Barring a miracle, the 31-39 Pistons won’t make the playoffs this season, but Blake Griffin remains optimistic about the club’s longer-term outlook. In a conversation with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Griffin said that he thinks the team will be “very good” next season.
“This summer we will have a chance to really jell, figure stuff out,” Griffin said. “I think the ceiling of this team is very, very high. We have a lot of different guys who can do a lot of different things who can affect the game in a lot of different ways. Getting Reggie [Jackson] back will be huge.”
While the Pistons have struggled since acquiring Griffin, getting a full offseason with the new-look roster in place could pay off. Last season, the Pelicans were unable to make a late-season run after trading for DeMarcus Cousins at the deadline, but New Orleans – with and without Cousins – has looked much better this year. The Pistons will be looking to follow that model.
As for Griffin, he discussed a few other aspects of his midseason change of address with Spears, acknowledging that he would have approached free agency a little differently last July if he knew the Clippers would consider trading him just a few months later. Here are a few more of Griffin’s noteworthy comments from the conversation:
On the Clippers’ decision to trade him:
“You always hear guys say that, ‘Basketball is a business,’ and all that. It’s so much different when you have had a relationship with a certain amount of people for so long and been at a place for so long. Someone always promises you this is what we are doing and six months later … It shows people’s true colors. Other than that, at the end of the day, you have to realize it’s a business.”
On why it didn’t take him long to get over being traded:
“If I wasn’t happy with where I was at or excited to be here, it would take a little bit longer. But as soon as I got here to Detroit, the franchise, the way they go about taking care of the players, the way they do everything, is first-class. So, that makes the transition much easier. Stan [Van Gundy] and the whole staff has been awesome. I’m not looking back.
“I haven’t put much thought into it, to be honest. I’ve been so focused on making this transition and [adjusting] to this change that I haven’t put that much thought into it. I never want to be in a place where I’m not wanted. Coming here made me realize what a franchise looks like.”
On what advice he would give to stars entering free agency:
“You have to make the best decision for you, personally. If fans are upset, if one or two people are not super-supportive or aren’t on board with that, you have to live with it. You have to be somewhere where you enjoy it.”