Harris DeckerFor the past few weeks, ESPN’s Chris Broussard has been reporting about the potential of a Clippers-Knicks trade, swapping Blake Griffin for Carmelo Anthony. Yesterday, he expanded on his report, saying that according to league sources: “New York Knicks officials have discussed proposing a trade to the Los Angeles Clippers for Blake Griffin.”
I want to be the one that tells you that this makes absolutely no sense.
Over his career, Blake Griffin has averaged 20.6 points per game, adding 3.5 assists and 10.4 rebounds. There’s no doubt he’s an incredible talent. During his 4 seasons on the Los Angeles Clippers, Griffin has played in a grand total of 17 playoff games, winning 1 series over the Memphis Grizzlies in ’11-’12.
There are a number of things to factor in while considering this trade. First is the why. As Broussard points out, if the Knicks feel that they won’t be able to resign Anthony once he opts out, then they have to explore trading him. They can’t allow what happened to the Los Angeles Lakers during the Dwight Howard saga to happen to them. They need to get something in return for him. As it stands today, I firmly believe that Anthony will stay in New York, re-signing and then bringing guys to play with him here.
Second is a look into the styles of these two players. Both are forwards, with Anthony able to play both power and small forward. Griffin is relegated to primarily playing power forward. The main difference in their games is that Anthony is much more talented in finding his own shot. He can knock down shots from almost anywhere on the court, shooting 34% from behind the arc over the course of his career. Griffin has the ability to create a shot but most often, that shot has to originate inside the paint.
Chris Paul is another thing to factor in when looking at this trade. This is the most important factor for me. Since Griffin’s 2nd year in the league, he has played alongside Paul, who has been an elite point guard in this league over his 8 year NBA career. While he did play without Paul during his rookie season, he played that year with Eric Bledsoe and Baron Davis. He’s always had a guy to feed him the ball and set things up for his epic alley-oops.
If he were traded to New York, he’d be in the same position Anthony is in now. He’s a great player without any semblance of a point guard. Raymond Felton, Pablo Prigioni and Beno Udrih have all been bad this year and Griffin’s game will suffer the same way Anthony’s would thrive if put with Paul. It is in that light that the Clippers should jump on this opportunity. If I were Gary Sacks, I wouldn’t be able to accept this trade quick enough.
The only thing that pushes me into this trade as a Knicks fan is age. Griffin is only 24 years old while Anthony will be 30 this May. Obviously the opportunity to get younger would be great for the Knicks, but at what cost?
Griffin would be a shell of himself without an elite point guard and if you’re asking me which player I’d rather rebuild around, the answer would be Anthony every single time. The Knicks need a point guard. Plain and simple. They need a guy who can feed the ball to the open man and until then, having a guy who can create his own shots is more beneficial than an elite rebounding, slam-dunk specialist. Sorry Blake, we’ll stick with Melo.