Blake Griffin quickly made himself at home in Boston last season, earning the affection of Celtics fans all over. The former LA Clippers star recently expressed that the feeling was mutual, gushing over the city, the team, and the fanbase.
“Dude, Boston is unbelievable,” Griffin told the “Fore Play” podcast’s Dan Rappaport. “Living in Boston, playing in Boston was, like, one of the best experiences. And I wasn’t even like [playing major minutes]. The fans are incredible. The team — just having a team that’s so championship-focused, like they do everything [they can to be the best].
One of the best parts, the players on that team are just like such a great group of guys. Everybody’s all different... A guy like Jayson Tatum, who’s a legit superstar and is just so humble. He talks to everybody on the team, talks to the whole staff... he’ll go sit and have a conversation with whoever.”
Though Griffin had nothing but good things to say about the Celtics and the city of Boston, whether or not he’ll be back for a second season has yet to be seen.
Both NBA Insider Marc Stein and Bobby Manning of CLNS Media and CelticsBlog have reported that the team has interest in bringing back the six-time All-Star, but Griffin is more unsure about another season in Boston due to distance from his family on the west coast.
The Cs have two open roster spots, one of which could easily go to the 34-year-old big man who was effective in limited minutes last season.
Though he only suited up in 41 games, Griffin’s presence was still felt both on and off the court. Joe Mazzulla used him as a spot starter during games where Al Horford was resting, and he was actually pretty solid.
In sixteen starts for the Celtics, Griffin averaged 8.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game while shooting 52.2% from the field and 38.8% from distance. He wasn’t perfect though. There were a few instances where opposing offenses targeted Griffin as the drop man in Boston’s pick-and-roll defense and had great success.
At the end of the day, the Cs got a great deal from the 2009 No. 1 overall pick, despite his shortcomings on the defensive end. He even popped off and knocked down five 3-pointers to help down the rival Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 8 — it ruled.
Plus, Griffin was a great presence in Boston’s locker room, by all accounts. The Athletic’s Jay King published a whole piece on the good vibes that the Oklahoma native brought along with him. Celtics center Luke Kornet had plenty of great things to say about Griffin.
“He just has personal relationships with every person on the team,” Kornet told King. “And I think that’s something that really stands out: the ability to just care and reach out to everyone in some way and also respect everyone is another big part of it. It’s kind of hard to explain, but top to bottom he just reaches out to everybody. And then when you’re in groups, because he knows everyone well, he’s perfect at bringing people together.”
If Griffin elects to retire or sign elsewhere this summer, his time in Boston will be remembered as a positive one. It’s tough to imagine anyone will wear No. 91 after he’s done — not because the Celtics will retire it, just because I’m not convinced anyone else wants to wear the number (don’t worry, I’m not that crazy).