Griffin's biggest problem at this stage in his career is staying healthy, having suited up for 67 or fewer games in five of the last six seasons. When Griffin was available for most of 2018-19, he posted one of the better campaigns of his career, averaging 24.5 points, 7.5 boards and 5.4 assists. He should be in line for a starring role in the Pistons' rotation again this season but leads a team without much in the way of star power. It wouldn't be shocking to see Griffin's usage percentage creep back up toward the 30.2 percent claim he sported in his first full season with Detroit, and with his steady hand on the boards and keen ability to distribute the ball, Griffin should possess fantasy utility in a variety of formats.
Griffin has evolved significantly since he came into the league in 2010, and he reached new heights as he secured his fifth All-NBA selection last season. Once known for his pick-and-rolls, post-ups and posterizations, Griffin is now a primary ballhandler and three-point threat, leading the Pistons in both assists (402) and three-pointers (189) in 2018-19. Playing next to Andre Drummond has reduced Griffin's rebounding opportunities (7.5 RPG), and his stats now resemble more of a small forward than a power forward. Heading into 2019-20, Griffin figures to occupy the same role, as the Pistons didn't make any acquisitions of high-usage players over the offseason. But with Griffin, the issue is never his production -- it's his health. Since 2014-15, Griffin is averaging just 59.2 games per season, and he's only crossed the threshold of 60 games three times over this stretch. As a result, selecting Griffin in a fantasy draft includes some risk, but his talent level is impossible to ignore.
Griffin signed a five-year, $171.2 million max extension with the Clippers in July of 2017, which was expected to lock the big man in as one of the team's key foundation pieces for the future. However, with Chris Paul getting dealt to the Rockets, and the Clippers struggling to earn a playoff bid, the organization opted to search for trade partners to unload Griffin and his lengthy contract less than a year after the extension. A deal was ultimately put in place with the Pistons at the trade deadline, sending Griffin to pair with Andre Drummond as the top two guys in Detroit. Through 25 games with the Pistons, Griffin understandably saw his rebound numbers (6.6 RPG) take a hit playing alongside a guy like Drummond, but he still co-existed without much trouble and added averages of 19.8 points and an improved 6.2 assists. His usage was similar between the two teams as well and Griffin was still given every opportunity to be the go-to guy on the offensive side of the ball. While Griffin's health will always be of concern -- he's played 67 games or less in four straight seasons -- the 29-year-old now has a full offseason to get comfortable with his new team and could see a slight uptick in his production in 2018-19 as a result. His shooting percentages are nothing to be excited about (43.8% FG, 34.5% 3Pt, 78.5% FT), but his assist totals as a big man are valuable, and he's always going to provide strong scoring and rebounding numbers. It's also worth it to note the Pistons clearly gave him the green light to fire up shots from three-point land, as Griffin's 5.4 attempts from deep were more than double that of any average he's held in a previous season. All of that combined should keep Griffin as a top-30 pick in standard leagues.
Griffin missed out on another All-Star selection last season due to a knee injury, which required arthroscopic surgery. He also underwent a procedure in early May to repair the plantar plate in his right big toe -- an injury he suffered in the first round of the playoffs – though it seems likely he’ll be ready for the 2017-18 season opener. While he missed out on an All-Star bid, Griffin played like one, averaging 21.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game. He also continued to extend his shooting range, hitting 35.1 percent of his threes on 3.1 attempts per game after the All-Star break. The departure of Chris Paul to the Rockets will certainly affect Griffin's role this season. A capable ball-handler and scorer, Griffin will likely find himself with the rock more often, and he could easily emerge as the Clippers' primary playmaker with the ball-dominant Paul out of the picture. Assuming he can stay healthy, we may see Griffin’s game expand to new levels next season, and he could easily be one of the most productive players at his position next season -- that is, if he can stay healthy.
A highly publicized hand injury sustained in a fight with a team equipment manager and a less publicized, but more significant quad injury limited Griffin to just 35 games last season, cutting short what was otherwise a promising campaign. When healthy, Griffin averaged 21.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game while shooting 49.9 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from the free-throw line. The assist production at the power forward spot is what’s particularly attractive about Griffin’s stat line, and there’s reason to believe it’s sustainable. Griffin averaged 5.3 assists per game two seasons ago and upped that production to more than six per game during the 2014-15 postseason. The Clippers also made minimal tweaks to last year’s 53-win roster, so Griffin’s role as the co-No. 1 option alongside Chris Paul won’t change. With a full offseason to recover, Griffin is expected back at full strength for the start of training camp. If he’s able to remain healthy, a major bounce back fantasy season could be in store.
After another monster year in 2014-15, Griffin looks poised to continue to be a high-level fantasy asset in his sixth NBA season. The 26-year-old All-Star was held to just 67 games played last season by a staph infection on his elbow, but the normally healthy Griffin has played 80 or more games in three of the last five seasons. Despite the elbow injury, Griffin averaged 21.9 points and 7.6 rebounds in 35 minutes per game last year. Perhaps the most noteworthy improvement Griffin made to his game was his passing, posting a career best 5.3 assists per game, a significant increase from the 3.9 apg he averaged the previous year. Long touted for his explosive athleticism, Griffin has added versatility to his game in recent years. His free-throw percentage went up slightly for the third consecutive season, as he hit a respectable 73 percent of his shots from the line. Griffin has also focused on expanding his range, which may explain his shooting percentage declining each of the past three seasons from 55 percent in 2011-12 to 50 percent in 2014-15. While his shot-blocking ability leaves more to be desired (0.5 blocks per game last season), Griffin makes up for it with solid contributions across the remaining categories. The Clippers' acquisition of forward Josh Smith should have little impact on Griffin's playing time, as coach Doc Rivers has a history of allotting big minutes to his stars. Griffin should remain one of the best fantasy options in all leagues.
