Blake Griffin is finishing off the season exactly as he started it – with a bang. And with the offseason around the corner and his Clippers unfortunately out of contention for a playoff spot, Clippers fans are no doubt eager over the potential of what next year will bring. We caught up with Blake to chat about prospects for next year, joining the Panini trading card team and getting picked on by the refs.
Dime: Congrats on joining the Panini team with Kobe, KD and John Wall. That’s elite company right there.
Blake Griffin: I’m really excited to be a part of that group, going to have a trading card out there and be a part of that game.
Dime: What’s it like to have your own Panini trading card?
BG: It’s cool. Y’know as a kid I collected a few cards, so to have my own card and see all the stuff they do with it now is real cool.
Dime: How have trading cards evolved from when you were a kid to cards that are coming out today? Is it true Panini is coming out with a video trading card?
BG: Yeah I just saw the Panini HRX today for the first time, it’s unbelievable. You basically open up the card and it’s basically a highlight reel of yourself. There’s going be an actual video of you signing that actual card on the card, so it’s real cool. It’s going to be sick.
Dime: Not often has a player on a lottery team succeeded in is essentially being the face of a regular season. How do you think you as a person has evolved from the beginning of the season when no one really knew what to expect from you to now standing amongst the best in the league as a rookie?
BG: For me I kind of didn’t know what to expect on the year. So for it to play out the way it did I’m excited about it, but at the same time we got to continue taking steps forward and get to the playoffs and all that. Right now we’re kind of building the foundation and it’s got to improve every year. So I’m excited about that and looking forward to the challenge.
Dime: It seems as though refs have a tough time officiating you because of the nature of your game and the way you attack the basket. How has this treatment affected you and the way you project yourself on the court?
BG: I’m kind of a physical player and I initiate a lot of contact, so I think that the more I play the more refs will understand my style of game and all that. I think it’s just about getting more experience and also not being a rookie helps.
Dime: How have you avoided hitting the dreaded rookie wall like so many of your counterparts?
BG: Making sure I get my rest, making sure I do all the right things and getting treatment and all that. Y’know it’s tough once you’re out of the playoff picture it’s kind of a different mindset; you have to constantly reevaluate and get it going again.
Dime: What so far is the highlight of your rookie season?
BG: Really to be honest being able to play all season. Being out there and being in the experience and just having fun. And also stuff like playing in the All-Star Game and all that was a lot of fun.
Dime: Looking forward to next year, what kind of goals do you think the Clippers should set for the future?
BG: Definitely the playoffs. That should be the goal for us every year and like I said we laid the foundation this year and we got to keep taking that next step forward and making sure that we’re headed in the right direction.
Dime: What’s missing that will help you guys in that playoff push next year?
BG: Majority of our guys will be back next year so trying to get in and get the experience is huge. But also they had a brand new coaching staff last year, so going into this season kind of knowing what to expect, knowing the players, knowing the coaching staff and all that will help get us on the right foot to start off the season.