The Brooklyn Nets, once in possession of arguably the worst collection of interior talent in the league, are now staring a potential logjam in the face given the presence of Nic Claxton and Blake Griffin.
Claxton, who missed most of the early parts of the season due to an injury, is averaging 10.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.0 steals, and 1.4 blocks in his five-game stint back from injury. However, Claxton now might face competition for his playing time, as the arrival of Griffin makes the Nets stronger inside.
Even though Griffin averaged just 12.3 points per game while shooting 36% from the floor with the Detroit Pistons, the Nets scooped him up after he was bought out, as they are hoping the former Clippers star can find his old form alongside Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving.
The Nets are faced with a classic rotation dilemma, considering how they intend to play Griffin at center. Do they plan the established veteran, or the unproven young player? Maybe, just maybe, both of them can work together.
Can Blake Griffin and Nic Claxton share the floor for the Brooklyn Nets?
The two players might be listed at the same position, but they have completely different skillsets. Griffin, no longer the skywalker he was in LA, is a pick-and-pop shooter that can rebound. Claxton might be 6-11, but he can put the ball on the floor, get to the rim, and block shots on the defensive end.
Before Brooklyn makes any firm declarations about his role on this team, the Nets should experiment with a lineup that puts Griffin at power forward and Claxton at center, as their divergent skillsets could puzzle opposing teams, even if it means that veteran Jeff Green will see his playing time cut.
While Green has been shooting the ball well for the Nets this year, Griffin’s offensive ceiling is still much higher. In addition, it might be more realistic to eat into the 34-year-old’s minutes instead of the 21-year-old, especially considering how Claxton is one fo the few Nets who can contribute in a positive way on defense.
The Nets will need to be very careful with how minutes are decided here, as Griffin shouldn’t get extra time over Claxton just because of his reputation. If Claxton keeps getting better and Griffin rediscovers his shot, the Nets might have one of the best benches in the league.