The Brooklyn Nets signed Blake Griffin earlier this month after the six-time All-Star agreed to a buyout with the Detroit Pistons. The Nets — already with perennial All-Stars in Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving – had their fourth star.
But Griffin, unlike Brooklyn’s Big Three, is not still in his prime. Not close. All that does is set the stage for him to potentially thrive as a role player for the championship-hopeful Nets.
Still, one question lingers as he eyes his Nets debut sometime in the coming days: Can he still dunk?
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Griffin Delivers Promise
Remember Lob City? Those high-flying Clippers teams from 2011-17 featured Chris Paul at the point and lots of dunks by current Nets center DeAndre Jordan and Griffin?
We’re a long, long way from those days.
It’s hard to believe, but Griffin’s last dunk came on December 6, 2019 — a startling stat when considering how many highlight-reel slams the former No. 1 overall pick has on his resume.
Could that change soon?
“That’s the plan,” Griffin said when asked by ESPN’s Malika Andrews if Nets fans will see some of his vintage dunks. “We’ll see. I know a lot’s been made about that. But I promise you I still can. I promise that.”
One-on-one with Blake Griffin: The Nets forward discusses how he envisions his role with Brooklyn, what winning a title would mean to him — and of course, dunking. Catch the full interview tonight ahead of the Knicks/Nets game on @ESPN (8 ET). pic.twitter.com/1jAhxZAZ4G
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) March 15, 2021
So there’s still some hope that some version of Lob City — certainly a watered-down version — could be resurrected in Brooklyn.
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Griffin Looking to Fill the Gaps for Nets
The bigger question, of course, is how Griffin fits in with his new Nets teammates, and in his new role. Griffin has averaged 21.4 points on 49.5% shooting over the span of his 12-year NBA career, but averaged only 12.3 points on 36.5% shooting in 20 games with the Pistons earlier this season. He also averaged 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists in those games.
“I think I’ll be able to more clearly define my role, but be there to fill the gaps,” Griffin said when asked about what he’ll bring to the Nets. “We have three guys that are unbelievably dynamic. For me it’s just about being that guy that can facilitate a little bit, score when I need to. I think at this point in my career, my game sort of lends itself to that role.
Andrews then asked Griffin to describe, in one word, where he is at this point in his career.
“Hungry,” Griffin said. “That’s the main goal, is to win a championship. After being in the playoffs and then missing the playoffs for a certain period of time, that hunger stays alive and it grows, and that’s where I’m at. I know myself and I know what I can do. I’m just ready to get out there.”