What iteration of Blake Griffin will the Detroit Pistons get next season?

Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Blake Griffin. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The face of the Detroit Pistons franchise saw his season cut short in 2019. How will he bounce back?

In his first full season with the Detroit Pistons in 2018, Blake Griffin was outstanding. He almost single-handedly brought the team into the playoffs, and was rewarded with Third Team All-NBA Honors as well as an All-Star appearance.

It goes without say that what he brought to the table that year for Detroit was nothing short of heroic. The evolution of his perimeter shot and ball handling helped the Pistons achieve a goal that they hadn’t seen as much in recent years.

Despite the fact that they were convincingly swept by the Milwaukee Bucks, Griffin’s performances weren’t forgotten by the fans.

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Heading into the 2019-2020 season, it was evident from the very beginning that something was off. During the preseason Griffin was noticeably favoring the knee that he had surgery on once the previous season ended.

He missed the opening ten games of the season and when he returned, nothing had changed. His elevation across the board was gone, his jump shot was flat, and he wasn’t able to stay with his opponent on defense.

His averages plummeted from the previous season in the small sample size of just 18 games that he appeared in.

Inefficiency and poor shot selection was plaguing his game. Although Griffin was still taking and making some quality looks at the rim, everywhere else on the floor was met with substantial struggles.

Perimeter dribble hand-offs were a regular part of the Pistons offensive sets last season, and without Griffin’s agility in full swing this season, they couldn’t utilize them and it showed.

Finally in December of 2019, he opted to undergo surgery that would end his season. For the second time in eight months, his knee just wasn’t all the way there.

It’s still up in the air as to when the 2020-2021 NBA season will begin. It could begin as it’s normally scheduled, or it could be pushed back to a mid-to-late December start.

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This means that Griffin will have somewhere between 10-12 months to rehabilitate and fully recover from his surgery. By that time, there’s a chance he could return to his usual form and take the Pistons back to the playoffs.

Even if he’s just a fraction of how good he was in 2018, Detroit could be in a good position.

The worrisome part is wondering if Griffin has finally started to hit a decline on his career, but that remains to be seen.

The Pistons don’t necessarily need him to be the player he was a few years ago. They just need him to be healthy. He’s become a coach on the floor with his high basketball IQ and as with a cast of young players around him, their development could spike.

He’s capable of being a floor general if he needs to be, and he’s able to be the main scoring option as well. It comes down to being able to read the situation and flip whichever switch the team needs at the time.

In all likelihood he could be utilized in a completely new way. Instead of being the primary scoring option, whoever the Pistons end up drafting this year could fill that role. It could also be Derrick Rose or maybe even Luke Kennard.

While Griffin could still be his outstanding play-making self, Detroit may opt to use him off the ball more in order to optimize the development of their youth.

Whatever iteration of him that they get next season, he’s going to benefit the team regardless.

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