Ladies and gentlemen, fire up the terrible “Blake Griffin in a Lakers jersey” photoshop jobs. Kevin Ding from Bleacher Report recently reported that the Los Angeles Lakers are a possible destination for the Clippers star forward in free agency this summer.
But is Blake Griffin even good?
The analytics community looks down their nose at box score statistics, because they “don’t tell the whole picture.” It’s true. Looking at Blake Griffin’s career near double double with 20+ ppg doesn’t show you the injuries the talented forward has dealt with since breaking his kneecap before his rookie season. The solid assist to turnover ratio doesn’t tip you off to the fact that Griffin once knocked out an equipment manager with a sucker punch to the face in a Canadian night club. His excellent efficiency numbers and 52% field goal percentage don’t convey how truly horrible Blake’s Kia commercials are. However, a thorough examination of the surface and advanced statistics leads to one overarching fact: Blake Griffin is a good basketball player.
A quick survey of Lakers twitter, after Bleacher Report’s Kevin Ding recently
fabricated released rumors about Griffin’s interest in the Lakers, shows that there are mixed feelings about Griffin in Los Angeles. Legitimate complaints such as Griffin’s injury history, his off court antics, and the fact that he plays for the failing Clippers rise to the surface. SAD!
Unfortunately, misguided and
FAKE NEWS false concerns like the idea that signing Griffin would block the Lakers from signing the plethora super stars like Lebron James and Steph Curry from signing, or the fact that Griffin “sucks” are also currently pretty common on social media.
However, the reasons for signing Blake Griffin (which is a long shot anyway) heavily outweigh the risks.
First, the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) recently signed by the owners and players union will make it even more challenging for star players to leave their current teams. In the past, disgruntled players like Dwight Howard and homesick players like Lebron James have left guaranteed money on the table, but never the massive amount that a superstar would need to pass on under the new CBA. This makes Griffin, a disgruntled star who may not qualify for the new “super max” contract, a uniquely available and attractive potential signing for Lakers management.
Another reason for the Lakers to sign Griffin is that the team needs more assets for Rob Pelinka to use in future deals. The Lakers have several strong young prospects, but players like Brandon Ingram and D’angelo Russell are clearly part of the team’s future and most likely untouchable. The fact that the current roster does not include any tradable veteran players makes future deals more difficult. As an athletic, superstar veteran in his prime, Blake Griffin would be an incredibly valuable asset for the Purple and Gold. Griffin could either stay in Los Angeles, fetch a king’s ransom on the open market, or be included in a deal later on.
The last reason why Blake Griffin should be wearing a Lakers jersey to work in October is that he is an established veteran star and crowd favorite in Los Angeles. While many Lakers fans may balk at bringing in a player from the Clippers, the fact of the matter is that the Lakers need veteran star talent. The team is full of promising young players, but a savvy player like Griffin would draw defensive attention away from teammates, and opposing teams would have to account for him each and every night in the game plan.
In the end, it’s clear that signing Griffin has almost no negatives, other than the risk of injury. However, if the Lakers franchise wants to climb back up into contention, some risks will need to be taken along the way. The benefit of adding a valuable asset, with a strong track record of offensive performance and insane hops, greatly outweighs any risk involved.
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P.S. Feel free to enjoy these images of Blake Griffin dunking on Celtics players.