No, Blake Griffin isn’t grounded. He’s still one of the NBA‘s most dynamic dunkers.
But it sounds as if “Lob City,” the nickname for Griffin and his high-flying teammates with the Los Angeles Clippers, is out.
“Lob City doesn’t exist anymore. Lob City is done,” Griffin told ESPN’s Shelley Smith in an interview this week. “We’re moving on and we’re going to find our identity during training camp, and that will be our new city. No more Lob City.”
Griffin stressed that new coach Doc Rivers has been instilling a defensive-minded culture and said his offensive game will change noticeably this season. The up-tempo, exciting style of play the Clippers have become known for since point guard Chris Paul joined Griffin and fellow high-flyer DeAndre Jordan in 2011 has already been de-emphasized.
“Our offense is going to have a totally different look this year,” said Griffin, who added that he did a lot of work in the offseason on his face-up game from 10 to 15 feet. “Our offense is going to have a lot of movement and floor spacing. I’m looking forward to it.”
Rivers noted that Lob City won’t be completely gone.
“We want to be a basketball team,” he said. “We want to win. That’s one thing we always talk about. I’ve told them that lobs are great, but winning is better. Let’s try to get them both, but I understand what he’s saying. I think the message there is people look at us as a showtime team and not a winning team, and we want to be a winning team, but you can do both.
“I don’t think anybody is setting up a play to get a lob. Lobs happen. We have two guys that you could throw the ball anywhere. We would be crazy if we took that out of our offense. I want more [lobs] if we can get them. That’s two points. It’s very difficult to foul D.J. [Jordan] when he’s up there for a lob pass. Half the league won’t try it, and the guys who have tried it have learned that they shouldn’t try it. We’re going to get as many as we can. We want [longtime Clippers announcer] Ralph [Lawler] saying, ‘Oh me, oh my!'”
Of course, not everyone will feel the same way about the perceived end of Lob City. Griffin, the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk champion, said he gets that.
“People will still wear T-shirts,” Griffin said. “I can’t really go to people’s houses and take their T-shirts and cut them up. But we [will] have a new identity as a team, and that’s going to be what we work out during training camp.
“We’ll take about two or three weeks and really come up with something good.”
The Clippers are holding the first week of their training camp at UC San Diego.
Information from ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Arash Markazi was used in this report.
This article was originally posted on ESPN.com