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Blake Griffin is the playmaker Detroit desperately needs

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Griffin’s ability to distribute the rock is just what the doctor ordered.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Clippers Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Sick of Blake Griffin content yet?

Yeah, me neither.

I mean, it’s in-his-prime B-L-A-K-E freakin’ G-R-I-F-F-I-N. Tell me to calm down and I’ll tell you to calm up! We’re Detroit, we don’t do super-duper basketball stars - that is, until now.

Earlier this week we discussed how his newly found three-point stroke fits in with the Pistons. Now we’ll examine perhaps his most desired skill from Detroit’s perspective: play freakin’ making.

Griffin is averaging a career high 5.4 assists per game with an assist percentage of nearly 27 percent.

To put this is perspective, Tobias Harris averaged negative two assists per game while in a Pistons’ uniform and Avery Bradley pitched in with an assist percentage just shy of 11.

It’s sad only one of those statistics is fake.

Harris—bless his heart— was a lot of things to a lot of people but dime-dropping is nowhere to be found on his resume (he left for Hollywood averaging two assists per game).

In Bradley’s case, well, he’s not our problem anymore so who cares?

Let’s start the Griffin-love with the obvious: DeAndre Jordan = Andre Drummond. It’s not an exact match as Drummond is a bit more skilled on the offensive end than Jordan but you get the point.

Griffin led all Clippers’ players not named Lou Williams in finding Jordan for buckets and it derived from three distinct categories: in transition, from the post, and as a spot-up threat.

Transition:

Griffin—like all great playmakers—can gather a rebound or loose ball and push it up the court without the need of a time-costing outlet pass. Doing so puts immediate pressure on the defense to retreat. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Pistons are a top five team in regards to scoring after collecting a live-ball defensive rebound or steal and are adding another legit transition threat in BG.

Giddy-up, Andre.

Post:

(For this article’s sake, we’re going to define “post” as a back-to-the-basket or face-up within 16ish feet from the rim.)

Blake has grown comfortable dishing from the post and, as you can see, Jordan was a frequent target. DJ, however, is a bit more apt to duck in and make himself available than Drummond.

As-is, Detroit doesn’t have a post-presence so there will definitely be a “feeling out” phase.

Spot-up:

(For the sake of this article, we’ll define “spot-up” as receiving the ball on the perimeter with an opportunity to drive or pass)

Griffin is threat beyond the arc and the defense must respect his stroke which opens up passing lanes and opportunities that don’t exist with a non-shooting big.

All the above is nice and well but I’m more interested in this kinda stuff:

The Griffin led PNR with a rolling Drummond!

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Griffin developed a nice relationship with Lou Williams even though they hardly knew each other. In fact, no one assisted on more Williams’ field goals than our Blake Griffin.

Here is Williams’ shot-chart on a Griffin assist:

You know what’s boring, though?

Numbers with no context.

How he’s getting those shots off is much more meaningful than some yawn-inducing shot-chart.

(That sounds strangely familiar?)

It’s clear Lou liked to operate on the left side of the court and Griffin obliged. Similar to feeding Jordan, Griffin logged assists to Williams in three specific scenarios: post, dribble hand-off, and semi-transition action.

Post:

Griffin’s ball-handling and strength allow him to patiently survey the field and find the cutting Jordan or the spotting-up Williams (and everyone in between).

DHO:

The dribble hand-off has been ineffective all year in Detroit (thanks in large part to Bradley) so it’ll be interesting to see how Stan Van Gundy utilizes it moving forward.

Semi-transition:

The duo mastered this play. After a Griffin leak out, Williams raced up the sideline for the dagger.

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Ish Smith is great on the run and probing a half-court defense.

Reggie Jackson is in street clothes.

That rounds out the list of consistent Pistons’ playmakers.

Detroit needs additional playmaking to alleviate one their biggest warts. To put it lightly, Griffin can create from the post, off-the-bounce or on the run. It’s a welcome and much needed addition.