The person spoke Tuesday night on condition of anonymity because the formal announcement hadn’t been made. The Clippers announced a news conference at their training complex for the presentation of a major NBA award, and Rookie of the Year is the only award left.
Griffin’s victory is absolutely no surprise after his spectacular season. The No. 1 draft pick out of Oklahoma in 2009 easily led all rookies in scoring and rebounding after missing all of last year with a broken kneecap.
Griffin averaged 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists while playing in all 82 games and earning a reputation as one of the NBA’s most fearsome dunkers, with his alley-oop slams and one-handed jams making highlight reels nightly.
The 6-foot-10 power forward made the West All-Star team, becoming the first rookie All-Star in eight years, and even won the dunk contest in front of his Staples Center fans with an iconic dunk while flying over a car.
Griffin was named the Western Conference’s Rookie of the Month six times, becoming the first player to sweep that award since Chris Paul did it with New Orleans in 2005-06.
Griffin had 63 double-doubles while single-handedly energizing the Clippers, who still missed the playoffs for the 13th time in 14 seasons. Los Angeles went 32-50 in its 18th non-winning season in the past 19 years, but Griffin’s nightly acrobatics and toughness always made the Clippers interesting.
Griffin was the NBA’s fourth-leading rebounder and the 12th-leading scorer — the only rookie among the league’s top 45 scorers and top 20 rebounders.
Washington’s John Wall, the No. 1 pick last summer, was Griffin’s only significant competition for the award, but Griffin could win the award unanimously. Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans won the award last season.
Griffin will be the first Clippers player to win the award since the star-crossed franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1984. Terry Cummings won it with the San Diego Clippers after the 1982-83 season, while Adrian Dantley, Bob McAdoo and Ernie DiGregorio won the award during a five-year stretch with the Buffalo Braves, who moved to San Diego in 1978.