Story by Sam Kaser, Staff Writer
Image courtesy of Getty Images
Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons are looking to continue their newfound winning ways as the second half of the season rolls along. The Pistons currently rest in 9th place in the Western Conference, trailing for a while now to the Philadelphia 76ers.
A major reason for their lack of mobility in the standings was due to an eight-game skid they embarked on in January. Over the course of the month the Pistons saw only three outcomes in the win column out of a possible 14. However, the tides would soon turn as the team pulled off a blockbuster trade just a few weeks ago. Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers was traded to Detroit in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a 2018 first-round pick and a future second round selection. In addition, the Pistons picked up Brice Johnson and Willie Reed from the Clippers.
The effect of the trade was seen immediately for the Motown men, rattling off a five-game winning streak before seeing it come to an end against none other than Griffin’s old team in LA.
Griffin, who has over 500 games in the NBA, has logged a career 21.5 points per game average, with just over nine rebounds and four assists per game as well. The Oklahoma Sooner alum has made an immediate impact on the Pistons, giving a much stronger threat alongside Andre Drummond.
Other contributors this season have been Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith, both averaging over 10 PPG. The Pistons have a relatively young team that also has its share of experienced veterans who could help lead the team to their second straight postseason appearance. The team has been hovering around the .500 mark all season, with some highs and lows along the way.
Going up against the young and fresh 76ers with the likes of Joel Embiid and rookie Ben Simmons is not an easy task. However, the team will work to keep improving on their boosted confidence since the arrival of Griffin.
Looking ahead, the Pistons will need to keep winning at home (18-11), and find a new strategy for success on the road, where they have a struggling record of 9-17. They have 12 remaining at Little Caesars Arena, and 15 on the road, including a six-game road trip out west starting in Utah and ending in Houston against the Rockets. Head coach Steve Van Gundy and his boys are primed for another look at the playoffs, and with the new addition of five-time NBA All-Star Blake Griffin the future looks bright for the Motown faithful.