Atlantic Notes: Griffin, Flynn, VanVleet, McBride, Sixers

Blake Griffin has struggled mightily for the Nets so far this season, and it’s having a detrimental impact on the team, according to Mark W. Sanchez of the New York Post.

Sanchez notes that Griffin has gone 0-for-18 from deep over his last 5 games. Head coach Steve Nash says Griffin has had open shots, but hasn’t been able to convert.

He’s just having a funk. I think he’s got good looks, but I think he just hasn’t been in a good rhythm,” Nash said of Griffin’s shooting before the Nets met the Cavaliers at Barclays Center. “People go through stretches like that.”

Through 14 games, Griffin has a shooting line of .312/.173/.696 while averaging 5.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 22.6 minutes per game. Last season in 26 games with the Nets, Griffin averaged 10.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.4 assists in 21.6 minutes per game, with a shooting slash line of .492/.383/.782.

Sanchez opines that Griffin has had mixed results on the defensive end, but hasn’t done enough to make up for the poor shooting. He’s excellent at drawing charges (league-leading 11 prior to Wednesday’s games), but lacks the foot speed to consistently switch, and after a series of knee injuries, isn’t a great rim protector.

Griffin will be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Second-year guard Malachi Flynn has mostly been out of the Raptors‘ rotation this season, and whether he should get more minutes is a complicated question, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Smith notes that the Raptors have struggled with shooting and on defense recently, and he thinks Flynn is better at those two areas than backup rookie point guard Dalano Banton. However, Smith opines that another change to the rotation might be rough for a team struggling with consistency. Flynn says he’s putting the onus on himself to show the team he’s worthy of more playing time. “I’m not pointing the finger at anybody. I’m taking it upon myself. What can I do to help myself? That’s the only thing I can control. It’s definitely easier said than done, but that’s what I’m trying to do,” Flynn said.
  • In a separate article, Smith writes that Fred VanVleet has become the vocal leader of the Raptors after Kyle Lowry‘s departure. VanVleet says he always comes from a place of respect and winning. “I’m not always right, but my heart’s in the right place and I can usually live with myself knowing that I try to respect the guys as men first. We’re all equal in the locker room. We all say: We want to win, and any conversation after that we’ll figure it out,” VanVleet said.
  • Head coach Tom Thibodeau was effusive in his praise of Knicks rookie Miles McBride, tweets Marc Berman of the New York Post. McBride was recently assigned to the G League to get minutes. I love him, I love him. I think it’s important for him to be with us but every opportunity we get where we can have him play some, we want to try to take advantage of that as well. But he’s got a great future, great kid, hard worker,” Thibodeau said.
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that Sixers coach Doc Rivers isn’t panicking about the team’s five game losing streak. “There’s nobody here worried,” Rivers said. “It’s just a long season. When you have the injuries that we have and the games that we’ve played … listen, I want to win every game. But I do understand what we’re under right now, too.”
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