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Clippers' Blake Griffin says he'll be a leader

All-Star forward plans to speak up more, but not too much.

October 04, 2013|By Broderick Turner
  • Says Clippers power forward Blake Griffin of preparing to be a better team leader this season: "It's a thing I have to step into every year and take a step forward."
Says Clippers power forward Blake Griffin of preparing to be a better team… (H. Rumph Jr. / Associated…)

LA JOLLA -- Entering his fourth NBA season, Blake Griffin said it's time for him do more.

And for Griffin, that means taking more of a leadership role.

"I think the guys that play the bulk of our minutes need to be the leaders," Griffin said. "And CP [Chris Paul] and myself are going to play most of the minutes. Other guys are going to play a lot of minutes as well…. It's a thing I have to step into every year and take a step forward."

Griffin, an All-Star in his first three seasons, already is one of the Clippers' leaders, stats-wise.

He led the team in scoring (18.0) and rebounds (8.3) last season and was second in minutes played (32.5) and assists (3.7).

So in many ways, Griffin led by his play. He still plans on doing it that way more often than not, but Griffin said he'll speak up more.

"It's more the way you do it," Griffin said. "I'm not one of those guys that yells at guys, like, 'Hey, man, you've got to do this.' It's more about trying to help them out because it wasn't long ago I was in their position. I know what it's like to come into training camp and kind of be lost.…I just kind of want to give a helping hand."

On a team full of veterans, Griffin, 24, said he has to strike the right balance.

"I'm not really the type to come out and say a whole lot during practice," Griffin said. "I'll say things to younger guys, but I'm trying to learn my place with the older guys and know when to try to give knowledge and when to accept it."

Clippers get day off

After four days of practice that included two double-day sessions on the campus of UC San Diego, Coach Doc Rivers gave his team Saturday off, allowing the team to return to Los Angeles after Friday's early practice.

"They just need a break," Rivers said. "We've gone very hard."

Rivers said they'll practice again Sunday and leave for Portland that night before the Clippers play their first exhibition game against the Trail Blazers on Monday night.

Rivers said he did learn some things about his team: that "We can be very good," but also that his team needs a "sticktoitiveness."

"That's going to be a challenge for us," he said. "We have to be able to stick to us. We tend to get sidetracked, and that's where we have to improve as a group."

Rivers said he noticed his team complained about referees' calls during scrimmages, not executing, getting frustrated.

He was told that was a knock on the Clippers last season.

"You have to build team trust first," Rivers said. "When that trust comes, then it all falls into place."

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