There were plenty of spectacular individual performances during the 2018-19 NBA season. From Giannis’ MVP campaign to Harden’s scoring barrage and Kawhi’s playoff dominance, star players around the league showed their capacity for greatness. Lost in the shuffle was Detroit Pistons star Blake Griffin, who was getting busy in Motown.
Griffin posted a career-high 24.5 points per game while also averaging 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He totally reinvented his game, becoming even more dangerous as a playmaker in transition while shooting the three-ball at a 36 percent clip on over seven attempts per game.
The former No. 1 overall pick led the Pistons to the playoffs, though he would miss the first two games before an eventual first-round sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Griffin was able to navigate a hoard of trade rumors this summer, but he has dealt with a hamstring issue that has kept him sidelined for the first nine games of the season. However, he is on the verge of returning, as the team announced that he would resume basketball activities.
What can we expect from Griffin once he finally suits up for Detroit?
The Pistons entered the season as a fringe playoff team in the Eastern Conference, but given the number of early injuries that they have dealt with, a 4-5 record feels like a win. One of the major reasons for their steady play has been the performance of Andre Drummond.
Drummond has always been regarded as one of the better rebounders in the game, but he is feasting in the post. The 26-year-old is averaging 21.9 points per contest on 58 percent shooting from the floor to go along with 18.6 boards per night. Not to mention, he has been an elite rim protector.
Griffin’s return might take some of the offense away from Drummond… or it could open up the floor for Drummond to really control the interior. Indeed, the duo posted a net rating of 5.4 when they shared the court last season, and now they already have a full year of chemistry under their belt.
Given the success of Derrick Rose in the pick-and-roll in an offense suddenly infused with shooters, the Pistons have dangerous inside-out potential when they add a reputable scorer like Griffin.
Can he stay healthy?
This is always the key question with Griffin. He played in 75 games last season, the most in any single season since the 2013-14 campaign.
Most indications suggest that the Pistons held him out of the first couple weeks as a precaution, and that he was merely receiving treatments to strengthen his leg as he sat out.
Should Griffin indeed prove to be healthy, the Pistons should certainly make another playoff push. Luke Kennard, Tony Snell and Langston Galloway are all proving to be snipers from the perimeter early on, which is a perfect complement to a roster built around Drummond and Griffin.
The most important key for Griffin will be to get comfortable. He does not need to have such a high usage rate with other guys producing.