The question posed to Blake Griffin was direct.

How does he rate himself as a defender?

"I don't think I'm as bad of a defender as some people try to peg me as," Griffin said.

But?

"But I know I have a lot of work to do," Griffin acknowledged. "The effort is there. I think our coaching staff knows the effort is there. I've got a lot of room to improve, like I've said."

The Clippers' All-Star power forward paused.

"But at the same time, I don't think I'm as bad as people say," Griffin said. "People try to say I play zero defense, which I personally think is not true. For me, a lot times I'm the hardest critic on myself."

No, not zero defense.