Should Brooklyn Nets bench Blake Griffin amid shooting woes?

Nets forward Blake Griffin (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images)
Nets forward Blake Griffin (Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images) /

After a shaky start to the 2021-22 campaign, the Brooklyn Nets have rebounded in the form of a four-game winning streak.

The main concern after the first handful of games was James Harden’s struggles to adapt to being unable to draw fouls on non-basketball plays. While Harden still isn’t scoring as efficiently as fans would like, he’s shown enough of late that suggests he’ll nip this in the bud as the season wears on.

Getting beyond Griffin, James Harris has overcome his sluggish start to the season, LaMarcus Aldridge is playing at in incredibly high level, and Kevin Durant has asserted himself as one of the MVP favorites.

You know what hasn’t gotten talked about enough, though? That would be Blake Griffin’s surprisingly poor start to the year.

With Griffin struggling to find himself and Aldridge proving to be a seamless fit in Brooklyn’s offense, should Steve Nash swap them in the starting lineup?

Should the Nets should consider benching Blake Griffin amid his shooting slump.

It says a lot about Griffin’s start to the season that his best game came in Sunday’s win over the Pistons when he posted 8 points and five rebounds on 3-of-4 shooting. Don’t believe us? Let’s take a look at his game log.

  • 6 points and 5 rebounds on 40% shooting in 22 minutes (-6 plus-minus)
  • 4 points and 3 rebounds on 16.6% shooting in 19 minutes (-7 plus-minus)
  • 2 points and 9 rebounds on 14.3% shooting in 18 minutes (-2)
  • 6 points and 4 rebounds on 25% shooting in 18 minutes (+3)
  • 3 points and 3 rebounds on 14.3% shooting in 19 minutes (+2)
  • 8 points and 5 rebounds on 75% shooting in 20 minutes (+12)
  • 7 points and 7 rebounds on 22.2% shooting in 30 minutes (+2)

See what we’re saying? It goes beyond the box score, too, obviously. Griffin almost looks unsure of himself on the court, which pales in comparison to the confident, assertive version we saw last year after he signed with Brooklyn.

Griffin is also shooting a lowly 16.7% on threes.

Aldridge, meanwhile is averaging 12.3 points and 4.9 rebounds on 65.5% (!) shooting. He’s third on the team in scoring and first in plus-minus (+45). Griffin is fifth in the latter category, and that’s only because he’s been starting.

This isn’t to say we don’t recognize Griffin’s value. His physicality, grit and personality were indispensable for the Nets when Durant and Harden were sidelined with hamstring injuries last season.

Griffin drew two charges against the Hawks and is currently leading the NBA in that department at 0.86 per game. The shooting will return at some point. We have no doubts about that. Until it does, though, we don’t see a problem with slotting him to the bench in favor of Aldridge, who deserves some run with the starters.