Celtics

6 things to know about new Celtics signing Blake Griffin

Griffin was once one of the league's best players and has already developed a career outside of basketball.

Blake Griffin won't have to guard Jaylen Brown this season.

The Celtics added a familiar name to basketball fans to their roster as the 2022-23 nears opening tip.

Blake Griffin signed a one-year deal to come to Boston, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Friday.

Here are six things to know about Griffin.

He won the dunk contest in his rookie season – finishing his performance by using a memorable prop.

For several NBA fans, Griffin became a household name during All-Star Weekend in 2011. After the No. 1 overall pick missed the entire 2009-10 season due to an injury, Griffin made an immediate impact as a rookie, averaging 22.5 points and 12.1 rebounds per game to help earn him an All-Star bid.

Griffin had a busy weekend that year, playing in the Rookie-Sophomore Challenge and participating in the Slam Dunk Contest, too. Griffin reached the final round of the Slam Dunk Contest, going up against JaVale McGee. For his final dunk of the night, Griffin brought out a Kia sedan and jumped over the hood to dunk it. The dunk sealed the win as Griffin received 68 percent of the fan vote. Griffin went on to unanimously win the Rookie of the Year award, too, becoming the first player to win it in unanimous fashion in 21 seasons.

He was one of the NBA’s best players for a five-year stretch.

Griffin continued to soar following his impressive rookie season. The Clippers traded for Chris Paul and became known as “Lob City.” The star duo immediately became one of the best in basketball, helping the Clippers win a playoff series in three of their first four seasons together.

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Griffin emerged as one of the league’s top stars during that stretch, averaging at least 20 points per game four times between 2011-16 and nearly averaged a double-double per game. He was named to one of the All-NBA teams four straight years, too (second-team from 2012-14 and third-team in 2015).

The 2013-14 season was the best in Griffin’s career. He averaged 24.1 points and 9.5 rebounds per game to lead the Clippers to a franchise-best 57-25 record in Doc Rivers’s first season as coach. Griffin finished third in MVP voting that year as a result. Griffin also finished tied for eighth in the MVP voting in the 2014-15 season when he averaged 21.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.

Injuries have plagued him for much of the last seven seasons

When the Clippers appeared like they were about to get over the hump and reach the Western Conference finals, one of Griffin or Paul would often get hurt.

Griffin was limited during the Clippers’ first-round playoff loss to the Grizzlies in 2013 due to an ankle sprain. In the 2015-16 season, Griffin missed time due to a partially torn quad. Just a few days before he was expected to return from that injury, Griffin fought a Clippers staffer and suffered an injury to his right hand. The Clippers suspended Griffin for the action and he ended up missing 45 games due to the injury and suspension. In the Clippers’ first-round series against the Trail Blazers that year, Griffin aggravated the quad injury and he was forced to miss the remainder of the series, which Los Angeles lost.

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Griffin missed a month in the 2016-17 season due to surgery on his right knee and in the Clippers’ first-round loss to the Jazz, he injured the planter plate of his right big toe. He re-signed with the Clippers following that season, but missed a month due to an MCL sprain.

After getting traded to the Pistons during the 2017-18 season, Griffin remained mostly healthy over the next two seasons, missing just a few games for a bone bruise. By the end of the 2018-19 season though, Griffin had an ailing left knee that forced him to miss some games down the stretch of the regular season and miss the first two games of the Pistons’ first-round series against the Bucks.

Griffin had surgery on the knee following that season, but he only played in 18 games the following year due to issues again with the same knee, undergoing surgery for the issue a second time.

Griffin played in just 46 games between the Pistons and Nets during the 2020-21 season and played in 56 games last season, mostly coming off the bench.

He had a mini career resurgence a few years ago.

Griffin had one of the best seasons of his career in his first full year with the Pistons in 2018-19. He changed his game up a bit, developing a jump shot to help alleviate the stress on his knees from much of the dunking he did during his days with the Clippers.

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Griffin’s transformation worked for a bit as he shot 36.2 percent from 3-point territory to score a career-high 24.5 points per game that season. Griffin’s 3-point shot hasn’t been that consistent though since that season. He’s shot 24.3, 34.1, and 26.2 percent from deep over each of the last three seasons.

He led the league in charges drawn last season, a reason why the Celtics signed him.

Despite playing just 56 games and 958 minutes last season, Griffin drew 26 charges – the best in the league.

The Celtics got a taste of the spark Griffin can bring off the bench when they faced him and the Nets in their first-round series last season. The Nets were struggling for much of Game 3, so in the fourth quarter of that game, Griffin got his first minutes of the series. He ended up scoring eight points and brought a jolt to the Nets though it didn’t last in that game or in Game 4 as the Celtics pulled off the sweep.

Griffin’s performance obviously impressed the Celtics enough to sign him.

“Well, he only played a couple of games in the Boston series but if you’re the Celtics and you saw him throwing himself around out there, making a lot of veteran winning plays, you had to be thinking, ‘Is he going to get a minimum deal next year?’ Because if you just need some energy off the bench, he was showing teams he still has some of that,” an Eastern Confrence general manager told Heavy.com’s Sean Deveney. “You have to wonder if the Celtics saw that and filed it away, like, ‘We’ve got to give him a call on July 1.’ With the success the Celtics have had, Griffin would be interested.”

He’s pursuing a comedy career.

The 33-year-old already has his next career lined up. During his time in Los Angeles, Griffin became interested in comedy.

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Griffin had a stint working for the comedy website Funny or Die and made his comedy debut at a Just for Laughs festival in 2016. That same year, he made his acting debut when he appeared in an episode of the Comedy Central show “Broad City.” He also appeared in an episode of the “Eric Andre Show” and the film “The Female Brain” to go along with being a roaster at the Comedy Central Rost of Alec Baldwin. In 2021, Griffin debuted a hidden camera series with TruTV called “Double Cross with Blake Griffin.”

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