Have Ball, Will Travel: Blake Griffin

‘Have Ball, Will Travel’ is a recurring video feature here at Hardwood Paroxysm, in which we take a closer look at debatable traveling calls and non-calls with documented rule in mind.

In this installment, we’ll look at one gem from Blake Griffin’s gaudy Saturday night highlight reel. On this particular play, Griffin mutilates Danilo Gallinari in transition by way of a beautiful spin move.

Beautiful though it may be, Griffin’s move is a debatable travel on one level, and a subtle — but certain — travel on another.

It’s clear that after his collect, Griffin proceeds to take three steps, a violation of the traveling rule‘s most basic tenet. According to the incredibly vague rhetoric in the rulebook, players on the move are not entitled to a pivot upon the completion of their two steps following the end of their dribble, which makes Griffin’s third and final plant before elevation an illegal step.

(Plus, if you’re the type to argue to for the pivot’s legality in this case, take a careful look at the final angle in the video. Griffin doesn’t jump off of both feet at once; he actually uses that plant as a full third step.)

In this instance, Griffin takes three steps after his collect, which should have been easily whistled for a violation. Whoops.

Additionally, Griffin commits the same error that Andray Blatche committed earlier this month: he takes two consecutive steps by hopping on the same foot. According to the NBA’s Video Rulebook, “an offensive player with the ball may not hop consecutively on the same foot upon ending his dribble.”  By not keeping his foot planted during the spin, Griffin sets himself up for a travel, which he commits when he re-plants his left foot to explode toward the basket.

Griffin can still have this sequence for his YouTube résumé, but only because he managed to blind the officiating crew with a fluid spin and a massive finish.

Hat tip to Zarren Kuzma for recommending this play.

Seth Carstens