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There was never a time when Blake Griffin expected to be a member of the Detroit Pistons.
So what was his reaction to the trade that sent him from the Los Angeles Clippers to those very Pistons earlier in the week?
“Shocked is a good way to put it,” Griffin said at his introductory press conference in Detroit.
“I didn’t know anything. I found out pretty much when everybody else found out.”
Griffin is one of the game’s elite power forwards and a five-time All-Star. He re-signed with the Clippers during the summer, making it easy to believe he would be with the franchise for the long haul.
But now, he has re-energized a sagging Detroit franchise with his star power and, the Pistons hope, overall productivity.
“This is where I want to be,” he said. “This is a place that wants me, and that’s the type of organization I want to play for. I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a place that wasn’t working.”
If nothing else, Griffin’s presence should immediately result in the Pistons selling more tickets than the version that included forward Tobias Harris, guard Avery Bradley and center Boban Marjanovic — all shipped to LA as part of the deal.
And if nothing else, the idea of Griffin paired next to Pistons center Andre Drummond is reason for intrigue.
“A monster,” Griffin said of Drummond. “I got the opportunity to play with DeAndre Jordan for many years. Andre is that (type of player but) he’s bigger and more physical. I’m excited about that development, that growth and hopefully I’ll be able to help him. I’ve been a fan of a lot of the guys on this team for a long time.”
Griffin, 28, was unable to practice Wednesday as players involved in the trade took their phsyicals (the Pistons also received forwards Brice Johnson and Willie Reed in the deal).
He is averaging 22.6 points and 7.9 rebounds in 33 games this season, and could make his Detroit debut Thursday vs. the Memphis Grizzlies.
One thing is for certain: The Pistons (23-26) could really use a pick-me-up. They started strong, but recently went on an eight-game skid before beating Cleveland on Tuesday.
Today, there is hope again.
“I look at it as a big opportunity for us to really make a push these next 2 1/2 months and really solidify ourselves in the Eastern Conference,” Griffin said.