Blake Griffin re-invented his game and his image in his first full season with the Detroit Pistons, returning to All-Star status in the process.
After being traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Detroit Pistons last season, Blake Griffin played just 25 games and shared the court with teammates Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson — the franchise’s other two top players — for a few minutes before the Pistons landed in the NBA draft lottery again.
Over the summer, Detroit overhauled its coaching staff and front office and made some notable changes to the roster. Which made the 2018-19 season feel like Griffin’s first real run with the Pistons.
It turned out to be perhaps Griffin’s best season as a pro since his 2010 debut.
Griffin was Detroit’s star, its leader, and the focal point of its offense. He averaged a career-high 24.5 points per game to go with 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists. He was selected for the 2019 All-Star Game and is a good candidate to make one of this season’s All-NBA teams.
Most importantly, Griffin led the Pistons back to the playoffs for the first time since 2016 — just their second postseason appearance this decade.
After four years of injury problems, Griffin was healthy for most of this season. He played in 77 of Detroit’s 86 games, including the playoffs.
A left knee injury popped up at the worst possible time, however, forcing Griffin to miss Games 1 and 2 of the Pistons’ first-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks. Already a big underdog against the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed, the Pistons had virtually no chance without Griffin. When he returned, they were in a 0-2 hole and were eventually swept.
With a great regular season tumbling into a disappointing postseason, what is a fair evaluation of Griffin’s 2018-19 campaign?