Utah Jazz: Older Griffin works out for team

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 6 2015 2:59 a.m. MDT

Taylor Griffin, brother of potential No. 1 pick Blake, worked out for the Jazz. (Barton Glasser, Deseret News) Taylor Griffin, brother of potential No. 1 pick Blake, worked out for the Jazz. (Barton Glasser, Deseret News)

From wrestling, like those close in age are apt to often do, to ultracompetitive Nerf basketball games, Taylor Griffin spent his fair share of time pounding — as he put — on his younger bro'.

Blake Griffin also happens to be Taylor's bigger brother by about 3 inches and 10 pounds, which — along with a stronger skill set and more pure talent — is part of why one will be selected No. 1 overall in Thursday night's NBA Draft and the other seems destined for the second round.

It's a reality 23-year-old Taylor — who played four years at the University of Oklahoma, including two with Blake that he said "have been a blast" — seems to have come to grips with in the most refreshing of fashions.

"I happen to be the sibling of the ... college player of the year," Taylor said of 20-year-old Blake, who won no fewer than five such awards after his sophomore and final season with the Sooners.

"I can't be jealous of that," he added. "I mean, if it's anybody I'd rather it be someone in my family. That's how I look at it."

Taylor Griffin spoke after working out Saturday with the Jazz, who hold the 6-foot-8 (without shoes), 248-pound Blake in terrifically high regard — but seem to like Taylor, too.

Blake is fully expected to go first to the Los Angeles Clippers in a draft that is plentiful with point guard prospects but seemingly rather thin on promising bigs.

But Taylor, Jazz player personnel vice president Walt Perrin suggested, has some game as well.

"Blake — he's by far the No. 1 pick. I don't think anyone's even close to him as far as taking that spot from him," Perrin said. "I think he's the one guy in this draft that you can say has a good shot to be an all-pro in time.

"Taylor's a great kid, and he plays hard," the Jazz scout added. "And he's a physical guy. I think a lot of people overlooked him, because everybody was looking at Blake. I think in time — and I'm not sure if it's next year, but in time — he (Taylor) can play in the NBA."

It's with that in mind that Taylor understands the focus will be squarely on Blake on Thursday, when the whole Griffin family — the brothers' father, Tommy, coached the two at Oklahoma Christian School in Oklahoma City to four straight state championships with Blake on the roster — gathers in New York for the draft.

And if anyone asks him there about a brother he "couldn't be prouder" of, which seems inevitable, he'll happily answer.

"I'm used to it at this point," Taylor Griffin said. "You know, I've got every answer down pat — so, no worries there."

MORE TODAY: Eight pro prospects are scheduled to work out for the Jazz this morning, including University of Utah products Luke Nevill and Shaun Green.

Nevill is a second-round hopeful at 7-foot-2, but Green is not expected to be drafted.

The other six: Wake Forest forward James Johnson, UConn forward Jeff Adrien, Houston center Marcus Cousin, Baylor point guard Curtis Jerrells and Gonzaga teammates Jeremy Pargo and Josh Heytvelt.

Johnson is likely to be the only first-rounder among the bunch.

The Jazz — who also auditioned Pitt swingman Sam Young, Xavier forward Derrick Brown, Washington guard Justin Dentmon and Florida State guard Toney Douglas on Saturday — pick at No. 20 in the first round and No. 50 overall in the second round of Thursday's draft.

FAMILY TIES: Pargo is a younger brother of free-agent point guard Jannero Pargo, who despite going undrafted has played in the NBA for the Los Angeles Lakers, Toronto, Chicago and New Orleans, and who toiled most recently in Russia and Greece.

E-mail: tbuckley@desnews.com

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