The Brooklyn Nets have officially signed Blake Griffin, giving the six-time All-Star an opportunity to pursue his first-ever NBA title on one of the Eastern Conference's best teams.
According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Nets see Griffin as a "small-ball centre option off the bench," likely leaving fantasy basketball owners wondering what his impact will be on a new team.
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Griffin is currently only owned in 55.9 percent of ESPN Fantasy Basketball leagues, meaning you may still have time to add him off of the waiver wire.
But what does this signing mean for Griffin's fantasy value, as well as other bigs - such as DeAndre Jordan, Nicolas Claxton and Jeff Green - on Brooklyn's roster?
Starting with Griffin, while you shouldn't expect him to snap back into the form of the All-NBA player we saw two seasons ago, he should have much more value than he's had so far this season. Ranked the 47th-best power forward on ESPN Fantasy Basketball, Griffin's output has been less than ideal so far this season.
Averaging a career-low 12.3 points while shooting an ugly 36.5 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from 3 in 20 games with the Detroit Pistons, the bar for "much more value" isn't all that high. Scoring opportunities might be harder to come by when playing alongside Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving, but the quality of his shot attempts should improve next to that trio, whether it be open 3s or cutting layups. When he's on the second unit with only one of those superstars, that's when Griffin should shine the most, getting more shots while also being able to flash his playmaking ability (Griffin is still averaging 3.9 assists per game this season, and that number could increase in a more talented lineup).
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From a fantasy perspective, his scoring average will likely remain the same but it'll come much more efficiently. He should still maintain his average of 2.0 3-pointers per game, his rebounding numbers should increase and he'll still be a quality source of assists.
If he is unowned in your league, it's worth rolling the dice and sacrificing a roster spot before his first contest with the Nets because if he plays well, every owner will pounce on the waiver wire to scoop him up.
But what does this mean for Jordan, Claxton and Green?
The Nets have used Jordan as their primary starting centre since trading Jarrett Allen, although Jeff Green has seen a few starts as a small-ball centre.
Jordan's averages of 7.9 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game while shooting 75.8 percent from the field in 26 starts has made him a solid fantasy option to fulfill those four categories, and those numbers shouldn't change much since he is still expected to remain the starter. While his minutes may decrease slightly if head coach Steve Nash plans on using all three of him, Claxton and Griffin, he'll still be a strong source of boards, blocks and a booster for field goal percentage.
Green's versatility should keep his minutes where they are (26.4 per game), but he's been nothing more than a streaming option this season anyway. With Griffin in the mix to do similar things that he does, Green becomes a much more risky streaming option that you may want to stay away from until Griffin's role becomes clearer during the first few games.
The player that becomes the most impacted by this signing is Claxton, who was starting to carve out a role prior to the All-Star break. A knee injury prevented the second-year centre from taking the floor until the final five games of the first half of the season, and he showed plenty of promise in that action.
Averaging 10.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, 1.0 assists and 1.0 steals while shooting 69.0 percent over those five games, Claxton became a "watch list" fantasy player that owners hoped would become a streaming option in the second half of the season. Only averaging 15 minutes across five contests, Claxton's minutes are likely to become far too inconsistent to be considered for any fantasy roster with Griffin now in Brooklyn.
It's worth keeping a close eye on the Nets' rotation in the first few games following the All-Star break to identify each of these player's new roles, but as of now it appears to be this:
- Griffin: add immediately if available
- Jordan: keep him rostered
- Green: streaming option only
- Claxton: leave him on the waiver wire or watch list
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