Blake Griffin is finally a free agent after he and the Detroit Pistons worked out a buyout on Friday. The Brooklyn Nets are heavily favored to sign the 31-year-old now that he's out of Detroit. While Griffin is a big name, he's not the player he once was and adding him wouldn't solve any of Brooklyn's biggest problems.
The Nets can light it up offensively, as they lead the NBA in offensive rating (118.2). But defensively, they're an absolute mess. They currently rank 26th in the league in defensive rating (113.6) and rank 27th in points allowed per game (116.1). Brooklyn needs to shore things up on the defensive end to win a championship.
Griffin won't help there. He's never been a dominant defender, but over the last few years he's really fallen off. He currently has a defensive rating of 114.5 which is ... not great. Perhaps even more alarming is how the rest of his numbers have dropped off a cliff over the past two seasons.
During the 2018-19 season, Griffin averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.4 assists and was Third Team All-NBA. His PER of 21.02 was in line with some of the best numbers of his career. Since then he's gone in the tank. So far this season he's down to 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 31.3 minutes per game. His PER has fallen to a dismal 9.98 and over the past two seasons, Griffin's combined field goal percentage is 35.8. That's not a typo.
Lest you think moving to a contending team could wake the slumbering superstar out of Griffin, he's also just not moving like he used to. For years his on-court performance was tied directly to his otherworldly athleticism that has since diminished. As he's aged he hasn't developed other skills to buoy his game.
Griffin has struggled with injuries to his left knee for years and this appears to be the end result. And without his explosiveness, what's the point of signing him?
The Nets have a great shot at winning an NBA title this season. But adding Blake Griffin isn't going to get them any closer to that goal. They need to find a rim protector and defensive presence, not a former offense-first All-Star who is a shell of his former self.