Dwane Casey expects Blake Griffin to be more of a playmaker next season

Detroit Pistons v Charlotte Hornets

One of the most shocking moments of this past NBA season was when the Los Angeles Clippers traded Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons.

Since Griffin was a perennial All-Star and the face of the Clippers organization (especially after signing a maximum extension with the club in the summer of 2017), it took mostly everyone, including him, by surprise.

After averaging 22.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 5.4 rebounds in 34.5 minutes per contest over 33 games with the Clippers, Griffin was asked to take on a slightly different role for Stan Van Gundy and the Detroit Pistons.

In 25 games with Detroit, he averaged 19.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.6 assists, but he never seemed to fully thrive. Overall, his season average of 7.4 rebounds was a career-low and 5.8 assists was a career-high.

It’s important to note that playing alongside DeAndre Jordan in Los Angeles and then Andre Drummond in Detroit made it difficult for Griffin to snag too many boards. After all, they’re arguably the two best rebounders in the NBA. But, it seems as though the 6’10 29-year-old felt more comfortable in a finessed role on the perimeter.

With Van Gundy gone and Dwane Casey in as the next head coach of the Pistons, one of the major question marks became how Griffin would be utilized moving forward. Will he emerge as a stretch-four like Serge Ibaka was with the Toronto Raptors (Casey’s former team)? Or, will he continue to see the ball in his hands more as a playmaker?

Griffin’s role

Casey dropped a major hint on Monday.

“We're going to empower him to expand his game, a lot like DeMar DeRozan in Toronto," Casey said on an appearance on ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith Show. "Expand his game out to the 3-point line, have some point-forward responsibilities with the basketball out on the floor bringing it down. Because he's more than just a back-down, post-up player.”

Although Griffin is rarely regarded as a threat from beyond the arc, it’s worth mentioning that he took a major stride forward in that area this past season. Shooting 34.5 percent overall (up from his career mark of 32.4 percent), Griffin took 5.6 threes per contest. His previous career-high in three-point attempts per game was 1.9 in the previous season.

Therefore, it seems as though Griffin is more than capable to accept a more finessed, perimeter-oriented role moving forward. Given his injury history, that might be exactly what he needs to take his game to the next level.

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