The Los Angeles Lakers have loaded up on veterans this offseason. The hope is that bringing in a third superstar in Russell Westbrook is the road to getting LeBron James his fifth ring. However, someone from the team expected to duel with the Lakers for the NBA title next season issued a warning. But is Blake Griffin of the Brooklyn Nets the guy to be throwing stones from inside that glass house?
Before Griffin left Detroit and found his legs on the baggage carousel at LaGuardia Airport, he was part of a super team that fell short. One could surmise that makes him something of an expert on NBA roster plans gone haywire. On the positive side, revving up a potential Nets-Lakers rivalry could make for an entertaining sideshow next season. On the other hand, Griffin may need a refresher on how to read a room.
Blake Griffin was at the center of Lob City disappointment
After a deal to the Lakers short-circuited, Chris Paul made his way to the LA Clippers in 2011. What ensued was the best era in the somewhat awful history of the franchise. Between 2012–17, the Clippers made six straight trips to the playoffs. From 1970–2011, the franchise made seven.
But what was dubbed Lob City never entirely went as planned. In the six seasons Paul and Blake Griffin were the headliners for LA’s other team, the Clippers lost in the second round three times. The other three years, they were first-round losers.
Injuries and plain old bad luck doomed the Clippers. In Griffin’s last two seasons in LA, he missed six of the team’s 13 first-round playoff games. LA lost both series. Paul had some tough luck, as well. In series losses in 2015 and 2016, Paul sat out two games each year. Griffin and Paul were out simultaneously in their six-game loss to the Trail Blazers in 2016. That series proved a master course in turning a 2–0 series lead into four straight losses.
But Griffin was part of a super team ravaged by injuries at the worst time after leaving LA.
Blake Griffin may not want to talk too loudly about LeBron James’ situation
In his storied 18-year career, LeBron James’ teams are 10–1 in the conference finals and 4–6 in the NBA Finals.
Meanwhile, over Blake Griffin’s 11 NBA seasons, the conference finals and NBA Finals are nothing more than TV programming. In eight playoff appearances, Griffin has gone to the conference semifinals four times.
That includes when Brooklyn lost by the nail of Kevin Durant’s toey-toe-toe in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks. A team with Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden qualifies as stacked. But that didn’t stop Griffin from talking, per Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News.
“You look at it but at the end of the day, things on paper, it’s tough to say. I’ve been in situations where a team stacks up and it doesn’t work out.”Blake Griffin
James has four rings. Griffin might as well, but if he does, they came from Zales.
LeBron James and the Lakers aren’t the favorites for the 2022 title
Regarding Blake Griffin’s reference to a stacked Lakers team, the team on the left coast is not the favorite for the NBA title.
Per DraftKings, the Nets have the best odds to get the big, shiny gold trophy at plus-210. LeBron James and the “stacked” Lakers are next at plus-380. Then there is a sizable gap before you get to the following two teams.
The Golden State Warriors are at plus-850. Only then do you get to the Bucks at plus-900. Win a title and not even picked to get out of the conference finals? What’s a Greek Freak have to do to get a little respect around here?
The NBA has yet to release its 2021–22 schedule. But we know Brooklyn and LA will meet twice, once on each side of the country. Blake Griffin has given the talking heads something to talk about, but he’s still not the right guy to deliver that message. Win something first, like a second-round series.