Shortly after Blake Griffin accepted a buy-out agreement with the Detroit Pistons, it seemed like a shoo-in that he would join the Brooklyn Nets. Sure enough, Griffin officially signed with the Nets on Monday, March 7th, for $1.2 million for the remainder of the season once he cleared waivers.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 7, 2021
The Nets were the perfect match for Griffin, filled with old teammates like DeAndre Jordan, the other half of “Lop City” from their time with the Los Angeles Clippers. Along with that, Bruce Brown was on the Pistons last season with Griffin before being traded to the Nets. On top of that, over the offseason, there were reports that Griffin had been working out with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, probably unknowing they would be on the same team, but it is good to know they already have some chemistry.
Griffin will not mess with the team’s camaraderie, with friendships already built into the team, and on the court, he can add value and fill in holes that the Nets have.
Griffin has been having a lousy season this season compared to the rest of his career, scoring 12.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game. This could be a result of him being on a Pistons team that is already out of playoff contention, many years of injures taking a toll on his body, along with him turning 32 on March 16th. These could all be factors in why Griffin has been underwhelming this season, which raises the question of what he can do for this team.
It is no secret that the Nets defense has not been good and is the team’s biggest weakness, and Griffin does not do anything to help that. He was at least a solid defender in his prime, but it has not been great in this career stage. In the last two seasons, Griffin has posted a Defensive Rating of 115 and 114, his career highs. Along with that, he has never really been a great defensive player, never averaging over a block and only averaging over one assist twice in his 11-year career.
Now on offense is where Griffin can add value to an already great offensive team. Over the last few years, Griffin has expanded his game from just an in-the-paint dunker and lop catcher to almost a point forward passer and solid three-point shooter. After attempting less than one three-point shot a game in the first six years of his career, Griffin has evolved into a solid 33% three-point shooter, taking 6.2 a game and making 2 this season. On top of that, he has become a great passer as a big, averaging 4.4 assists for his career. On a Nets team that is prioritizing spacing and ball movement, Griffin is a perfect fit. Now, if Griffin still has any more hoops in his legs that he has been saving, that will make him even more devastating as a lop threat as we have already seen with Irving and James Harden throwing lops to Jordan.
Griffing brings a new style of versatility, similar to what Jeff Green was playing. Green played many minutes at Center, but because Green is not a great rebounder, only averaging 3.6, the Nets would allow many offensive rebounds. Griffin can expand on this role and play a similar style as Green, but because he is a better rebounder, the team will be better on the glass.
Head Coach Steve Nash will have to find out exactly how to use Griffin, but the best way might be having him always be on the court with either Irving or Harden. Griffin can clear out the driving lane with his spacing and hit down an open three if it is available. He can create for the two guards or others on the court with his passing from the post. If you limit his minutes to 15 to 20 minutes a game, compared to the 30 minutes a game he played while on the Pistons, he can rest up more and be more useful on the defensive end, and maybe regain the power in his legs for dunks.
This Griffin signing has a low floor and a high ceiling if it all works out. Griffin is coming to Brooklyn for a ring, and let’s hope he plays like it.
Blake is coming to Brooklyn to get a ring ? pic.twitter.com/T0jBEaCMJD
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 8, 2021
Photo: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports