What’s Next For Blake Griffin?

In the 2015 Western Conference semifinal, Blake Griffin averaged 26.9 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game against the Houston Rockets. Who would’ve guessed at the time that they were watching the absolute peak of one of the most athletic players to ever grace an NBA basketball court.

The Next Step in Blake Griffin’s Career

Griffin left the 2015 postseason having cemented his status as one of the NBA’s premier talents. Sadly, injuries and chemistry issues within the Clippers meant he never reached these heights again.

Six years after that series against the Rockets, Griffin is now a role player. Injuries have zapped him of his once-in-a-generation type burst and a bad trade to the Detroit Pistons squandered whatever little of his prime was left. Many fans had hoped he would at least sneak in a ring as a vital bench guy for a loaded Brooklyn Nets team but injuries derailed the team’s season and saw them bounced out of the playoffs.

This postseason has felt like a passing of the torch moment between the old guard of superstars (e.g. Lebron James) and the new guard of superstars (e.g. Trae Young and Luka Doncic). Through this transition, seeing how time has affected Griffin has been painful for long-time viewers. Griffin is now an energy guy off the bench who helps carry the scoring burden as the superstars rest up. If you had told anyone this was his future back in 2015 after he had spent seven grueling games banging against Tim Duncan and knocking out the defending champions, you would’ve been labeled a mad man.

Blake Griffin’s Prime

In the series-clinching Game 7 victory over the San Antonio Spurs that moved the Clippers into the second round, Griffin recorded a triple-double with 24 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists. Two days later, in Game 1 of the Clippers’ Western Conference semifinal match-up against the Rockets, Griffin recorded 26 points, 14 rebounds, and 13 assists for his second straight triple-double to lift the Clippers to a 117–101 victory.

Griffin in his prime was almost the perfect modern-day power forward. He could bang with any big in the post while still being athletic enough to switch on the perimeter and stay in front of quicker guards and forwards. He was a great screener while being able to run the pick and roll as a high-level on-ball scorer and creator. Defenders feared for their lives when he was coming downhill or getting the dump-off on a pick and roll.

Griffin was a capable passer and at this point had been making drastic leaps with the quality of play he was showing in the mid-range zone. The only weakness Griffin had during his prime was that he was accused of coasting from time to time on defense despite his tremendous athletic gifts.

Blake Griffin Now

Six years have gone by since the 2015 magical postseason run but you can still see the flashes of the player Griffin used to be. With less of a burden to carry, Griffin had a few stand-out games for the Nets this postseason, and should attract real interest during free agency. Griffin, despite being at the least athletic point of his career, is the most polished he has ever been as a power forward. He has added a respectable 3-point shot to his arsenal while still being the complete package as an on-ball power forward. Griffin still sets great screens, attacks the basket now with craftiness rather than pure athleticism, and is still a capable passer.

The Nets are a great situation for him, so are the Golden State Warriors if he chooses to move. Hopefully, Blake Griffin can see this part of his career as a new act. He has all the skills necessary to make a run at the Sixth Man of the Year award while chasing a ring for a contender. Griffin is in the “Celtics Bill Walton” stage of his career and if he is to embrace it, maybe he can have a “1985-86” postseason run of his own.

Main Photo:
Embed from Getty Images