Blake Griffin's Defense Limited by T-Rex Arms

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 6 years ago '07        #1
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joshdogg26 194 heat pts194
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Blake Griffin's Defense Limited by T-Rex Arms
 

 
interesting read i came across. i had noticed that about his build but hadn't put much thought into it.

Blake Griffin can’t reach his defensive potential


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By Ethan Sherwood Strauss, on January 17th, 2012


Is it okay to impose a limit on a player with seemingly limitless potential? People don’t react well to negative predictions, it seems on the verge of wishing ill. For the sake of honesty, I’m imposing one: Blake Griffin will never be a great defender. Perhaps good, perhaps passable, but more likely the latter than the former. I would even say “bad” has better odds than “good.” While we’re quick to dream upon Blake Griffin’s physical prowess, few speak to his one physical limitation. You see, the issue is that Griffin has stubby arms–for a power forward. While his 8′ 9″ standing reach is massive for a regular human, it is quite measly for his position.

Below, I’ve listed all the starting power forwards who’ve had their standing reaches recorded (I’ve added wingspans after the comma). The numbers probably shade even shorter than they should. Many of the larger, older PFs–guys who still play well in part due to their length–are from an era where reaches and wingspans were never measured. KG, Pau, and Dirk are drawn Stretch Armlongs whom we’ll never know the true measure of.

Reaches and Wing Spans of Starting PFs

Channing Frye: 9′ 2.5″, 7′ 2.5″

Chris Kaman: 9′ 2.5″, 6′ 11.75″

LaMarcus Aldridge: 9′ 2″, 7′ 4.75″

Elton Brand: 9′ 2″, 7′ 5.5″

Andrea Bargnani: 9′ 2″

Nene Hilario: 9′ 1″, 7′ 4.5″

Chris Bosh: 9′ 1″, 7′ 3.5″

Ersan Ilyasova: 9′ 1.5″, 7′ 1.25″

Carlos Boozer: 9′ 0.5, 7′ 2.25″

Amare Stoudemire: 9′ 0.5″, 7′ 1.75″

Josh Smith: 8′ 10.5″, 7′ 0″

David Lee 8′ 10.5″, 7′ 0″

Kris Humpries: 8′ 10.5″, 7′ 0.5″

Tyler Hansbourough: 8′ 10″, 6′ 11.5″

Trevor Booker: 8′ 10″, 6′ 9.75″

Kevin Love: 8′ 10″, 6′ 11.25″

Paul Millsap: 8′ 9.5″, 7′ 1.5″

Blake Griffin: 8′ 9″, 6′ 11.25″

Blake Griffin is dead last among standing reaches. He only bests Trevor Booker in wingspan, and Booker is really Andray Blatche’s backup. Shooting guard Dwyane Wade has a longer span than both. It is difficult to contest LaMarcus Aldridge’s shot with normal human features. This might explain why Blake averaged less than half a block per game in his rookie year.

This seems sadly objectifying, to make a man’s arm his glass ceiling. It’s also logical. A raised limb contests a shot. An outstretched one turns a passing lane into traffic going the other direction. Arms are important, arms and feet. A stout dude like Chuck Hayes can compensate for length-lack by laterally shuffling at a sprinter’s pace. Blake Griffin does not have this skill. I’m not sure if anyone but Chuck Hayes has this skill.

When Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard entered the draft, they shared similar physical attributes. Griffin was a half-inch shorter, eight pounds heavier. They jumped the same height on the “max” vertical leap, with Griffin besting Howard in the “no step” vertical by an inch and a half.

Those freaky mantis arms, though. Howard crests out at an incredible 9′ 3.5″ standing reach, 6.5 inches above his otherwise physical doppelganger. Dwight’s wingspan is more than five inches wider than Blake’s. This vast difference in limb length does much to determine why Howard is a center, and the best defender in all of hoops. Those shot-erasing arms stretch so far, far enough to reach into the opposing coach’s lockeroom, wiping those pretty plays from that colorful whiteboard. Blake’s arms are just long enough to pat himself on the back for incredible dunks that appear all the cooler because he flew farther to the target than Dwight would have to.

