As I sit here writing this, watching Blake Griffin look like the savior Detroit needs him to be, a couple things stick out.
The first thing is that Blake already looks like he’s comfortable playing next to Andre Drummond. This should come as no surprise as it’s been widely noted that Drummond is essentially a younger, more skilled version of Blake’s long-time runnin’ buddy Deandre Jordan. Blake’s thrown some beautiful passes to Drummond, much like he used to to Jordan. The big difference is Blake will now be the beneficiary of smooth passing from his front court counterpart which Jordan never provided.
The second thing is that their opponent is the Memphis Grizzlies and this is the first half of his first game. I want to buy all in on Blake. He’s undergone a PR miracle; going from a guy who constantly whines and berates the refs (and probably contributed to Chris Paul leaving town), to the guy who was betrayed by a franchise and shipped off to the Motor City. I haven’t heard any takes yet of somebody rooting against Blake’s continued success. So maybe it’s early, but the fact that the Pistons were -14 with Blake off the floor early in the second quarter makes me think that maybe Blake could be the hail-mary that Stan Van Gundy needs him to be.
The last thing is really a continuation of the second thing. This is the first half of his first game. The knock on Blake is that he’s an uber-athletic, physical player, who’s accumulated such a long laundry list of injuries that no one doctor has the expertise to treat every one. If the team is -14 with Blake off the floor before the halftime buzzer sounds against the sickly Grizzlies, that tells me Stan Van might need more minutes than Blake’s body can give. The question is if SVG will sacrifice his new star’s body in a bid to save his own skin and preserve his positions within the organization (he’s coach and GM).
So while it’s early, and while the new narrative doesn’t necessarily change the man behind it, I really hope that Blake plants his feet firmly in the midwest and makes a statement. I want to see him and Drummond pound opposing front-courts into the dust. I want to see Blake drop 60 on the Clips and fart in Doc’s face on the way back down the court. I want to see a crusty-from-pink-eye Doc tearfully admit the next day that letting Blake go and keeping his elite-level-college-player son on the roster was the most painful thing he’s ever done (I realize these are unconnected but I don’t think Austin Rivers would be decent if not given a far longer leash than other NBA coulda-beens). These are my dreams and after one half of basketball they don’t seem so far away.