, it was his injury that ultimately stunted his team's season last year. After all the work, after all the commitment, everything came to a screeching halt off of some freak injury.
How does someone get over that? How does somebody move past that?
This season, Blake will be called on to do more than he's ever done. With CP3, J.J. Reddick, and Jamal Crawford no longer there, everything will come down to Blake. He'll have to be the leader of a team that desperately needs direction.
And luckily for them, Griff is perfectly fine in that role.
“I embrace the challenge." B.G. admitted to The Vertical. "With Chris gone, it changed our dynamic. For me, of course, I can look at it: I have the responsibility on my shoulder – all season. I have to do it. When Chris sat out, I was able to show it. I want to prove that I can sustain that style of play. Chris was one person, but we also lost J.J., who I knew going into the free-agency process wouldn’t be back, Jamal, who I thought we’d keep this summer but we had to move him around. So part of our core guys separated and that affected us. It changed the philosophy and we had to be accepting of the challenge.”
Nobody is quite sure what the season ahead will bring for the L.A. Clippers, as so many things have changed for them. But if #32 can elevate his game to new heights, things could get very interesting.
Four games into this brand-new season, it looks like the L.A. big-man is doing just that.
Averaging a career-high 26.3 points per game, along with 9.3 rebounds and 4.5 assists, Blake Griffin has looked absolutely fantastic to start the year. Better still, the Clippers are 4-0 and stand as only one of two unbeaten teams in the entire NBA.
Without Chris Paul, nobody gave the Clippers so much as a second thought. After all, Chris Paul was the guy that kept them on tp for so many years.
While it's true that CP3 was a big loss, Griffin is proving that he may have what it takes to forge a new legacy for the Clippers.
He is proving that Los Angeles doesn't need Chris Paul.
There's a reason why Griffin didn't go anywhere. He knew, before anyone else, that he was capable of more. He bought in, manned up, and embraced the challenge of leading a hungry franchise to places it had never been before.