For some odd reason, reach is the purview of draftniks, but rarely spoken of outside the draft. I believe that we subconsciously internalize length as size or height. Often I hear that Stephen Curry and Monta Ellis are small guards, while PGs like Deron Williams and Derrick Rose are bigger. Curry and Ellis are taller than Williams and Rose, but Deron and Derrick have oak branches for limbs. At some level, the viewer takes note, makes a composite out of all the attributes. I think this is one reason why readers refused to believe my a.ssertion that Dwight Howard is 6-9. The reach makes him seem so much larger.

I hate to be the bearer of Blake Griffin negativity, but it is only because I respect reach as meaningful, predictive. If we are to speak to his promise while citing his physique, why not make pessimistic extrapolations as well? Blake is great, he’s thrilling and charismatic. Just don’t expect him to be a defensive force. It’s likely out of arm’s length.



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 Blake Griffin can’t reach his defensive potential « HoopSpeak.com

36 comments for "Blake Griffin's Defense Limited by T-Rex Arms"

 6 years ago '07        #2
joshdogg26 194 heat pts194 OP
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mods please fix "Limited" in title
 6 years ago '09        #3
WezLFaCe_KiD 59 heat pts59
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:lachen001:that pic
 6 years ago '06        #4
Special Edd 172 heat pts172
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as big as he is. thats crazy LMAO ,
 6 years ago '09        #5
Axl Rose 21 heat pts21
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 legendisdope said:
its them okc genes. there is a lil bit of pig/cow/horse in there
you hate everything and everybody that has to do with okc
 6 years ago '07        #6
kakish 9 heat pts
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lol he's still doing incredibly well despite his short wingspan.
 6 years ago '10        #7
Agentzer0oo0 215 heat pts215
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Good read, he's def. a defensive liability.
 6 years ago '09        #8
thegoldenhero 3 heat pts
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yea this is true he will never be a elite defensive player imo...maybe just average
 01-19-2012, 11:23 PM         #9
Kuchiki_Byakuya 
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D12 is 6'9"?

What are these NBA players' true heights?
 6 years ago '09        #10
thegoldenhero 3 heat pts
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 Kuchiki_Byakuya said:
D12 is 6'9"?

What are these NBA players' true heights?
Dwight's standing reach is 9′ 2.5″, wingspan 7′ 4.5″
 6 years ago '07        #11
JohnDoe 216 heat pts216
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thats what happens when you get cousins fu*king. Oklahoma ol' sounded the name of the state out without doing any spell check backward a.ss folks.
 6 years ago '08        #12
Illuminati 248 heat pts248
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A stout dude like Chuck Hayes can compensate for length-lack by laterally shuffling at a sprinter’s pace. Blake Griffin does not have this skill. I’m not sure if anyone but Chuck Hayes has this skill.
 6 years ago '07        #13
r.burgundy 16 heat pts16
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yeah i been said that lol.he got them kevin willis arms
 6 years ago '04        #14
Counterfeit215 9 heat pts
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Pretty interesting actually
 6 years ago '11        #15
Chad09 160 heat pts160
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T-Rex Flopping a.ss.
 6 years ago '10        #16
WhoNextWithPlex 40 heat pts40
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so his standing reach averages 3-5 inches shorter than other starting pf's but doesnt his outstanding vertical sort of make up for that?
 01-20-2012, 04:57 AM         #17
Slickems 
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 WhoNextWithPlex said:
so his standing reach averages 3-5 inches shorter than other starting pf's but doesnt his outstanding vertical sort of make up for that?
Apparently not, since he can't block
 6 years ago '10        #18
WhoNextWithPlex 40 heat pts40
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 wassermusik said:
This...

If no one's jumping in the air, then sure, height and wingspan are all that would matter... That's not the case with someone who jumps over cars (and no I didn't find it impressive, either).
im just saying when was the last time you saw somebody block a shot standing still?
 6 years ago '04        #19
Calamity 8 heat pts
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everybody aint the prototype ballplayer man look at kevin durant "if he was bigger" some n*ggaz got small hands.. they cant palm a ball oooooooh some n*ggaz aint got no hops oh my god.... you use what you got...
 6 years ago '04        #20
Fameus 6 heat pts
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I always heard your height was your wingspan from wrist to wrist guess that was a myth .
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