Blake Griffin Calls Brooklyn Return a 'No-Brainer'
After joining Nets in midseason, Griffin signs on again for 2021-22
When Blake Griffin chose Brooklyn the first time around, he was stepping a new situation. This time, in choosing to re-sign with the Nets, he was making a decision based on experience.
“I was pretty vocal about my time in Brooklyn,” said Griffin. “Love my time in Brooklyn, and from top to bottom: From Joe Tsai all the way down to our staff, our performance staff, whatever it is, the support staff. I think they just do everything the right way. So, that was a big thing for me and weighing my decision on going a different direction. But having that experience and knowing what kind of what kind of people I'm working with is huge. So, it was a no-brainer for me.”
Griffin signed with the Nets in early March and went on to average 10.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists in 21.5 minutes per game while shooting 49.2 percent overall and 38.3 percent from 3-point range.
A five-time All-NBA forward and the 13th leading scorer among active players with an average of 20.9 points per game, Griffin smoothly slipped into a different profile after joining the Nets in the middle of his 11th NBA season. He began coming off the bench picking up minutes at both the forward and center spots, bringing shooting range and playmaking skills to the positions and immediately charging things up with one hustle play after another.
In the final week of the regular season, Griffin moved into the starting center role and filled that spot through the end of the season. The final game of the year was one of his finest — 17 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, and three 3-pointers in 40 minutes against Milwaukee in Game 7.
He went into the summer looking to build on those three months with the Nets, but also free of the injury issues that dogged him through his last two seasons in Detroit after his All-NBA season in 2018-19.
“I hope I never stop trying to add something new,” said Griffin. “But knowing where I'm going to be, knowing the system a little bit better and knowing sort of how I fit into this team, just sort of focusing on that more. So a lot of space in the floor, a lot of catch-and-shoot, a lot of pick-and-pop, making decisions off of a roll, off of somebody getting doubled off a high pick-and-roll. So really just sort of tailoring my workouts to what I expect to be doing this season. And on top of that, maintenance as well. I just can't explain how big it is to have a summer where you finish the season, and then you take a couple weeks off, and you're right back working out. You’re not having to rehab, you don't have to do like all these things. I haven't had that. The last time I had that was like summer of 2018. No, ’17, going into the 18-19 season. So, I mean, I'm just I'm so thankful for that and the time I've been able to spend on my body and also my game.”
Nets general manager Sean Marks emphasized Griffin’s contributions off the court as well.
“You guys all saw what he did on the court, the intangibles that he brought, just the physical presence that he is,” said Marks. “You talked about sort of the rejuvenation of how he played. So it’s a credit to Blake, a credit to our performance team and how everybody bought in on that. But it’s really the things in the locker room with Blake to be honest, a lot of the things that go on behind the scenes with just who he is. It speaks volumes when a player like that could have easily gone to a multitude of other places and … decided, ‘There’s unfinished business here. I want to do something special in Brooklyn.’ To have a guy like that buy in certainly sends the right message to the younger guys and the whole team in general.”
That’s an area in which Griffin didn’t want to overreach at the start in joining a new team, but he’s hoping to make his presence felt even more as the team starts a new season.
“Over the years you become more and more comfortable stepping in, and it was a little weird for me this year, coming into a season in March when the team’s been together,” said Griffin. “I know they had a lot of people coming in and out, but you sort of have that feeling out process, so once I felt like I kind of understood the dynamic of the team, I felt like I could use my voice a little bit more. But this year, I hope to do that even more, being there from the get, and so much is put on our Big 3 — Kevin, and James and Ky — on the court, obviously, and off the court, but sometimes you need somebody else to be there and sort of speak up and say something. You don’t always want coach (Steve) Nash to have to say something or drill something into our heads every time, or the Big 3 because they’re sort of expected to do that. So sometimes Jeff Green was sort of that for the team last year. I thought he did a great job of picking his spots and being that guy that speaks up, and that’s something I hope to be able to help out with this year.”
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