This past January, Blake Griffin was absolutely incredible.
He scored the second most points in the league over the course of the month, and did it on 60.8 percent true shooting percentage. His seven rebounds and six assists per game put his play among the highest level in the league.
That needs to not happen again.
He also averaged 38 minutes per game and had a 33% usage percentage. His getting injured to close out the season was almost inevitable because of that.
2018-19 was a great year overall for Blake. Despite turning 30 during the course of the season, he had a career high in points per game, a career high in assists, and played his most games since 2014. His 50-point game against the 76ers in October was a career high. And his revolution as a player has been a joy to watch.
Blake has been the most fun Piston to watch since the Going to Work days a decade ago. Now the Pistons need to help him out.
It’s more than just the fact that the Pistons owe him more than $100 million over the next three years. It’s simply the right thing to do for the player.
Dwane Casey said “We rode him like a cheap horse last year,” and also took ownership over overusing Blake, saying “I have to be smarter as far as the usage, because he takes a beating.” He gets it. But it didn’t stop Blake’s overuse last season.
When Andrew Luck abruptly retired before last season, Tom Ziller of SB Nation pondered who could pull a similar move in the NBA - and the player he landed on was Griffin. It’s an interesting consideration.
Blake will be 33 when his current contract ends. How much longer will he want to keep playing? It’s easy to see him going either direction - either walking away from the game early or keeping it going into his late 30s.
This season, and how he’s used during it, could play a big role in determining that.