Blake Griffin shines in his Detroit Pistons debut
Blake Griffin was spectacular in his Detroit Pistons debut on Thursday night.. To be honest, it’s only been one game and he already looks like the best player on their roster.
Griffin started in his usual power forward position and immediately made his presence felt with the Pistons’ first basket of the game. He finished with 24 points, 10 boards, 5 assists and a pair of blocks. While his first game with his new team was no cakewalk, the Pistons managed to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 104-102.
The Pistons and Griffin have had little time to get on the same page since the trade that sent him to Detroit earlier this week. Despite limited practice time with his new teammates, Griffin fit in seamlessly and the Pistons looked like a better team than they were before they executed the blockbuster swap.
Beating the Memphis Grizzlies was no great feat considering they played without Tyreke Evans and Mike Conley, two of their three best players. However, starting out with a victory in the new Griffin and Andre Drummond Pistons era was a solid way to start off on the right foot.
Although fans, experts and executives around the NBA expressed their doubts about Griffin’s ability to make Detroit better, Pistons fans were more than happy to welcome Blake with a huge round of applause. Detroit has had terrible attendance struggles the past few years, but with a new superstar in town, they should expect their beautiful new stadium to fill some more seats.
Griffin never looked tentative and attacked the rim with reckless abandon all night. He drew fouls and made his presence felt from deep as knocked down his newfound three point jumper. While he isn’t the athlete he once was when he fist graced the league, his game has evolved and he’s as dangerous a scoring threat as ever.
Blake also gave fans something to cheer for when he broke out a sweet alley-oop pass to Drummond that was particularly reminiscent of his Lob City days with DeAndre Jordan at center. Drummond lacks some of the explosiveness that Jordan provided in Los Angeles, but the duo has all the potential in the world to be a more potent attack.
Both Griffin and Drummond are excellent passers for men of their size and they should bring a passing threat out of the post that the NBA hasn’t seen since Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol shared the floor for the Los Angeles Lakers in the mid 2000’s. Of course, those big men helped bring championships to LA, but if surrounded with the proper pieces, it’s not unfathomable that Griffin and Drummond could do the same in Motown.
Blake Griffin was the second player in Pistons history with at least 20 points, 10 rebounds and five assists in their Detroit debut. While Grant Hill did so in his rookie season back in 1994, he never achieved much team success with the Pistons.
Hill never managed to escape the first round of the NBA playoffs, but Griffin has a decent roster around him. Barring a matchup with the Boston Celtics or Toronto Raptors, the Pistons should have every opportunity to advance past round one for the first time in a decade.