It would be a mistake for the Miami Heat to pursue Blake Griffin

Mar 30, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Clippers defeated the Suns 124-118. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2017; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin (32) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. The Clippers defeated the Suns 124-118. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Blake Griffin will likely become a free agent. While he’ll garner much attention, it could be a mistake for the Miami Heat to bring him to South Beach.

Since entering the NBA in 2009, Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin has been one of the league’s most exciting talents, but for the last few years, he’s been one of the most disappointing.

2011’s Rookie of the Year, Griffin also took home the Sprite Slam Dunk championship that year, and has virtually had a microscope fixated on him ever since. His unique blend of speed, athleticism, and a recently developed outside shooting touch is eye candy for most NBA fans. After all, who could ever forget the Lob City phenomenon that dominated SportsCenter Top 10 reels for nearly six years.

During those six seasons, Griffin put up averages of 21.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while shooting 51.6 percent from the floor, and the Clippers were perennial playoff contenders year-in and year-out.

Griffin also worked considerably hard on his free throw shooting during that period, increasing his percentage from a Shaq-like 52 percent in 2011-12 all the way to a career-high 76 percent from the line this season.

He’s been a regular on the All-NBA team since 2012, earning three consecutive second team appearances and one spot on the All-NBA third team in 2015.

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For quite some time, Griffin was on his way to the highest level of superstardom imaginable.

The fans love him, he’s a Jordan Brand athlete. He’s also arguably the best in-game dunker in the sport of basketball and as the years went on, the Clippers turned into must-see television for me because of no. 32.

Whether it be a blurry League Pass stream on my phone or watching prime time action, I helplessly found myself drawn to this team that I had viewed as irrelevant just a year prior.

With the best point guard in basketball on his way in to distribute perfect dimes, it seemed like a match made in heaven.

The problem is, Griffin hasn’t played to that level since, and has missed a combined 83 games (that’s more than a season) over the course of the past three years, including this season.

Since blowing a 3-1 lead to the Houston Rockets in the 2015 Western Conference semi finals, Griffin has missed two consecutive postseasons due to injury, and the entire dynamic that has been the Los Angeles Clippers for over half of a decade is on the verge of implosion following a gut-wrenching home loss to the Utah Jazz in Game 7 on Sunday afternoon.

During their 111-106 Game 3 win in Utah, Griffin suffered an injury to the plantar plate of his right big toe, sidelining him for the remainder of the series. The Clippers lost to the Jazz in seven games, and now the future of that core is in question. Griffin can opt out of his $21 million contract this summer and seek a larger deal on the open market, which many expect him to do.

His durability is a major concern and that’s a risk. One that if I’m Pat Riley, I can not take. I do not believe that he will, either. Not with the price tag that Griffin will warrant, anyway.

On a quest for one more championship (he has nine), its unlikely that Riley will make Micky Arison cut an enormous check for a player that’s slightly declined over the past couple of seasons.

Not only has Griffin’s field goal percentage decreased in six consecutive seasons, his rebounding has declined as well. Griffin has not averaged double-digit rebounds for a season since 2011-12, and he’s currently at his second-lowest rating of his career at 8.3.

Not bad, but Hassan Whiteside can’t be relied on to snatch every rebound.

As his outside shot continues to develop, Griffin continuously spends more and more time away from the basket, and that’s a reasonable explanation.

This year, Griffin averaged nearly two 3-point attempts per game, by far a career-high.

He shot a respectable 34 percent from that distance, but his checks haven’t been getting cashed by his ability to hoist up shots from beyond the arc. In seven seasons, Griffin has only knocked down 80 total 3-pointers, and in an offensive system like Spoelstra’s, that’s a shot he will be consistently relied on to knock down. Will he be able to? More importantly, do you want to pay $30 million-plus to a 29-year-old project?

It’s not that I think he can’t do it, it’s just that at this point, I really don’t know. We’ve seen him have games where he looks extremely comfortable shooting the 3, and then at other times he’s seemed hesitant and timid.

Just ask Chris Bosh, LeBron James, Luol Deng, and James Johnson, who have all spent significant time at the power forward position in recent years. Spreading the floor has been a key component within Miami’s offensive scheme since the days of the Big Three.

In no way am I trying to knock Griffin. He’s an incredible offensive talent with all the potential in the world, but since that dreadful night when the Clippers lost Game 7 in Houston, I haven’t seen any fire, any hunger, or any desire for significant improvement. Injuries of course have played a huge role in this.

The point of the matter is that Griffin is boasting several lows, including the lowest win share rate of his career (min. 60 games) at 7.7. That’s over two points lower than his rookie season, when he boasted a rating of 9.8.

His usage percentage this season is the fourth-highest of his career (28.0) and he still holds the lowest offensive win shares rate at 5.4 (min. 60 games).

Next: What are the chances of re-signing Willie Reed?

Either way you dice it, Griffin is a high-risk, high-reward prospect at this point. We’re all well aware of his talent, but is the investment worth it when he’s missed the last two postseasons?

For a team attempting to build back to championship prominence quickly, that may not be an ingredient found in the mix.

With Riley stirring the spoon, don’t expect it be.