NBA players don't just meet each other in the league -- for most of them, they've played against each other at high school tournaments, AAU ball, and in college basketball. That's why many players are friends, even though some fans often want them to hate each other for the good of competition, or something. Regardless, players become well-acquainted with each other's games over this time, because they see each other grow and change over time. It's all very sweet, if you pause to think about it.
Anyway, what the heck does any of this have to do with Blake Griffin(notes), current boy king of the NBA? Over the course of many years, he's battled against Minnesota's Michael Beasley(notes), whether in AAU tournaments or the Big 12 (for one season). So it stands to reason that he's had more experience playing against the man than most in the league.
Not surprisingly, he has a great plan for defending Griffin during Wednesday night's matchup between the Wolves and Clippers. It's also quite simple. From Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune:
"Don't get dunked on," he said.
Good luck with that.
"You can't rate a guy like that," Beasley said when asked to rank Griffin among the NBA's best dunkers. "He's off the charts."
Wow, thanks, Mike. Something tells me that game plans like this one are why the Wolves are 10-32 and one of the worst teams in the league. At least they don't embarrass themselves doing it, though.
On the other hand, maybe there's some truth in what Beasley says here. Griffin has a well-developed offensive game that goes far beyond dunks, so defenders should try their best to force him into tougher shots away from the rim. Plus, when a player isn't getting dunked on, he's probably worrying about other Clippers, right? Maybe Beasley's just explaining that you have to assume Griffin will score his points and have to limit Eric Gordon's(notes) contributions instead.
Whatever the case, at least Beasley won't end up on the wrong end of any highlights Wednesday night. As he knows well from his time in Miami, a man's reputation is a fragile thing.