Griffin's improvement key to Clips

The star forward needs to step up on defense, boards to spur any title run

Updated: November 4, 2013, 4:49 PM ET
By Bradford Doolittle | ESPN Insider

Blake GriffinNoah Graham/NBAE via Getty ImagesThe Clippers need more rebounds and better defensive play from the high-flying Blake Griffin.

There has been a debate in recent seasons about whether Clippers pitchman extraordinaire Blake Griffin has improved during his NBA career. In fact, Shaquille O'Neal and Charles Barkley were discussing this very topic during the Clippers-Warriors game Thursday. The debate lines up like this: Some, such as O'Neal, think Griffin hasn't evolved beyond being a dunk artist. Others believe Griffin has been much more than that all along.

You don't have to work very hard to demonstrate that Griffin is more than a guy who does nothing but hurl the ball through the rim a few times per game. However, while the nothing-but-dunk arguers are a little over the top, there is a point to be made here. As good as Griffin is, and as much as he does, he could be better. To take that statement one step further: The title hopes of the Los Angeles Clippers depend upon Griffin evolving his game to a higher level.