The Brooklyn Nets, already a star-ladden championship contender, added another dose of starpower with their recent signing of Blake Griffin. The 31-year-old is well past his All-Star prime, but still is poised to add significant value as a depth piece for the surging Nets.
How he meshes with his new team in a short amount of time will be crucial. But it appears at least one member of the team is already going out of his way to ensure it’s a smooth transition.
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Nash Grabs Lunch With Griffin
The Nets — and the rest of the NBA — are still in the midst of the All-Star break; Brooklyn doesn’t play again until Thursday, when it hosts the Boston Celtics at Barclays Center. Still, this is valuable time for any team to potentially work on off-the-court chemistry, and Nets coach Steve Nash appeared to take full advantage of that with Griffin on Tuesday, when the two were spotted grabbing lunch together outside.
A photo of the duo was posted on Twitter by @SamuelLachow, who said they were at Rucola, an Italian restaurant in Boerum Hill in Brooklyn.
Lachow captioned the photo, in part, with: “Lob City meets 7 Seconds or Less.”
Nets Nation, a good friend of mine just sent me this photo, taken in Brooklyn today. Lob City meets 7 Seconds or Less. Spread Love It’s the Brooklyn Way pic.twitter.com/07DCeGEZVN
— Sam Lachow (@SamuelLachow) March 9, 2021
Steve Nash taking time out of his break to meet with Blake Griffin simply shows how invested Nash is heading into the second half of the season.
Clearly other coaches have done this as well but that’s a players coach who cares about his players.
That’s my takeaway. https://t.co/nQnpW3f8Xi
— Chris Milholen (@CMilholenSB) March 9, 2021
During an ask-me-anything session with Bleacher Report on Monday, Griffin brought up Nash when sharing a bit about what attracted him to Brooklyn after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons.
“They have a need for a four-man,” Griffin wrote, via Chris Milholen of Nets Daily. “I’ve always had a lot of respect for Steve Nash and all of the guys that they have. (General manager) Sean Marks has done (a) great job there. It was a tough decision and I wanted to be on a team that was contending.”
Some notable answers from Blake Griffin’s AMA with @BleacherReport.
– Griffin praises Steve Nash and Sean Marks while hinting a role as a four-man.
– Relationship with DeAndre Jordan
– His favorite players to go up against. pic.twitter.com/T6Fw8qcSm5
— Chris Milholen (@CMilholenSB) March 8, 2021
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Griffin Gives Nets a Boost
The Nets, at 24-13, are certainly contending. Heading into the second half of the season, they’re just a half game back of the Philadelphia 76ers for first place in the Eastern Conference.
Griffin has averaged 21.4 points on 49.5% shooting over the span of his 12-year NBA career, but is averaging only 12.3 points on 36.5% shooting this season. He’s also averaging 5.2 rebounds and 3.9 assists.
Griffin is a six-time All-Star but well past his “Lob City” days, when he was constantly dunking on opponents while playing for the Los Angeles Clippers. In fact, he hasn’t dunked in a game since December 2019.
December 6th, 2019
The last dunk of Blake Griffin’s career pic.twitter.com/mGVlP2yTh8
— gianni🅙 🦁 (@PlayoffDre) February 10, 2021
Still, as a role player, Griffin brings size, versatility, playmaking ability and solid passing to Brooklyn’s frontcourt.
The 6-foot-9 forward made an appearance Tuesday on The Rich Eisen Show, where he shared more about what went into his decision to join the Nets.
“There were definitely other teams (in the mix),” Griffin said. “It wasn’t an easy decision (to join Brooklyn). “Ultimately just made a decision that’s best for myself. I’m excited for the opportunity.
“My whole goal is to help this team win (a championship). The teams I was looking at had real chances to do that.”
"There were definitely other teams (in the mix)… it wasn't an easy decision (to join Brooklyn).
"Ultimately just made a decision that's best for myself. I'm excited for the opportunity."
— Rich Eisen Show (@RichEisenShow) March 9, 2021