BY MATTHEW ROLISON
The Los Angeles Clippers traded superstar power forward Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons for shooting guard Avery Bradley, forward Tobias Harris, center Boban Marjanovic and future drafts picks in a surprising blockbuster deal.
Griffin was selected first overall in the 2009 NBA draft after winning consensus College National Player of the Year for the Oklahoma Sooners. Griffin went on to win Rookie of the Year and has improved every year since. He came in third place in MVP voting in the 2013-2014 season.
In 2011, Griffin earned his spot in the Dunk Contest, winning the competition after jumping over a Kia Sedan. He has always been known for his electrifying dunks, something the Pistons hope he brings with him to Detroit.
Griffin was once a part of a big three in Los Angeles, teaming up with superstar point guard Chris Paul and center DeAndre Jordan, creating “Lob City.” This offseason, the Clippers finally broke up the big three when they traded Paul to the Rockets following multiple rifts with Griffin.
This year, Griffin is averaging 22.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He missed out on the All-Star game this year, but he has been named to five All-Star teams during his seven-year tenure in the league.
Griffin, who spent the first seven years of his career as a Clipper and recently signed a five-year contract extension in the offseason, will now head east to help salvage the Pistons mediocre start to the regular season.
The Clippers are still shopping star center Jordan and shooting guard Lou Williams, as they are most likely heading into the deep, murky waters of a complete rebuild. Jordan is the last player left from the big three and it looks as if the Clippers are set on moving on completely following numerous playoff disappointments with the three together.
The fumbling Cleveland Cavaliers have surfaced in rumors regarding Jordan and they seem to be the top suitor for the big man.
For Detroit, giving up two starters in Bradley and Harris will hurt, but adding a superstar player like Griffin will ease the pain. Harris was a fringe All-Star this year, averaging a career-high 18.1 points up to the midway point of the season.
Detroit currently sits one game out of the eighth and final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Griffin has played two games for Detroit thus far, racking up encouraging stat lines in each.
In the first matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies, Griffin scored a game-high 24 points and secured a double-double with 10 rebounds, leadiwng Detroit to a narrow 104-102 victory. All-Star Center Andre Drummond scored 14 points and garnered 15 rebounds.
Griffin looked just as good, if not better in his second outing in a Piston uniform, scoring 16 points in the 111-107 win, including a late three pointer with less than a minute to go. Griffin came close to a triple-double, securing nine rebounds and seven assists. Drummond had a monster night, racking up 23 points, 20 rebounds, four steals and four blocks. Ishmael Smith, replacement point guard for injured Reggie Jackson, scored a season-high 25 points on the night.
In only two games, Drummond and Griffin seem to have formed a bond already. Griffin is used to playing with a star
Matthew Rolison can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org