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Why was Nets’ Blake Griffin benched? Six-time All-Star ‘didn’t necessarily see that coming’


Brooklyn Nets forward Blake Griffin has gone from a starting role to no role at all.

After starting in each of his first 17 appearances with the Nets this season, the 32-year-old was removed from the starting lineup and the rotation, picking up DNP-CDs in each of the team’s last two meetings โ€“ a 19-point win over the Boston Celtics and a six-point loss to the Phoenix Suns.

MORE: Why Kemba Walker is no longer the Knicks’ starting point guard

While Griffin admitted he understood the decision to take him out of the starting lineup, he was surprised by not seeing any playing time at all.

“No, I mean listen, [LaMarcus Aldridge] has been playing unbelievable, so, I totally get starting him,”ย Griffin said Monday.

“Being completely out of [the rotation], though, I didn’t necessarily see that coming,” he continued.ย “But that’s not my decision. As players it’s our job to do whatever coaches see best, so at this point, that’s what it is.”

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Why was Blake Griffin benched?

(Getty Images)

It’s been a performance-based decision.

Through 17 games, Griffin is averaging a career-low 5.5 pointsย to go along with 4.9 rebounds in just under 22 minutes of action per game. Griffin’s low scoring is a direct product ofย his inefficiency, he’s currently shooting 31.8 percent from the field and has connected on just nine of his first 56 3-point attempts this season, equating to a 16.1 percent conversion rate.

Last season, Griffin wasย much more effective and efficient for the Nets in essentially the same role.

Nets’ Blake Griffin: 2020-21 vs. 2021-22
Season G GS MIN PTS REB AST FG FGA FG% 3P 3PA 3P%
2020-21 26 10 21.5 10.0 4.7 2.4 3.6 7.3 .492 1.2 3.1 .383
2021-22 17 17 21.7 5.5 4.9 2.0 2.0 6.3 .318 0.5 3.3 .161

With the extended absence of Kyrie Irving and Joe Harris recently undergoing an ankle procedure, the Nets can ill-afford to rely on an inefficient Griffin.

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Who is playing instead of Blake Griffin?

With Griffin falling out of the Nets’ rotation, Aldridge has been inserted into the starting lineup.

After coming out of retirement, the 36-year-old Aldridge is averaging 13.8 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 58.0 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range, matching Griffin’s nine makes in 32 fewer attempts.

Aldridge scored 17 points in his start against the Celtics and finished with 18 points against the Suns.

In both the games against the Celtics and Suns, Nets head coach Steve Nash opted to go with veteran forwards James Johnson and Paul Millsap off the bench instead of Griffin.

Will Blake Griffin remain with the Nets?

With this just being the first quarter of a long 82-game season, Griffin is likely to find himself back in the rotation at some point down the line. If there is no longer a fit, the 11-year veteran is making just $2.6 million this season and could look to move elsewhere.

Griffin has sought the counsel of friend and former teammate DeAndre Jordan, who fell out of the Nets’ rotation in a similar manner last season.

While Jordan ultimately moved on to join the Los Angeles Lakers after a trade and subsequent buyout, Griffin’s salary figure gives him more flexibility should he stay or opt to move on elsewhere.

Nets schedule 2021-22

Date Game Time (ET) National TV
Nov. 30 vs. Knicks 7:30 PM TNT
Dec. 3 vs. Timberwolves 7:30 PM โ€“
Dec. 4 vs. Bulls 7:30 PM โ€“
Dec. 7 at Mavericks 7:30 PM TNT
Dec. 8 at Rockets 8:00 PM โ€“
Dec. 10 at Hawks 7:30 PM ESPN
Dec. 12 at Pistons 6:00 PM โ€“
Dec. 14 vs. Raptors 7:30 PM โ€“
Dec. 16 vs. 76ers 7:30 PM NBA TV
Dec. 18 vs. Magic 7:30 PM โ€“



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