Do you realize how unfortunate it is that Blake Griffin ended up on the Detroit Pistons?
The founder and CEO of Lob City, one of the most athletic and exciting players to ever grace the basketball court, and he gets thrust into the depths of basketball hell in Detroit.
Blake was traded to the Pistons last January in a trade that sent Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, and a draft pick to the Clippers.
All of this just months after the Clippers did everything in their power to get Blake to re-sign. They put his jersey in the rafters. They put him on a T-shirt alongside Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi. And then sent him to Detroit.
Clippers owner Steve Balmer was trying to give Blake Griffin a handshake … Blake wanted no part. pic.twitter.com/wgDHx3Hyvr
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 12, 2019
Since the 2009-10 season, the Pistons have made the playoffs one time. Once. They got swept by LeBron’s Cavs.
They haven’t won a playoff game since Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, and Rasheed Wallace were on the team.
Here we are again in 2019. LeBron is no longer in the Eastern Conference, making it prime time for those fringe playoff teams to take that next step and make some noise in the first time in awhile the conference has been wide open.
They’re in ninth. This is probably because their three highest paid players are Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, who, uhhh, rebounds, and even more egregiously, Reggie Jackson.
Jackson is averaging 14 points and 4 assists in 28 minutes for the Pistons while shooting below 40% from the field and 34% from the arc. He’s making $17 million a year, by the way.
Do you know how hard it is to average four assists with Blake Griffin on your team?
There is no video on the internet that does a better job capturing what life is like for Blake in Detroit.
From the constant highlight-reel scoring plays from all areas of the court to the lowlight reel of turnovers from his teammates, and capped off with Jackson throwing an errant pass to Reggie Bullock to seal the victory for the Jazz. It’s so perfect, yet so painful.
But enough about the Pistons and Reggie Jackson and everyone else in that organization, we need to talk about Blake.
Blake Griffin is averaging 26 points, 8 boards, and 5 assists on 48/36/76 shooting, numbers that would have him in the MVP conversation if the Pistons were any good.
His 26 points this season are the highest he’s ever averaged in his ten years in the league.
His rebounds have taken a bit of a backseat since the beginning of his career, which makes sense seeing as he’s lined up alongside Andre Drummond, who’s averaging a league-leading 15 a game.
Since transitioning into a volume three-point shooter last season, his field goal percentage has jumped from 43% to 48%, his perimeter shooting has improved slightly from 34% to 36%, and his eFG% has jumped from 48% to 54%.
The numbers are great, but the complete change of play style is the most remarkable thing about Griffin.
In eight years with the Clippers, Blake attempted under one three-pointer a game and shot just 31%.
Heading into the 2017-18 season, Blake spent the entire offseason working on his shooting, and out of nowhere became a 34% shooter on almost six attempts a game and still improving.
(Ben Simmons if you’re reading this…)
Those who haven’t focused on Blake Griffin just assume he’s the high-flying athletic freak who made a name for himself by catching lobs and jumping over cars, but he’s so much more than that.
He’s a league average three-point shooter who can jump out of the gym, and maybe his most impressive skill is his ball-handling ability at 6’10 that is only topped by Ben Simmons.
Look at the composure Blake shows while quarterbacking the transition game in these plays.
He’s patient and calm, doesn’t try to do too much, and draws so much attention to open up lanes for his teammates. Watching big men dribble is often akin to seeing a child learn how to walk, but not Blake.
We’ve also seen him take it himself so many times and every time it makes you wonder how we never see his name alongside the league’s superstars.
Seriously search “Blake Griffin coast to coast” on YouTube – it’s never-ending and amazing.
Take a look at this play from Friday’s game against the Miami Heat.
Anyone who only watched young Blake Griffin thinks this video is from NBA 2K.
An incredible play that, had it not been for /r/NBA, many people, including myself, wouldn’t have seen.
This didn’t even show up on my Twitter timeline that night despite being one of the dopest individual plays of the year and really showcases the growth Blake has made throughout his career.
Imagine if Blake was on the Lakers or Celtics and did this? We’d be begging them to stop showing it. Instead, we need to beg them to show it.
Blake Griffin is a league treasure. He deserves to be shown off and bragged about. If he wasn’t trapped in purgatory, we’d be wondering if he deserves a spot in the top-10 list and discussing his MVP legitimacy.
Rather, we see almost nothing because Steve Ballmer banished him to Detroit after promising him the world.