Pistons make big gamble with Blake Griffin trade, but it’s unlikely to pay off

In sports, desperate acts rarely work out for the best. What Pistons coach and front office honcho Stan Van Gundy agreed to do on Monday, 10 days ahead of the February trade deadline, amounts to utter desperation, and it’s hard to see how this works out for the best in Detroit.

Not that there is no reason for desperation. The Pistons have dropped eight straight, including losses to the Hornets, Bulls, Nets and Jazz, none of whom are remotely close to postseason contention. Things have gone sideways in Detroit, quickly, and it is no secret in NBA circles that this collapse could cost Van Gundy his job.

By shipping away Avery Bradley, Tobias Harris, spare parts and a potential lottery pick to acquire Griffin, the Pistons have committed a king’s ransom — five years (including this one) and $173 million — to a player who is three years removed from last ranking among the elites. Griffin posts good numbers, certainly. No one would complain about 21.6 points, 9.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists.

Vegas F Pierre-Edouard Bellemare returned after missing seven games with a hand injury. … Atkinson has 15 points in his last 19 games after missing 11 games with a fractured foot suffered in late December.

“He’s the Milli Vanilli of coaching,” Ball said. “What I mean is, you can go stand in the same spot like Luke Walton did and win 20-something games when you’ve got the right horses just running. Sometimes less coaching is the best coaching, but some of these guys like to act like they’ve really coached some guys that know how to play.

“How do you coach KD [Kevin Durant], Steph Curry, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson? You know how you coach them? You don’t. Turn your back and let them do what they do. As soon as they win the championship, everybody is like ‘Oh, he’s a great coach.’ That team was put together by Mark Jackson. And now he jumped up and (is) trying to take all the credit. That’s why I’m calling him Milli Vanilli of coaching.”

If Bridges develops as a creator, he can be a star. Both Kawhi Leonard and Gordon Hayward fit the above criteria in 2016-17 — they are obviously absent from the 2017-18 data due to injuries — and while they’re not necessarily good direct comparisons, they do provide a template for the type of two-way player Bridges could become at his ceiling.

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