Pistons Notes: Griffin, Van Gundy, S. Johnson

The Pistons introduced their new star player in a press conference this afternoon, confirming that physicals have been completed and Blake Griffin is officially on the roster, ready to make his on-court debut for the team on Thursday night. Asked about the move across the country, Griffin didn’t express any animosity toward his old club in Los Angeles, but he did admit to being caught off guard by the trade.

“Shocked is a good way to put it,” Griffin said (Twitter link via Rod Beard of The Detroit News). “I found out when everybody else found out. It took a second to realize everything’s changing.”

While Griffin was surprised by his change of address, he spoke today about embracing his new opportunity, calling it a “very, very exciting” challenge. “I truly believe we have the pieces, coaching staff, and support from the organization to make a run in the next few months,” Griffin said (Twitter link via Beard).

Here’s more on the Pistons:

  • Griffin isn’t the only one excited about his arrival in Detroit. As Nick Friedell of ESPN details, Andre Drummond said he’s looking forward to building a “new empire” alongside his new frontcourt mate. Meanwhile, Stan Van Gundy and Reggie Jackson also expressed enthusiasm, as Beard writes for The Detroit News. “The juices get flowing and you see all the possibilities with a guy like that,” Van Gundy said on Tuesday. “Of course, what I’d like to do is get it all (installed) right away, get about a 10-hour walkthrough in on Thursday and play because I see all the possibilities. Our schedule is not really conducive; it’s going to have to go little by little.”
  • The acquisition of Griffin feels like a “make-or-break moment” for Van Gundy’s tenure with the Pistons, says John Niyo of The Detroit News.
  • Stanley Johnson, frequently cited in trade rumors this season, had a huge night on Tuesday, racking up a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds in the Pistons’ win over Cleveland. The performance might help boost Johnson’s trade value a little, but he’s also making a case for a more prominent role in Detroit if he’s not dealt, writes Ansar Khan of MLive.com.
  • A handful of NBA.com analysts and reporters are split on whether the Griffin trade will help propel the Pistons to a playoff spot this season.
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