Blake Griffin has agreed to a deal with the Brooklyn Nets. This, of course, comes after the news of the Detroit Pistons buying him out.
On the court, the fit will be interesting for several reasons. Athletically Blake is no where near where he was in prior seasons. Remarkably, he hasn’t dunked a basketball in competition in over a year. This is all due to his injury history as well as his age. However, that is not to say he won’t be useful. His effectiveness depends on how he is used.
Offensively, there is no question he should be running the second unit. Blake is a more versatile player than he used to be. Running him as a point forward for the second unit would bring diversity and playmaking while Brooklyn’s stars are resting. He doesn’t want to just dunk the ball, and that’s fine. With his perimeter shot now a legitimate threat defenses have to respect his shooting, which opens up more facilitation for the Nets’ offense.
Before James Harden joined the team, Steve Nash was running more complex offensive sets that focused more on movement and direction. Nash has pocketed these plays in favor of letting Harden direct the floor, which makes sense. What also makes sense, is dusting this playbook off and letting Blake run the point with the bench. We’ve seen efficient bench scoring in Brooklyn before. Caris LeVert was actually having one of his best seasons before the Harden trade.
Defensively, Blake fits perfectly. This is because, well, no one on the Nets plays defense either. Clearly the strategy in Brooklyn is scoring over everything; a concept coach Nash was familiar with in his playing career. The Blake signing is a bit concerning on this side of the ball because at some point in the playoffs specific stops matter and he is on less defender to count on.
All together, Blake brings some gifts to the table but is not without his risks. His best role will be off the bench as a scoring contributor and facilitator in sparse minutes. Coach Nash has some work to do over this All-star break to find the best ways to use him and it will be an interesting way to test his coaching creativity.
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Eric Fritts is a writer from Connecticut living in Colorado. He’s covered the Celtics, the NBA in general, and sports cars in his writing experience.