The Brooklyn Nets are starting to get into some sort of groove. Following their blowout win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, the Nets are 14-5 and in first place in the Eastern Conference. Yet, 18 games into the season, Blake Griffin’s play has been a sore spot.
In fact, he did not log a minute against the C’s while LaMarcus Aldridge once again stole the spotlight. Griffin was the only Nets player to not enter the game despite the fact he was completely healthy.
Griffin signed his deal with Brooklyn back in March, and then re-signed back in August, but to say that he’s struggled so far this year would be an understatement. Griffin started the team’s first 17 games and is shooting 31.8% from the field and 16.1% from the 3-point line for an average of 5.5 points per game. Sheesh.
He wasn’t brought in last year primarily because of his scoring ability, but he proved to be a reliable option on the offensive end of the court. In his 26 games last year, he shot 49.2% from the field and 38.3% from long to average 10 points per game. His statistics this season tell a completely different story.
So what’s wrong with the six-time All-Star? He didn’t have to worry about rehabbing from an injury during the offseason and he got to spend it with the Nets. It was no secret that Brooklyn wanted to bring him back. Now, he’s in danger of losing his starting spot to Aldridge for the foreseeable future.
The Brooklyn Nets need Blake Griffin to get out of his slump.
It’s one thing to start the season out slow, but Griffin’s scoring woes are getting worse. For a team whose offense is led by Kevin Durant, the Nets need their other four starters to be able to score consistently or at least take advantage of open looks/favorable opportunities with the defense more intensely focused on KD and Harden.
Yes, Griffin leads the league with 12 charges drawn this year. He’s not hesitant to dive on the floor after loose balls and do the “dirty work,” … but while that type of play is invaluable, the 32-year-old can’t be a detriment on offense or else the Nets will suffer greatly against better competition.
He scored a season-high 14 points against Toronto on Nov. 7, but other than scoring 13 points against Detroit, he’s been almost invisible. He played a season-low nine minutes against the Cavaliers and shot 1-of-2 from the field for two points and added in two rebounds before his disappearing act against the Celtics.
It gets worse. Griffin hasn’t hit a 3-point shot since Brooklyn played the Raptors, a game in which he went 4-of-6 from downtown. Since then, he’s missed 22 3-pointers.
The player that joined the Nets towards the end of last season still has to be somewhere in there, right? Will playing with the second unit help get him out of his slump? It’s worth a shot … but Steve Nash not putting him in Wednesday’s game perhaps sent a stronger message.
There are so many questions, but no viable answers at this point. Unfortunately for Griffin, with a tough stretch of games over the next week, it’s unclear if Nash will use valuable time to experiment with the veteran to see where he may fit best. Griffin could be about to endure a very humbling stretch with Brooklyn.