Pistons coach Dwane Casey got Blake Griffin ideas from George Karl
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Pistons coach Dwane Casey got Blake Griffin ideas from George Karl

Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey has put an emphasis at making Blake Griffin the core facilitator in his offensive system, something he showcased during his long tenure with the L.A. Clippers, but didn’t exploit as his main asset until his move to The Motor City. Casey surprisingly got the idea from former coach and mentor George Karl, his old boss with the now defunct Seattle SuperSonics.

“George really saw it,” Casey said, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. “He said Blake should be the best power forward facilitator in the NBA.”

Much like Brett Brown uses Ben Simmons and Philadelphia and Steve Kerr uses Draymond Green in Golden State, the point-forward position was one born to reap the most out of his star’s talent.

“I want him to be a point-forward,” said Casey, who was an assistant coach under Karl in Seattle for four seasons. “Blake’s decision-making, his vision, his basketball I.Q. — he sees things before they happen. That’s usually only with point guards.”

Blake Griffin is only averaging 4.3 assists to go with his 27.3 points and 10.6 rebounds per game on the young season, but his ability to set teammates up has given this Detroit offense a smoother flow and a new sense of purpose, taking some of the playmaking tasks away from the backcourt and allowing Griffin’s decision-making to handle part of it.

“A great thing about Blake is that he’s not your prototypical power forward,” Casey said. “He’s probably the closest thing to LeBron in size, versatility, going out on the floor and handling the ball.”

The Pistons started the season with a rousing 4-0 record, but have lost three straight since — the most recent being a heartbreaking 120-119 defeat to the Brooklyn Nets in overtime. Detroit will finish its road trip against the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, so Dwane Casey will get a look at one of the league’s best point-forwards firsthand.