Before last season’s February NBA trade deadline, the Detroit Pistons engaged in a blockbuster deal with the Los Angeles Clippers to acquire All-Star forward Blake Griffin. The Pistons traded for Griffin with the hope that he could help them become more competitive in the 2017-18 NBA season. Unfortunately, Griffin was unable to bring the Pistons back to the Eastern Conference Playoffs, making some people question Detroit’s decision to make a deal with the Clippers.
Criticisms aren’t new to Blake Griffin. In an interview with ESPN, Griffin admitted that he frequently heard people talking how bad he is as an NBA player. However, instead of being down, the 29-year-old power forward used it as an inspiration to continue improving his performance on both ends the floor. This summer, Griffin worked hard on developing his game and preparing his body for another tough season.
The fruit of his hard work showed up early in the 2018-19 NBA season. In their first three games in the 2018-19 NBA season, Blake Griffin is posting incredible statistics, averaging 36.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 5.7 assists on 53.3 percent shooting from the field and 61.1 percent from beyond the arc. In their 133-132 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, Griffin dropped a career-high 50 points, the most points scored by a Pistons player since Rip Hamilton scored 51 points on Dec. 27, 2006, against the New York Knicks.
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— NBA (@NBA) October 24, 2018
As of now, Pistons Head Coach Dwane Casey has nothing but praise to Blake Griffin. With the way he plays right now, Casey can’t help himself but compare Griffin to NBA greats like Dirk Nowitzki, Kevin Garnett, and Shawn Kemp.
“He’s playing at a high level right now,” Casey said. “Offensively and defensively, he’s out there talking and making decisions, communicating. He’s playing great. Of all the great players I’ve worked with, Dirk [Nowitzki], Kyle Lowry, Kevin Garnett, Shawn Kemp, all those guys, he’s playing at that high level right now. And he’s just one of those guys that is taking it to another level, leading his team, putting them on his back, being a leader in the timeout. But again, that’s what we expect from Blake because he is that good of a player.”
As of now, the Pistons are on a three-game winning streak and set to face the Cleveland Cavaliers at Little Caesars Arena. If Blake Griffin continues to establish an impressive performance on both ends of the floor and remains healthy throughout the season, it will not be a surprise if the Pistons end up being mentioned in conversations of NBA teams who could become the new ruler of the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference this season.