Blake Griffin did his homework.
The star power forward knows the history of the Detroit Pistons, one of eight NBA franchises with at least three championships.
He congratulated his new teammates on the rousing victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday night.
There was a late-night session with Synergy Sports Technology on his laptop to scout his new teammates and get a head start on the process of developing chemistry.
And it was clear at his introductory news conference Wednesday afternoon that Griffin hopes to write a good chapter for the franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game since the 2007-08 season.
“The franchise is storied and has had tremendous success,” Griffin said at the Palace in Auburn Hills.
“The history, the fan base, the love from the fans and energy has been unbelievable. Just in this past 24 hours a lot of good will for being on the ground here.”
The Pistons, who at 23-26 are two games out of the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot, and Clippers stunned the NBA on Monday when they agreed on a deal that sent Griffin, forward Brice Johnson and center Willie Reed to Detroit in exchange for Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and a first- and second-round draft pick.
Griffin was joined on the podium by Johnson, Reed and Pistons general manager Jeff Bower.
The day was the result of the Pistons’ lengthy quest to land a star.
Bower said it has been an organizational priority since team president Stan Van Gundy took over in May 2015.
Griffin, an All-Star each of his first five seasons in the NBA, is averaging 22.6 points and 7.9 rebounds this season.
The goal to acquire a star came from Pistons owner Tom Gores.
“It’s the driving and guiding force behind our efforts and we take direction from him and we get a lot of motivation from him, his passion and his deep commitment to building a winner,” Bower said.
Griffin was asked about the difference between the Western Conference and his new home in the Eastern Conference.
“Uh, a little colder,” Griffin said to laughter.
The franchise is known for gritty players like Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace. How does he fit that mold?
“Somewhere in between Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace,” he said to more laughter.
If there was any lingering irritation after his exit from the Los Angeles Clippers, the only franchise he has known since being drafted No. 1 overall in 2009, he didn’t show it.
The media saw an engaging Griffin, who said all the right things during a 30-minute introduction.
But he turned serious when explaining how he sees a natural fit with Detroit, which is known for its blue-collar narrative.
He is the product of parents who were long-time educators in the Oklahoma City school system.
“Both of my parents are the hardest-working people I know,” Griffin said. “I think hard work is something that’s been instilled in me from a young age so I try to play that same way.
“Over the years with the Clippers, I was always adding things to my game, but the very base of my game has always been physical. It’s always been play hard and I try to live that way.”
And there’s something else to consider.
The Pistons want him.
The Clippers sold him on being a lifetime player with the franchise when they re-signed him to a five-year, $171 million deal last July.
He was traded six months later.
Griffin admitted he was shocked and there’s speculation Griffin should have pushed for a no-trade clause.
No regrets from Griffin.
“I want to play for an organization that wants me to play there and clearly this was an organization that wanted me to play here,” Griffin said. “Being stuck in a no-trade clause, it was something that was brought up but it wasn’t something that we actually went about obviously, so this is where I want to be, this is a place that wants me and that’s the type of organization I want to play for.”
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The naysayers point to Griffin’s health and hefty contract.
He missed most of December with a knee injury, and two games in January after taking an inadvertent elbow to the head.
Three seasons ago, he had a partially torn left quad and then suffered a broken hand from punching a member of the Clippers organization, who was a friend.
He has had surgery on both knees, and missed the final four games of last season’s first-round playoff series loss to Utah with a right toe injury.
But remember the Clippers performed extensive medical examinations before making the long-term financial commitment to Griffin that now belongs to the Pistons.
Pistons team doctors have examined his records and the franchise is hopeful because Griffin doesn’t have a chronic condition.
“Some of them are fluke,” Van Gundy said of the injuries. “Our doctors took a long, hard look at all of his medical records.
“We thought it was a manageable risk.”
“Injuries are part of the game,” Griffin said. “Some of them have been weird sort of injuries. Others have been rather normal, but I pride myself on keeping my body in the best shape I possibly can with how I eat, how I train, how I recover.
“I know without a doubt I’m giving myself the best possible chance to play and stay healthy and contribute to the team.”
Earlier in the day, Griffin blended in.
When practice was opened to the media at the training facility, Van Gundy was spotted talking to Griffin, Johnson and Reed before they exited into the locker room.
Griffin spent time in the dining room beside the media area.
When the court was clear later, Griffin spent a brief period shooting.
He arrived late Tuesday night and Pistons.com personnel greeted him at an area airport.
“This franchise has a history of hard-working teams,” Griffin told the website. “That’s how I was raised, that’s my principles. Being here is an awesome opportunity.
“This is my eighth year and I’ve been fortunate to play with a lot of good players and learn from them so hopefully a little bit of veteran leadership and steering this team in the right direction, helping the young guys and just fitting in and doing as much as I can.”
But Van Gundy doesn’t want Griffin blending in — he’s here to shine.
“I don’t think he will try to come on a vocal level try to take over right away,” Van Gundy said. “My only point to him is I don’t want that trying-to-fit-in thing to be what he does on court. I’ve seen that happen to guys. They’re a little reluctant to have the ball in their hands and be too aggressive offensively.
“Everybody (on the team) knows that’s what he was brought here to do. He just needs to play his game. That’s what we brought him here.”
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