Blake Griffin and his acquisition last winter has been a controversial topic among Detroit Pistons’ fans. Undoubtedly an incredible talent, a top-10 player in the NBA at his peak to be sure, but Griffin is now several years and multiple injuries removed from what he once was. Oh, and he will earn an average of $34 million dollars per year for the next four seasons. How much does Blake have left in the tank?
It’s impossible to know for sure, but it is clear that he has made a concerted effort to play more like a modern power forward. Griffin shot 35% from three on 5.4 attempts per game last season. 2014 Blake Griffin might be better than every power forward in the league aside from LeBron James, who will start at the four for the Los Angeles Lakers next to Brandon Ingram at the three. So where does 2018 Blake griffin rank among power forwards today?
A few caveats: As I mentioned, LeBron is recognized as a PF this season, just as he was last season. Anthony Davis is a center for all intents and purposes. Kevin Durant has been a “small forward” the past two seasons with the Golden State Warriors. Furthermore, I will consider Al Horford a center this season with Jayson Tatum sliding up to the four. And to be clear, contracts are not part of the equation here. Now for the list, separated by tiers and in order.
Tier One: LeBron James
Tier Two: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Tier Three: LaMarcus Aldridge, Draymond Green, Kristaps Porzingis
Tier Four: Blake Griffin, Kevin Love, Paul Millsap
Tier Five: Tobias Harris, Jayson Tatum
After a pretty straightforward top ten, it gets less clear from here. Tier six in no particular order: Aaron Gordon, Dario Saric, Nikola Mirotic, Derrick Favors, PJ Tucker, Thaddeus Young, Lauri Markkanen, Kyle Kuzma, Taj Gibson, and Harrison Barnes complete the top twenty.
One-through-five are clearly defined. LeBron is the best player in the world. Giannis averaged 27/10/5 last season. Aldridge carried a Kawhi Leonard-less San Antonio Spurs team to 47 wins and the playoffs. Draymond Green is the third best player on a three-time championship-winning team. Porzingis would have been third on this list had he not torn his ACL last winter.
Then there is Blake. It is certainly debatable that Kevin Love and even Paul Millsap are better than than BG. I would argue that Griffin is the superior play-maker and better all-around scorer. Love is a better rebounder, but was up-and-down as a second option last season. Millsap is the best defender of the three, but is coming off his worst season in a decade. So BG is sixth to me. Tobias Harris has the potential to move up a few spots. Tatum is ultimately the most likely to be ranked higher at season’s end. Tier six is a crapshoot.
Alas, Griffin is the sixth best power forward in the NBA coming into the 2019 season He may not be the player he used to be, but he’s still pretty good. Do you agree with his ranking?