Blake Griffin is the latest superstar player linked to the Boston Celtics in what has become the summer of NBA trade rumors.
Sporting News reported Thursday the Celtics have interest in the Los Angeles Clippers forward and that he’s a more likely trade target for Boston than Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook.
Should the Celtics make a hard push for Griffin? Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of his game.
Griffin is a consistent scorer and has averaged 20 or more points per game in five of his six pro seasons. He scored 21.4 points per game last season, just 0.1 below his career average.
Most of Griffin’s shots come from inside the paint (see chart below), and a lot of them are dunks. In fairness, he has an effective low-post game, too, and he’s also effective in pick-and-rolls with his ability to attack the basket and finish at the rim.
Griffin and Al Horford, Boston’s newly signed power forward, should be compatible based on the fact Horford has better shooting range and doesn’t clog up the paint much. There should be plenty of space for both players when they’re on the floor at the same time.
The Celtics ranked sixth in rebounds per game last season, but they were 20th in rebounding differential (minus-1.1). Griffin has a career average of 9.6 rebounds per game and pulled down 8.4 boards per contest last season. Rebounding isn’t a huge issue for the Celtics, but it’s certainly an important facet of the game, and Griffin would improve it.
Rarely In Foul Trouble
Griffin displays impressive discipline despite being a physical player who spends a lot of time in the paint. He was called for just 2.7 fouls per game last season and 2.9 per contest the previous season.
Griffin missed 15 games in 2014-15 and then suffered a quad injury in the first half of last season. During his recovery from that quad ailment, Griffin broke his hand in a dispute with a Clippers employee. Those issues caused him to miss 47 games.
Doesn’t Stretch The Floor
Griffin doesn’t shoot particularly well from the outside. He shot 33.3 percent from beyond the arc last season on less than one attempt per game, and his career 3-point rate is just 27.1 percent. Griffin has improved his range over the last three seasons, to his credit, but he’s not going to attract much attention from defenses when he’s on the perimeter.
This isn’t a major flaw, but it’s also not ideal in today’s NBA, which has seen an increased importance on outside shooting from frontcourt players.
Griffin shot 72.7 percent from the foul line last season, which isn’t great. That’s about an 8 percent improvement on his rookie campaign, but there’s still plenty of room for growth in this area of his game.
Thumbnail photo via Gary A. Vasquez/USA TODAY Sports Images
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