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Blake Griffin to Make Pistons Debut vs. Grizzlies After Trade from Clippers

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistFebruary 1, 2018

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, right, shoots as Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Nov. 7, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 114-82. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Detroit Pistons announced that Blake Griffin will make his debut for the team Thursday night against the Memphis Grizzlies:

Detroit Pistons @DetroitPistons

Blake's making his debut tonight! 7 p.m. tip at @LCArena_Detroit against Memphis on @FOXSportsDet and @971theticketxyt TIX: https://t.co/TaMkgcIKlL https://t.co/NmFj5FIWuI

Detroit acquired Griffin, 28, from the Los Angeles Clippers along with Brice Johnson and Willie Reed in exchange for Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, Boban Marjanovic, a first-round pick (protected 1-4 from 2018 through 2020 and unprotected in 2021) and a 2019 second-round selection.

The move will pair Griffin with Andre Drummond, giving the team one of the best front lines in the Eastern Conference.  

"I'm excited," Drummond said Tuesday, per Nick Friedell of ESPN.com. "It's a new chapter. We've got three new guys coming in, so it's something to really look forward to. Obviously, Blake is a hell of a player, a great passer as well, too, so I'm looking forward to building this new empire with him."  

Griffin's addition isn't without its question marks, however. How will Griffin fit in with Drummond and Reggie Jackson once the point guard returns from injury? Will Detroit make additional moves before the trade deadline to address its vacancies on the wing, where the team is suddenly thin after moving on from Harris and Bradley? If so, will the Pistons prioritize adding more shooting to improve floor spacing, allowing Griffin and Drummond more space to work down low?  

A player like Stanley Johnson, for instance, has plenty of upside given his athleticism. But his poor shooting (27.8 percent from beyond the arc) and his inconsistency in his third year make him a tough fit at forward alongside Griffin. That, in turn, could make him an intriguing trade chip for the Pistons.

The expectation is that Griffin's addition will push the Pistons back into playoff consideration in the Eastern Conference, where they are currently playing catch-up behind teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers. But there is likely to be an adjustment period, and it wouldn't be surprising if the Pistons made one more move to reshape the roster.

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Regardless, Griffin is now the new face of the franchise. It's been a while since the Pistons have had a star of his caliber. Expectations are once again high in Detroit.

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