Maybe — just maybe — Steve Nash shouldn’t have taken Blake Griffin out of the rotation. After starting against Cleveland on Nov. 22, Griffin didn’t play in a game again until Dec. 8. He’s one of the few Brooklyn Nets players that isn’t in the health and safety protocols, so Nash has had to rely on him heavily over the past week.
In last Tuesday’s overtime win against Toronto, Griffin started and finished with 13 points (4-of-6 shooting), six assists, and five rebounds. Two days later in a win over Philadelphia, he scored 17 points (7-of-16 shooting) and pulled down nine rebounds.
Last Saturday against Orlando, Griffin and Patty Mills started alongside three rookies. The 32-year-old left the game early because of knee tightness, but not before scoring 17 points and adding seven rebounds and six assists.
Nash removing Griffin from the rotation altogether was mind-boggling, but now Brooklyn’s head coach is ironically having to depend on the 12-year veteran.
Blake Griffin belongs in the rotation for the Brooklyn Nets.
After being one of the Nets’ best players in the postseason last year, Griffin got off to a flat start this year. We wholeheartedly agree with Nash replacing him with LaMarcus Aldridge in the starting lineup, but as for taking him out of the rotation completely? Not at all.
Following last Saturday’s loss to the Magic, Nash commented on Griffin’s recent play:
"“Yeah, Blake’s played great,” Nash said. “Like I said to him, we know there’s always something around the corner. Although he was out of the rotation for a little while, we knew something would happen and he’d get his opportunity again.”"
It took seven players entering the health and safety protocols for Griffin’s minutes to increase, but as that number increased to 10 and Kevin Durant entered the protocol, Griffin’s role expanded even more.
Of course Nash is turning to Griffin now, but what would’ve happened if Brooklyn’s outbreak never took place? He likely would’ve remained on the bench playing for limited minutes.
Griffin had to find ways to stay in playing shape without knowing when he was going to stop foot on the court again. He was agitated about leaving Saturday’s game early, but he prided himself in being there to assist his team.
"“But it would be more frustrating if I didn’t stay ready and I wasn’t there for my teammates, because when everybody’s there for each other. So that’s the mentality we’ve got to have all season.”"
In last week’s three games, he averaged 15.7 points and seven rebounds. Nets fans got to see the same player that Griffin was in the playoffs last year.
We’re glad Griffin got a chance to prove himself again. Hopefully, even after Brooklyn returns its full lineup, Nash will continue to utilize Griffin to the best of his abilities. He’s once again going to be valuable to the Nets in the long run.