After the recently signed Danilo Gallinari went down with a torn ACL before playing a single regular season game for the team, the Boston Celtics had to quickly pivot to find a replacement. With all the big names gone in free agency and the trade market depleted, the Celtics didn’t have a lot of options to pick from.
Seemingly, that meant they had to settle on a washed veteran or journeyman role player to fill the void, neither very enticing to Celtics fans. That led the Celtics to sign former all-star Blake Griffin on a one-year, veteran minimum contract, who many NBA fans seem to believe is way past his prime based on his decline in both minutes and overall stats.
While that may be true, that doesn’t mean Blake Griffin doesn’t have anything left to give, especially to a young contending team. Griffin is for sure no longer an all-star caliber player, but that doesn’t mean he can’t bring a lot to the team on the court.
Given the top players on the Celtics are still very young, like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown who are still only 24 and 25 respectively, adding more veterans to fill out the rest of the roster can never hurt.
While it seems like a given that the 33-year-old will help the team off the court, he also can help the team on the court if given play time. He has a unique skill set the Celtics haven’t had for a while, and also should fit nicely into the current big-man rotation.
All-in-all, there are plenty of reasons Blake Griffin is a great addition, but here are 3 reasons that stand out.
Reason No. 1 Blake Griffin is a fantastic signing for the Boston Celtics: Skillset
While the insane athleticism of prime Blake Griffin is long gone, the veteran still has a lot of interesting skills to bring to the table to help out the Boston Celtics. The 6-foot-9 combo big is unique in the sense that he is a stretch big who can play the center or power forward spots solidly. He is 250 pounds, so he has the size to defend centers in the post, but he also has the offensive capabilities to play power forward.
While his lateral quickness is a lot to be desired at this point of his career, Griffin makes for a great backup big with a relatively similar play style to Al Horford, something the C’s have lacked besides Horford for a long time.
Like Horford, Griffin has a solid 3-point shot (38% from deep with Brooklyn as recently as two seasons ago) which should remain solid given he’s playing with star players who will draw a lot of on-ball attention.
He also has always been a solid passer for a big man with 4.1 assists per game in his career, meaning he should get plenty of 3-point assists on the perimeter as well as plenty of lob assists to a guy like Rob Williams (when he is fully healthy).
While Griffin’s defense isn’t as good as Horford’s, it is nice to have a player with at least a somewhat similar play style to help the team not lose as much when Horford is out of the game. With Griffin’s unique and desirable skillset, he should be a seamless fit on the court with the Celtics, whether he plays a lot or not.