Pistons’ Griffin: Coach Casey brings some new life

Detroit Pistons star power forward Blake Griffin says he’s excited about the arrival of new coach Dwane Casey and is ready to lead the franchise to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

Griffin was acquired by the Pistons at the February trade deadline from the Los Angeles Clippers. In 25 games with the Pistons, Griffin averaged 19.8 points and 6.6 rebounds, shooting 43.3 percent from the field and 34.8 percent from three.

The Pistons were expected to make a playoff push in the Eastern Conference after trading for Griffin, but that never transpired. Injuries did play a role, as Griffin, center Andre Drummond and guard Reggie Jackson were only in the lineup together for a mere four games.

Jackson, Griffin and Drummond will all enter this upcoming season healthy and Griffin is optimistic about the team’s potential with Casey at the helm.

“We’re excited,” Griffin said Monday in Las Vegas. “Casey brings some new life and some new blood. Last year, we missed Reggie badly. When Ish [Smith] is starting, it takes away from him leading our second unit, so our team was just a little off.”

Griffin said he’s been in the weight room more this offseason since he wasn’t in the playoffs and isn’t coming off an injury. Now that LeBron James is out West, the Pistons should contend for a playoff spot in what figures to be a wide open race in the East.

Knowing how passionate the Detroit fans are, Griffin is eager to give them something to cheer about in 2018-19.

“Detroit is a sports town,” Griffin said. “They love their sports and they support their teams through thick and thin. It’s been cool to see that love from the fans.”