If you did not know Blake Griffin was moved to the Detroit Pistons in a move which sent Avery Bradley,Tobias Harris,Boban Marjanovic, a first-round pick, and second-round pick to the Los Angeles Clippers. The Pistons will also receive Willie Reed and Brice Johnson in the deal, so what to make of the move? I honestly could not believe it, it was so sudden I had been streaming my phone since I know the trade deadline is approaching February 8 and it was quite slow as far as trade rumors went and then I saw an article about
serious talks of Blake Griffin being headed to Detroit. I thought Blake Griffin receiving that 5-year extension was a sign the Clippers were serious about building with Blake Griffin specially with the departure of former superstar Chris Paul who is now in Houston.
I have seen a lot of negative takes on the deal, a lot of people feel Blake Griffin on the Pistons is just the Pistons spinning tires and that the move made no sense. I’d like to be a bit more open-minded about the deal and positive in thinking Blake Griffin will bring star power to the Detroit Pistons. They have severely lacked an identity for years now and I see something very intriguing brewing with Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin. Anthony Davis and Demarcus Cousins seemed to be doing pretty good as a big man tandem something Dell Demps attempted to experiment with which might have to be revisited being that Demarcus Cousins is out for the rest of the season and will be a free agent this summer so Dell will have to decide whether Demarcus is worth re-signing because he might never come back the same player.
Blake Griffin is an exceptional passer for a big man and has developed a respectable perimeter game over the past 3 years since injuries have taken a toll on what used to surreal athleticism which instantly made him an All-Star within his first 2 years in the league. He is locked in for another 4 years while Drummond is locked in for another 3 so the Pistons will likely look to build a contender with Blake and Andre. I like the deal because Blake is an all-around power forward who can wreck havoc in the paint alongside Drummond and is very physical in the paint giving the Pistons an edge on the boards and 2 bigs who can serve as rim protectors.
The move to Detroit for Blake reminds me a lot of Chris Webber when he moved from Golden State to Sacramento. Blake Griffin in Los Angeles was constantly caught at nightclubs and never really seemed to take basketball all that serious, maybe that is why he had his run-ins with Chris Paul being that Chris is such a fierce competitor and the Clippers probably never reached this full potential due to Blake not buying in 100 percent on the basketball court mentally. Well Detroit is a lot different then Los Angeles, there are not as many bright lights,not as much media attention, and he won’t be under the same spotlight.
Chris Webber enjoyed the best years of his career on the Sacramento Kings where he became the franchise player on a Kings’s team which sat at the top of Western Conference for a couple years anchoring an elite offense with Vlade Divac,Mike Bibby,Peja Stojakovic, and Doug Christie. I remember watching that team as a kid and till this day I have yet to see as fluid an offense, they were coached by Rick Adelman and it was phenomenal basketball to watch. They ran the floor,ran plays through Divac and Webber in the post, hit cutters for baskets, and everyone in the starting 5 was a floor spacer.
Am I saying Blake Griffin on the Pistons will lead to the Pistons becoming an elite offense or better yet and elite team in the Eastern Conference? Not at all, the Pistons stand at the 9th spot in the Eastern Conference and have lost the last 8 games. From the looks of it the top 7 teams(Boston,Toronto,Cleveland,Miami,Milwaukee,Washington, and Indiana) if I had to put my money on it are not slipping off the playoff picture specially as we head into the second half of the season. The Philadelphia 76ers hold the 8th spot and lack of experience down the stretch and Joel Embiid being in and out of the lineup might cause them to lose grip of the 8th seed, but we will just have to wait and see. Expect rookie Luke Kennard to become the starting shooting guard, he has been quite impressive off the bench as a scorer and maybe the Pistons wanted to open up the opportunity for him to see if he will be their shooting guard going forward.
Maybe they will look to make another move or two before the trade deadline but since starting point guard Reggie Jackson won’t be back for at least another 2-3 weeks expect the starting lineup to be Ish Smith-Luke Kennard-Reggie Bullock-Blake Griffin-Andre Drummond. Is that good enough to out-due the Philadelphia 76ers for the 8th playoff spot? Maybe but Luke Kennard will have to show us he can indeed step up and live up to his draft stock the rest of the way. If Blake Griffin can stay healthy I think he is good enough to carry the Pistons to the playoffs with Andre Drummond and Stan Van Gundy at the helm, we’ve got to believe Stan has a plan for his two dynamic bigs and will look to utilize them in the most effective way possible. The New York Knicks and Charlotte Hornets are right on their heels and will look to make a second half push to get into the playoffs so every game from this point forward will count, it just reeks that they have to play Cleveland today and Blake won’t be active for the game.
To conclude I did not explain the Clippers side of the deal, ultimately Jerry West is working to rebuild the roster and probably just signed Blake Griffin to a long-term deal just because he thought he would hold more value since any team who traded for him would be sure to have his services for what should be the rest of his prime, smart move Jerry. Jerry rebuilt the Kobe and Shaq Lakers which won 3 titles in a row,he rebuilt the Grizzlies,Golden State Warriors, and now is looking to turn around the Clippers. The Clippers will have cap space and they obtained Detroit 1st round pick so Jerry has a lot to work with going into the off-season. For the Pistons I absolutely love the move, expect Blake Griffin to excel on the Pistons being that all he can really focus on now is basketball, not much going on in Detroit. Plus he can look to re-establish himself as one of the top players in the game in the Eastern Conference in a whole new role, we will have to wait and see what other moves the Pistons make but coming from someone who enjoyed the Rip Hamilton-Ben Wallace era which was a Eastern Conference power for years, this might be the beginning of a culture change in Detroit, all the best to Blake in his new home.