Blake Griffin is set to become just the third player in franchise history to be selected an All-Star in consecutive seasons, this time as a starter.
Rumors have swirled about a Howard for Griffin swap, but Los Angeles would be making a huge mistake by dealing away its star power forward.
During his Rookie of the Year campaign last season, Griffin did much more than establish himself as the most exciting player in the league, he legitimized the Clippers as a basketball organization.
Aside from his extended highlight reel, Griffin averaged 22.5 points on 50.6% shooting from the field, 12.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game.
After missing his first season with a knee injury, Griffin posted 63 double-doubles and two triple-doubles, closing out the year with a 31 point, 10 rebound and 10 assist performance in a win over Memphis.
In just one season, he became the most popular player the team has ever had since moving to Los Angeles in 1984.
The 22-year-old became the first rookie selected to an All-Star Game since Yao Ming in 2002, the finale of his breakout performance during the weekend hosted at the Staples Center.
Griffin teamed with John Wall to lead the Rookies over the Sophomores, won the Slam Dunk contest and totaled eight points, five rebounds and five assists in less than 15 minutes of play to help a Western Conference victory.
For the Clippers, Griffin has absolutely been a franchise savoir.
The Clippers are averaging 19,385 fans in games away from the Staples Center, the highest average in the NBA this season.
Last season the Clippers ranked seventh in road attendance, the year Griffin sat out with his knee injury, the team was 29th in the league, drawing 16,225 fans per game.
The all-time record for the franchise sits 911 games below .500 and with elevated expectations this season, the Clippers have proven they are legitimate contenders in the Western Conference.
When Paul demanded a trade away from the Hornets, both Los Angeles teams were on his wish list, a notion that would have been laughable prior to Griffin’s arrival.
Paul, Griffin and center DeAndre Jordan have made the Clippers into the most entertaining team in the NBA, with high flying dunks, dazzling passes and a constant up-tempo offense.
For all of the accolades Griffin received after his first year in the league, he set out to improve his game.
While his point and rebound averages have taken a slight dip, Griffin has displayed more offensive versatility. Griffin is shooting 52.1% from the field, largely because he ranks third in the league in total dunks, but he is displaying a slightly improved jump shot.
Last season, Griffin connected on just 34% of his mid-range jump shots. This year, he his shooting 38% from mid-range.
Howard has added the Clippers to his wish list, joining the Lakers, Nets and Mavericks.
As the most dominant center in the game, Howard has led a team the NBA Finals, been selected Defensive Player of the Year and to the All-NBA First Team for each of the past three seasons.
The 26-year-old Howard once again leads the league in rebounding and if he can finish the season on top, it’ll mark the fourth time in five years.
Howard has never played with an elite point guard like Paul and if the Clippers can land him in a deal, they will join the Heat as the top contenders in the league. Only Howard’s presence in the lineup shouldn’t cost the team Griffin.
The Clippers have never drafted a superstar during their time in Los Angeles. Griffin is responsible for other star players wanting to join the organization and making the Clippers a destination franchise instead of a fallback during free agency.
For rescuing a franchise considered the laughingstock of the league, Griffin shouldn’t be shown the door two months after the Clippers landed the superstar point guard.
By dealing away a dominant big man just scratching his potential, the Clippers will surly land back into obscurity soon.