The Los Angeles Clippers must put the health of Blake Griffin first this season. If that means sitting Griffin for an extended time to rest his ailing hamstring, that's the smartest move they can make.
Acquiring Chris Paul was a huge move for the franchise, but the organization's resurgence began the moment Griffin started playing for the Clips.
His stellar rookie season saw him average 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game. It was the first step the team took towards respectability.
Paul is 27 years old and eligible to become a free agent after the season, but Griffin is only 23 years old and is signed through the 2017-18 season.
The age and salary commitment makes Griffin the most important player in the organization. The team should do everything in their power to re-sign Paul, but at the end of the day, he could choose to play elsewhere.
Griffin already missed an entire season with a knee injury, and his playing style has to make fans a little nervous. As an athletic big man, the preservation of his legs, knees and feet are paramount to his effectiveness.
Which player is most important to the Clippers franchise?
He doesn't have the type of game that will lend itself to lesser mobility—at least not yet.
With the Clippers' record sitting at 35-16, it is easy to see why they would be enticed to get Griffin back on the floor. They have a legitimate shot at gaining the top seed in the Western Conference.
That has to be especially attractive to a team that is already 20-5 at home, but just 15-11 on the road. Still, it would be foolish to risk the health of a player that means so much to their future for immediate success.
Griffin shouldn't play again until his legs are 100 percent. Hopefully, the hamstring is at that point now.