Blake Griffin is the fulcrum of the Detroit offense, last season when he was off the floor the Pistons were 6.9 points per 100 possession worse on that end of the floor. He’s the playmaker out of the elbow that everything runs through, and when he was out in the playoffs injured the team fell apart.
Which is why this is bad news:
Griffin is out until at least the first week of November due to hamstring and knee soreness, the team announced Tuesday. Griffin is not traveling with the team to Indiana for the season opener and, based on the timeline announced by the team, he will miss at least the five games the Pistons play in October, and they have four games the first week of November.
Markieff Morris would make the most sense as a replacement for Griffin as a starter, but he is questionable for the opener with lower back tightness. If Morris can’t go, Dwane Casey may go with a Luke Kennard as the starter and go small, at least that’s what did in the playoffs.
The Pistons are considered a bubble playoff team in the East, they made it in with 41 wins last season but there have been questions about whether they can step forward this season. Losing Griffin for any length of time is a setback in making the postseason — the first 10 games of the regular season count just the same as the last 10.
Griffin averaged 24.5 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 5.4 assists a game, while shooting 36.2 percent from three last season. He was an All-Star and All-NBA forward who pulled the Pistons into the postseason. They need him back healthy to do that again.