LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin hasn't been a Los Angeles Clipper for 24 hours, and the No. 1 pick of the NBA draft already has committed his first rookie mistake.
I mean, when the guy they're likely going to be building a marketing campaign around shows up on draft night wearing a purple shirt ... well, let's just say someone quickly pointed out to Griffin that wearing the color associated with the Lakers was a pretty glaring faux pas.
"It was accidental," he said Thursday night. "I didn't even think about it until right before the draft. Somebody brought it up to me and said the next time I wear purple it'll be a $5,000 fine. I'll make sure not to make that mistake again."
If that's the worst that happens, his new team will be in good shape.
Of course, the Clippers having been the Clippers all these years, Griffin will arrive in Los Angeles to the expectation that no matter how good he is, no matter how much he's capable of contributing, his trek will be perpetually uphill.
He already has a stock answer.
"I'm not worried at all," he responded to a question about his new team's history and reputation. "The past is exactly what you said, the past. No one can do anything to change it. I certainly can't. I'm just looking forward to the future."
What can Griffin realistically contribute right away, aside from boosting sales of replica jerseys?
It may depend on which big men are still around when training camp starts. As of now, the Clippers have veterans Zach Randolph, Marcus Camby and Chris Kaman, and the likelihood is that one will be moved for perimeter help.
"We're patient," Coach/GM Mike Dunleavy said. "If something comes up that's a good opportunity for us, we'll look to take it."
Dunleavy sees Griffin as a natural power forward, at 6-10 and 251 pounds, who potentially can play center when opponents go small and has the athleticism to eventually spend time at small forward, too.
"A guy who rebounds at the level he rebounds (14.4 a game last season), that always translates very well to the NBA," Dunleavy said. "He's an incredible athlete with great ability and skill level, and at 20 he's going to get better."
Griffin's character and work ethic shouldn't be in question when you consider the grueling off-season conditioning workouts he has endured the past two years with trainer Frank Matrisciano. They include running up stairs and over sand dunes, wearing a weighted vest and carrying 60-pound sandbags.
Put it this way: Matrisciano reportedly has Navy SEAL special ops guys in his training program. Whatever the Clippers' strength and conditioning staff throws at Griffin, figure he's already been through worse.
Griffin, Eric Gordon and Al Thornton are the bounty from the Clippers' past three drafts, and they could be the heart of a nucleus similar to the one that grew together earlier this decade, the Elton Brand/Corey Maggette group that eventually got this franchise within one game of the Western Conference finals in 2006 before the whole thing blew up.
"You can't pass up an opportunity to keep building a foundation," assistant general manager Neil Olshey said. "That's what adding this piece is. Think of it. We've got a point guard (Mike Taylor), a 'two' (Gordon), a 'three' (Thornton), a 'four' (Griffin) and a 'five' (DeAndre Jordan), all under 24 and all on rookie scale contracts."
Of course, Olshey also said he thinks the Clippers "can win now." Believe him at your own risk.