I was perusing through my Facebook feed today when I saw a bleacher report post saying “discussions have been held between Pistons and Clippers regarding a Blake Griffin trade.” I kinda laughed at it, thinking it was another one of those “discussions” that leads nowhere but text Carl, an avid Pistons fan, and started to speculate potential deals. Literally two minutes after I text him, Twitter is blowing up from another Woj Bomb that a deal is done, and it was a blockbuster. So here are my quick thoughts regarding today’s deal.
Detroit Pistons get: Blake Griffin (PF), Willie Reed (PF/C), Brice Johnson (PF)
LA Clippers get: Tobias Harris (F), Avery Bradley (SG), Boban Marjanovic (C), 2018 1st round pick, 2nd round pick
The Pistons got the best player in the deal, no doubt about it. Blake Griffin, when healthy, is one of the NBA’s premier power forwards. Unfortunately, Griffin is rarely healthy these days. I mean, we aren’t talking Charles Barkley’s diet levels of unhealthy, but Blake misses a lot of games. He’s already missed about 16 games this season, missed 21 last season and actually hasn’t played in 82 games since his rookie year.
One thing that Blake is going to help with is ticket sales. Detroit second to last in the league this season when it comes to average capacity filled for home games, only ahead of the woeful Hawks. The Pistons fill, on average, 83% of Little Caesars Arena so getting someone like Blake Griffin can only help that, which will benefit not only the Pistons but the city of Detroit as a whole.
The Pistons have also struggled with spreading the floor and this is only going to make those issues worse. Blake is shooting 34% from 3 this season, a career high and a respectable total. Plus Luke Kennard should end up starting and that’ll help a bit as he is shooting 43% from deep this season. But they’re trading away Avery Bradley (38%) and Tobias Harris (40%) plus inserting Kennard into the starting lineup means one less person from the bench who can make threes. Granted, Kennard’s percentage could go up if defenses have to focus on Blake a bit more with him handling the ball a lot.
Not much to say on Brice Johnson but I like Willie Reed as a backup big, but he’s no Boban…
Final Verdict: Ehhh
The Clippers did a really good job of getting a maximum return on their oft-injured superstar. I genuinely don’t think they would’ve gotten a better offer elsewhere, plus this allows them to start rebuilding considering Blake was the biggest piece to move. Time to commit to it now!
Tobias Harris is having a career year, currently averaging career highs in points and 3P%. Moving to the Clippers allows him to ball out for the rest of the year, be the focal point of the Clips terrible team (once they move Lou Will and DJ) and then the Clips can move him at the end of the season so they can fully rebuild even more.
Avery Bradley is reunited with Doc but, if the Clips are smart, he won’t be around long. Word is, there are a lot of contenders who would happily give up a 1st round pick and a young player for a rental of Bradley, something the Clips would be stupid to pass up on. Bradley can still be traded but can’t be packaged with anyone else (think Rasheed Wallace’s one game stint in Atlanta before heading to Detroit.)
I love Boban. There, I said it. Boban might also be the best backup center the Clips have had in a long time. It sounds absurd but you name me someone better…I’ll wait….the thought of Boban getting a chance to start if the Clips move DJ has me salivating but, knowing Doc, he will just start Austin Rivers at center instead.
The 1st round pick is only top 4 protected until 2020 and then unprotected in 2021. This is a big deal because, if Blake doesn’t get the Pistons where they need to go, the Clips might’ve just gotten themselves another lottery pick in a deep draft. If they play their cards right with DJ, Lou Will and Bradley, they could end up with 3 or 4 lottery picks.
Final Verdict: A really nice trade for the Clips which allows them to finally rebuild, although, they still need to rid the Staples Center of the “Rivers stench” by finally firing Doc, the most overrated coach in NBA history, and trading his terrible son.