What are Blake Griffin and the Nets vaunted performance team cooking up? A magic dunking elixir? Or just their (by now) commonly accepted skills at regenerated players? Indeed, just prior to the Nets game vs. the Knicks on Monday, Steve Nash said Griffin has been spending most of his time with the performance staff addressing his physical issues, specifically his knee. Hmmm.
Whatever it is, Griffin, in an interview with ESPN’s Malika Andrews, promised a return to “vintage dunks” when he makes his Brooklyn debut sometime in the next couple of weeks.
When Andrews asked whether “fans are going to see vintage dunks from you in Brooklyn,” the 31-year-old did not shy away from the question.
”That’s the plan,” he said, adding, “We’ll see. I know a lot’s been made about that. I promise you I still can. I promise that.”
Indeed, Griffin, who once dunked over a Kia sedan, hasn’t slammed the ball through the hoop during a game since December 2019 (although there is recent video of him do it in pick-up games.) Indeed, there has been punditry that the 6’10” forward from Oklahoma simply can’t do it any more, the result of multiple injuries, particularly to his knees.
The Pistons put him on ice a month ago, saying they would work with him on a trade or a buyout. The trade never materialized but ten days ago, he gave up $13.3 million to become a free agent and quickly signed with Brooklyn. He was then handed over to the performance team.
Griffin called the last month, “a bit of a whirlwind,” but said he believes he can still help the Nets’ championship aspirations “at this point in my career.”
“Fill the gaps,” he told Andrews when asked what he can bring to Brooklyn. “We have three guys who are unbelievably dynamic. For me, it’s about being that guy that can facilitate a little bit spread the floor when we need to. I think at this point in my career, my game sort of lends itself to that role.”
Asked for one word to describe himself now, Griffin chose, “hungry.”
“That’s my main goal: to win a championship. After being in the playoffs and missing the playoffs through 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, so, I’m just ready to get out there.”
Andrews reminded Griffin that one of his most prolific dunks took place nearly a decade ago when he was was with the Clippers and Kevin Durant and James Harden were with the Thunder. He sailed over the Thunder’s Kendrick Perkins, not even touching the rim on the way down. DeAndre Jordan, his teammate then and how, was also on the court.
“I remember after the game, Kevin said, that wasn’t a dunk because I didn’t touch the rim. Hopefully, he’s gotten past that. We’ll see if he accepts it as a real dunk.”
- Blake Griffin promises he can still dunk - Ajayi Browne - USA Today
- Why Nets aren’t rushing Blake Griffin into the lineup - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- New Net Blake Griffin says he’s hungry for a championship - Greg Logan - Newsday