In this segment of the weekly mini roundtable, Taylor and I discuss the return of Blake Griffin. We explore the immediate impact, what it means in the long run, and a couple of other ideas. Let's get started
Do you want or expect Blake's role on the team to be any different than it was before his injury?
Taylor: Other than wishing he magically developed a reliable three-point stroke during the layoff, no. If he were to be able to space the floor beyond the arc that would open things up even more for the likes of Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, but we can wish for that to come next season.
For now, I'm fine with him serving as the team's primary scorer and secondary facilitator, just as he was before. More Griffin-Jordan pick-and-rolls would be fun, but the Clippers have sorely lacked another offense initiator without him. Good to have him back in that role.
Niels: As much as I love Blake and his overall game, I do hope that his role changes a little bit. Maybe "role on the team" isn't the right phrase, but I simply hope he is able to mesh with this team and not stop the ball too much. It seems to me that when Griffin is playing with the starters (or rather, the starters are playing with Griffin), ball movement tends to slow down and Jordan seems to become an afterthought on offense.
I also wouldn't mind if he finds more minutes with the 2nd unit. Crawford and Rivers are not the best facilitators, and I think injecting Griffin into that lineup would do wonders for that unit. I don't think it will happen, but I would love to see Doc give it a try.
Is Griffin enough of a game changer to make a significant difference on the outcome of our season?
Taylor: There's always going to be that looming sense of inevitable doom as long as the Warriors and Spurs are still alive, but I do think a healthy Blake - if possible this year - is enough to push the Clippers past Oklahoma City. They also tend to play GS and SA as well or better than any other team in the league, so you never know. I don't think the Clippers stood any chance without him, and now there's a speck of hope.
Niels: Honestly, no. The truth of the matter is that people are shocked to see the Warriors lose a single game, thinking any team can beat them 4 times in 7 games? That just doesn't seem like it is going to happen. I do think, however, that if there is a team that can beat the Warriors, it is the Clippers or the Spurs. Do they have a good chance? No. But as Taylor pointed out, there's a speck of hope.
During the trade deadline, Griffin's name was all over the place, is there anything Blake can do to get out of trade talks?
Taylor: Other than get traded? Probably not. He's probably the Clippers' best trade asset - ahead of a wrong-side-of-30 Chris Paul - so the talk will always be there as long as LAC doesn't win it all.
Niels: Short of something pretty crazy happening, like the Clippers winning the title or DeAndre not realizing the game is still going and thus not making an easy game winner (but this time in a Game 7 against the Warriors or something), I think Blake trades are going to be thrown around A LOT this summer, whether we like it or not.
Well, it wouldn't be like Taylor and I if we didn't rustle any jimmies. So, if you had to trade one of The Big 3, who would you trade, what would you want in return, and why would you choose them?
Taylor: I said this earlier in the year, and I guess I'll stick with it. There aren't a ton of players out there that can replicate the impact DeAndre Jordan has, but I still think he's the most expendable of the Big 3. Though come back to me tomorrow and I may think differently. I don't really want to trade any of them.
Niels: I agree with Taylor, in that I don't want to trade any of them... But if this core still fails to make the 2nd round, it seems like there does need to be a change. I also don't really want to answer this question right now, because I think there is a definite bias I would have against Griffin, so I'll say this: you trade whoever gets you the best value (relative to them) back. If you get a Durant or even Paul George for Griffin, you definitely do that. If you can get 2 good starters for DJ, you do that. I don't have any specific names outside of Durant or George, but if a good trade presents itself, the Clippers have to think long and hard about if they want to make that deal.