Blake Griffin to the Phoenix Suns?

It’s that time of season, everyone. The rumors had been swirling about a potential buyout between Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons, and today it finally came to fruition.

Now that he’s on the open market, Suns GM James Jones should be all over the former All-Star Power Forward. It’ll take quite the sales pitch to get him on board over some of the other top contenders, but I think the Suns have a shot if they are indeed interested. He has a good relationship with Chris Paul and he prefers the West Coast.

We’ll go ahead and get the bad stuff out of the way from the jump. Yes, he hasn’t recorded a dunk since December 6th, 2019. I clipped the dunk below for fun:

Yes, he’s also averaging a career-low in points per-game and blocks per-game and he is attempting a career-low 24.8% shots at the rim this season– a 21% drop-off from his 2019/2020 total which is quite the rapid decline. He also sports a well below league-average TS% of 49.1, which makes it the second straight season he’s been sub-50 percent in True Shooting Percentage. A feat he’s never done before in his career.

So why even bother? He’s clearly washed, right? Maybe, but that’s entirely missing the mark.

One major selling point: Take a look at Nic Batum in Charlotte last season. It was clear that he had no desire to be there and was checking into the office everyday reluctantly, awaiting his eventual savior in the LA Clippers to pick him up and jolt a spark of life into his game. I believe the same could be said for Blake Griffin and his situation in Detroit to a lesser extent. Why can’t the Suns benefit from a similar situation? The infrastructure is in place for the Suns to successfully house another “reclamation project”.

Griffin has already done the whole LA thing. Why not join your old running mate Chris Paul in a warm climate and finish what you started with an on-the-rise Phoenix Suns squad? It’s not like he’s ancient at age 31, and maybe the fountain of youth in Phoenix could restore some life into those legs.

David Nash of The Four Point Play offered his thoughts on the Suns inquiring on the veteran forward:

I brought Blake up on my recent podcast special with Max, where we discussed the Suns Playoff matchups. For me, it’s really simple. Jae Crowder has started 19 games this season. Frank Kaminsky 11 and Cam Johnson 9. There is clearly one spot Monty Williams isn’t comfortable with yet. You have a legit PF who was All NBA just 2 seasons ago, sitting there just begging to be given a chance to prove he isn’t washed. Is he washed? Maybe.

But also, if you had his injury history – would you risk maybe your last legit shot at NBA minutes on the Detroit Pistons? I know I wouldn’t and that’s why I’d bet good money, Blake still has more to show. I should be clear on a couple of things, in the interests of being transparent. I LOVE Blake. So I definitely have a biased soft spot for him. I also would just start Jae Crowder and not look back. But Monty doesn’t seem to agree and seems to like this token starting role. A good version of Griffin would be perfect in that role.

This is a gamble worth looking at, with very little risk. In Kaminsky, it’s clear Monty likes a few things in the front court with Deandre Ayton. He likes the extra size but he also REALLY likes the extra passing and spacing. There is no way the current versions of Frank or Blake should be starting in the Playoffs, but one of them has a small chance to be much better than that. Take the chance.”

I’m in complete agreement with David’s take above. It’s well worth the risk at this stage on multiple fronts. Be sure to check out his latest newsletter, as him and Max take us back to the 7SOL days– very fun listen that includes some Blake Griffin talk as well!

Where he will get minutes?

The answer here is simple if you break it down into a few phases.

1. Dario Saric has already missed significant time due to multiple ankle injuries. Having another option available to carve out meaningful minutes will be important whether it’s an injury to Saric or any other big on the roster. He and Dario could co-exist off the bench, and you could also play Griffin alongside Ayton against bigger lineups if need be.

2. Covid still exists. It’s best to have depth should another front court player have to miss time due to health and safety protocols. Depth is king.

3. Frank Kaminsky has done more than we could’ve possibly asked for at this point, and I’ve been on the record singing his praises. That being said, I’d feel a lot more comfortable with him serving as their third big off the bench rather than their second big behind Saric.

4. Foul trouble. This is the least significant talking point, but worth including. The day-to-day of the NBA is a grind, and the rigors of the 2nd half of this season figure to be brutal with how many games they have to play the next few months.

Transforming His Game

It’s time for Blake Griffin to reinvent his game, and what better environment to embrace the “old man game” than in Phoenix’s 0.5 system?

Dario Saric and Frank Kaminsky are a prime of examples of not needing to clear a piece of paper with your vertical leap in order to succeed as a secondary engine big in an offense predicated on ball movement and quick decision-making.

If they can get Griffin to tap into that playmaking that he’s shown in stages of his career and be used as a stretch big that makes plays for others, I think it could be an interesting fit on many levels. It should be apparent to Blake that he’ll need to adapt his game due to his physical limitations or he’ll be done in the NBA. To me, this would be a perfect marriage for both parties as far as restoring his game goes.

The Verdict 

Yes. Do it. Bring Blake Griffin right on over.

They have an open roster spot, they need another big. It makes too much sense if you can essentially take a swing on him for nothing. Worst case scenario is it doesn’t pan out. In that case, oh well, move on. It’s a classic low risk, high reward gamble that good teams take this time of year in the buyout market.

Having a big man rotation of Deandre Ayton, Dario Saric, Blake Griffin, Frank Kaminsky and Jalen Smith gives you some options. Now we wait.

What do you think, Suns fans?

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