Blake Griffin recently shared how coming to the Detroit Pistons made him realize “what a franchise looks like.”
Almost two months has passed since the Blake Griffin trade happened. However, despite Griffin’s diss towards his former team, based on the past two months, it is unquestionable that the Los Angeles Clippers are the heavy winners of this trade.
In the trade, the Los Angeles Clippers acquired Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 first-round pick, and a 2019 second-round pick while giving away Blake Griffin, Willie Reed, and Brice Johnson to the Detroit Pistons. The trade was a shock to most as Blake Griffin was the Clippers’ franchise player and only All-Star caliber player. Because the Clippers gave away their best player, they looked like they had lost the trade. However, the Clippers got even better with their new acquisitions.
Tobias Harris looks very comfortable within the Clippers’ system. His average in points, assists, rebounds, steals, and blocks per game all increased after he joined the team. He is an above-average scorer but also has the basketball IQ to know when to move the ball around, facilitating the offense. Avery Bradley, who has not played recently due to injury, showed his heart and defensive prowess while he played his few games for the Clippers. The Clippers had lacked solid depth and energy. Though they lost Griffin, the Clippers gained two energetic players who are definite starters and play more to win than for their own individual stats, increasing teammate chemistry and thus improving the play of the Clippers.
Since Harris and Bradley started playing for the Clippers, they have attained a solid record of 13-8. They have achieved this record even with a multitude of injuries plaguing them, such as those of Bradley and Danilo Gallinari. When everyone becomes healthy, the Blake Griffin trade will fully show just how much the Clippers have improved.
The Clippers also won the trade because they gave themselves more and better opportunities to get better in the future. By letting go of Griffin, they got rid of his 5-year $171 million contract and thus opened up a lot of salary space, meaning that they can sign more players and recruit more high-paid talent. The Clippers also got solid draft picks, giving them more chances to pick players that will help and maybe even change the whole franchise.
In terms of talent, the Clippers may not have improved as they gave away a very talented player for two players who are good but not great. However, winning requires team chemistry along with talent, and both Harris and Bradley improve team play while also showing off decent talent themselves, making the Clippers better than they were before. Though they are struggling for a playoff spot this season, the Clippers are a dark horse for next year if they can stay healthy.