Detroit Pistons’ Blake Griffin was the best player traded this season. Tobias Harris, however, has impressed with the Los Angeles Clippers.
It’s far too early to make an assessment of the deal, especially considering the small sample size of the two main players involved. Even though other players like Avery Bradley and Boban Marjonovic were included in the trade, 25-year-old Harris was the centerpiece for Los Angeles.
Since his arrival, his performance on the court for the Clippers has been comparable to Griffin’s, the five-time All-Star.
Harris has averaged 1.03 points per possession for Los Angeles, which ranks in the 74th percentile in the NBA. Griffin, on the other hand, has averaged 0.87 points per possession with Detroit. His struggles in the halfcourt offense while with the Pistons have put him in the 25th percentile for overall offensive efficiency.
We broke down their performance on their most common play type for their new teams.
Griffin: 10-for-22, 45.5 percent (1.11 PPP)
Harris: 17-for-44, 38.6 percent (1.02 PPP)
The Pistons run spot-up possessions more than any other play for their offense. Only one team in the league has been more efficient than Detroit on spot-ups so far this season.
It’s no surprise that Griffin has thrived as a spot-up scorer with his new squad but Harris, too, has looked good in this offense for Los Angeles. He has also been given far more opportunities for the Clippers than Griffin has had while with the Pistons.
Griffin has been very good on spot-ups for his team and Harris has been good as well.
Griffin: 22-for-40, 55 percent (1.03 PPP)
Harris: 7-for-15, 46.7 percent (1.10 PPP)
Blake Murphy recently wrote about why Griffin fits alongside Andre Drummond (via The Athletic):
“Detroit’s answer has been punching (‘punch’ is NBA lingo for a post-up) it inside to Griffin more frequently. Van Gundy, to his credit, has adapted his system to fit Griffin’s natural instinct: catching and attacking from the mid-post. While this might seem to cause the same spacing problems, with Griffin and Drummond hovering around the rim together, it actually meshes their complimentary skill sets perfectly.”
Griffin has run post-ups on 22.5 percent of his offensive possessions with the Pistons, which makes that his most-used play type. He has been excellent on post-ups since joining Detroit.
Harris, perhaps unexpectedly, has been excellent for Los Angeles when he has posted up on offense as well. It’s a welcome addition to his game for the Clippers.
Griffin: 8-for-27, 29.6 percent (0.69 PPP)
Harris: 9-for-16, 56.3 percent (1.05 PPP)
Detroit’s head coach Stan Van Gundy has not been afraid to call isolation plays for Griffin. While the play has excited fans, it has remained far from effective for him.
He is shooting below 30 percent when put in a one-on-one offense for the Pistons.
While he was below average on this play type for the Pistons, Harris has proven himself more than capable (albeit in a small sample size) in iso situations for the Clippers.
Griffin: 6-for-11, 54.5 percent (1.16 PPP)
Harris: 9-for-19, 47.4 percent (0.84 PPP)
Last season, the two forwards had nearly identical production in a transition offense for their respective teams.
Even though Griffin has performed at a similar pace for the Pistons, Harris has fallen off quite a bit in transition for Los Angeles. It’s worth mentioning that the Clippers have had the third-worst transition offense (1.05 PPP) in the Western Conference so far this season.
This is an area where Griffin has separated himself since the trade, as he has been significantly better than Harris.
Pick-And-Roll (Ball handler)
Griffin: 3-for-19, 15.8 percent (0.55 PPP)
Harris: 15-for-25, 60.0 percent (1.21 PPP)
The most common play type on offense for the Clippers is the pick-and-roll through a ballhandler. Only three teams have run this more frequently than Los Angeles so far this season.
Harris has been a seamless fit for head coach Doc Rivers in this particular type of offense. Among those with as many possessions so far this season, the only player who has been more effective than Harris in Los Angeles on this play type has been Houston’s Gerald Green.