Starter: Blake Griffin
Depth: Jon Leuer, Henry Ellenson
Last season, the Pistons really went for it by trading for Blake Griffin, who should theoretically be in his prime, but is already struggling to stay on the court in light of a number of injuries while trying to diversify his game to compensate for a loss of athleticism. Despite this, Griffin is still quite good and I think that we may collectively be underrating him a tad entering the season. He remains a consistent 20 points per game scorer and while his overall shooting percentages have slipped, last season he shot over 34 percent on nearly six 3-point attempts per game. While that’s still below league average, it’s passable and helps to spread the floor and make him a more well-rounded offensive talent.
He is also one of the best passing big men in the NBA, averaging nearly six assists per game last year. The question is whether this new, floor-spreading, jump-shooting Griffin would actually help his team more by playing more like he did during his first few seasons with the Clippers when he averaged over 10 rebounds per game as well. There’s also the questions of whether Griffin will be able to stay healthy, how he will blend with Andre Drummond, and if his production will drop without the Point God running things. While Griffin is still an All-Star caliber player, when healthy, there’s still more questions and uncertainty about him than perhaps any other major star in the league.
The Pistons also hope that Jon Leuer will be healthy again this season after appearing in just eight games last season. Leuer has been a solid enough defender over the last few seasons but takes a lot of 3’s with not that much success making them.
Also at the 4 is Henry Ellenson who despite being a first round pick in 2016, has played just 57 games with the team, spending lots of time with the Pistons’ G-League affiliate. In his spot appearances with the Pistons, though, Ellenson has not shown a lot to like and it’s not too likely that he will see many minutes if Leuer and Griffin are healthy. Though considering their recent histories, it seems likely we may see a decent amount of Ellenson after all.