James Harden on Blake Griffin Agreeing to Nets Contract: 'He Wants to Win'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 8, 2021

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden makes a layup as Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Carlos Osorio/Associated Press

James Harden knows why Blake Griffin is joining the Brooklyn Nets.

Harden was asked about his team's newest edition following Sunday's All-Star Game and suggested the former Los Angeles Clipper and Detroit Piston "can be a great contribution to this team" and "wants to win."

His comments came after Griffin's agent, Sam Goldfeder, told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski the forward was joining the Nets. Wojnarowski reported the Oklahoma product agreed to a veteran minimum contract for a team that sees him "as a small-ball center alternative off its bench."

The Clippers went to the playoffs six straight times with Griffin on the roster but never advanced past the second round. Detroit lost in the first round the one year it made the postseason with the six-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA selection.

A championship is the only glaring hole on Griffin's resume considering he was a high-flying MVP candidate in his prime who averaged 21.6 points and 9.3 rebounds per game with the Clippers.

He certainly picked an ideal team to chase that ring with since Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are all on the roster and primed to make a charge in the Eastern Conference. The Nets have to worry about the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs, but fellow championship contenders such as the Los Angeles Lakers, Clippers and Utah Jazz are in the West.

Having all that talent means Brooklyn won't need Griffin to carry much responsibility in that championship pursuit.

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That is ideal because he is no longer the dominant version of himself who dazzled fans with his dunks and routinely put up double-doubles. Rather, he averaged 12.3 points per game this season behind a mere 36.5 percent shooting from the field before the Pistons bought him out.

The efficiency should at least improve with the Nets considering how much defensive attention his teammates will attract, and a solid 15 to 20 minutes off the bench will likely be all they ask for on any given night.