What re-tooling could look like for the Detroit Pistons

Detroit Pistons Luke Kennard. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Luke Kennard. (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Detroit Pistons
Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Building around Griffin

Griffin’s health is paramount for Pistons success. He’s likely in Detroit for the next two seasons, under contract for next season and a player option for the 2021-22 season valued at $38.96 million.

Griffin willed the team to a playoff appearance a season ago on his way to earning an All-NBA selection. The 75 games played that season, not including two playoff games, were the most he’s played since his fourth in the league in 2013-14. Griffin has been hampered by injuries, including a meniscus tear that caused him to miss time last year.

The effects of that injury may have lingered into this season. The arthroscopic debridement procedure he had this month is used to remove damaged cartilage or bone by washing out any debris around the joint, according to Very Well Health. The nature of how this happened isn’t known but Griffin played the first two preseason games before missing the next three, and then the first 10 games of the regular season.

More. Doomsday: What if Griffin can't come back?. light

He tried to give it a go, playing 18 games, but ultimately couldn’t. After seeing a specialist in Los Angeles, Griffin went through with the injury.

His return to the basketball court is a ways away but the Pistons have a contention plan in place, but it includes Griffin. The 30-year-old forward will likely turn 31 before returning to the court but he will want to make amends for the worst season of his career.

In those 18 games, Griffin averaged career-lows in points (15.5), rebounds (4.7) and steals (0.4) per game. His shooting line was a woeful .352/.243/.776. He’s never had a season with this bad of a drop-off and cleaning out his knee could return him to full strength and give the Pistons one last two-year run at contending with him.

Griffin has averaged 21.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game for his career while shooting 49.8% from the floor and 33.3% from 3-point range. He’s transformed his game from the high-flying human highlight reel to a face-up forward that can play on the perimeter and is comfortable with the ball in his hands.

A return to his normal self is the first step to the Pistons re-tooling.