Griffin, now 25 years old, has taken huge steps in his all-around game on the real-life basketball court but has seen relatively small gains on the fantasy side of things. Last season, he averaged 24.1 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.2 steals, and 0.6 blocks in 36 minutes per game through 80 games played. His free-throw percentage climbed to a respectable 72 percent last season (up from 66% in 2012-13), and there's still upside for him to get better across the board as he begins to take on more responsibility initiating the offense from the post. The one foible with Griffin is that he doesn't block many shots (0.6 blocks per game last season), and given his elite athleticism, that's somewhat disappointing. Griffin's growth at the free-throw line last season significantly improves his value in rotisserie leagues, and there's an argument that he's undervalued in head-to-head leagues, where elite counting stats hold a greater weight. He's also one of the top players in most points leagues.
The story of Griffin's declining numbers is no secret to anyone. After averaging 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds in his rookie season, Griffin averaged 20.7 points and 10.9 rebounds in his sophomore campaign of 2011-12, and just 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds in the 2012-13 season. What many do not realize is that his minutes have taken a similar dip – from 38 minutes in his rookie season to 36 minutes, and finally 33 minutes. His percentages and production in all other categories have been rather consistent, and Griffin's outlook for the coming season will depend on the number of minutes he plays. With the Clippers' recent additions of Byron Mullens, J.J. Redick and Jared Dudley, Griffin is likely to see ample space in the low and high posts, when being surrounded by three-point assassins. While Mullens may back up some of his minutes, Griffin is unlikely to see a further dip in court time due to Mullens' multi-positional ability. At just 24 years of age heading into his fourth season, Griffin has the potential to be an elite fantasy contributor, so long as he gets the minutes and improves his free-throw percentage.
Griffin had a successful sophomore season, averaging 20.6 points and 10.8 rebounds per game--his second straight season averaging 20 points/10 rebounds. There are several things lacking in Griffin’s game. His mid-range shot is inconsistent; he’s not good when facing the basket; he doesn’t block shots; he can be a turnover machine; he’s foul prone; and his poor free-throw shooting makes him an easy target for hacking. But the dude is exciting to watch. He uses his tremendous strength and athleticism to dominate in the low post, though the finesse parts of his post game need to develop some. Despite missing the entirety of his rookie season due to knee surgery, Griffin hasn’t been a health risk, having not missed a game in two seasons. He did require arthroscopic knee surgery after suffering an injury while practicing with Team USA this summer, but he’s already back to full practices and should be fine entering the season. Griffin will easily average 20/10, and playing with Chris Paul certainly helps get him the ball in the best places to succeed. His deficiencies in free-throw shooting and turnovers severely impair his value in rotisserie leagues in a similar way to the effect Dwight Howard can have on a team, so if you’re drafting him, make sure you’re surrounding him with other players who help repair the damage he does.
Basketball fans had to wait an extra year to see Griffin’s debut, but once he hit the hardwood, the athletically gifted power forward lived up to the hype. Griffin looked to be at full strength as he turned in one highlight reel play after another. The 22-year-old finished the season with averages of 22.5 points, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists, making him one of just four players to average 20 points and 10 rebounds in 2010-11. As expected, he was the runaway Rookie of the Year. The only categories he underwhelmed in were free throw shooting (65.4), steals (0.8) and blocks (0.6). Given his freakish jumping ability and quickness, Griffin should develop a better game on the defensive side of the ball as he matures. He struggled with free throw shooting throughout his college career as well, but he showed the ability to step out and hit the occasional jump shot, so we expect his work at the charity stripe to improve, too. Griffin is an absolute freak athletically with a high basketball IQ who never takes a play off. He’s primed to become an elite fantasy option for years to come.
Everything was set up perfectly for Blake Griffin. The top overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, Griffin was penciled in as the starting power forward on a talented Clipper team featuring Baron Davis, Marcus Camby and promising youngsters like Eric Gordon. But a seemingly-minor knee injury in training camp wound up costing Griffin the entire 2009-10 season; he'll make his NBA debut a year later than anticipated. If he were simply a rookie coming out of the draft – and not one coming off a broken kneecap and year-long absence – Griffin would rate higher on draft boards, on the strength of his dominant run with the Oklahoma Sooners. But it remains to be seen how this can't miss prospect will progress at the next level, or if the injury will rob him of the athleticism and physicality that made him a "can't miss" in the first place.
The Clippers’ selection of Griffin with the first overall pick of the draft was a no-brainer. Griffin averaged 22.7 points, 14.4 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks last year for Oklahoma, while exhibiting toughness, athleticism and poise. His free-throw shooting is a major concern – he shot just 59 percent from the line last season. Considering he has the skills to draw plenty of fouls, the volume of attempts could be a killer in that category. Still, there’s plenty to like when it comes to Griffin, who is fantastic on the glass and should immediately be a threat to score 15-18 points per game as a rookie. Los Angeles was loaded in the frontcourt, but Griffin was too good to pass up, and the team was able to unload Zach Randolph during the offseason, clearing some space for the rookie. Don’t be surprised if Griffin is the team’s starter at power forward on opening night. Griffin took home MVP honors at the Vegas Summer League, but he also strained his right shoulder, which sidelined him for more than a month. The injury didn’t require surgery, and he’s expected to be ready for training camp.