Blake Griffin: The Clippers’ most important player in 2017-18
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For the first time in Blake Griffin’s career, the Los Angeles Clippers are his team. 

In the past teammates would defer to Chris Paul, but now Griffin is the elder statesman and the team will do as he does. Owner Steve Ballmer and the front office committed to Griffin in a big way this offseason, inking the star power forward to a five-year, $173 million contract. 

Not only is Griffin an extraordinary athlete, but he has developed more of an outside jump shot. As teams go small, he could also find himself playing center in some lineups. The key for Griffin will be to exploit matchups against smaller defenders by backing them down in the paint and navigating his way to the rim. 

Even though Griffin has posted great numbers throughout his career, he has the opportunity to reach a new level in 2017-18. The Clippers will need to make up for Paul’s production, and that will start with the power forward.

"I'm excited about this new challenge," Griffin said. "It's going to be fun.”

Last season, Griffin averaged 21.6 PPG and 8.1 RPG. Those numbers were consistent with his career totals.

Clippers head coach Doc Rivers envisions Griffin playing multiple roles for the team this season. “There will be times when Blake is the tallest guy on the floor," Rivers said. "We want him to be an aggressive player, an attack player. He'll bring the ball up at times. He'll be one of the guys we use as a facilitator."

In addition, the acquisition of point guard Milos Teodosic should create plenty of open looks for Griffin. Albeit on an international stage, Teodosic has proven to be a crafty passer and has been known for finding his teammates in their sweet spots.

Different does not necessarily mean worse in Los Angeles. The team's previous formula was not working, so management decided to retool in an attempt to take that next step. Griffin will function as the focal point. If training camp is any indication, he is up to the task.

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