Every player in that fraternity will be watching Westbrook this season. Players marveled at the triple-double numbers Westbrook put up in Durant’s absence to close the ’14-15 season, but the spectacle rubbed some of them the wrong way. “He’s putting up insane numbers,” Clippers guard J.J. Redick told me on a podcast that spring, “but after we played them, it was like, ‘OK, a different MVP for me.’ It’s kind of crazy how many possessions he uses.” Everyone admires Westbrook’s snarling anger and balls-to-the-wall competitiveness. They want that fire in their teammates. They also want the ball.
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As people around the Clippers have hoped over the past three seasons, Griffin seems ready to take his game beyond the 3-point line. Now, it’s on him to take the shots when they present themselves. “I want to be someone who shoots from there confidently, for sure,” Griffin said after Thursday’s practice at UC Irvine’s Bren Events Center. “A lot of us power forwards, our strength is inside or our versatility. You look at the best power forwards, Anthony Davis, LaMarcus (Aldridge), Draymond (Green) … they can all shoot but they can all put the ball on the floor and they can all score inside. I don’t necessarily think falling in love with the 3-point shot is a good idea, but shooting it confidently from there is great.”