Fantasy Spins: Blake Griffin Traded To Pistons in 6 Player Deal
Clippers Trade Blake Griffin in Blockbuster Deal - Seasonal and DFS Impacts
Tuesday’s high temperature in Detroit will be 24 degrees, a stark 61 degrees lower than the forecast in Los Angeles. In other words, Blake Griffin had better begin stockpiling winter gear.
The trade of Griffin (along with throw-ins Brice Johnson and Willie Reed) to the Pistons in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, and Boban Marjanovic officially blows up what was left of the “Golden Years” of Clippers basketball.
Griffin won’t be the last player to escape from LA as the team is openly discussing the prospects of moving All-Star center DeAndre Jordan and guard Lou Williams before the February 8 trade deadline, a scenario that could make the likes of Austin Rivers and Sam Dekker viable Fantasy options. Oh, what an age we live in.
From a Fantasy perspective, I don’t expect much to change for Griffin, as he will become Detroit’s top offensive option from the moment he dons his new uniform. However, there are signs that suggest Fantasy owners should follow the Clippers’ lead and find him a new home soon.
Griffin’s usage rate is a career-best 28.9 percent, a total that at most could drop a point or two as he adjusts to playing in coach Stan Van Gundy’s more deliberate offensive scheme. Detroit is ranked 21st in pace factor, which is more than just a hop, skip and a jump from LA’s 11th-ranked pace. Part of the appeal of adding Griffin is the hope that he can inject some life in a team that is 20th in offensive rating and 24th in average points per game. The glitz and glamour of life in Lob City is now replaced by the grits and grime that will come in playing for Detroit.
Griffin is averaging 22.6 points per game, yet, his field goal percentage has been in a slow freefall over the past four seasons. It’s gone from 50.2 percent in 2014-15 to his current 44.1 percent. The decline has been accelerated by Griffin’s increased fetish for shooting threes, as he is averaging 5.7 attempts beyond the arc per night, more than double the 1.9 attempts Griffin averaged last season. It would be one thing if Griffin was connecting at a respectable clip, but his 34.2 percent accuracy (career 31.6 percent) will likely see some curbing of sorts from Van Gundy as the Pistons are 18th in 3-point attempts per game.
Full trade summary:
Pistons receive - Blake Griffin, Willie Reed, and Brice Johnson.
Clippers receive - Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban, unprotected 1st-round pick and a second-round pick.
— MyNBAUpdate (@MyNBAUpdate) January 29, 2018
Griffin’s declining rebound numbers are even more discouraging. He has not averaged double-digit boards since 2011-12, and he is pulling down a mere 7.9 rebounds per game this season. His rebounding rate of 12.7 percent is a career-low, and at 28 years-old with a body that has considerable mileage, Griffin’s totals may continue to slide as he struggles to play in the more physical Eastern Conference.
In regular Fantasy Basketball, Griffin should have a “SELL HIGH” sign that’s equipped with flashing red lights. While he remains an above-average producer, his numbers are trending downward. At the least, his shooting woes can only enhance the rebounding rate of new teammate, Andre Drummond, whose value should get a mild jolt from Griffin’s passing. Don’t be too fooled by Griffin’s 20.70 Player Efficiency Rating. While he has never recorded a sub-20 PER in his career, his current total is a career-low.
As for his DFS potential, I’d wait a game or three to see how he adjusts to his new climes. He enters the week at $8,600 on DraftKings, and he did record 58 Fantasy points in Sunday’s game at the Pelicans. Griffin has scored at least 40 FP in five of his last seven games and has dipped below 30 FP just twice this season. With the freedom to use him when the mood strikes, Griffin’s value is greater in DFS formats.
Harris looked like a potential All-Star in his first 20 games but has tailed off since. Though he’s averaging 18.2 points per game this month, Harris is shooting a paltry 43.2 percent from the field and 31 percent from beyond the arc. He should benefit from playing with a more liberal offense in LA, which is ninth in offensive rating, and he should see his 14.8 field goal attempts per game climb in the short term, as the Clippers’ second scoring option behind Williams. The eventual return of Danilo Gallinari would also present him with more wide-open looks, as defenses will seek to collapse coverage on Gallinari and Williams. (at least while the latter remains in town)
Harris did sustain a left ankle injury in Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers, yet the injury shouldn’t keep him from playing. He’s $6,600 at FanDuel and he sprinkles in a 30 FP game on occasion. He had consecutive 40 FP outings earlier this month, yet he’s had just one 30-plus FP performance in his last five games.
Bradley is averaging 15 points per game but is shooting just under 41 percent from the field. He averages 1.2 steals per game but his lack of consistency on the offensive end of the floor is the key behind his 10.01 PER. If Williams is traded, Bradley could bounce between either guard position, perhaps sharing time with Milos Teodosic at the point.
Monday’s trade caught most Fantasy owners flat-footed, but with Griffin gone and a host of playoff contenders who could use either Jordan or Williams, expect the Clippers to steal the sports spotlight once again before February 8.
Blake Griffin Photo Credit: AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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