The Blake Griffin Problem

The Pistons just lost to the Atlanta Hawks. Following a 5-0 start post-Blake-trade, the Pistons got blasted by the Clippers, and fell to the league-worst Hawks, and Griffin jacked up a whopping 17 threes in those two games. Let this sink in; in two consecutive losses Blake Griffin is shooting 14-42 overall, and 4-17 from three point land. First of all, why the hell is Blake allowed to shoot 17 threes in two nights? He’s not Steph Curry. Blake, for all of us, stop shooting so many fucking threes.

Here’s the real issue. Blake Griffin may make this team playoff viable. By viable, I mean sniffing a six seed at best. There’s still a realistic, some might say likely chance that the Pistons don’t even make the playoffs. Imagine that. Stan Van Gundy gives up Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and the kicker of a lottery draft pick for an aging power forward with a sketchy-at-best injury history making $32M, $34M, $37M, and $39M in consecutive years. And when he makes that smooth forty mil, he’s going to be 32 years old. Chew on that.

Time for the silver-lining folks. Willie Reed, who was also received in the trade and was then booked a six week suspension for domestic violence, was off-loaded to the Bulls for one Jameer Nelson. Yeah, that’s your silver lining. It’s okay that between Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond you have a combined $276.7M tied up in payroll over the next five years; because SVG pulled the rug out from underneath Bulls GM Gar Forman, and swiped a 36 year-old point guard in the midst of his worst career year who most people forgot was in the league. In the most infuriating moment of the night against the woeful Hawks, the Pistons actually ran a play exclusively for Jameer fucking Nelson, who bricked the pick-and-pop. Embarrassing.

Stan Van is on the hook for all of this. No more should Piston fan try to sell me that Blake Griffin is going to entice free agents to come here. What, are you going to convince Kemba Walker or Klay Thompson to come freeze their asses off in the Motor City for five years and the veteran minimum? “Well, we can get guys through trades!” shouts the disillusioned Pistons fan. Who exactly are you going to trade? Brice Johnson was given to you for expiring contracts, and no one in the league wants to touch Reggie Jackson, Langston Galloway, Stanley Johnson, Reggie Bullock, Ish Smith, or Jon Leuer. Maybe you could get guys through the draft? Oh, wait, you traded all of your picks away.

The right decision was to fire Van Gundy before he itched his trigger finger and blew up this organizations future, but now it feels like missing the playoffs and firing SVG this offseason would be apocalyptic. Who in their right mind is going to take a head coaching job in Detroit to manage two untradeable contracts, a motley crew of unwanted players, with no first round pick? Who in the hell would want to GM this team? And I haven’t even gotten to President, all three roles currently belonging to Stan the Man.

Thank you Stan Van Gundy. For the next four years I get to watch Blake Griffin imagine he’s a primary ball handler, jacking up contested threes, bricking damn near all of them, and holding this organization hostage financially. Do we really think Blake is gonna turn down forty million with his player option at 32 years old to go make a fraction of that in LA or Miami? If you believe that, I’ll have what you’re having. We’re stuck watching a team that’s not good enough to compete for anything, and not bad enough to get better, while the Clippers will get a lottery draft pick this offseason in return for the worst contract in the entire league.

At least we have the Wings. And the Pistons will lead right into the Tigers. Yeah, Detroit sports are in excellent shape.

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