Blake Griffin Trade: “Lob City” Is Gone, “Bobi And Tobi” And The NBA Mediocrity

Michael Crouchley
Staff Writer

The Detroit Pistons and Los Angeles Clippers were stuck in what some like to call “NBA purgatory” this season. Not good enough to make a deep playoff run, but not bad enough to get a good draft pick.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with NBA purgatory, but for some teams it can mean long-term mediocrity. The Utah Jazz, for instance, have been sitting there since the new millennium.

The Clippers and the Pistons were not content with mediocrity, and they pulled the trigger on the first big trade of the year. Former all-star forward Blake Griffin’s nine year stint in Los Angeles is over.

Griffin, along with center Willie Reed and forward Brice Johnson are heading to Detroit. Guard Avery Bradley, forward Tobias Harris and two draft picks are going the other way. The effects on both teams are pretty staggering, but are they enough to really make waves in the NBA as a whole?

Lou Williams (23) is leading the Clippers in scoring with 23.5 PPG.

The Clippers

The “Lob City” era in LA is officially over.

In 2015, DeAndre Jordan almost left LA for the Dallas Mavericks, but teammates Griffin and Chris Paul locked themselves in Jordan’s house until they convinced him to stay.

Two years later, Jordan is the last one standing.

The Clippers’ return for Griffin is intriguing; Bradley is an excellent two-way player, but with his contract ending at the end of the season it’s likely his stint as a Clipper will be brief. Tobias Harris is in the middle of his best season as a pro, highlighted by career highs in scoring (18.1 PPG) and three-point field goal percentage (41 percent).

But Harris is almost 26, and it’s hard to see him wanting to stay on the rebuilding Clippers through his prime. The Pistons’ draft pick will likely land somewhere in the middle to late first round, and a second round pick might as well be a lottery ticket.

The Clippers have had a long and troubled past being one of the worst franchises NBA. There are even theories out there that they’re cursed: and they kind of make sense!

Griffin and Paul were likely the two best players the franchise has ever had. The duo was a ray of hope for a fan base that has suffered far too long.

Los Angeles signed themselves up for a few more years of suffering with this trade, and I can’t help but feel like they should’ve gotten a little more.
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Andre Drummond and teammate Reggie Jackson celebrate Griffin’s first win as a Pistons on Feb. 1.

The Pistons

Losing Harris and Bradley this season will hurt the Pistons’ depth. The pair were the Pistons’ best spot-up shooters and two of their best defenders. As a result, they will have to rely more on Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard to play more minutes on the wings going forward.
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Key Notes Involving The Trade:
Clippers: 25-25 (Since trade, 0-1)
Pistons: 24-26 (Since trade, 1-0)
Next Head-To-Head Matchup: Feb. 9, 7 p.m., ESPN, WATCHESPN
Playoff Contention: Both teams currently looking up at the eighth seed

Both players are only 21 and have plenty of promise, but need more time to develop into reliable players in the NBA.

But they got Blake Griffin.

Griffin is an elite player, and will fill a lot of the holes that the Pistons need him to fill. He’s a great fit next to Pistons all-star center Andre Drummond. Drummond and Griffin are two of the best passing big men in the league, and I’m really excited to see how their chemistry can flourish.

Drummond also thrives bullying smaller defenders in the post, and Griffin’s newfound ability to shoot from distance means he can spread the floor and give Drummond space to work.

The old adage in the NBA is that you should give up whatever it takes to get a superstar, so in that sense the Pistons succeeded.

Griffin’s last few seasons have been tainted by injuries, but the Pistons were willing to take a chance to get better, which is refreshing in this age of “championship or bust” in the NBA.
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So … what does this mean for the league?

Not too much in the grand scheme of things, but it will be interesting to see how this trade pans out. The Clippers have a lot of players to trade now that it’s clear that they’re all in on a rebuild.

Keep an eye out for Jordan and sixth-man of the year candidate Lou Williams to get traded, potentially giving that extra push to a team trying to take down the mighty Golden State Warriors.

The Pistons probably won’t have much of a chance to beat some of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, but they might just make it uncomfortable for the competition. And if nothing else, they will be a lot of fun to watch.

The trade season has just begun, and if this trade is any omen for how it will continue, then we’re in for one heck of a ride.

Photos Taken from defpen.com, usatoday.com and clipsnation.com.