Blake Griffin has quietly blossomed into one of the top pound-for-pound passers in the game today. The 6-foot-10 power forward averaged 4.2 assists over 504 games with the Los Angeles Clippers. After his trade to the Detroit Pistons last season, he upped his production to 6.2 dimes per game.
If all goes according to plan in his first full season with the Pistons, Griffin will emerge as the team's lead playmaker - even surpassing the assist output from point guard Reggie Jackson, who has averaged 6.1 assists per game through parts of four seasons in Detroit.
“I hope he does,” new Pistons head coach Dwane Casey said, according to Pistons.com's Keith Langlois. “Because that’ll free Reggie up to get off of the ball, to move without the ball a little bit more. That means other players are cutting, moving, and we’ll be harder to figure out and predict and scout.”
Frontcourt player boasting traditional point guard duties on offense has gained steam in recent years. It's not uncommon to see "point forwards" (and even "point centers") lead their teams in assists per game. The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, the first and fifth-ranked teams in teams of offensive efficiency last year, featured attacks where the top assist men - Draymond Green (7.3) and LeBron James (9.1), respectively - were nominally listed as power forwards.
For his part, Griffin said he's “very comfortable" embracing the point forward role.
"This is a style I’m used to playing," said Griffin. “Even more fast paced than what I’m used to playing, but much more similar. I think you’ll see the ball move around a lot, a lot of drive and kicks, a lot of shots at the rim, a lot of threes - kind of cutting out some of those unnecessary low-percentage shots as far as analytics go.”